I was over a year and five minutes late to my favorite YMCA class. Knee issues, endometriosis, hysterectomy, surgically-induced menopause and mental illness had kept me away for way too long. I apologetically worked my way to the most open spot I could find, all the while trying to dance along to music and moves that are way younger than I look or feel. For the split second I saw myself in the mirror before I locked onto the heels of the instructor I saw what was there a year ago- a tall, not-fit, rhythmless white chick just barely able to not bump into people as she danced through a class she loved. My insides are different, though, and not just because I’m missing some. I’ve been to a lot of therapy in the last year and have found a new calm I only notice when I brace myself for anxiety that doesn’t end up coming. I spent the first half of the class trying not to see what I looked like in the mirrors that covered 3/4 of the walls. At one point I saw myself and stopped. What the hell was I afraid of? I’m never not going to be the tall white chick who sweats an alarming amount in the class. “Lean into what scares you” my therapy spoke to me. So I did.
I haven’t kept this blog with any sort of regularity for three plus years now. I can’t believe it’s been that long. There were a lot of reasons why I quit writing. Losing my domain was probably just what pushed me over the edge because the reinforcement I craved by seeing my stats was diminished significantly because all of the sites linking in were now lost. I want to say that I didn’t even look at my stats, but that’s horseshit. I did. Stats played a huge role in my deciding whether or not what I was writing was worthwhile- but that came with huge frustrations. Because, at the end of the day, it wasn’t what I thought was my best writing that got the most traffic; that’s kind of not how the web works. Most people aren’t here for art.
I sure as hell am not.
I’m here for Reddit and to make sure the word I’m using in an argument means what I think it means. Cats. The shitshow that is our president.
I was super concerned with what people were thinking about what I wrote, too. Not so much as what I was writing, but my motivation to write. Did they think I was a narcissist? That I cared more about writing my blog than my kids’ privacy? Did they think I was an asshole for my half-hearted attempts to make money because of my blog?Did people read just to find reasons to be mad at me? Was I giving them reasons? Ugh. I still feel all of this as I write now.
Because I cared about stats and what people thought, my writing changed. It got better in a great many ways, I think. I learned to be more concise. I spent more time editing. But it took a lot more time and effort. Time I have. Kind of. Effort, meh, I should try harder in almost every area. I stopped writing just to write though, and that made it a lot less cathartic and fun.
I resolved to just write.
That was two weeks ago. I haven’t been back to my class nor had I touched this post.
But I need to write. I just re-listened (audiobooks are my best friend) to the beginning of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, because I needed to hear again her say in reference to writing the book I was listening to, “You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”
Amy had editors who hounded her to write. I need that kind of motivation. I want to finish my book, especially now that I’m in a better place. Maybe not better, there’s a good chance I’m a hell of a lot more boring without some of the demons that wrote with me. But, calmer, and maybe a little less artistic. Oh well, it’s not the thing.
I’m going to do the thing.