So I just finished working out with my husband. Lately, we have been adjourning to the basement after dinner and kids go to bed to lift weights. After we lift weights, we either use our Wii Fit, or belly dance. Yeah. Belly dance. It's kind of neat. I wish I could be less self-conscious about it. Why self-conscious you say? Well...I don't exactly have a dancer's body. Plenty of belly though. We started doing this as a way of trying something new. It could be fun if I stop feeling as if someone is watching us.
That's another product of being who I am. I always feel like I am being watched. People think I am this good girl. But it really isn't that I am that good. It's just that I know that if I do something wrong it will be when someone is watching. I have managed to avoid situations that might cause me to compromise myself. I wouldn't want anyone to see that. It's an awful feeling to think you are unnoticed and to find out that you are wrong.
When I was in high school I was seeing this guy. He was a nice guy. But apparently had no sense of privacy or boundaries. I was crying and sharing something deeply personal with him. I thought I was sharing a deep and personal fear with only him. I had my back to him because I was ashamed of what I was sharing. Well, unbeknownst to me, several of my friends and acquaintences had been quietly stepping into the room. They had silently listened to me pour out my heart. I had been sobbing and saying things that I only wanted my boyfriend to hear. I turned around and there they were. I was horrified. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated and ashamed. And I'm discovering over twenty years later that I was and am angry. Why would someone do that? Why would you allow others to hear private confessions that are being confided in you and you alone?
That was many years ago, but the lesson it taught me was to never say things out loud that you wouldn't want repeated in front of a large studio audience. So, for the most part, I don't. By blogging, I am in fact creating a large studio audience. I hope I am always honest with my audience, but I cannot promise that. If something feels ingenuine to you, just know that it probably comes from fear of what may be thought of me if I share what I really think.
Yeah...back to the narcissism that is rampant in my personality. Who the hell cares what I really think anyway? It's not like I am some big celebrity or star or something. But to lay yourself bare is an act of trust or exhibitionism...or both. Maybe someone will care and have something to say. But maybe they won't. Maybe this will just allow me to sharpen my writing skills. If so, so be it.
I thought I would share with you another reason I am blogging. My daughter. She asked me a few weeks ago, "Mommy, what would you like to be?" When I said, "I am what I would like to be honey, your mommy," she replied, "No, I mean besides that. What would you want to do if you didn't have children to raise?" It made me very aware of the fact that she is watching. She is evaluating both me and her place in the world. I have a responsibility as her mother to be a good example. To be a good example I cannot simply be her mom. She needs to see that I am more than that. My existence is separate from her. She needs to see that I will continue to exist when she no longer needs or wants me, even if that lack of need or desire is temporary. She has to see that she is not responsible for defining me.
What's hard about that is that she and her brothers do define me. That may be wrong. Everyone I speak to says that is wrong. I should have a career separate from raising my children. I have seen first hand what happens when you don't. My mother has spent her life defining herself as a wife and a mother. People can say what they want to about whether she has done it well or not, but wife and mother are the parameters she has set to live her life within. At times while I was growing up I could see that she deeply resented those parameters. She wanted more, but she grew up during an era where you were not supposed to want more if you were a woman. You weren't much of a woman if you couldn't find a man and keep a man. Having children was a given. I truly believe that if she had been born in another era she would not have had children. She will probably be furious with me if she ever reads this, but I think if she is honest with herself she will see that she personally never really wanted children. That is not a judgement of her as a mother so much as a statement of fact.
Her resentment came through a good portion of the time me and my siblings were growing up. She had skills and talents that were not being tapped. They couldn't be. She had children to raise and a husband to please. Her interests were okay if they brought extra support and stability to the family, but she never really was able to delight in things simply because she liked them.
I am planning to not make that mistake. It's hard though. My children need me. I want them to need me. While I am trying to teach them some independence, it hurts every time they say they don't need me for something. I tend to take it more personally though when I don't have other things going on in my own life for my own sake.
That's what writing is about. I write for me. So I have something that is mine. Maybe someday I will be published. That is a fervent wish, but I won't stop writing if nothing ever gets published. I don't even really know what sort of things I would write would get published. I suppose I could say that I am already published. I was a reporter for the Beverly Times while I was in college. They published several of my articles. But, my inner editor says, people weren't running to buy the Beverly Times because your article was in there. My answer? So what. I still got published.
Maybe my book will get finished and published. Yeah. I am writing a book. Currently, I have turned down the creative fires down to low and am letting the proverbial pot simmer, but I am still working on a book. Maybe I will never finish it. I think I will, but who knows? I participated in Nanowrimo this year (check out www.nanowrimo.org if you don't know what I am talking about) and I have a good head start on a book now.
While I am talking about this book, I want to thank my brother in law. He will probably never read my blog, but he should be thanked. He was a huge encouragement to me during Nanowrimo. He signed up as well so he could sort of bite at my heels. I need that at times. Especially when I am afraid. And I am afraid to write. Why? Well, because, like that boyfriend of so long ago, I fear that while I am pouring out my heart, an audience will slip in unannounced and listen. I am afraid that I may say something that reveals who I am really to this audience and that they may be unfriendly. But that's the creative process, isn't it? Isn't the creative process supposed to be revelatory? Indicative of our human frailties? Of mine?
So, I remind you that I welcome your input. But remember, I bruise easily, so be nice.