It’s been a good break.
The truth is I didn’t know what to do here anymore. After ten years of blogging (most of which has been filed away into the “view privately” portion of this site), I wanted a fresh start. I could not figure out what that fresh start looked like, so I took a break.
Ya’ll. Breaks are good for the soul.
There once was a time when blogging about my daily life, five days a week, was very fulfilling. There was also a time when I slathered on about six different layers of makeup every morning without fail, obsessed about wearing the perfect outfits, spent hours figuring out the best way to photograph my newly painted kitchen, and did my very best to paint the sunniest picture possible over emotional landscapes that resembled Chernobyl.
I’m done with all that curating. I’d like to say I got wise, but in reality I just got so very, very tired.
Here’s the thing. Writing memoirs and blog posts is like presenting a curated version of yourself to the world. But it’s a hard tight rope to walk. Eventually that version of yourself can become so curated that it feels untrue. There came a point in my life a few years ago where I felt less like myself and more like a prop on a stage that I didn’t choose.
Curating an image isn’t a lie, it’s just skillful editing. And we all do that because who in the world wants to be the crazy lady who is asked “how are you doing” and responds by shouting “NOT GOOD I HAD TO PLUNGE THE TOILET THIS MORNING AND SOMETHING SPLASHED BACK IN MY EYE AND THEN I YELLED AT MY HUSBAND AND I ALSO FORGOT TO WEAR DEODORANT.” But since editing ourselves, or curating, is the socially responsible thing to do sometimes, you respond, “I’m doing okay, a little tired.”
But when I was blogging or writing my book there were gaping omissions like “Yes, I’m spending this entire weekend in flea markets and spray painting things because I love it, but also because I’m trying desperately to make my life look good on the outside even thought it resembles a shit heap of emotional carnage on the inside.”
You know. Uncomfortable truths like that.
And the truth is, life is a whole different bag of chips these days. I’m not so good at being a prop. I’m not so good at curating things (or myself) for others entertainment or happiness or comfort.
“Why, Liz,” you might say. “What a grump you’ve become.”
Maybe. But I’m a non-curated grump.
I’m not a prop in someone else’s life.
I’m me. And I’m surrounded by people who are okay with that.
I don’t think that any of this makes me unique. So many women get to this place after spending their 20’s and 30’s doing and being what other people expect and ignoring their own inner voices. But we get older and we wonder what would happen if we did the jobs we really want. We get older and we say what we think instead of what someone wants to hear because the cost of their disapproval is less damaging than the cost to our souls when we shut up and sit down and stifle Edith (Archie Bunker fans, hello out there).
We get older and we want to know God, not a religion. We watch the years tick by and realize there’s not an unlimited number of them so we better get moving with that book, or that tattoo, or that therapy, or that hair style that looks a little crazy but requires no straightening what-so-ever because we’re losing YEARS OF OUR LIVES TRYING TO MAKE OUR HAIR INTO SOMETHING IT’S NOT (hello symbolism with a hammer).
The truth is, the reason I started blogging was because I was desperate for connection. I was lonely and stuck. I filled my life with writing, blogging, taking pictures, flea market rehabbing furniture, writing some more, and sharing it all here. And this miraculous thing happened. People commented. I made friends. And suddenly my life didn’t seem so empty and lonely any more. Being online, like this, making friends, being inspired, made me feel like I mattered. It also made me feel okay about all that was wrong and dank on the inside, because this curated blog-me had found approval.
In the past couple of years I’ve done a lot of growing. I changed. I didn’t feel like I needed blogging in the same way anymore. I was no longer looking to other people to tell me I was okay. I no longer felt the need to post curated pictures of my life and curated posts about who I was as means of reaching out into the world for approval or love.
But I do miss the connection. Connection is always good when you’re a writer who spends a good portion of your days by yourself. Having connection and a tribe is the thing you can’t really live without in life.
So I’m back. I haven’t missed the curating, but I have missed my online tribe. I’m still here. I want to write about writing and books. I want to write about what happens after we die, and if we have to go to church to be connected to God, and what it takes to be a truly creative person. JUST KIDDING. I’m not qualified to write about any of that (although every now and then I might try). But in all honesty you’ll probably have to be satisfied with a review on the latest romance book I inhaled while sitting on park bench while Jane drew chalk pictures of our family “if we all had three heads.” (true story)
But the carefully curated days are over. The days of walking on eggshells are over and I may or may not offend people with my true thoughts and my true self. But I’m okay with that. And I’m okay if you throw your authentic self at me and it’s a lot and it’s uncomfortable… because I would rather have real connections with people than have overly perfumed scented fake smoke blown up my skirt.
Not that I wear skirts anymore. I’m officially in the yoga pants camp.
But curated prettiness, in my house, on this blog, in my life, with my hair or face are not acceptable to me anymore. Seeking the authentic, and the real, no matter how ugly or offensive or discomforting… is the only way I know how to live now.
And for those of you who have so sweetly checked in and asked, I’m okay. I’m better than okay, I’m growing and changing and remembering who I want to be and become. It has been a spiritual transformation that I lay directly at the feet of the mighty and incomprehensible powerful being who lives in the sky.
In the words of the great George Harrision, “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say, it’s alright.”