On Writing (Or In My Case…Not)

Type, type, type.

Pause.

Delete, delete, delete.

Pause.

Type, type, type.

Pause.

*Sigh with frustration.*

Backspace, backspace. Select All. Delete.

**********

That, in  a nutshell is what blogging has been like for me for the last year.

Yeah, the last YEAR. 12 months. 365 days.

In the beginning it was fun because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and just threw stuff out there to see what stuck. I think I did some of my best—and funniest—posts in the first 12 months of this blog.

And then something happened. In fact, a whole lot of somethings happened.

For one thing, I got bitter about my job for a while. And bitterness + snark doesn’t end up being too funny. It’s just Bitter Squared.

I got busy with Previously Mentioned Job That Made Me Bitter. And although I had tons of posts swirling around in my head, I didn’t really have the time to get them out. Shit, we’re friends here right? Let’s be honest: I didn’t MAKE the time. So some of them got lost in the flotsam of my brain. Others were filed away in my drafts folder on WordPress, destined to die a slow, hidden death.

45 drafts? That's kind of pathetic, right?



In fact, right now, there are 45 drafts sitting there. 45! Some are just clever titles and I figure someday I’ll have the perfect post to go with them. There’s a series of drafts with an opening sentence. Or even just a few words. I actually have a handful of drafts that are about 1,000 words or so—but I can’t figure out how I want to end them, so rather than muddle through or force it, I do nothing. I wait. And I hope. I hope I get the inspiration I need to write that last god-damned sentence or paragraph or in one case, just a few words.

I’m amazed that I’m managed to eek out 264 posts—but looking back, I wish I either spent more time on about 100 of them or didn’t write them to begin with. I’m better than some of the crap I’ve published here.

The other something that happened is that I’ve felt compelled to figure out what my niche is.

I’m not a mommy blogger (I don’t have kids and there aren’t plans to do so). I used to sort of be a doggy blogger, but I haven’t even written much about Gracie—or dog shows, or dog show people—here lately. And what’s sad about that is that it’s a fucking goldmine of great stories. I’m not a midlife blogger—although the argument could be made that at 40, technically I am. I’m not a food blogger, and I don’t write about cocktails (much).

I write about whatever happens to be on my radar at the moment. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s work or my dog. I write about the exceptionally bad reality TV shows I watch, the books I’ve been reading, and a host of random topics that amuse me. Like my rants about Costco.

I don’t know what kind of blogger that makes me. And does it matter?

Also? At some point I started to self-censor. Even before I type a single word, I’ve edited myself. I’m not sure why. I think part of it is because I just don’t want to put too much out there about The Job That Used To Make Me Bitter, arguments at home or any of the other landmines you can trigger when blogging. There’s too much crap going on with everyone else—why would you come here to read about MY crap?

My husband—god love him for this—tells friends, co-workers, acquaintances, the dude at Starbucks, anyone who listens—that his wife has a blog and “It’s-amazing-and-oh-my-god-you-need-to-read-her-she-cracks-my-shit-up!” (No, really, he doesn’t talk like a 13-year-old-girl, but that’s how I like to imagine it). So I never want to put him in the position of walking into a meeting or an event and have someone walk up to him and say, “Dude, that was a douche move on your part. No wonder she’s pissed at you!” Plus, you know, someday he might want to be President of the United States. Or I might. (Okay, stop laughing.)

I’m mad at myself because I’ve gotten hung up on stats and all that other crap. There’s a lot about that online this week, and it resonated with me because I got caught up in what this blog isn’t instead of what it is. I’ve been paralyzed because I hesitated to write anything, and then I felt so compelled to post something—anything—even if it wasn’t something I was proud of.

Don’t worry—I’m not taking myself—or this blog—so seriously. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m trying to relax. Enjoy the Zen of Blogging and all that shit. I am so grateful for the readers who come here regularly, who comment and who have gotten to know me (and me you) through this blog.

I’m trying to write more and delete less. Isn’t that the first rule of writing? Just write; don’t edit.

I may hit publish less frequently, but that’s not a bad thing.

Apparently Misery Doesn’t Love Company (Updated 2/22/10)

And in case it was unclear, I’m Misery in this scenario. And I seem to be driving everyone away.

**********

Aggressive. Confrontational. Unhappy.

These aren’t words that I’d use to describe myself, but in the past month the two people closest to me have (separately) told me that, oh hell to the yeah, these words totally apply to me.

It was easy for me to tell myself that the first person who told me this was full of crap. I immediately went on the defensive, turned the situation around and aggressively denied that I was aggressive.

In the last 24 hours, someone else told me that I’m über-aggressive, argumentative, confrontational and clearly unhappy.

My first response? “Go fuck yourself!”

Awesome, right? I have no idea where the hell they get off saying these things to me. I’m clearly not aggressive.

Ehem.

So now it’s two against one. I’m clearly in the minority on this one. These two people know me pretty well, so if they think I’m this angry person looking for fights, then I guess I need to take a look at myself.

**********

I’m not depressed. I’m not particularly unhappy. But in the past two years I made some changes in my life, and as a result, my routine changed quite a bit.

I used to work out all the time. I was so dedicated to hitting the gym three to four times a week that I was pretty inflexible with my plans—if my husband called and spontaneously invited me to go out for dinner or something, if I was already set on going to the gym, I did. It was my hour or so to myself and I think I clung to that. Plus, it was practically a job requirement for me to work out, which was a great motivation to take care of myself.

Gotta do my Jane Fonda

When I switched jobs, my schedule became unpredictable and it got harder to get to the gym regularly. Around the time I started that new job, our dog Callie passed away. Not long after, we got Gracie, and dealing with a puppy (and a new job) became more work than I realized. Plus, my weekends pretty quickly were taken over by dog shows, and weeknights leading up to shows were dedicated to grooming her.

In the blink of an eye, two years passed and I’ve set foot in the gym only a dozen times.

I feel like shit.

I’m tired all of the time. I’m sick all the time. I have no energy. That mixture makes a cocktail of equal parts cranky and aggressive. Being sick and tired all the time annoys everyone around me because it all just gets fucking old.

So today I hit the gym. I didn’t feel like going but I talked myself into it.

When I lumbered up the stairs to the workout room, I cranked up my iPod and hit it hard. I did some cardio and weights, but then I found the heavy bag and wailed on it. I used to take a boxing class and it was such a great workout and a phenomenal release for any aggressions.

I’m tired but it’s a different kind of tired. I feel good. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. My blood is pulsing through my body and the oxygen is flowing, which is giving me more energy. And I’ll sleep like a baby tonight.

Tonight I’m going to pack my gym bag and put it in my trunk. That way I have no excuses.

I hope this is the answer. I hope getting back to they gym will help me channel my energy more productively because I don’t allow a lot of people to get too close, so if I manage to drive two people away, that leaves…well, me. And I can’t stand myself that much either, so I’m screwed.

**********

UPDATE: This morning I woke up all happy and well-rested (and more than a little sore) after training yesterday. I was determined to be all kinds of happy and non-confrontational, but the first words out of my husband’s mouth to me were totally sarcastic. No “Good morning! How did you sleep?” Instead, he jumped into my shit about something. I swear to God, throwing that out there at me first thing in the morning is equivalent to putting a full bottle of vodka and a jar of olives in front of an alcoholic. I’m powerless.

No, Really, I’m NOT Judgemental. I Swear.

“I’m not judging people; I’m judging their actions. It’s the same type of distinction that I try to apply to myself, to judge, but not be judgmental.”

—unknown

I usually know pretty quickly after meeting someone who they are and what they’re about. I have a good idea whether or not they’re trustworthy or have an agenda.

My husband calls it judgmental. I call it good intuition (and if I were totally honest, “self-preservation”).

It’s one of my best—and worst—traits.

About 95% of the time, my instincts about people are right. I feel like I can size up someone’s intentions pretty quickly. Occasionally, I get misdirected—it’s like my internal GPS took the longest route instead of the fastest—but I usually end up at the same place.

It’s pretty handy in my professional life, but it’s not exactly conducive to having a gagillion friends. I have a handful of friends that I trust—and it probably took them much more work than it was worth to get in.

(I was going to write something clever about it being a lot of work to get behind the velvet ropes, but it’s probably more akin to standing in line at the DMV—a lot of time, too much paperwork and not enough of a payoff.) I’m sure my husband has had to work pretty hard because of this, too. (It should be noted that my instincts about him when we met have been right. And after I made him jump through hoops to get our first date, I knew I could trust him.)

Once in a while I second-guess myself, but 8 out of 10 times I end up back at my original assessment. Needless to say, I hate it when I’m totally wrong about someone—especially, if they’ve been allowed behind the walls, even if they just get a peek, because it feels like a betrayal.

It IS more than instinct, though. I do try to get to know people first and I tend to judge them by their actions—not on superficial things. But I’m also a firm believer that people will tell you a lot about themselves pretty quickly. There are a lot of verbal and non-verbal cues that tell me when someone is being nice to be for all the wrong reasons—sucking up to me because of my husband or because they want something from me. Those are the people who talk shit the second they think you’re out of earshot (think being the operative word), the people who are constantly nice to you in a very calculated way because they need something from you.

I think this skill has saved me over the years, but sometimes I wonder if it’s inhibiting me.

I’m curious: Does anyone else do this? Or are you more willing to give people a chance?

PS: No, this isn’t about anything or anyone in particular. Just thinking out loud here…

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