Happy New Year!!
No, this isn’t a repost, and yes, I am quite aware that today is March 5th, not January 1st. I wish it were (January 1st, that is, not a repost. I could use a do-over on the year). I recently discovered a wonderful WordPress blog entitled “Zero to Hero in 30 days” – a post designed to get the new blogger up and running in a month. I had every intention on starting the new year out by getting up to speed, but, seeing that I’m an old blogger with bad knees, I’m a little behind.
In reading the first assignment, I realized that I’ve been doing it wrong. No surprise to the EIC (Evil Inner Critic), a negative, nasty voice who is pretty sure I can’t do anything right.* (*Note from the EIC. “That’s not true. I’m not negative, I am positive – positive that you can’t do anything right.”)
ANYWAY, I started reading “Zero to Hero” last weekend in hopes of learning more about wordpress and blogging, and learned that my first post was meant to be an introduction/welcome to my blog. Oops. Is my face red (and not just because I was out in the sun without sunblock or a hat).
So who am I, anyway? (I’ve been asking that for the longest time). I grew up in the suburbs, escaped to the big city for a few years, and then wandered back to suburbia, closely followed by a strange man. In this particular case, the man was someone I loved, so being strange suited me. He fell in love with Camarillo, and so there we stayed (hey, he has to get his way every once in a while).
Eventually (and despite my best intentions) “Tracey +1” became a “+2”. Like most DINKS (Dual Income, No Kids) we were under the mistaken impression that having a child wouldn’t really change anything. When the rabbit died, I made the decision to take a year away from writing and performing to spend time with our daughter (one year, maybe two – well, three at most). That was fourteen years ago. I blame it on the weird, wibbly-wobbly time thing that is a Mom Year. For the uninitiated, a Mom Year is a reversed Dog Year (7 years = 1 Mom Year).
Why am I blogging? It’s more than the fact that my teenage daughter no longer listens to me (although that played a huge part). I blame my grandmother. She was always telling me “You should write!” Death hasn’t slowed her any. In fact, it’s made it worse. When she was alive she could only nudge me on her occasional visits, or monthly phone calls. Now that she’s dead, she visits on a weekly basis, and she’s started bringing friends.
There’s more to it though. When I moved from the DINK team to Team Mom, I felt lost. Because I am an accidental mother (https://twistingsuburbia.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/29/) I went from spending time taking dance and acting classes and playing house with my husband to motherhood with no prep time. Some women find motherhood easy. I am not one of them. I struggled with things from the start – easy things like swaddling your baby (maybe because I referred to it as “making a baby burrito”). I Just Didn’t Fit In. Didn’t fit at the mommy and me classes, at the soccer fields, at the back to school nights. And then I discovered “mommy bloggers” like Heath Armstrong ( http://dooce.com/) and Tracy Beckerman (http://lostinsuburbia.com/)
These were my kind of women. They were women who found suburbia, with its playdates and mommy and me classes and weird PTA hierarchy just as confusing as I did. Women who were managing to make motherhood work with sanity and humor intact. Women whose sense of humor is just a little bit skewed. Finding them was like coming home.
I started as a cyberstalker – reading and laughing in my cubicle, nodding my head in recognition at their trials and tribulations. When Tracy Beckerman held a “Are you lost in suburbia?” contest, I ignored the EIC (“Nobody thinks you’re funny),sat down at my computer and typed out a story about the start of Tracey’s Adventures in Suburbia and hit “submit”. I felt a little like Sally Fields when Tracy told me that she had selected my story as a favorite submission for the week (“You like me! You really like me!”). Having other mothers and bloggers “like” my story gave my sagging self-esteem a lift.
Then my grandmother visited, with five of her friends. “I told you you should write.”
I’m hoping that writing on a regular basis will keep her visits at bay . . .or at least limit the number of visitors (does EVERYBODY need to see me in my jammies?). I’m hoping that others will read my posts and nod in recognition as I share my joys and fears, my laughter and my tears. I’m hoping that other people (whether they are mothers or fathers, DINKS or SINKS) will read my stories and laugh – that they will realize that there is nothing wrong in being twisted, even in suburbia.
I’m hoping that “Zero to Hero” will help me become a better writer. That I’ll learn to write on a regular basis, that I will make people laugh and that their laughter will help me kill off the EIC. I’m hoping that 2014 will be the year that I learn that it’s never too late to start again.
Here’s to a fresh start and a Happy New Year