I’ve always been a positive person. Annoyingly optimistic. Eternally grateful. A lot of fun. I haven’t been that way for the past few months. Not here on this blog, not in emailing with friends, and certainly not at home. I know it’s wearing on my family — my short fuse, my constant restlessness, my absence as I take on too much. But I sense I’m discovering a lot of important things about myself and the way I operate. I am reinforcing what works to really motivate me and make me happy. I am noticing — and slowly shedding — what keeps me small, scared and stuck. Continue reading
I write a lot. Empirically it’s true. For the past few weeks, I have been writing 1000 words a day for Mommyish (Monday through Friday — and if you’ve missed any, check out the WTTM Facebook page, I post them all there). I also write a fictional story (1200 words) a month for my beloved writing group. I scribble my crazy thoughts down in my journal almost every day. I am slowly working back to my novel in my mind (I will get there soon, I just know it!). And yes, I am still a full-time lawyer (more on that soon I hope). But the point is, I write a lot. It keeps me sane.
Most of the time, my writing is just in the ordinary course of my life. Meaning, I spout my opinion about one thing or another, fill in all the SEO requirements, add an appropriately credited picture, hit publish and submit an invoice at the end of the month. But sometimes I write something that makes me stop and say, “yes! This is good stuff!” Sometimes I look at my finished product and I think, “Wow, I really had something to say here.” Because when I start writing, I never know how it will turn out. Some pieces I love more than others. Some just flow almost like an out-of-body experience. Others I feel so strongly about, but the passion I feel doesn’t come across on the page. Some things I care less about and just need content. But I never really know until it’s done. In the words of one of my favorite funny bloggers, Wendi Aarons, “they’re not all gems.” And they’re not.
But sometimes they are. Continue reading
When my daughter was born and I was presented with an opportunity to go back to work, I knew there was no way I could turn it down. I was suddenly compelled to set an example for my daughter as a successful working mother in a way I had not been while I was home with my son for two years. I wanted to be “that kind of mother” who gives her the freedom to make her own choices, while continuing to break glass ceilings and forge work-life balance to make her path just a little bit easier (as previous generations have done for me).
I’ve since realized that “successful working mother” is a loaded goal. I am successful at work, yes. I am a professional, working at a reputable national law firm. I have a salary that allows me to take home six-figures even after egregious federal, state and New York City taxes. I have awesome family health insurance paid for by my employer — and it even includes dental. The “successful working” part rings true.
As does the “working mother” part. I am grateful to have a job that respects my priorities as a mother. I have not missed a phase-in session, orientation or smallest event at my children’s school and none of the partners I work for have blinked an eye. They trust that I have a handle on the work that needs to get done and they leave me to do just that (my associate co-workers are another story, but I’m ignoring them).
But “successful working mother” implies that I’ve got it all under control. That, while I wish I spent more time with my kids, I have negotiated drop-offs and pick-ups around conference calls and late night loan document distribution. But this simply isn’t the case. Every single day is a negotiation. If I have deals closing, Ian needs to do more at home. If he has an important client meeting, I offer to take the kids on the morning he’s supposed to do it. For the most part our schedule is utter chaos. Continue reading
This morning I received a message from a friend alerting me that her words had been lifted by a well-known site. I read her piece about rage and the dark side of yoga weeks ago and it was so personal and intimate, yet universal and powerful that it stayed with me for days. Then there it was today — so many of her original ideas — but this time with someone else’s byline. Plagiarism is not a new concept, but with information as accessible as it is online, opportunity is greater than ever. Continue reading
My metaphorical death post elicited two kinds of responses: understanding and an uncomfortable sort of sadness. Sometimes I got both at the same time. I kind of expected that it might bum some people out, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many people could relate to one aspect or another. That’s why I share – for the hope of connecting and finding empathy, but I don’t want people to think of me as a downer. It’s just not who I am at my core.
My writing tends to be much darker than my every day personality. I’ve always got a smile on my face, I am quick to see the good in people, and I consider myself an undying optimist. But part of what allows me to stay so positive is the (relatively) quick and thorough processing of the negative stuff.
Before I starting blogging, those thoughts stayed messy and hidden away in journal in my nightstand. Now, I make the effort to process them in a way others might relate to and tell a story of sorts about the uglier aspects of my journeys. If you know me in real life, this probably won’t jive with your vision of me. That’s ok. What you see is still mostly me — I am a very positive upbeat person who loves life and sees opportunity everywhere — but this blog has allowed me to show a little more complexity. Because that’s life.
Lest some of you are afraid the Carinn you know and love is slipping away, I want to assure you that I’m still alive and thriving. To demonstrate, I offer a list of the five BEST things about my new schedule and the new hats I wear ranging from “that’s good even though it’s terrible (aka the way I feel about the new Miley Cyrus’s We Can’t Stop video*)” to “that’s as awesome as Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice award speech*.” Continue reading