Tag Archives: inner critic

On Writing (or, why I do that thing I do)

th5HHDH7O9A friend asked me why I blog. Fortunately I had just been forced to come up with a reason when I received my Liebster Blog Award, but he made me think. Yes, I write to keep the voices quiet and to keep the EIC at bay, but there’s more to it than that. I write because I have to. It’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. I write because my grandmother told me I should (I still hear her telling me “You should write” in her strong Lon Guyland* accent). Mostly I blog because the stresses and losses of the past year(s) didn’t kill me, but they managed to kill my creative spirit. Fortunately, my creativity, like Wesley, was only MOSTLY dead.

My mother introduced me to Erma Bombeck’s column in the newspaper. For those of you too young to remember, a newspaper was something that was delivered to your house by a boy on a bicycle. It had articles on world and local news, local events, coupons, obituaries, advice columns (Ann Landers anyone?) and comics (which were especially fun on Sundays, when they were in color).

Erma Bombeck was my role model. She was smart and funny, and offered important life lessons on surviving suburbia with sanity mostly intact.

She’s the real reason I write. I want to be Erma Bombeck (well, not literally, because she’s dead). I want to help other people survive suburbia. It’s an intimidating task, not only because suburbia is Truly Frightening, but because I am one of many voices. There are many bloggers who post about the perils of the suburbs.  Tracy Beckerman  is one of my favorites – not only because she has a great name, or because she gave me an ego boost (and gift basket) when I talked about becoming an  Accidental Mother. Her posts make me laugh out loud.  I used to let the competition keep me from writing. The EIC tried to convince me that there were already a lot of bloggers out there, and that I couldn’t possibly write as well as they do. He told me that even if I could write as well as they do, I didn’t have anything new to say.

The EIC, was lying, of course. In my personal experience bloggers are not competitive  – at least not the ones I’ve had the privilege to meet. They are warm, welcoming and supportive. They cheer each other on whenever there’s a success, and mourn losses together. They are quick to offer support, advice and constructive criticism. More importantly, I have started to find my own voice. Yes, I am one of many, but I might just have something new to say. I’ve decided that even if I don’t, perhaps I can offer a fresh perspective, or twist suburbia so that it’s not quite as scary (Ha! See what I did there?) .

I’ve been trying to write 2-3 times a week, but just wasn’t up to it this week. This week was a rough one. The triple Ds tried to drag me down. No, not “the girls” (I’m not THAT blessed). I’m talking about Doubt, Despair and Depression. My creative spirit got caught in the fog, but the today the sun is shining through.

I believe that Life is a teacher, and that we are meant to pass along what we’ve learned. This, then, is the real reason I write. I’m not saying that I know everything (please don’t ask me about statistics or string theory), but I’d  like to share I’ve learned so far. It may not stop you from making mistakes, but (hopefully) you can avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made. Avoiding my mistakes will allow you  the freedom to make BRAND NEW MISTAKES. 😉

This week’s life lesson was a reminder that yes, life is a rollercoaster ride. Sometimes it’s important to get out of the car and dance through life instead.

 

*Long Island

So that’s why I write. What brings you here? What drives you to you write/dream/create?

 

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Coming out of the dark

I know I haven’t written in a while. After a hellish year, I found myself in a deep, dark hole. It’s hard to write in the dark.

Yesterday a friend challenged me to write a haiku. It felt good to write again.

Voices in my head
telling me I am less than
Need to be silenced

Aside

A few months ago, I blogged about the importance of learning to say no. I told you that “no” was a much-maligned word, and that we needed to use it more often – that this was one four letter word … Continue reading

Falling in Love with Me

love_ambassador_icon230x230[1]It’s Wednesday February 12th, so we are currently being bombarded with advertisements from florists, jewelers and chocolatiers, all reminding us that Friday is that All Important Day to Prove our Love. Everywhere you look, there are messages about pampering your love, celebrating your relationship and BUY BUY BUY! To be honest, I’ve never been a huge Valentine’s Day fan, but this year I am (and not just because I saw a receipt for a florist in my husband’s pocket…).

This pre-Valentine’s Day celebration is special. I am part of a group of women who are blanketing the world with love (http://madlyinlovewithme.com/events/). Instead of stressing the value of flowers, chocolate and jewelry for your Significant Other, we are stressing the importance of self-love (and not in an x-rated, “batteries not included” way). The idea of falling in love with oneself has come along at a very important time. My daughter is not-quite fourteen, which is a dangerous time for girls. Up until now, she’s managed to avoid or ignore the media messages on beauty and self-loathing. It’s coming soon, I can tell. I’ve seen her looking at herself in the mirror, standing sideways and pulling her shirt tight, trying to decide if the clothes are making her look fat, or if she needs to lose “just five pounds”. She recently gave up soda, and is limiting her intake of salty and processed foods. Some mothers would be proud of their daughter for making healthy eating choices. I am not. Don’t get me wrong. I am very proud of my daughter for wanting to take care of herself. I am worried that she is doing it for the wrong reason – that she is changing her diet because she thinks she is fat, and not because she wants to be healthy. I hope I am wrong.

When I was young(er), I was fearless. I had no doubt that I could accomplish anything I wanted to do. I wore kookie clothes and had weird haircuts and laughed too loudly and talked too much. Somewhere along the way between Then and Now, something happened and I became someone else. There’s nothing wrong with the person I’ve become. I’m a nice person with a nice life and nice friends living in a nice town…I’m just not me. I’m not sure what happened, but I blame the EIC (The Evil Inner Critic).

The EIC is the voice that tells us to smile instead of laugh, to listen instead of talk. He tells us that we’re not good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough or talented enough to pursue our dreams. The EIC is the one who tells us to give up and settle down and live a nice life in a little pink house in surburbia – and then tells us that we don’t fit in – that we need to cut our hair and change the way we dress, that we need to buy a minivan and join the PTA. The EIC encourages us to change, to camouflage our true self and blend, and then laughs at us for trying.

Thanks to the reminder from the women involved with Madly in Love with Me, I am rediscovering myself. I’m the person with the misbehaving hair who snorts when she laughs. I have given up the carpool and committees and returned to writing and standup and singing loudly and off-key in my car. I have stopped caring what strangers think of me, and am hopeful that eventually the only opinion which will matter to me is my own. The EIC still yammers at me, but his voice is getting softer, and has been joined with other voices. Voices that tell me they want to paint, and dance in the rain, and wear bright colors and sparkly shoes. Voices that belong to my True Self, who has been patiently waiting for me to listen.

This, then, is the lesson I am learning, the one thing I want to teach my daughter while I still have a chance to influence her opinion. A lesson that has taken me 30 years to remember.

Whatever you do, be true to you.

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We are Magic

We think, sometimes (or, in my case, most of the time), that we are not enough. We listen to the EIC, the voice who tells us that we are not thin/smart/pretty/rich enough to do what we want to do. And so we wait, wishing and hoping for the day that we will be ____ enough to pursue our dreams. We tell ourselves that we have plenty of time, that when we lose those last 5 pounds, when we are better rested, when the kids are older, we will begin. And so we find ourselves wasting our days, dreaming of the day when we’re ready. We find ourselves at the end (or middle) of our lives, wondering how time slipped away, filled with memories of decent lives (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a “nice” life) yet wondering what would have happened “if only”.
We live from our head, instead of our heart. Our heart whispers of possibilities, of another life, a life where our dreams come true. Our heart tells us to believe in ourselves, to believe that we are enough. To take the gifts we’ve been given and use them for the greatest good.
Stop thinking and start believing. You’re not dust, you’re magic. ❤