The Things I Know To Be False Help Me To Know What’s True

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

They’re Not All Gems, But Sometimes They Are

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

Death By Full-Time Employment

I grew up Catholic and believed there were two stages of existence — life and death. Death was the end of your time in this realm. There was no reincarnation, no second chances, no in-between. The rest, I deduced, was life. Life was good. It meant more time, more opportunity, more growth. So anything short of bodily death in my book deserves a smile. Nothing can be that bad! I’m still alive, right?  Well I can’t pretend that alive and dead are the only two modes we have in this one body.

To say I’ve been having a hard time with this transition back into full-time employment is like saying The Real Housewives are neither real nor housewives (duh!).  At times I manage to get though the day.  I even have moments where I feel inspired.  But mostly I feel like I’m dying.  I won’t ever be able to explain what that means or how it feels to your exact liking, because trust me I’ve just spent the past five weeks trying to explain it to Ian.  He’s no closer to understanding my overdramatic thinking than I am getting better at explaining it.  You either get it or you don’t.

Either way, today I decided to try something new.  Today I accept death.  I’ve spent 5 weeks feeling terrified that I’m going to die, and today I’m just going to assume it’s true.  I am dead.  Now what Carinn?  Now what?

Now, I tell you how it all happened.  This is not a story about a car accident or a battle with cancer, this is just me going back to work. Where I died. A lot. Continue reading

On Baked Goods, Gardening, And Cultivating Career

Lately I’ve been struggling.  I’ve also been succeeding.  I’ve been picking and choosing and placing and planning.  Through this process I’ve been visualizing what’s really important in my life.  I imagined myself as a pie with three thick slices*.  Fill it with whatever pleases you (mine is peach cream) but picture it.

(*Note: there are other slices of my identity such as wife, yogi, dysfunctional twitter user, but those are firmly established.  The three slices below are the ones I’ve been struggling with over the past few years.) Continue reading

The Motherlode in Context: Blog Comments Validate Me, Make Me Think, and Rip Me To Shreds

Even though she warned me, I didn’t listen to my editor and I read the comments on the essay published through the NYT Motherlode.  All 210 (and counting) of them.

Anyone who blogs, or even has ever read a blog, knows comments can get ugly.  It doesn’t matter how simple the subject or how much humor you inject into the piece, people hear and read what they want, not necessarily what you said.  Readers often attach to the line or thought that speaks to them and address only that.  I guess that is human nature.

This week I learned even the NYT comments get ugly.  Many of them were also very smart and true.  I had no choice but to dissect a topic I thought Ian and I had analyzed to death.  What I hadn’t looked at more closely was the context in which this fight came up. These are not excuses and they don’t negate any of the real issues set forth in the Motherlode piece, however they provide insight into why this divisive topic elicited particularly high stakes.  Continue reading