Wednesday, April 20, 2016

you know what i really want to do? i want to take some time, a year at least, and just really focus on my writing. writing has always been what i want to do with my life, and i feel like i owe it to it and myself to actually try it for real. i want to get a babysitter for a few hours a day and force myself to write and edit and just do this thing already. i want to turn writing into a career. 

and i know that there are so many authors that balance their writing with their day job, but i find it really hard when i don't have a real "day job." all of my roles overlap too much. my day has no real structure. i do the whole stay at home mom thing with the keeping a kid alive and doing cleaning and laundry and stuff (which, if i'm being honest, is the bane of my existence. the domestic chores, not the kid. the kid is the light of my life.) and throughout my day i throw in all of my TAing stuff (answering emails, grading papers, having appointments, etc), and - while admittedly less than i should be - do my dissertation research stuff, and do everything everything that goes hand in hand with being a professional people pleaser. 

part of me has always sort of wanted to be one of those people that moves to saudi arabia for one reason or another and then complains about there being nothing to do and feeling trapped in the house. i always secretly harbored the thought that, if i was stuck at home all day, i would get so much writing done. i convinced myself that that was exactly what i needed. 

in reality, though, that's not what i need at all. i am the queen of doing nothing all day. stick me in a house with internet and i will waste my life on tumblr and netflix. take away the internet and i'll lose myself in books. i'll stare at a wall. i'll eat my weight in junk food. what i won't do, though, is what i "should" be doing. 

what i really need is structure. 

i have actually added a little bit of structure to my day, and it's amazing. after breakfast every morning, i let the rabbit out to play with the baby and i wash dishes slash clean the kitchen. it's small, and to a normal person laughable, but i haven't had a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink in a while, and it feels great. so what i think i need to do is start structuring in writing. i'll structure in TAing and studenting and people pleasing. i will no longer have loose, flowy, do whatever days, because obviously i am not responsible enough for that.

Monday, April 18, 2016

now it's time for me to take control

my birthday snuck (i know the right word is sneaked. i still like snuck) up on me this year. it was one of those times when you are forced to realize that even when world-stopping things happen, time moves on. i had just caught my balance the other day. sure, i was still reeling a bit, but i was stable for the most part and ready for life to start up again. you can imagine my surprise when my husband asked, "so what do you want to do for your birthday?" and i was hit by the fact that life had never stopped just because i thought it should. it had continued on, ready or not. (don't you hate it when people allude to some big life-changing thing that happened and then never actually tell you what it is? yeah, me too.)

luckily for me, i'm pretty sure there is no one left here to be annoyed by my lack of telling. (i mean, an entire year of sporadic blogging. goodness. the thing is, in my head i had never "stopped blogging." like, i can't even really wrap my head around the idea that so much time has passed between posts. occasionally i come on here and write up a draft, so maybe that's why i feel like i never stopped? or it may be because time for me has lost all meaning so honestly, a year is the same as an hour is the same as a month. and by that logic, it really hasn't been so long.)

anyway, back to my birthday. despite my sporadic posting, there was no way that i couldn't come back here and write a birthday post. this morning i woke up in an ugh mood, but instead of letting outside forces dictate my mood and ruin my birthday, i decided to take action. so as soon as cricket woke up, i got him dressed and took him to ihop for a birthday breakfast of cupcake pancakes. it helped.

that simple action is going to play into the theme for the upcoming year, but i'll get to that in a minute.

i think that one of my most defining characteristics is that i am a people-pleaser. one hundred percent. i know every single way that this has been helpful and self-destructive in my life, and i cannot change it anymore that i can change my brown eyes or love for reading. it is embedded deep within what makes me me, for better or for worse.

due to my pleasing people all the time, i have pushed a lot of my own things to the back burner. when my ship starts to sink, the first things that i throw overboard are mine. this year, i'm pulling myself out of second place. this will be the year of me.

last year, when things got stressful with a new baby and family drama and just, life, i dropped reading and writing. and while i love reading, writing is part of who i am. it is how i work through everything. it is how i celebrate and how i mourn, and stopping writing felt like i had completely lost myself. i woke up one morning without my identity, and it was like i had woken up without the ability to breathe. i was floundering, but there was no time or space to flounder because there were things to do, and people to please. so i kept pushing it aside and pushing it aside, and having a series of mental breakdowns to my husband, and then one day i decided that enough was enough.

i have always dreamed of being published, and so after doing nanowrimo and writing through some depression crap (my story was literally about depression, but it was like a separate world type thing that at first seemed like magic? and then there was this giant-winged-cliche-shadow beast? and a girl got trapped? and there was a lot of self-isolation and very thin metaphors and it was just... i want to say really bad but i also kind of love it.) and writing a bunch of poems/scenes into my phone, i decided to come up with a defined goal.

my writing goal is to write a poetry chapbook and then send it out slash enter it into contests. i will complete this by the end of the year and i will feel like i have done something. something only for me.

and everyone else can kick rocks. i am done with them.

just kidding, i'll still be over here people pleasing, because that is what i do. and obviously the whole putting myself first thing will not be an always kind of thing, but will be an overarching part of everything this year. the thought that i have stuck to the door of the refrigerator in my mind. i have worn myself thin for others, and now it's time to collect myself and do it for me.

*On My Own - Whitney Houston