So Long

Phew! Nothing like waking up from a nap at quarter to seven on a night in the dead of winter and thinking gladly to yourself how early it is.

Anywho.

I know I said it before but I really am taking a hiatus.

I said it before, due to timing and some perception of lack thereof.

I thought that with my new focus on becoming a life coach and all the reading/procrastinating I would do before, that I wouldn’t have much time to write. I basically just overestimated my ability to read and apply personal development books by the same author.

And then I continued writing on, in some cases, writing more than ever before.

So here I am, back to the same thought, though from a different angle. This time, it isn’t a time thing. It’s a heart thing. And the fact that part of me feels like what do I honestly have to tell anyone of any value as a twenty five year old unpublished writer?

I’m further shedding my ego, my fears which made me grasp on to some concept of the truth, and becoming a student of life. A student of my own inner creative monster that I’ve never actually taken into the light to fully, honestly, assess.

I want to travel and I want to know new people who I can’t even fathom exist from my own small little world in this town that has gotten too small and yet too large, in all the most unaesthetic ways.

I need life to be beautiful if it’s going to be worth living, and I haven’t found what I’ve been looking for perhaps ever in my life here. Yet, slow learner as I am, I am just now catching on. Better late than never. And who knows, maybe I’ll be back. I hope not, but that means I probably will be.

Because the truth is, even since I started my blog less than half a year ago, I look back on some of the things I have written and my first instinct is to, say, cringe and disagree. I’m changing so much within my own mind and my own life that within eighteen weeks or so, things sometimes render false. Or at least a bit rancid.

That’s a short shelf life.

I vacillate in a never-ending, somewhat schizophrenic cycle of Louis Vuitton purchases and bare-footedness that requires deserted land and unadulterated skylines. I’m trying to make peace with that.

I think I need less think, more create. In a word, I’m bored [with it all]. I’m a disaffected girl who has a little time left and too many halfway lucky breaks or at least leniencies, but never enough to set her squarely on any one path.

I suppose you’ve got to find it for yourself. And sometimes the easy path, like an easy girl, is just not as appealing as the un-marked territory of a virgin.

Some things I wrote I think touched upon some valuable and universal truths (just don’t ask me which ones right now; I’m trying to be optimistically forgetful). The truth is, I had a lot of opinions I wanted to blow people away with, both in admiration for my wit and candor and with the requisite hatred of someone who sounds good while saying things you don’t want to hear.

I had hundreds of articles already started, and largely written, that will hopefully (for the sake of the world, and whoever would end up reading them) not see the light of day.

This foray into blogging (the word itself makes me cringe, which perhaps should have been a tip-off from the start) so far has taught me that my opinions, no matter how eloquently, wittily or hilariously stated, are still just thoughts. Thoughts which are subject to change. Thoughts which have proven themselves to do just that. Ironic, when I was going for timeless.

It has come to my attention that perhaps, fiction is the most pure form of truth. Because it is truth unadulterated by form. Form gets in the way of a lot of the best things.

And besides the fact that you can’t write a blog with a drink under your belt (and fiction has that to recommend it), the truth is, no matter how much I’ve tried not to be, I’m still someone who cares, at the end of the day, what the people I love think about what I wrote.

Not in terms of technical quality or artistic value, but when my friend thinks I offended her cat, I don’t sleep very well after that. For a few days. And then I have to go back and change what I’ve written in jest, but with a tone that didn’t translate.

I’m an insensitive person who’s also very sensitive. It’s a defect, to be sure, but I’ve yet to find a plastic surgeon who’s equal to the task.

And yes. People are hypocrites. So am I. One person whom I considered a very close friend [who also once suggested I write a Nanny Diaries sort of tell-all about all the families I had worked for] then went on to sever ties for a piece I wrote which referenced her vaguely once in an impersonal point of theoretical disagreement on writing.

It doesn’t make sense to me, honestly.

But it doesn’t have to. We’re human. We’re idiosyncratic hypocrites pretending that we’re not and turning a blind eye to our own naked ironies while pulling out binoculars for a glimpse at our neighbors’.

This world of voicing your opinion on paper in some realm of strange, self-chosen public has taught me that some of my biggest fans turned out to be my harshest critics, and yet some of the strangest, most curiously adorable people have turned out in support. It’s almost entirely backwards to what and whom I would have imagined. I like it when life surprises me because sometimes I get the feeling I’ve seen it all before. ;)

In the end it all balances out in my favor because I choose to look on the bright side, and I do believe that if you can stand behind yourself and act within and on your own principles, you by default, eventually become surrounded with like-minded people who value the truest version of you, even if the culling process is a bit like pulling a scab before it’s due to flake off.

And of course I have my idiosyncrasies and hypocrisies, too. So writing through them, and seeing their progression in electric publication has only made me, I hope, that much more lenient of others’. God knows I collect mine by the dozen and don’t shed them half as quickly as they accrete.

I always said I didn’t want a blog; that if I were ever going to write something, I wanted it to be something of weight, of substance. Of consequence and lasting value that people could hold, and put on their nightstands and carry in public to impress others at coffee shops.

In other words, something resembling Harry Potter (or Tolstoy). Or, okay I’ll lower my standards: The Bible.

But I tried this instead. And it was interesting. And I learned some shit about others and mostly, more importantly (because I’m somewhat vain) about myself.

And because I know of my own imp-like and impossibly whimsical nature (trust me, I’ve tried to un-whimsy it), I know it is entirely possible I will wake up tomorrow or a month from now and resume writing, posting, and wondering what exactly it was I was thinking two months prior when I thought I had it all figured out.

Because I didn’t. I really goddamn didn’t, don’t, probably won’t for a few more lifetimes. And if there’s one thing I want to make clear or come clean about (my belief of) it’s that.

And also that I’m fine, happy, contented with that outcome.

There are some really talented blog writers out there, who write politics and opinions and all sorts of technical things which make my eyes glaze over and my mind wish for Britney Spears’ molasses thoughts to come in and shake things up if only for the sake of holy juxtaposition.

And I admire their wit and savvy and their writing style, etc. I’ve got nothing detracting to say about them or the fine work that they produce, except that I finally realized I had no interest in doing what they do. And in hindsight, sometimes my work resembled theirs even a bit too close for my own comfort.

I meant what I wrote in that last article (about being right or being happy) which was maybe one of my least-popular of all time, and yet my most-stripped down.

And as far as criticism of myself or others, I simply want to focus on what I want in my own life.

If someone has something I want, I’m not looking at them for a chink in their armor or all the reasons they don’t “deserve” it (and I, by default of that argument, do).

Instead, I’m looking at what they did to get there, and how I can apply that to my own life situation. It’s much more empowering and it doesn’t seek to make enemies of everyone more successful than you.

If there’s one thing in life I’ve learned, it’s a two part statement: Not everyone will like you, but it’s easier, the more people that do.

You don’t have to live your life as a people-pleaser. (Nor, from my long-run of experience in that particular field, would I ever recommend it.)

However, a clever little-known trick is that if you make the conscious decision to start seeing the best in others, you will become a you-pleaser (because life will just be that more jolly all-around), while being more agreeable on the whole, which then inadvertently pleases those ever-present people.

Pesky damn fellow man, always lurking at every corner ;)

And as I already wrote last week, I don’t care so much about being right anymore.

Yeah, if I had kids I would probably want to be a stay at home mom. And yes, my mom was one and for that I’m grateful (that’s also because I’m a homebody and it allowed me to be in my own element for that many more years… high five to sweat pants).

I used to have all these strong opinions on parenthood and motherhood and what the best families looked like.

Except when I looked around, some of my best friends fit the exact opposite model of that.

And I realized that it was less worth it to me to strengthen my own concept of being right than to maintain my relationships with the people I loved and who had taken care of me as a friend, while also paying me, for many years in a row.

Same with my disdain for infant formula over breast milk, the fact that I find modern over-the-top weddings, proposals, and showers to be not my taste, or any number of (admittedly random, for a single girl of twenty five to even have strong opinions of) topics that I once believed to have held the monopoly on right-ness.

Here’s my newest opinion: who the fuck cares what I think?

As far as opinions and agreement on things: you either agree with me, and are looking for me to say things for you because you think you can’t or just want to hear it said in another way. Or, you disagree with me, in which you’ll hold me up as everything you stand against and quote my prose as self-evident bits of treasure which point to the continued blight of Homo Sapiens Ignoramus.

But either way, I’m just a scratching post for your ideas, one way or another, we are using each other and I’m bored. It’s like politics; I’m so entirely bored with the whole goon show. It’s when fairy tales begin to feel more real than anything I’ve ever heard on the news in the last month; if for no other reason than because I say that’s what I’d rather have in my life.

We are all the personal purveyors of all that’s good in our lives. We are our own best consigliere’s (or our own worst enemies, when we refuse to acknowledge the power that we have over our own every day lives). Of that I am certain.

And I choose the most beautiful things for mine. I guess you could call that chosen ignorance*. That’s fine, I won’t even fight you on it. But for the record, I think of it as poetic, and damned lucky to have realized my choice in the matter.

*One argument I’ll make in favor of my stance on news-fasting is that there are a ton of really awful graphic videos in the world which I choose not to subject myself to. Is that ignorant? Just because it exists, does that mean I need to watch it? And since when in any example in your current life, has “staying informed” ever truly saved yours or anyone you know’s life? It’s just a bunch of fear-based product sales appealing to our paleomammalian brain.

The truth is, all I really want is to see happy people around me.

Lame? Yes. But also ideal. Look, I’m a cynical optimist at heart. And I also don’t really give a fuck what naysayers say. That’s their job, I guess. But they never lead examples of lives I would want, anyway. So they’re kind of not my go-to-people when it comes to all things good.

I want to be happy and I want those around me to be happy. Which includes whomever I work or interact with through my writing, or my walking, or my simple existence as a bunch of cells haphazardly placed upon this curious ball of crust and liquid.

Right now, all I want to put into the world is whatever will produce the most entertainment, passion, love, excitement, enthrall.

I don’t care about division. I don’t care about passing judgment on my friends and neighbors who are just doing the best they can… like I did when I yelled at my dog a thousand times today and was frustrated and borderline enraged with us both; at him for acting like an ass and me for yelling and sliding around in the snow bank in my slippers as being the best solution I could come up with at that moment.

I’m not perfect. A true statement if there ever was one. And if I ever write this type of thing again, it will be from taking it down a notch in terms of criticism of whoever isn’t doing it “just right”.

And while I brought up the big J word (judgement, not Jesus), this is a whole article I wrote condensed into a few short sentences:

There is a difference between discernment and judgment. One is a choice you make with an eye toward your own life and what is best for you, personally. The other is a cut-down with an eye toward someone else’s life; one which, in my (okay, I still have one sometimes) opinion, no one has a place in making.

Oh, okay, “except for God”. When you meet God in person and find out what his exact rules and regulations are, let me know. I’ll be sure to post them here, ASAP.

Discernment is what entails that I eat certain foods (uh, somehow Cheetos got past my better discernment this evening), read certain things, and don’t sleep around.

Judgment means I watch what she’s eating and wonder why she isn’t as thin as she says she wants to be, think to myself or say how ignorant that person is for what they read (or don’t) and decide what someone else’s marriage should look like based on my personal religious beliefs.

It’s also calling that girl who does happen to have a lot of sex a “slut”, instead of finding compassion for her and maybe becoming her friend or offering her a kind word in an attempt to boost her self-worth.

Or, at least not indulging your own inner judge in its attempt to bring her down to a base form of humanity by means of a derogatory label, which is, according to people who know better than I do, like a prerequisite to physical violence.

Judgment is hate, separation and labeling things which ultimately cannot be brought down into simplistic words or comments.

Discernment is choice made for oneself, with love for all.

That’s how I see it, and it’s probably the last opinion I will leave you with for awhile.

I’ll admit, I’ve gone soft.

I just don’t have it in me anymore to wage battles of the mind or of the ego. It’s a boxing ring into which I no longer feel compelled to step. It’s not that I suggest that for everyone. My heart just isn’t in it, and I truly believe there is more strength, power and depth, in love an acceptance.

In the liquid form of creativity and the free-floating shapes of clouds. At least for me at this particular juncture.

And strange to say, I’ve learned I can agree with about 50% of a conservative Christian blog (before I myself realized what exactly it was– the first article I read was about stay at home moms) and that another 50% I may not even be able to stomach through.

I learned never say never. Even when it comes to right-wing politics. In fact, at this point, I actually disdain politics in general more than I have distaste for either side.

I never really thought I’d live to see the day. But of course, it happened around the same time I got a minivan and also stopped thoroughly detesting country music (seriously, I don’t know who I am anymore).

Because I always said that I would never ever drive a god-ugly minivan, no matter how many kids I accidentally had.

Once I got a taste of Acura life (and the plush dealership living room that offered me a flat screen TV, internet, food and drink and leather couches while I got an oil change), I couldn’t imagine anything else. Least of all, sitting in some honky-tonk garage on a fold-out chair, listening to a mechanic singing country tunes (quite well) while waiting for them to give me the go-ahead to buy the van.

But I did it. And I love this fucking van.

I also said I would never [ever] have a male dog because they pee every few feet and you can hardly enjoy a walk because of such shenanigans.

Yet this September I got the van and the dog within a week of each other.

And rounding out my trifecta of dysfunction, I always said I’d never have a blog.

I learned this year to never say never. Sometimes the things we are sure we must avoid are exactly what we need the most. (I, however, will not let Blue see this article, lest he begin to worry he may one day soon and unexpectedly, receive a Dear Blue letter in his crate. Which, actually, if he continues his recent bout of dysfunction, may be sooner upon the horizon than I expect.)

I’ve conquered my fear of blogging, my fear of driving an ugly van (which I’ve actually come to see as sort of beautiful), and my fear of tackling a rambunctious male canine (he’s so fucking cute, yet so goddamn pig-headed and unwieldy that it’s my complete undoing as ever wanting to become a mom to anything with less than four legs). Now I’ve got to conquer my fear of a new frontier.

A frontier full of things I always said I would do, but which give me the greatest sweaty palms of all. The things that made me squirm and want to throw up and stress-eat vegan gluten free brownies.

Those are actually much scarier to me than the things I said I never would do, then somehow found myself doing anyway. These are like, Mount Kilimanjaro for me. And that’s precisely why I’ve got to drown my fear in whiskey and just do it, as Nike always talks about. Right?

I’m not closing the book entirely on this thing, but for now it’s just not my heart or my focus.

And if anything I’ve learned this last year, it’s to follow your intuition and your passion, whenever it may lead you. Even to the most uncomfortable places– it’s often tearing away of structures which look nice but have bad foundations. You never wanna build your foundation on a roach-infested rat cellar.

I’m pretty sure that’s like, written in the Book of Eli.

My own wise yet sometimes seemingly insane inner compass has taken me on some off-road excursions that make even me wonder what I’m getting myself into. But I have faith. And the more I listen, the better they get. And the more I can really begin to trust my suspicions that they’re just what I need– though not always what I wanted at first.

(I was going to share my New Year’s Resolutions, but they all boil down to three basic things, and specifics are unnecessary frills which are more distraction than they’re worth… Plus I forgot them and I’m too lazy to pull up the file right now.)

So they are, in annotated (distilled) format:

1. Face fear
2. Love more
3. Do me

Simple, maybe overly so, but profound, in that I think those may be three of the most foundational rocks for a good life.

So Happy New Year. This is the edited version of my resignation.

Signing off for now,

Your friendly neighborhood writer

2 comments

  1. Your blog hasn’t been just a scratching post for me and my ideas – it was a key that opened doors to new perspectives. So maybe it’s not about people caring about what you think/write, but about your ability to introduce new ways of thinking (I quit Netflix because of your “Why I Quit Coffee” post!). That’s why I keep coming back to your blog – you’ve helped me look at life differently.

    1. Alisha,

      That’s one of the most humbling things I have read. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time and thought to post that comment. It was a poignant way to ring in the new year for me (I happened to see it very early this morning), and it gave me pause for thought.

      It has been that type of response, the same you wrote, which has consistently made me reevaluate the type and quality of my writing. Instead of puffing me up, it brings me down a notch, because it reminds me of the responsibility I have to the reader.

      Writing is such a solitary pursuit, that it is sometimes too easy to get wrapped up in your own head, and forget about the people [whom I truly respect and appreciate beyond what I can convey here in this comment] taking time out of their actual lives to read some lines I’ve scribbled away* on my computer. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe they even exist.

      It’s like some sort of fairy tale to have people in far away lands reading something I wrote in my bedroom.

      *Truth be told, hours go into each piece. But still, I’m doing what I love, and for someone to garner any sort of value from it at all, is quite an extraordinary concept for me to grasp.

      I have quite a few new ideas I am currently writing on, and it is not a matter of whether or not I will write– that’s a mandate as far as living goes for me– but more specifically, which I probably did not explain in the last post because I didn’t know it directly at the time– I am looking into some experimentation for which modes of translation my work is best suited.

      It’s not writing, and it’s not for lack of extreme love for my readers (which, as I think I’ve written before, is a kind of affection I haven’t ever experienced prior to). It’s a question of how to best present and package my ideas to suit me, as well as you.

      It is with great respect, as well as gratitude, that my answer to you is I’m not exactly sure where my writing is going, but that it won’t stop because I can’t stop (it’s not a choice; it’s an illness ;) ).

      And that if you keep in touch with the blog, I will either be posting in the future or will be working on some sort of project that will simply translate the same old things, but new ones, into a different format.

      I’m just experimenting with different mediums, basically. So you’ll either continue to get a little bit of me here and there, or maybe you’ll end up seeing a bunch of me at once somewhere else. I guess I’ll leave it at that because I really don’t know exactly where it’s going. :)

      Is that vague enough for you?

      Ha.

      By the way, I’m a huge adoption advocate, as well, though not in any official sense of the term. But I just saw that about you, and I think that’s immensely honorable.

      Anyway, thank you for your support. It is beyond appreciated.

      With love in the new year,

      Emily

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