Lean in

I recently became aware of the MyIntent project, a foundation created to promote conversations and community through jewelry inscribed with the wearer’s “intent”. The words range greatly (compassion, why, freedom, purpose, etc.), much like the people wearing them, but all mean something significant to the wearer.

One piece had the words “lean in” written across its surface. These words caught my attention and haven’t let go.

I have a habit of shying away from things that scare me. This is especially true with my writing. Ever since I graduated in 2011 and began my career (as an editor of all things), I have become increasingly fearful that my writing is not adequate enough. As a result, I’ve written less and less in both my personal and profession life.

This is silly. Not only was I distancing myself from something I truly enjoyed, I was also distancing myself from the very practice that could help me become better. Like an ostrich burying its head in the sand (which is not a real thing, thanks Wiki!)

Just over a week ago, I clicked on an article which discussed how one might enter a technical writing position, a career move I’ve entertained for a few years but haven’t actually taken the steps to engage. After a few paragraphs, I began to get that familiar antsy feeling in my chest- fearing that I wasn’t good enough- and I moved to close out the window. But just as I was about to, I leaned forward instead. Instead of succumbing to my irrational fear, I just accepted it as a fear and continued on. And, surprise surprise, by the end of the article I felt more than confident that this was something I could do with some preparation and training.

Then I leaned in some more. If I was going to take this new path, I would have to take a few other steps.

Voila*, this blog was born. This may never go past myself, my husband, and a few friends (it may not even get to my friends), but it is one step I’m taking to take control of my fear and one more step in practicing my skill. It will definitely not be perfect, and I will definitely make mistakes, but I’m just going to lean in and accept all that comes as a result.

 

*Italic means a fancy and much exaggerated French accent, obviously

Finding your passions (again)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been an all or nothing person. I’m either completely in to something, or I can’t make myself interested. This is something that’s proven a challenge from time to time.

Until I find that something.

Then the heavens open up and the stars align and I am IN MY ZONE. During these seemingly magical moments, I feel a complete peace within myself.

Reading and I are old friends. We have been synonymous with one another since I first put sentences together. Journaling gives me a profound sense of recording my past, and in a way allows me to revisit it at any time. Over my early twenties, kayaking, cooking, and travelling all became an innate part of my identity.

Then I became a mother and suddenly I didn’t have the time for these things anymore.

(Let me pause with the obvious disclaimer that my little boy is much more important than whatever I’ve given up. Because, for lack of a better term, duh.)

It was interesting going through that first year not quite understanding who I was anymore. For so long, so many of these activities shaped who I perceived myself to be: how I spent my time, how I defined myself. I had gone through this slightly when I got married, when I spent more time with my husband and less by myself. But there is a big difference between watching a show together after work and being a full time parent.

In the past year I have read approximately one book and started three others before losing interest because they weren’t worth my limited spare time. Cooking is less of a relaxing pace and more of a race to get dinner on the table before bedtime. While I have travelled, it is far different to go on vacation with an infant than when you can decide to go to Las Vegas and be out the door within an hour. I haven’t even touched my kayak.

I have been able to get creative in several of my friends’ and families’ celebrations, and I pinterested the crap out of Jackson’s first birthday. But these projects were much less a daily (or even biweekly) relaxing time and more of a rush to finish while Glenn took care of Jack. It’s not the same when you’re feeling guilty for spending time on something frivolous when you could be spending time with your child.

That’s the other thing. While everyone says that you need to take time for yourself, it’s awfully hard to do it when your baby wants to spend time with you. (And, of course, laundry. We can’t forget laundry.) So, as a result, you do less.

And that’s where I am, I guess. I suppose I just haven’t decided what is so important to me that I take that precious time to enjoy it for myself. Frankly, I know that I also waste a lot of my day doing things that occupy my time but don’t bring me much joy. While an easy target, Facebook certainly is a good mind suck.

I still miss that all-encompassing passion. The will to stay up all night, losing yourself in a story where you forget who you are and take on the life of the main character. The moments when you can forget all your responsibilities (even the ones you love dearly), even for just an hour or two, and completely focus on something that thrills you.

I wonder if this is something we regain in time, when our babies come to rely on us less. Or is this a rite of passage? Do we lose that ability to completely separate ourselves forever, even if just for a short period?

I don’t think so.

Why you are here

Hell, I don’t know. Maybe you got here through a web search, maybe I linked it somewhere, or maybe you’re a friend or family member I made come and read. I’m very persuasive. You know who you are, but who am I?

I’m a new mother who’s just out of the first year of parenting. Yes, the nights of sleeping only 3 hours total, blown out diapers, and constant breastfeeding. So much time for introspection on how life has completely changed and what that means for you as a person. Not.

That’s why I’m here. Because that sweet, gorgeous little boy of mine is definitely my reason for living- but while I’m living, it’s nice to be a little self aware as well.

So this is a mommy blog, but not one focused on children. This is a reminder to remember me every now and then.

You know, whenever I find time in my day.