A week ago, I was strongly contemplating putting iloveyoumorethanicecream on hiatus. Life sometimes feels too full of everything, too full of crazy, and ultimately I turn to the thought process of cutting out at least one activity in order to restore order, and balance. To feel myself breathe easier. This final tail of the year, the walls close in faster, the darkness sets in deeper, and time ticks away posthaste.
When I told a close friend of mine during a conversation via cell that I was considering a vacation from my blog, he immediately said “No. Why would you do that?” And because I have been back and forth about this several times in seven days, I quickly replied “But then, if I do that, how long do I put it on hold? When do I come back to it? How do I come back to it? Will it be harder than just keeping at it every week?” I could practically hear him nod.
I’m honestly still undecided. Still undecided as I write this post, feeling already that it won’t do what I intended from the start: help me to connect with others. Help others to connect with me. It’s been bothering me that I don’t have a bigger readership, and those that do follow the blog seem to have dropped off from it. Yes, I started this for myself. I started this to practice writing, to practice being a writer so that I can justify calling myself a writer. But this isn’t a journal. Trust me, if it were I would be laying out things here that I haven’t, that I save for private pages. Even in my desire to connect, even in my propensity for wearing my heart on my sleeve, I only feel safe in opening up so much. This is the Internet, after all.
Even so, a writer needs an audience.
Is anybody out there? Are you reading iloveyoumorethanicecream? Are you connecting to it? To me? Hello?
I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me on everything I say. Just let me know you’re there. That I am not essentially talking to myself.
All of this contemplation on whether or not other eyes see these words, and whether or not I should or shouldn’t keep at it, brought to mind a few helpful comments made to me by those whose command I was once under that I call Lessons from My Former Bosses. Not one of these individuals know how wise and useful their words were, not only in the moment that I was struggling in, but in so many moments since then, or even that what they said to me attached permanently, became part of who I am, and pop into my mind when I need them most.
The first is footnoted in my memory bank simply as Shift. It comes from my very short and simultaneously long 2-year+ stint as a journalist for a local weekly newspublisher, where I struggled to find my place (because I never did) and struggled, especially in the beginning, with everything I wrote because of my perfectionist personality and the ball and chain of caring too much, more than deadlines allow. Essentially, all of the editors were my bosses — as anyone who has ever worked in that world knows, if an editor that you don’t normally answer to comes to you “asking” you to write a particular story, they have already spoken with your direct editor, who has said “Yes, she has time for that.” And so, you are not being asked. In any case, my direct editor, Elizabeth was talking to me over my cubicle wall — I don’t remember about what, other than I was frustrated and in need of aid. Her exact words are even gone but her message was this: When things seem at their worst, when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, just keep going, just hang in and wait for the shift. The shift that inevitably comes with everything. The shift that will turn uncomfortable and unbearable to ok, I can breathe again. She told me that there is always a shift. Life is all about it.
There have been days and days and days since that moment with my former editor Elizabeth that I have actually felt that shift, and if it is quiet enough, sometimes I swear I can hear it happening. I don’t know if it is the power within us, something strong separate from yet together with us, or both. But every time I realize it has occurred, I wish I could tell Elizabeth how right she was, and thank her for opening my eyes to it.
The second comes from one of the other editors, Steve who wasn’t trying to be cryptic, throw a riddle, or even be a jerk when he said to me, the way to doing a thing is by doing it. At first, this just confused and frustrated me and made me feel even farther away from figuring out my approach for the assignment he had given me. But…Life comes with no manual. Many — if not all — of us fake it ’til we make it. Rather than having all of the steps on how-to laid out before us, none of the steps are clarified and must be discovered as we journey, not have them be the journey. I don’t know how long it took me to stop over thinking to realize this, but kudos to Steve for putting it before me to mull over — its served me well all of the times that life presents a project sans instruction sheet. And often, this seems like always.
A little further down the timeline, when I worked as a bookseller, my store manager Jim imparted a bit of wisdom — not new to me, but something I needed to be told then because of what I was going through. And ultimately, has helped me the most as it boiled down very simply that I could get closer to becoming the person that I wanted to be (and am more like then I was, but still ever-striving): how you react to what happens to you is more important than what happens to you.
In short, change is constant — just breathe through it; when a situation comes along that stops you where you stand, don’t stop. Keep moving — you’ll figure it out; and through it all, remember that what others say and do does not have to define you, even while it defines them. Nor do events necessarily hold a mirror to who you are. I feel like, to certain degrees, all of this applies to my pondering: to continue to blog or to not continue to blog. To be continued…maybe.