Try, try again

Well, well, well. Here we go again. A new year, the same resolution to blog more. I should know better, especially given the 2012 experiment, but clearly I just get older, not wiser.

I could take a glass half empty approach as to why I didn’t blog more in 2012. Let’s see: it started with a 6 month old who got RSV, which then morphed into me having sinus infection after sinus infection and strep throat after strep throat for months on end (up to and including this very moment in 2013) and having trouble managing my hypothyroidism. On top of being a mom and being sick and way low energy, I still worked full-time and though I aspired to get other things done, I rarely did. See: being sick. It doesn’t help that my computer at home died and has remained unreplaced. Hey, iPod touch? You’re awesome for most everything. Just not writing extensively.

But let’s look at the glass half full version of 2012’s resolution: I wrote more than I had in previous years, including much more long-form stuff that’s still in progress offline (along with all the half-formed blog posts I have still rattling about in draft). I started another blog co-written with a friend of mine, and I reconnected with how writing helps me work sh*t out in my own head. So take that, 2012 resolution!

So, since I’m trying on 2013 for size, how’s it measure up so far? Not good. I think part of it is I have a tendency this time of year to look back on the previous year, and in comparing right now to 2012 at the same time, I was much more settled and content then than I am now. I was confident in my abilities to parent a 6 month old. Now I’m facing new toddler-sized issues (no impulse control, limited ability for us to understand what she’s trying so desperately to communicate, chasing her down at the most inopportune times because running away is FUN!, and trying to determine how to make meals out of the 3 things she’ll eat) that make me less sure I know what the hell I’m doing. A year ago, I had an awesome boss and felt, for the first time in a long time, that my work was a good match for my skills and background. Now? A reorg at work has left me working in the same place but with a new, totally absentee boss, and a new role in a new career path that does NOT suit me at all, leaving me utterly dissatisfied. A year ago I was much healthier. I was working out habitually, I felt good, had high energy, and then having drifted off that course from being so sick, I now find myself still on steroids and antibiotics, feeling pretty gross. And a year ago, I wasn’t faced with the prospect of our nearly 13-year old dog’s final weeks. That part, I’m not prepared to talk about or deal with yet. But it’s there, lurking in the shadows of the weeks to come.

I know myself. I know that I have a tendency at this time of year to feel the post-holiday blues. The trips to look forward to have come and gone. Regardless of whether the job sucks or is awesome, coming back to my cubicle after a few days away is always a let down as it means the end of hanging out in pajamas, playing with the girl, and taking naps. So I’m trying to be extra-cautious right now not to let my feelings of unrest cascade over into other areas and color the otherwise excellent things that I’m sure are to come in 2013. I’m trying to compartmentalize – not in some unhealthy way but to try to prevent my general anxiety disorder from trampling all over everything and mixing it all up so that all of my worries won’t get inextricably tied up together until they’re one giant sinkhole of suckitude. Trying to deal with one thing at a time, and then putting it back up on the shelf when something else needs to be dealt with instead.

Trying. Maybe that’s my guiding word for 2013. I will try. I will keep trying. If I fail, maybe I will learn something. If I succeed, who knows what could happen?

FAM Turns 6!

happy-birthday-candles

Today is the 6th birthday of my little blog. I can’t believe it’s actually been six years. Sure, it came off the tracks a lot during those six years. When Funky-Ass Monkey wasn’t online, it was because I was grappling with being overworked, an all-time low of energy thanks to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, and all manner of other things. Things like blog identity crisis. All I blogged about early on was how much life in PHX sucked. Well, that, and how museum work is was awful. Things that are still part of my life experience, but not what I wanted my blog to be centered around. So when I brought it back in 2012, I carefully curated and removed posts – not because I’m ashamed of them, but because I’ve learned a lot about what I want my blog to be and where my boundaries lie in terms of what I’m willing to share.

But the most challenging obstacle that prompted me to stop blogging and simultaneously regret that I’d stopped blogging was crushing, debilitating doubt in my writing abilities, an ever-present hypercritical voice inside my head that said that I should quit. Because I didn’t have anything good to say. Because I wasn’t funny enough, distinctive enough. Because I wasn’t good enough. And then beating myself up because 1) I wasn’t good enough to “be” a blogger and 2) quitting my blog made me a quitter, because I was abandoning my dream of being a writer.

What I didn’t know then that I know now is that the best therapy for me was that I should write. Because it’s how I unravel my thoughts. It’s how I get what’s in my head out of my own way so I can move on. And it’s how I can move past being hypercritical and way too hard on myself. In fact, blogging in particular helps me to see that my writing doesn’t have to be perfect before I hit “publish.” That I can be okay with letting my writing go and not constantly tweaking and reworking, revisiting my drafts over and over again, only to find new things that need to be “fixed” each and every time. It’s one thing to constantly strive to improve. It’s another to never move forward because you are your own worst critic. I finally decided enough is enough. I could either keep revising and revising in pursuit of elusive perfection…or I could just start to accept my writing for what it is and let good enough go. What I found is that publishing my posts, even or perhaps especially those that weren’t perfect, is the very act that let me carve out the space to find new inspiration. Staring at a draft over and over with a hypercritical eye didn’t help me get any better. Actually writing and hitting publish is what will help me hone my craft and improve. But another important reason I’ve returned to blogging is: It’s what I like to do. It took a long time for me to realize that simply enjoying blogging is reason enough to do it. So I made it my New Year’s resolution this year to blog every day so that I wouldn’t forget to make time for myself and something so small that brings me a lot of pleasure. And while I haven’t quite achieved a post a day, I am proud of all the days that I have managed to post. And I feel my creative mojo trickling back little by little.

Resolution FAIL

My loyal reader might note that it took exactly one day for me to break my New Year’s resolution to blog daily. What was I thinking when I made that resolution?!

Oh, right. That I needed to allow myself a no-rules creative outlet, a space for me to play in. And in order to continuously get better at my creative craft, it’s a well-known fact that you gotta practice, practice, practice. So I’m going to forgive myself for skipping out already and keep plugging away. Every. Day.

New Year, New Blog Entry

happy-baby

So I have made it my 2012 resolution to blog as much as possible, getting back in to the habit. My only update for today, though, is that I have the cutest baby on the planet. Not exactly breaking news, I know. After all the hubbub of family in town for the holidays, it was time to just enjoy the day with my girl. Which was incredibly easy, since it is 80 degrees and sunny. Btw, I do feel slightly guilty announcing that, when I know how it is on January 1 almost anywhere else, but it was just contagiously nice. A little alarming given that 2012 is off to such a warm start, but not alarming enough to keep me from enjoying it. So we drank it in, taking 3 walks in between naps.