Friday, January 02, 2009

Stripped Bare

Last winter I had someone send me an email. I won't post it in its entirety, but it went a little something like this:

"Thank god you finally complained. I have often considered not reading your blog anymore, you just don't seem real the way you write. The post you wrote the other day let me see that you aren't so perfect."

After I got that email I struggled, what was safe to write? Was I really being disingenuous? I didn't think so, but I was uncharacteristically impacted, rocked to my core really, to think that this space that I use to chronicle my life with with my girls would be questioned. It is my gateway to these years that are already becoming a blur, but these lines from a virtual stranger made me question everything. I took to the keyboard time and again, I tried to write, but the "real" that the person seemed to want felt false, but the words that came naturally trembled, vulnerable to the doubt that weighed me down. I leaned on a few special people, that I trust to give it to me straight.

Eventually I shook it off, but there have been other factors that have lapped at the edges of this space; I've not been plagued with trolls, but there are readers that come for reasons that bother me, making me feel I have to choose my words carefully.

Can I say that? Will she interpret that wrong?

In all honesty she, and others like her, are not worth the time I've just given them, but just the same, they have touched this place. Our place. Which leads me to the purpose of this post. I am going to reclaim my voice. 2009 will not be filled with superficial or unattainable goals, instead I am going to keep doing everything I have been doing, but give myself license to do everything in new ways.

I am going to write when I want and how I want. I may write a story about how Avery gleefully names her poop and bids it a boisterous farewell each time she goes to the bathroom. This may only ever make one person laugh, but that's ok. I will write 800 words about a middle of the night nursing because it moves me. I'll write about getting hurt or some little thing that makes me smile.

See, what I am beginning to figure out is our life is really what we make of it. It's the way we choose to walk each day, the people we choose to share the journey with and the words and light we use to preserve the memories. My gift to myself and to my family will be to strip away all the things that have taken me from the path I am meant to walk. I am exactly who you find here and more. I am reverent about being a mom, I love nursing babies and massaging shampoo into long curls. I get tired and frustrated like everyone else, but the way I choose to narrate my life is heavy on the blessings, shining the light strongest on the love, joy and wonder.

Sitting here smiling, I know that the sounds coming from upstairs could be described as caterwauling, but if I creep up the stairs there will actually be a magnificent orchestration of princess and stuffed animal bantering, a room some might think of as being in disarray will actually be the stage for battles, wedding and theatre watching. There is just so much magic to see and be a part of, my 2009 and every year after is going to be devoted to living within it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a castle to build and some princesses to kiss.

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32 comments:

C.G said...

I just want to say that I adore both of your blogs, I love your take on things and I find it admirable that you can usually find that moment in every day and it becomes your focus, whereas for most of us those wonderful moments get lost in the shuffle of general chaos, stress and what have you.

I hope that some day I can train myself to grab and hold tight to those times letting the detritus fall away.

You are amazing :)

karen said...

You go, girl! I always feel a blog should be exactly as you want it to be - go hang what your readers want or expect. Write for yourself!

I love the way you write about your girls and how, after reading one of your posts, I see my own kids in a deeper way. I don't mind that you rarely write of complaints - I'm sure you have plenty! - but I like your blog as a regular reminder to find happiness with each of my boys every day. No matter what drudgery may be going on outside your blog frame, you concentrate on the good and loving and wonderous...and that's why I keep reading.

Amy Y said...

For what it's worth, I'm always happy I've visited once I have. I'm glad you're going to do what feels best to you ~ afterall, it's your spot!

flutter said...

I love you and you speak your voice. You speak it, whisper it, scream it, do what it tells you to do, how it tells you to do it and it will always be as beautiful as your soul.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Good lord, you and I just wrote remarkably similar posts at precisely the same moment in time.

We must be very smart.

I love you, I am proud to know you, and I am wishing you the best of all things in the new year.

the sandwich life said...

It can be so easy to get caught up in how you think people will perceive what you write---and I think you can often tell if people are worrying about that....I respect---well, maybe that's not the right word----I most enjoy reading those who write for themselves....as you do.

Happy New Year to you and your girls from me and and my boys....

Liam's Mom said...

I love reading your blog and I have always liked the way you write and express yourself. I am saddened that a perfect stranger hurt your feelings.

I have struggled in the past with how I come across to my (few) readers, but being honest is best and I want to remember the struggles of raising a son along with the complete and utter joy it brings me too. If other women can't appreciate that, well, who cares. And if they leave a crappy comment, I can delete it. I try to stay positive on my son's blog, but it seems when we complain or ask for advice, the feedback and traffic flow. Negative and positive.

Pgoodness said...

I adore you and your blogs and I wouldn't want you to change a thing, unless you wanted to. Your blog is YOU and no one has a right to tell you how to use it.

When we start worrying about what people think of what we write, we stop writing what we need to say.

Anonymous said...

I left a comment a while back, it was along the lines of what you mentioned above. If it was my comment I am beyond sorry. I remember my sentiment. What I meant and phrased poorly (if it was my comment) was that it gave you a new facet, one that I could relate to. You come across as so intensely and constantly happy and I am not, it was hard for me to relate. That is a fault of mine, nothing bad on you. I feel horrible that I might have caused you pain. I am sorry.

Ree said...

Yay!!!!! I know that was bothering you for a while...Looking forward to having the poetic Amanda around.

Lara said...

yay you! i love you and your positive outlook on motherhood. it seems like the kind of way i might be as a mother. someday... :)

do what you want when you want, and i'll always be here with you.

Kristy said...

It is your blog, period. ;)

Heather said...

Wow, I think I may have left a comment about being happy you complained once, but I don't think I said anything about not reading your blog anymore because you don't seem real. In fact, I really hope that your life is as beautiful as you write about it...it gives me hope. Life IS what you make it, and you are making yours beautiful. Don't change for anyone.

Heather said...

It just shows what a lovely person you are that the comment merited more than a thought. We're really all just jealous Amanda!

Sam and Harper said...

You take the everyday moments and beautifully write about them. I love your writing- you have actually made me slow down and cherish those moments more often.

Of course I know you face the same challenges and struggles we (I) do as a working mom. I never once thought your posts weren't real. You choose to write about this amazing journey of motherhood in the most authentic way.

BetteJo said...

I never believed for a moment that you never had bad days or times when you yelled when you wish you didn't or disagreed with your husband over silly things.

But as you said - how you choose to "narrate" your life is your choice. This is a permanent place if you never hit the delete button and what you want to tell - or not - is your business.

I have a feeling you will always have an audience because many times you give voice to things others of us have felt or feel, but don't have the way with words you do. I hope you ignore those people who would try to change you - and do what feels right to you.

This is your place and your life, and you are only sharing it with us. And from here - it's a wonderful view!

starrlife said...

That's the beauty of the blogs. Readers can not read if they wish but you can write anyway you wish!

Myshka said...

You are a perciously complicated and amazing woman, and you need to write for yourself. No one else. I'm pretty sure the person in question was a tiny bit envious that you can sometimes see the forest for the trees. And this is why so many people, including yours truly, loves you.

Patois said...

Writing for yourself. That's the only route to take. But thanks for letting me glimpse such beautiful words.

Colleen said...

Well, I can tell you that I read your blog and love you and your writing because you remind me of what special moments can be found in the every day with our little girls. For one thing (out of a million) I find myself thinking of you as I sit at 3am nursing Ana... and enjoying it just a tad more. You help me see the little miracles we have.

But... if you need to complain... man I can relate to that too!

krissy said...

Your blog is beautiful, so open and eloquent. Don't worry about anyone else! Be you, that's what we love, that's why we read!

(but, in case it's me you're writing about, send me a discreet email, I'll never read again!)

The White House said...

Thanks for your sincerity and the inspiration you give families (and this mommy) all over the globe!

Angela said...

Life is what you make of it and the more you make happy that is the way you will feel.

Smiles!!!

Janet said...

Write what feels true, friend. You won't regret it in the end, when your girls are grown and you are reading back on what you wrote during these years. xo

jen said...

ah. we do it for them and we do it for us.

and mean people can suck it.

carrie said...

I really think you should write what you want, when you want and how you want.

Anyone who thinks otherwise, about your beautiful space here, is wrong.

This was perfect and I look forward to having the priviledge to read your words well into 2009 and beyond!

Danielle said...

Your space, your words, 'nough said. There will always be a critic. All you can do is remain true to yourself. And from what I've read, you have a talent for that like no other.
Keep writing. For God's sake....for all of our sake, keep writing.

Lisa said...

I think you're amazing. Your love for your girls and your husband is so gut-wrenchingly honest and true. One of the reasons that you're one of my favorites to read. Putting it all out there is hard - something I sometimes feel like I'm not very good at. But I think you doing it beautifully and are an inspiration. I look forward to all of the mama sap and views of your wonderful world that are to come :)

furiousBall said...

mean people do suck, in a bad way.

like teeth raking kind of bad way. was that out loud?

btw, your word verification was "goatesse" which is way too close to goatse.

Cat said...

It takes all kinds of people, I suppose. If that person is looking for regular complaining, she can come visit me - it's basically all I ever do. That's how I cope, and I respect the way you write and cope with your beautiful life. DOWN WITH SELF-CENSORSHIP! Happy 2009 :)

Kelly said...

Well, this is where I come for inspiration, for a different (and yes, less sour, more magical) view. I tend to be a pessimist, tend to lack patience, tend to have to force myself to live in the present. All these flaws, I know and work against.

And you, my dear, help me to be a better mom. For reals.

Marinka said...

The day that I don't write exactly what I want to write on my blog is the day that I stop blogging. Whoa! What a threat! Seriously, though, I'm new to your blog, but I think none of us owes full disclosure to anyone. I write a blog with a humorous slant but that certainly doesn't mean that my life is a sitcom.

Love the poop naming!