I just shouted at one of our cats, “YOU WANT TO DIE TODAY, DON’T YOU?!” She was on the kitchen table, padding toward our butter. Cats live a long freakin’ time…
Good lord, I’ve been going about this post, this is the third edition, all the wrong way.
I started out feeling sorry for myself and being embarrassed about it. So what did I do when I feel embarrassed? I lash out. I blame other people and pick at their faults.
I will say this: some of my fault picking is appropriate.
I’m grossed out by the Internet lately and its warehouses of data of peoples’ appeals for attention, all the things people are willing to do for a “like” and all the stuff that’s out there — have you looked sometimes? I mean, there’s a lot of stuff out there. And here I am adding myself to the pile.
Specifically, I found fault with a blogger who posts insanely staged photos of herself and her children and her spouse online. And yet, right now, as I try to “be OK” with it, I can’t help myself, I’m sorta grossed out and envious, truth be told. It’s like a toxic mix of all the rings of the inferno. I’m grossed out because I’m a traditionalist: “Keep some of that private!” I shout at the monitor, as I click at more pictures. It’s not illicit or in bad taste, it’s just a sentiment of “really?! who cares?!” and yet here I am. It’s so odd…
Then there’s a blog contest. I steer away from those things because they aren’t my style. What is my style? Apparently standing in judgement of other people. But that’s cool; I voted for my friends. I admire their courage.
Then I think some more. I have been doing that lately instead of actually acting. My SIL has two published author friends: hardcover, actual printing houses and everything. One is on her third book, the other wrote a memoir, which I loved. She gives me free copies; by way of inspiring me and being a great marketer for her friends. I am authentically grateful.
So I take the books graciously because I really enjoy them and I appreciate the generosity and I even say, “Hey! Maybe my name will be on one of these sometime…” and we all smile and nod and then I curl into myself and I say… “Nope.” And then I make excuses, “Naaaah. I’m gonna go the self-pub, eBook route, because traditional publishing is a rat race… and it’s evolving, you know, the whole publishing thing.” And then my inner Hilter-mustachioed Oliver Hardy part says to me, “With what? Your three-ring binder? While you cruise the web?”
And then I feel all Stan Laurel about myself and cover my whimpering mouth with my tiny tie, waddle in place, scratch my crazy hair with my pale fingers and say, “Mmemonononominionommmooooooo hoooo…nonananynonommmoooooo hoo.”
I make me sick sometimes.
Ouch. Hot plates.
So the reason I sit all judgey is because I would rather do that than take a chance, than get the book done. So I go online because it’s a TOTAL WASTE OF MY TIME and I cruise stupid stuff and I don’t edit my book.
Why? Because yet again, as I said before: I am afraid of failure.
And here is the moment of truth: I know now, how my mother felt all those years ago, and she didn’t have the Internet: terror. She believed what she was thinking, and she stayed there sometimes.
My pulse is quickening as a type and I know the fear is real. I am not an anxious person; I am very comme ci, comme ça (“like this, like that”) about life. I’ve read many books about tending to mySelf; I’m writing one. It’s the one I have, the one I won’t crack, the one that sighs from my book case that needs the most attention: the ones on vulnerability. The one by Bréne Brown, Daring Greatly, that I need to open, drink in, nod to, argue with, highlight, read and apply.
Good God… I’m not really jealous of all those people on the net with their photos and their specialness; but I am grossed out by their apparent need for approval and acceptance, and that’s the part that sounds like it’s afraid of vulnerability. Because when we think of vulnerability, we think of neediness, of kowtowing (I did NOT know it was spelled that way!), we think of obsequiousness, of which I must admit I am incapable. Not because I’m brawny and heroic, but because I don’t find much virtue in that either. It’s too familiar to me. ‘Nuff said there.
I’m just afraid of doing what they are sort of doing: putting it all out there, in the sun for people to pick apart. But how do you pick apart perfection? You find someone like me… and I’ll be only to happy to show you how you are demonstrating only your perfect life. Because: You will not see a picture of me fresh out of bed without so much as a sleepy heavy hand swiping my rubbery face, without protest or threat of imminent injury to the person who posted it. But I do get the idea of vulnerability, in which we find strength.
But I am digressing, rationalizing. “Feel the feelings” they say; don’t walk away. Listen to what the feeling, the vulnerability, is saying. What is it saying? Don’t think of something pithy to share… feel the feeling and write what it says. Close the eyes and type.
The feeling says:
You aren’t good enough. You can’t do this. Taking chances makes you hurt. Falling down is nature’s way of telling you to stay out. Don’t bother. You are not one of those people. There is nothing unique about you. Don’t risk it.
And yet, here I am. I open my eyes to see what I type. I correct the typos and I don’t edit.
Here I am… sitting just two days after my 200th post when I said to live without regret, take a chance and be present. Oh, I’m being present alright. But doing something different is the only way out of this rut. And I don’t stay here for long, in this bowl of self-pity soup, because I know part of what I’m feeling is due to being home with a sick child again, Thing 3 this time, and just feeling frustrated. With all of it: with his being unwell, with my not being able to go to yoga, with the Internet.
But I won’t rationalize it away, because it’s real, the vulnerability, and I’m in my own way. Constantly. I swear, if this were a paid gig, I’d be a millionaire and I wouldn’t give a toot about the Internet and all the souls out there trying to be something.
I wrote a book. It’s time to stop avoiding it. It really is. It’s time to do something with it. I don’t know when I’ll be back next. All I know is that when I’m posting, I’m not editing or writing. I’ve got to unload this book because it’s really holding me down. It’s like a purge and it has to go. Somewhere.