Lucinda, I give you permission on this blog to:
Not post on time, post multiple times a day, let things sit as drafts or private longer than you think they should, and post the most boring and personal and embarrassing things imaginable.
Be cheesy, be unoriginal.
Sound unbelievably self absorbed.
Write crappy sentences.
End up with a blog that doesn’t reflect well on you at all.
Totally and completely make a mess of your “brand,” whatever that is.
Show up. Also, not show up.
Not get any followers or comments, ever.
Start at the beginning. Learn, try things out, be bad at this.
When I was eight I started telling people I wanted to be a veterinarian whenever they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew at the time that I wanted to be no such thing. That seemed immaterial. I needed a fake grown up job to get real grown ups off my back, and veterinarian was it. It seemed plausible enough. I was smart, caring, and hard to gross out; I have an excellent gag reflex; there was the possibility of kittens on any given workday. This in my mind is a huge plus.
Here’s the thing. In elementary school I already knew I was a wanderer, and I already was ready to lie to anybody who asked to hide that fact. By third grade I had developed a pat answer to a distressing question, an answer designed to please people, to close a door rather than open one. I have gotten no better at answering this question in the nearly thirty years spanning between then and now. These days, I tell people I’m a stay at home mom, which is true enough, though not nearly the full story. Sometimes, I tell people I’m a writer, but this invariably brings up the question “Oh! What do you write?” and so far, the best answer I’ve had is the snarky response, “Words, some paragraphs.” I have no genre, no message, no novel in progress. I can’t even bring myself to post publicly on this blog.
I want to have an answer to the question “What do you do?” that doesn’t make me and everyone around me uncomfortable for its vagueness. I want to have a career and a salary and a sense of worldly worth. But I tried already to get there logically – get any old job, commit yourself, stay in it longer than anyone thinks you should, become indespensible – and it nearly crushed me. I tried to get there by using my perfectionism and my desire to please people, and it did not work. I never got “there.” I ended up missing my children’s babyhood and sacrificing my mental health and my heart for a cause I didn’t truly believe in, that wasn’t actually part of me being me.
This blog is a step in a new direction. For awhile, I’m going to be lost. I’m going to try stuff and look silly and not make any money and be a mooch on my husband’s generosity. I’m going to take classes and stay up late researching online degrees and low residency programs. I’m going to play, and rest, and see if I can’t rediscover what me being me is about. And hopefully, eventually, that will get me somewhere else. And because what I want to be when I get there is a genuine and authentic version of myself, I’m going to try to blog in the midst of the vulnerability of not being there yet.