A Writer Or A Blogger?
It’s 6.33am, and the kid is still asleep. And when I say asleep, what I really mean is that she is in her crib, and in her room, but is starting to make those early morning noises – not crying, but rather, babbling. Or “talking”. On some days, this lasts for few minutes, before she expresses her displeasure and readiness to be pulled out. On other days, this can go on for twenty minutes, and then she falls asleep again. “La-la-la! Baaaaa! Waaa!”. She is practicing one consonant after another. Dutifully. Carefully.
Meanwhile, I sit in front of my desk with greasy hair and a weak cup of coffee, and try to will myself to tell the truth in this blog post.
Not that there is some dramatic secret truth… Rather, the truth IS fairly ordinary – the kid, the coffee, the hair – but I’ve always been terrified of the ordinary, you see.
Yesterday, I stayed up two hours past my ideal almost-never-happens 9.30pm bedtime, trying to figure out how to change few things on my new website. I have been abandoned by yet another web designer after he delivered on the “big redesign”, which is doing nothing for my almost-addressed-omg-done-so-my-work-there abandonment issues. So, now I’m trying to navigate my way though the backend of a freaking customized Worldpress template, and trying not to break anything.
The one thing I’ve been trying to change? The heading on the main page menu that says “Writing”, and links to all of my blog posts. <– See how I said blog posts? This is really what this is, isn’t it? A blog.
Phew. I have not actually done this for a while – written a true as-life-happens rambly blog post, so bear with me. I am remembering how to do this, as I type. And I’ve missed it.
When I first started this blog, I posted almost every day. I was on my way to a big scary race (OMG, does anyone remember? It was the Spartan Death Race that I signed up for a year in advance). I tracked my training, and my meals, and wrote about races.
Writing was always a medium of expression, not a means to an end. The topic did not matter as much, but it did help that I had a specific topic.
Having hundreds of blog posts here, spanning the range of seven years, I can see the movement through the “life’s stages”. I wrote about working at the college as a psychology professor, about teaching yoga, about running, about obstacle racing, about travel, about obstacle racing AND travel, and about coaching. I hung out in the “coaching” space, for a while, as this is my job, and therefore, my life – I’ve never been that good at separating the two.
Then pregnant, and not pregnant, and pregnant again, and, hi, baby! And maternity leave. And I’ll admit all those things left me somewhat confused. What the heck do I write about now? Surely, I can’t write about the daily life of a stay-at-home mother? I mean… SHUDDER, amirite? Except, I WAS a stay-at-home mother, and I was not exactly travelling and racing, but rather breastfeeding million times a day, and trying to shovel some food into my mouth in between.
But, BUT… if I blog about motherhood, what the hell does that make me? Don’t answer that. It makes me a “mommy blogger”! No way.
As much as this round-about reasoning and thrashing around stresses me out, it entertains me at the same time, because objectively I do know that it’s fruitless. Oh, I have had many client conversations about just this – struggles about being and feeling like “just a mother”, and what does that mean?
Where this thrashing around landed me personally, when it comes to my writing, is in a bit of a stalemate. I’d look at my pretty new website, with the section called “Writing”, and navigate away – probably to Google “my first Crayola”, and “12 months sleep regression”. I had a lot to say, but surely none of it was interesting, so… I left it. And left it. And left it.
Except yesterday I got called out by my own coach (she is awesome, I should tell you more about her sometime). I told her about the analysis-paralysis, and how I don’t even know what to write any more! It really sounded a bit like a whiny teenager, complaining that she had nothing to wear, while drowning in clothes.
“What is the difference between Writing and Blog?” she wanted to know. “Are you sure it shouldn’t just say… Blog? I mean… that’s what it is, isn’t? Personal writing? I was half expecting to find academic papers under “Writing”.”
You know how sometimes people get overwhelmed by a pretty leather journal – with its blank pages, and intimidating golden letters embossed on the cover? Yeah.
That’s to say – yesterday, I stayed up past my bedtime, and figured out how to change the menu item heading from “Writing” to “Blog”.
And breathed easier.
And thought of my clients who are overwhelmed by certain labels. “I know I am a personal trainer, but coach…”. “I know I CAN call myself a nutritionist where I live, but…” .
The WEIGHT of certain labels is too much sometimes. What does it MEAN? If I am to wear this label, I can only do “the thing” perfectly! But if I can’t do the thing perfectly, then surely, I can’t call myself the thing!
All that to say is that I started this blog post with “Dear Diary” to remind myself that this is a fucking personal blog. To remind myself to chill the fuck out, and enjoy the thing. Namely – processing my life through writing, and sharing it on the internetz for no specific reason, but knowing that someone out there might just be feeling the same way.