Blogging · Inspiration · Writing

Pardon my crazy

November is the month for #bloglikecrazy, a blogging challenge created by the wonderful Javacia Harris Bowser. It is simply a commitment to publish a blog post every day during the month of November. For most of us, that is way harder than it sounds. There is a terrific network of support from Javacia and the members of See Jane Write, and of course, from the regular followers of my blog.

My problem with daily blogging is perfectionism. I want every post to be awesome, but honestly, I don’t have awesome things to say every day. My life is pretty small right now, and I like it like that. I don’t have an exciting career, my sons are grown, I’m not currently embroiled in local political controversy, so I worry that I will bore my readers to death.

Some folks criticize bloggers for being self-absorbed, and it is not completely undeserved. I would like to write impeccably researched posts about current events and history and feminism, but that is not what my blog is. My blog is deeply personal. My intention is to open myself up through my writing – to be honest and sincere, to commit memories to writing, to hopefully connect with readers, and above all else, to write well.

So, I accept the challenge to write and publish every day this month. Not every post will be a home run, but I hope that they make someone smile, or inspire someone to push themselves a little, or just to get through the day knowing that they are enough.

Follow my blog, and pardon my crazy.

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Family · Inspiration · Life · Organization

Short lesson on Being Enough

Spoiler: You ARE.

You’ve worked super long hours three days in a row. You’ve handled several items of personal paperwork that HAD to be done. You’ve done the emotional work of making sure everyone in the family is heard and appreciated and reminded that you love them. You’ve been there on the phone for a friend who is facing a huge disappointment. You have screened calls from three other friends, letting them know by text that you’ll talk soon. You’ve filled prescriptions. You’ve bought food. You’ve cleaned the litter box.

You’re spiraling. There is no time, NONE, for anything except the next thing. You are struggling with making your daily “Finish Strong” checklist and getting into bed at the time you must in order to be functional the next day.

Your introvert self is screaming for some time alone to gather your energy and recharge.

How do you take stuff off your mental plate, when EVERYTHING needs to be done?

First, realize that you CAN’T do everything. Your work stuff must get done, and it must get done by deadlines. You have to put other things on the back burner, just for now. The trick is to write those things down, even the most minor of things that take up space in your inner brain schedule, and then let them go until they come up on your calendar, or you can delegate them to someone else (Always plan to check back on your delegated tasks). Make a form text that says, “Hey, I’m sorry about the telephone tag, but work/life is crazy. I’ll call you back on (date).” Only send this when it is true, and DO call on the date you say you will.

Second, say NO to anything new. When you’re already at max mental and physical effort, DON’T take on anything else. Even if it’s something you think you want to do, you won’t want to do it when it is time. The hours in a day are finite. Sleep, as part of your self-care, is non-negotiable. The solution is saying NO in the first place, not cutting corners on things you have already committed to in order to cram something else in. Be impervious to guilt. You are good enough. You are better than good enough. You are kicking ass.

Third, don’t spiral. YOU are in control. Mental effort spent worrying and stressing about not getting things done is wasted energy. Use positive self-talk to reassure yourself that you are on top of this, you control your time and choices, and you are doing great. If you forget something, apologize, forgive yourself and move on. Remember to write things down, and carry your list, journal or whatever with you, and check it often.

Last, as you begin to get past the crunch, start scheduling downtime. Schedule time to write, journal, take photographs, paint, play music, craft or whatever re-fuels you. NOW you must prioritize those blocks of time. Say NO without explanation. Hire a sitter without guilt. Your scheduled downtime is important, just as important as any other responsibility or task. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for getting low on energy and re-charging. Re-charging is what fuels your super power of great focus and persistence during the busy times.

Don’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone is good at looking like they’ve got it together. It is one of our major talents. Don’t fall for it.

If this sounds like advice from an expert who has it all together and sails through life, never faltering, or screwing up, or bursting into tears of frustration and exhaustion, it most certainly isn’t. All these things are what I know I should do, not what I DO do. But writing them down is a coping therapy in itself, helping me to pull out of a dive when one happens.

Say it with me: It’s hard, but I’ve got it. I am enough.

Awards

Sunshine Blogger Award – Whaaat?

I’m a little overwhelmed, because Angie at Freckled Foolery nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger award. Being nominated by Angie is very cool. She is one of my small list of bloggers I read immediately every time she posts. She is refreshing and honest, a terrific writer, and her blog is pretty to look at. Thanks, Angie!

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Also, she made it clear that a little cheating is allowed. I’m following her example.

Here are her questions, and my attempts at answers:

  1. If you weren’t worried for your health or your life, is there anything you would choose to do differently?

As unlikely as it sounds coming from an introvert/depressive/pajama-clad cat lady, I would be out in the streets where marches and protests are happening, interviewing people and taking video and intervening in the screaming matches and violence. I would be sitting in the halls outside my worthless Senators’ offices, demanding that they LISTEN to the PEOPLE who elected them, and basically calling out the powerful on their bullshit.

2. What is your guilty pleasure?

True crime. My grandfather used to tell us stories about the mobsters and criminals of his day, because he loved that stuff, too. I read Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter in high school, and later Ann Rule’s book about Ted Bundy, and on from there. My husband thinks its freaky, and he doesn’t even know about the podcasts, like My Favorite Murder and Serial.

3.  If you could’ve been born in a different time or lived through a certain moment in history, which would you choose?

I used to think I lived in a very boring time, but looking back now, I’ve seen a lot. I think I would not prefer any other time. I’ve seen the entire United States Space Program, almost from the beginning. I saw men walk on the moon. I received the first widely distributed polio vaccine. I saw television on a tiny black and white screen, and on a 60″ “smart” tv. I saw the beginning of the Internet, as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis. I searched for information in heavy, tiny-print encyclopedias, and on a 5 inch device I carry in my pocket. I have listened to my favorite music on vinyl albums and beamed by satellite to my car. I saw 9/11, and Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey. I have seen automatic weapons become accessories carried around like handbags. I saw hundreds of thousands of women march on Washington. What a time to be alive, said the Simpsons. It has been. It is. I wouldn’t change it.

4. Apple or Android?

Apple.

5.  Do you have a favorite blog post that you’ve written?  Why?

This one.  It was one of those posts that was so easy to write, it just burst out onto the screen, without giving me anxiety. I’m not sure there was even a second draft, so be kind.

Thanks again to Angie for choosing me. I am honored to be in such good company, and I will post my nominees tomorrow when I have time to think up some questions. Today is a nutso day, and off I go!

 

 

Inspiration · Society · Writing

Project: Letters to my heroes

I have many heroes, and reading their writings, or speaking with them, or seeing them interviewed has been very important to me, especially since the election.

It occurred to me recently that it is important to tell people that their good work means something to me, specifically. Some of my heroes have gained recognition for their work, some have not. Either way, I want to let them know that they inspire me and lift me up.

So, I am starting a project to write a letter every day or so to a hero who has inspired me to do better, to give more, and to keeping fighting for a better world.

My first letter went to Jimmy Carter. He has been a hero of mine for a long time. I cast my first vote for President for him in 1976, in an old fashioned lever-pull voting machine in a country store in Red Hill, Alabama.

I am not going to publish my letters, but I will keep a list on this blog of who I write.

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Inspiration

Write it Down; Move Forward

I often feel so frozen, as if I can see all the things I want to do, but I spin my wheels and never really get anything completed. I am an expert level procrastinator. All my energy is inside my head. I compare myself, unwisely, to people who are doing great things in the world. Not a smart way to live. But I had an idea that if I had a big white board, I could write down the things I have accomplished that made me feel good and proud, and then I could look at them and know that I am not frozen, and not just sitting here watching time pass. Continue reading “Write it Down; Move Forward”

Inspiration

30 Things I Love Right Now

Inspired by TJ Beitelman and Javacia of See Jane Write. Photo from Craftsy.

30 things I love right now:
1. My YMCA membership.
2. Coffee
3. The My Favorite Murder podcast
4. Atlanta, where my son lives
5. My cell phone (I know, I know)
6. New friends discovered during the recent municipal elections
7. The home stretch of our 18 month kitchen renovation
8. My funny, sweet husband
9. Pedicures
10. @SarcasticRover on Twitter
11. My reading journal
12. My fitbit
13. Smoothies
14. Ideament
15. Elizabeth Kolbert’s books
16. My tattered boyfriend jeans
17. Bryan Stephenson, author of Just Mercy
18. My cat, Zoey
19. Gerbera daisies
20. Fantasy house hunting on Zillow
21. Writing
22. The blogging community
23. Trying new craft beers
24. My sons, the best young men in the world
25. French
26. Having my depression and anxiety under control
27. Paper calendars and planners
28. Yoga
29. My new passport
30. The 3 wonderful kids I babysit