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I Took a Break From Writing to Take Care of Myself

14 Jun
Laptop computer and desk

My laptop is taking a break from writing.

Sometimes, I blatantly contradict myself.

Like how I used to say it was so important to have balance in your life.

Then I went on this kick like, fuck balance, it’s all about the passion.

And now I’m kinda into the balance thing again. Or trying to be at least. Living a life of balance  is not the place I naturally default to.

But, both things are true. Balance is nice. Passion is cool, too. Balanced passion may be something to strive for, although sounds like something that’s probably impossible to achieve.

Or when, several years ago, the married man I was having an affair with abruptly ended things. I was devastated to the point of barely being able to function, but I was also relieved — relieved that I no longer had to spend agonizing days waiting for his texts, calls, or emails, or hours lost to fantasy, obsession, fear, and worry. I was devastated, but I was also free.

Both were true.

I learned this from my therapist, she says it a lot. Life is big and complicated enough for seemingly completely contradictory things to both be true at the exact same time.

The last blog post I wrote was about how I always need to be writing. I wrote this almost 9 months ago. So you can see already: contradiction.

Shortly after writing that post, things fell apart, as they sometimes do in my life. As a freelancer, I was doing work that I loved, but unfortunately not enough of it to support myself. I have a high tolerance for deprivation in service to following my vision; if I’m doing work I love, I can make do with very, very little in terms of material gain.

But at a certain point, the chaos of financial instability starts to interfere with my creative process. Waking up every day in a state of panic tends to make me shut down, writing-wise. As someone I know once said, “You can’t write a novel if your house is on fire.” And based on my own experience I can say: tru dat.

Not knowing how I was going to pay the following month’s rent, and with my financial house up in flames, I set out looking for work. Once I’ve reached this point of complete desperation and panic, I can’t like, casually look for work and keep writing on the side. At that point, earning money requires all my time and attention.

I got temp work right away, and a month later, a full-time job. My first full-time job in over three years, I now had health insurance, paid time off, and some stability.

Although I hadn’t written in a few months, I decided to consciously continue my writing break so I could get acclimated to my new job. Also, I wanted to be a normal person who went to work and then had a life — time for socializing, dating, and decluttering my apartment — instead of this person who has a day job and then in every moment of her free time is trying to make things happen with her own creative projects on the side, living multiple lives and driving herself to exhaustion.

But after a month at my new job, my friend said to me, “Jen, I think you should start writing again.”

Because what happens is, not writing takes on its own crazy non-momentum momentum. If you don’t write for long enough, it turns into this really huge, daunting deal, and you can’t imagine how you ever wrote anything in the past or will ever again in the future. I said something along these lines to my friend right before she said, “Jen, it’s time.”

So, I wrote my dating profile for OkCupid. It was kind of fun. It made me laugh. I thought, This is good and I can write.

Inspired by my success writing my dating profile, I dipped my toe further into the writing pool, and wrote an essay about writing my online dating profile. Then I wrote a few more things, like this, and this.

It felt so good to be back. I was on a roll. Sort of. I still start and stop. Write, take a break. Struggle with writing/self-care. Balance/passion. Working hard/rest. Being consumed by creative projects/having a life. I write, but then I have to take mini-breaks. Because I work full-time and have activities and commitments almost every night after work, and I get t-i-r-e-d and need to rest. Not be so busy and striving all the time. Just be.

Last Sunday afternoon, I planned to write. But I was exhausted. So I took a nap instead. By mid-week, I was aching to write. I’m doing it today. I may need to take a break tomorrow.

Taking breaks from writing can be good self-care, and necessary periodically, but still, still, if I go too long without writing, I feel really shitty. Sometimes I need to take a break from writing to pay attention to how I’m going to pay my rent. But when I’m not writing, inevitably, I hit a point where I start to get angry and filled with resentment. I feel invisible, unseen, unheard, disempowered, like I have no voice. And the only way out of this is to USE MY VOICE and write something.

I need to be writing all the time. And I need to take breaks.

Both are true.

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If You Feel Stuck, It Could Be Your Voice

26 Sep

Woman screamingI get stuck a lot. Tripped up in fear, anxiety, obsessive worry. Paralyzed by perfectionism. Waylaid by depression and absolute apathy, where I can’t muster up the motivation to do or care about anything. Not even writing. Sometimes I deliberately take a break from writing to focus on more responsible, possibly more remunerative pursuits. But whether it’s deliberate or not, if I’m not writing I often sink into depression, fear, stuckness, I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-anything-ness. I feel like I’m alone, without a voice, this invisible, forgotten, forsaken person.

Even–especially–when I don’t feel like writing, the way out of this apathy and despair is usually writing. This reminds me of a time 10 years ago, when I decided that I was going to give up acting and write instead. So I quit acting for a summer, and was totally blocked and couldn’t write a word. That September I signed up for an acting class, and soon after started writing my heart out, so inspired by the words in the scenes I was memorizing and performing. I wrote monologues and scenes and plays until the only words I was performing–in and out of class–were my own.

Sure, then it was acting that unblocked me and gave me back my voice and today it’s writing, but the message is still the same–the thing I avoid is the thing that sets me free.

I get very despairing when I feel like I don’t have a voice. When I feel like I’m not heard. When I feel like I’m all alone. In my obsessive worry and depression. This is not a fun place to be.

A few weeks ago, writing and I were on a little break. I put it on the side burner, or maybe even the back burner. It’s not you, it’s me. I just need some space. To focus on other things. And then that familiar despair crept in. I didn’t want to do anything, didn’t care about anything.

Day in, day out, my life felt like drudgery, comprised mostly of crying and naps (you know how exhausting crying can be). What’s wrong with me? I thought, even though this has happened before. Longing to give a shit about anything at all, to feel even the slightest desire to write again. Crying on the subway, something that used to be more of a regular occurrence but I hadn’t done in a long time. After getting off the subway I stopped at a Starbucks, red and puffy-eyed. I knew I was nearing a bottom and something had to change when the barista rang up my water bottle, looked at me sympathetically, and said, “Feel better.”

So I decided to end my break and go back to writing. I had to make the decision first, before I felt like it. But it didn’t take long for what I felt like doing to catch up, to want to write again. To feel inspired and idea-filled and excited and energized. To remember what it feels like to have a voice. To not feel invisible and powerless anymore. To be strong–and unstuck.

Writing, once again, is the solution. That thing that I sometimes avoid, resist, resent, and can’t even find the tiniest spark of inspiration for, is the thing that makes me feel better. This doesn’t last if I stop writing, though. Whenever I feel like I don’t have a voice, I’m on the path straight to despair. To claim my strength in the world, to get unstuck, to feel like myself, I have to go back go back and go back again to writing. I have to remember that I have something to say, and say it. I have to return to my voice–and use it as if my life depended on it.

Just Write the Next Thing

24 Jun

Computer screen

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how I stepped on a rat, and then met my favorite singer, Maxwell. I loved this post. And not just because I love Maxwell. I loved everything about it. It was an unbelievable, miraculous story. I wrote it well. The twists! The turns! The dramatic arc! The culmination in a life lesson! I felt like it was possibly the best thing I ever wrote or would ever write again. I wanted to relish it and bask in it and savor it.

What I did not want to do was write the next post. I always want to go out on a good note, quit while I’m ahead. Like being the one to get off the phone first when I’m talking to a guy I have a crush on–right after I’ve said something charming and adorable and funny, and before I turn tired and boring and run out of things to say. I wanted to freeze my writing with my Maxwell-and-the-rat post, hold onto it so everyone would think that everything I write is always that perfectly crafted.

The thing to do in this situation is to just sit down and write that next thing. Get over the hump, break through the resistance.

So I sat down, and wrote about going to a vision board party. I liked this post. It was honest. Open. There were some funny parts, and a pretty kickass playlist. It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever written, would ever write. There were lots of reasons to scrap it (there always are) and they all seemed valid (they always do). Like, posting my vision board felt like taking a picture of my journal entries and publishing it. Like, nothing spectacular or miraculous happened. Adam Levine didn’t show up at the party and make out with me or anything.

But it was a solid post, and the most important thing was to get it down. Disregard the reasons to hold off and wait for some elusive bigger, better idea. Just write the next thing. And then keep writing.

The longer I go without writing, especially after writing a piece I’ve fallen madly in love with, the harder it gets to write that next thing. The more of a big deal it becomes. The more I need to have some fabulous idea or riveting story or life-changing lesson. The more I get bogged down and stuck, rejecting every possible topic that is anything less than off-the-charts incredible. The more I don’t write.

For writing to not become a Big Deal looming dauntingly in front of me, it has to be a regular part of my life, something I am consistently doing. Even on those days when I’m not sure what I’m going to say, and in those moments when I question if I have anything to say.

Writing my next story or post or kernel of an idea, I write my way through resistance. Through good enough writing. And I write my way back to writing that makes my pulse race, lights me up, gives me chills. To the best thing I’ve ever written or will ever write. I fall madly in love again. And then I keep writing some more…

My Vision Board, Sans Perfectionism (and Plus Playlist)

12 Jun

My vision boardThis weekend, that fateful day finally arrived: my return to self-help. In the form of my friend’s vision board party that I excitedly, yet with some trepidation, RSVP-ed “Yes” to. Would I be triumphant, happily reunited with collaging as if we’d spent no time apart, and the past seven years since my last vision board were just an insignificant blip? I had my doubts.

As the day approached, collaging anxiety crept in. Plus, I had volunteered to make the party playlist and was starting to feel the burden of responsibility. I felt like I had to prep. Go shopping for an array of magazines that represented all the areas I wanted to cover on my vision board. Swing by a few home furnishings stores to pick up catalogs. Buy art supplies. Decide on a vision board base–should I put everything together on one huge piece of poster board, or break up my collages by category on scrapbook pages with labels? Then I’d have to print out category labels. And I couldn’t just bring labels for myself, I’d need to bring extras for the rest of the guests. I’d started a file folder a while ago of images I liked and wanted to use in a future vision board. But I couldn’t find the file anywhere, and felt like I’d lost part of my vision. A few days before the party, I made the mistake of looking at the last vision board I made seven years ago, pre-self-help detox, and it was A-MA-ZING (categorized scrapbook pages, labeled). A sheer thing of artistic beauty, I couldn’t believe I had created it. There was no way I could live up to my collaging past.

And then there was the playlist–all the new songs I wanted to buy on iTunes, and how to organize them for optimum flow.

What happened was this: my perfectionism was taking over, turning a fun afternoon with friends, glitter, and glue sticks into an oppressive list of tasks and To Dos. So I decided to scrap everything–all the planning and preparation (it wasn’t even my party!), and just do the absolute minimum. As if I was cramming for a final, I quickly made the playlist at 11pm the night before with nary a newly purchased song, or a second thought the order. I wanted the music to be uplifting, so I just did one round of edits where I stripped out all the codependent love songs about needing someone else to be able to live or breathe.

An hour before the party, I picked up three magazines–a yoga one, a home one, and a vacation one–and found the ideal compromise of half-sheets of poster board at an art supply store. I let go of trying to locate my image file, and embraced the idea of creating my vision afresh in the moment. Pounding an iced coffee for sustenance, I was ready to collage. Imperfectly, dammit.

Me with my vision boardAt the party, my friend read a few vision boarding suggestions before we got started, like keeping some white space in your collage to leave room for other things to come in, and so it doesn’t look chaotic and clutterred. Flipping through magazines, I still doubted my artistic abilities, but reminded myself that this didn’t have to be the end-all-be-all vision board, just one attempt.

I was a little behind, only on Phase 2 (deciding which images to use) when everyone else was on Phase 3 (gluing), but somehow mine came together quickly in the end. While I’d thought my vision board would be significantly career focused, and had even brought cut-outs of the New York Times Best Seller list and logos for places I wanted to write or teach, I tucked them underneath my poster board before I started and none of them made it on. Mostly my vision board wound up being about joy, relaxation, playfulness, fun–and a balanced life. And by the way, I love it.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that my playlist was a huge hit. Someone even said I should make playlists professionally, if that’s even a thing. Other than like, DJ. And someone else asked me if I’d publish the playlist, which was the inspiration for this blog post. Having recently met Maxwell, it’s a little Maxwell intensive. But as I told my friend who was hosting the party, it was a major accomplishment that my playlist wasn’t just: “Maxwell CDs.” So here it is, codependent love song free, and guaranteed to uplift!

Vision Board Party Playlist
1) “Imagine Me” – Kirk Franklin
2) “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” – Maxwell
3) “Superwoman” – Alicia Keys
4) “Beautiful” – Christina Aguilera
5) “Brand New Day” – Joshua Radin
6) “Declaration (This Is It!)” – Kirk Franklin
7) “A Star Is Born” – Jay-Z feat. J. Cole
8) “Closer” – Goapele
9) “Best Of My Love” – The Emotions
10) “Seasons of Love” – Original Broadway Cast, RENT
11) “Just Fine” – Mary J. Blige
12) “F**ckin’ Perfect” – Vicci Martinez and Niki Dawson on The Voice
13) “Party” – Beyoncé feat. André 3000
14) “Over the Rainbow” – Glee Cast Version
15) “Pretty Wings” – Maxwell
16) “My Love” – The-Dream & Mariah Carey
17) “September” – Kirk Franklin
18) “Ganapati” – Girish
19) “Guru Brahma” – Jai Uttal & The Pagan Love Orchestra
20) “People Everyday” – Arrested Development
21) “Lovely Day” – Bill Withers
22) “Lifetime” – Maxwell

What songs would be on your Vision Board Party Playlist?

Fight The Ball!

23 Nov

A few weeks ago, I was faced with the challenge of believing in myself even when I didn’t think I could anymore, when I was putting myself out there in what felt like every direction, and getting nothing back but rejection and radio silence.  I wanted to keep going, past the point where, historically, I would give up.  Past the point where, traditionally, I would curl up in a ball, on my bed or on the floor, whichever was closer at the time.  And cry.  And stop.  Trying.  Stop.  Doing.  What I hoped to do or longed to do or needed to do, because the rejection just hurt too much.

There’s nothing wrong with hanging out in a ball sometimes.  It can be very nurturing, and healing, and even exactly what I need, to take a time out, and allow myself to feel sad and disappointed and hurt and discouraged.  Just let it all out, and comfort myself and nurture myself and move through it.  But the problem is, I tend to get stuck in ball formation.  For a long, long time.  Like, one might say, at times, that I’ve spent years in various combinations and permutations of literal and metaphorical balls.  And while I’m there, I don’t believe in myself.  I believe the rejection.  And I stop trying, with whatever project or projects I was working on at the time, that I was so intensely passionate about and consumed by and determined to succeed with, pre-rejection.  I accept the apparent limitations of my life, painful as they may be, because that seems like the less painful alternative to pushing through the rejection.  Because doing that would require getting even more rejection.

And now for a word from my negative, critical, self-defeating internal voice:  I can’t do that.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  So don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here in the corner, curled up in my tight little ball.  Yeah, that’s cool, you can just step right over me.  Or step on me, whatever, I don’t care, nothing is ever going to work out anyway…

OK, now back to me.  As much as I appreciate her input, I’m pretty tired of listening to it.  Make that really tired.  So, a few weeks ago, when she started piping in with, “What’s the use?” this and “Why don’t you just give up?” that, and “Hey, doesn’t curling up in your favorite ball formation sound so good right now, I challenged myself to challenge that voice.  To reject the rejection that I was getting and keep going, anyway.  To believe in myself, past the point I had ever been able to believe in myself in the past.  To believe in myself when it didn’t feel like anyone else did (this wasn’t actually accurate as many people believe in me, but you know how that pesky, negative, critical, self-defeating internal voice just LOVES to distort the truth).  I made the choice to stay upright and moving forward, and to believe in myself even when I didn’t think I could.

And it was kind of touch and go there for a little while.  I was on uncharted ground and my legs were shaky.  They so wanted to give out and curl up.  But then, as I was wavering, my best friend started sending me emails and texts that said, “Fight the ball!”  And I started to catch that fighting spirit.  I started to feel feistier.  And then, when the rejections came in, instead of wanting to curl up into that ball I know and love and then on top of that, kicking myself when I was down, I found myself, in this other, feistier internal voice, defending myself against the rejections.  And I felt my belief in myself grow stronger and stronger, and not despite the rejections, but because of them.

And no, this was not the most fun way to strengthen my belief in myself.  I’d much prefer to grow my belief in myself while I receive glorious acceptance after acceptance.  But, that’s not how it happened for me, and I gotta work with what I’ve got/am getting in any given moment.

And then, some good things of the non-rejection variety happened!  (Imagine, that voice that said that that would never happen, LIED!)  While I want to enjoy them, I don’t want my self-esteem to get caught up in and tied to them either, because that, while temporarily better feeling, is just as much of a trap as tying your self-esteem to rejection.

So for now, I’ve made it past my historical wall and through my traditional limits.  I know that as I keep moving forward, I will encounter more walls, more limits, more seductive siren calls luring me to drop it all and curl up in a ball.  But now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do it, when the time comes, I will be well-armed with my feisty don’t mess with me internal belief in myself, and ready to fight the ball with all I’ve got.

What do you do when you want to curl up in a ball, call it a day/week/year, and give up?  How do you keep going, or get yourself out of the ball and back in the game?  What works for you, and what doesn’t?  When is curling up in a ball actually helpful, and when is it not?

The Believe In Yourself Even When You Don’t Think You Can Challenge

10 Nov

“Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling.” -Journey

Sometimes in my life, I feel like I am being tested.  Because I am getting the same lesson from so many different places, at so many different times, and in so many different ways, that it is just impossible for me to ignore it.  I have to pay attention to it.  I have to (sigh) learn my lesson.

Lately, I have been getting a lot of rejection.  On several different projects and ventures.  In my writing and in my business and in my life.  I am experiencing more rejection than I normally do.  A lot more.  And, on the bright side, this is because I am putting my writing, my business, and my life out there a lot more than I usually do.  Which is, usually, not a lot.  Because I don’t like rejection.  I actually have an extremely low tolerance for it.

But let me tell you, it does not feel good.  It feels really really really bad.  Especially because, even though I know on a logical, intellectual level that these rejections are not a rejection of me, as a person, that is not at all how it feels, on an emotional, rejected level.  And, I am at the point, or somewhat past the point actually, where, in the past, I would stop.  I would retreat.  I would curl up in a ball and tend to my emotional wounds, and maybe just…forget about that project or piece of writing or business venture or part of myself.  Maybe just…conveniently let it go.  Because it hurt too much to hold on and keep trying.  Because I couldn’t take anymore rejection.  So I might just go back to not trying that hard, not believing that much, in myself or what I could do, and smoosh myself into a smaller, more mediocre version of my life, and while I was there, smooshed in a ball, maybe I would chide myself for even hoping to believe for one second that more was possible.

So.  Here I am.  At that point, or slightly past it, where things are not feeling so good.  Where people are rejecting me (oops, I mean, my writing, my ideas, etc.) on what feels like a daily basis.  Or even worse, I am putting things out into a void, pouring my heart and soul into ideas and projects and just getting…the radio silence version of rejection.

However.  I am trying to break out of old patterns and limitations.  I am achy from being smooshed in a too small, disbelieving life.  My conditioning wants me to believe the rejection.  It is so convincing, and so seductive.  I can start to hear the (brash) internal voice piping in with, “See, what’s the point?  Why would you even think that this was possible?  You should just go back to that old way you know so well… don’t you like it in that cozy little ball?  It hurts so much less there!  Come on, do it do it do it!  Give up!”

And it occurred to me one day, when I felt the rejection sweeping in at me from so many different angles I felt like I was being pulverized by it, that I am being forced to raise my game.  I am being forced to have so much more internal strength than I’ve ever had before.  I am being forced to believe in myself when I do not think I can, when I don’t feel like I have it in me anymore, when all I want to do is make it not hurt and it seems like the only way to do that is to believe the rejection and give up.  And am being forced to cultivate a belief in myself that is so strong and fiery and fierce that it can persevere even in the face of this.

That I have a choice to go back to how I’ve always been, and put those ideas and projects and parts of myself in the back of a dark drawer and “forget” about them for a few years.  But I am achy from being smooshed, and I just can’t go back to that curled up ball again.  So I have to pick what’s behind Curtain #2, which is stoking the fire of my self-belief like you cannot believe!

Like most people, I get caught up in letting my self-image be determined by what others think of me.  So when I (I mean, my writing, my ideas, etc.) get rejected, that is what I believe.  But now I am being forced to doubt that, to say and feel and mean that I do not accept that as my internal reality.  That, no matter what is going on around me and no matter how many rejections or radio silences I get and no matter how bad it feels, I am going to make the radical decision to believe in myself anyway. I am going to stretch out and feel the full length of all my limbs, reaching for new possibilities, and refusing to accept the old limitations anymore.

What happens when your self-belief gets challenged?  How much rejection can you take, and when is your breaking point to revert to old patterns?  How you can break free from your former limitations and believe in yourself no matter what?  What strategies do you have for persevering even in the face of extreme rejection and disappointment?  Do you accept the rejection, or do you accept The Believe In Yourself Even When Don’t Think You Can Challenge? And post a comment if you’d simply like to pledge your belief in yourself, no matter what! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on overcoming rejection and believing in yourself, please share your Journey 😉

Guest Post: The Gift of Giving Up

26 Oct

Abby Sher

I am so thrilled and honored to have a guest post this week from one of my favorite authors, Abby Sher.  Her beautiful memoir, Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things), is one of my all-time favorite books, and is so moving that it made me cry…in Starbucks….twice!  It recently came out in paperback, and I highly recommend it!  In the meantime, please check out her guest blog about The Gift of Giving Up…
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“The Gift of Giving Up” by Abby Sher

It’s noon, and here is a list of what I will not be getting done any time soon:

*finishing the first draft of my next book. Last Friday, I handed in four chapters and an outline that makes me tremble with fear and possibility. I don’t know if I love it or hate it. Either way, it’s out of my hands for the time being.

*signing up for that study to help epileptics. Also volunteering to write and do yoga in prisons. And the thousand other promises I’ve made to cook and decorate and be there for someone beside myself.

*did I mention the non-fiction proposal that I was sure I’d sell before the end of the summer? The movie I was writing and the cabaret that I was set to host? The pen-pal program and the pitches for new talks on mental illness that I swore would be refined and spellchecked by July? Those are going to sit in the pickle jar for the next few months too.

*reading the rest of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Yes, I love it and it’s a classic and I am learning so much from this young Mick as she discovers Beethoven and bigotry in the same innocent breath, but I promised to read two other manuscripts and am tearing through a hypnobirthing book as zenically and efficiently as possible. While I’m at it, I’m crossing off From Beirut to Lebanon, which is on my must-read list every year, especially after the Jewish holidays.

*understanding the Middle East crisis. Or Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, Sudan, did someone say Sinn Fein is still working for a new Ireland? I am just catching up to Rutgers University, and this is definitely something I need to work on. I will commit to reading a piece of the newspaper at least four times a week, but grasping what I’m ingesting is an entirely different command.

I love making lists. They are flat, concrete itemizations of the gazillion coulds woulds shoulds flurrying inside my brain. I make them each day, each week, each month, the intentions getting bigger and more unrealistic as I stream down the page. Every task has to have a specific and undeniable goal. A hungry mouth or brain to be fed. Or so I thought…

For the Jewish New Year, I had a dear friend over. Instead of the traditional apples and honey we had some leftover couscous and lit sage to snuff out each other’s fears and regrets. Then we sat on the couch and dictated to each other our ten New Year’s Resolutions. Halfway through mine, I could smell my own hot breath, hear the click of my jaw as I bit off new must-do’s for my career and ego.

“They’re pretty…work-related, huh?” I asked as we both stared at my notebook.

“Well…yeah.” My friend had listed true personal aspirations for herself. Taking the time to express love fully. Keeping in touch with her family better. Being true to her word. Meanwhile, I was focusing on that unfinished novel, a bestseller list and a mandatory epiphany. Towards the bottom of the page I’d added “enjoy birth.”

Yes, I am due to give birth to my second child in a week and a half. A fact that clearly didn’t fit on my goal list and yet is the motivation and meaning behind it all. I love being a mother so much that I’ve rarely if ever been able to write about it. And I know selfishly that in many ways I jumped on the chance to get pregnant again while my daughter is still in diapers because her birth and the ensuing months were the most peaceful, chaotic, indefinable moments of my life. There is no room on a split-up rag to write an award-winning sonnet nor do I have the brain space to find out what I have to do next besides eatpoopsleepeatpoopsleep, repeat.

Maybe this is an unfair burden to put on my children. Why don’t you hold on to Mama’s self-image for a few years while she wipes your butt and tries to invest fully in this moment? I certainly don’t want to hold them responsible for my actions as a writer, performer, yogi, or human being. What I hope is that by letting go of who or what I am supposed to be, I can honestly spend more time as me.

A few weeks ago, while my husband and I were sorting through those rubber tubs of onesies in the basement, I pulled out my milk crate full of old journals. Ideas and stories and shows that I’ve yet to write in full but they are brilliant and will change the fate of the world and bring peace to Nepal or at least Brooklyn. Lists and plans for what I need to do next to be provocative and raw and worthwhile as a creative human being.

I looked at each cover, dusted off each spine, and one by one, I threw those journals away.

Please post a comment if this entry resonates with you. What are your thoughts on discarding old goals? Is giving up necessarily bad? If you had just today left, what would you need to get done?