It's been so long since I've written I almost forgot my login password.
Now that I want to write again I feel like it's only fair to explain why I haven't wanted to write. Do you care? I don't know. There isn't a concrete reason, more a medley, a soup of thoughts. Here are some of them:
- I torture myself enough with how others see me maybe I should just live for a while, out from under a microscope and see how that feels.
- I think I'm actually just an artist. I'll focus on that.
- I think I'm actually just a mom. I'll focus on that.
- Who am I anyway? What is my purpose here? Am I meant to write about empathy for another several years? Empathy... is that an obscure topic?
- Blogging, being a blogger, is that what I "do"?
- Summer is too fun. I don't want to be inside at the computer.
- Social media is too much for me. I can't factor in one more person's opinion of the right way to live - I plague myself with that question enough already.
- My kids are older now. They don't toss themselves on the ground in a fit of insane rage. So what do I write about now? How is my experience even relevant anymore?
Does anyone else do this? My mom once told me that nobody was holding their breath waiting to see what I would do next. She meant it to free me up from worrying, to allow me to make choices based on my own interests. I took it that no one cared really, that it was a self-centered thought to even think there was an audience.
I always think there is an audience.
When I walk the dog and I choose to cross the street at a slightly risky moment, my brain immediately starts making up a story to justify my choice. In case someone is watching. In case I get hit by a car and someone asks: Why did you cross at such a risky time? I'll have my explanation ready.
For me, there is always an invisible audience, an entire bleacher section full of people questioning my choices. It's exhausting. You'd think I'd make way more conventional life choices because of those constant judges that surround me, but I don't. Instead I make my choices - to homeschool, to survive on less money in order to be with my kids, to live 2,000 miles away from extended family, to not brush my hair, or whatever the choices might be - and then spend huge amounts of unnecessary energy defending myself in internal one-way conversations.
Anyway. I'll always wrestle with the internal audience but I took a break from purposely presenting myself before an actual audience. It felt good.
Here are some of the things I've been doing:
- Summer. We had all three girls for weeks and weeks. We went to a million weddings. We ate a ton of fruit. We had non-stop grandparents with us. Ice cream was constant. The river was glorious.
- Art. I thought I was going to school this semester to learn animation. Animation! But I need a little more funding so I deferred for a year. In the meantime I've been kicking butt building my portfolio and applying for positions as a children's book illustrator (I've always wanted to do that!).
- Craft fair prep. I always sell Fairy Food at the local craft fairs. Fairy Food is miniature fruits, vegetables, meats, etc made from clay. I started a personal collection for my girls to play with but folks just go wild for this stuff and now I sell it. This year our booth will have even more cute adorable things and paintings to boot.
- Soccer. I'm a soccer mom now. Just kidding. But I do take Echo to practice and Nathan and I do scream our lungs off on the sidelines of every game. Each time I say to myself that I'm just going to be quiet this time, but then before I know it I'm literally screaming: KICK IT!!!!!!
- Homeschool. This year we have Xi homeschooling too. We all have our workstations- the kids working on school stuff and the parents working on work stuff. It's so fun! When Xi learns about the discoloration of skin after a snakebite we all learn about the subject. And then I shout that it's PE time and we all walk the dog.
- Feeleez. A couple weeks ago Nathan and I presented our workshop Building Emotionally Safe Space at the state teacher's convention. I was a nervous wreck. Somehow, in my stage fright, I imagined a very hostile audience (geez, maybe I have an actual psychosis about audiences). I hated the idea of presenting this tender information to people that hated me. I don't know where I got this concern. The audience was made of teachers, people who love children, and our information helps everyone love children in the best way possible. The presentation was a big hit.
It's been wonderful.
But here's the other bit:
Audiences aren't all judgemental. Audiences aren't all negative. Some audiences, just like that teacher group, are made up of people like you. People I like, people I love. Sometimes, avoiding a sense of judgement is lonely. Hiding from judgement hides me from people who celebrate, rejoice, and empathize and I don't want that. It feels good to be part of the larger world. It feels good, no it feels better, to share and be real no matter the consequence.