Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I feel off-balance today.  I can't make things stop spinning.  There is so much to do, so much to process, so much to finish well.  It's more than that - more than the daily barrage of to-do lists coupled with the lifelong dreams yet fulfilled (which do I choose, where do I focus - the life or the daily?).  It's something even deeper.  I am grieving.

No, no one has died (recently).  It's not that kind of grief.  It's the grief of change, the grief that accompanies transition.  One season is ending and another is beginning, but neither the ending nor the beginning are complete.  As a result, I have not fully let go nor fully laid hold.  I am in process.  I am both letting go and laying hold.  Where should my hands hold next?  What do I fill them with?  Both or neither?  For I can not choose one, not yet.  It is not that time.

So sometimes I simply sit.  Wait.  Observe.  Hold nothing.  Feel nothing.  Process nothing.  Wait.  Breathe.  Wait.  Breathe.

At other times I engage.  Feel the pain, feel the loss, but feel the hope as well.  Dare to be brave enough to hope.  And then to be loving enough to try.  To seek after that which you want because you love yourself that much.

I wait.  I observe.  I realize.  This is not just about letting go of a season; this is specific.

I experienced a loss yesterday: I felt the pain of rejection in an acute way; my bravery faltered.  "Perhaps I am deluded.  Perhaps this is just a colossal waste time.  Perhaps I don't have the heart to put my creations out there again and again and again."

My heart is breaking.  So much so that I can not be specific with you, dear Reader.  Not yet.  I must simply wait breathe wait breathe and try, engage, hope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


As I keep thinking about what I want to write today, I come back to my blog's title: "In The Becoming."  I'm not sure I've fully explained that yet.  I thought long and hard about what to title these ramblings.  The title matters because it gives me focus.  Although this blog is meant to be a thought-sharing platform (with no specific theme), I don't want it to be utterly random. 

So, why did I choose "In The Becoming"?  Because that phrase best describes my current season of life.  To be specific, here are the major life choices I've made in the last few years that have significantly altered the focus of my being:
  • The decision to become a mother: I now have two beautiful young children (two kiddos in two years)
  • The decision to quit my job: more on this in a minute
  • The decision to claim writing as a career and pursue it professionally, taking myself seriously in the process
About the first: it's difficult to describe to someone who has not experienced motherhood, but it completely alters you.  And, from what I understand, in a way that is utterly different than the shift fatherhood creates.  When I was pregnant with my first child I described the physical change like this: I felt like an alien had taken over my body and I was no longer in control.  I still think that description holds true.  As a mother (a birth mother, to be specific), you physically co-create another human being.  The energy - physical, emotional, spiritual - this requires is magnificent.  Your whole body becomes focused on one thing: creation.  You can't think, eat, breathe, walk, even talk the same.  You are wholely internally focused.  As such, you both begin to examine yourself and forget about yourself at the same time.

The metaphysical - yes, even spiritual - process I went through with these two pregnancies, to sum it up, brought me freedom.  Most think of children as tying one down.  Not me: having my children released me in a way I did not expect.  Everything trivial ceased to matter.  I was no longer bogged down by the worries and cares of - frankly - stupid things like "does so-and-so like me?" or "am I cute enough?" or even "is my boss pleased with my job performance?"  For the first time in my entire life I can honestly say that I have started living for me, that my opinion of my choices and performance matter most.  Not in an ego-centric, prideful way; but rather in an "I have too many other things to worry about" way.  Quite simply, self became center in order to create space for other.

When I stopped pouring energy into others' opinions of my self - fueled by the fear of rejection, effectively - I found space to love.  More effectively and more completely because I could engage love with more of me.  And love is the most important thing: love of God, love of self, love of husband and kids.  These things are the real fuel that keeps me going.  The process of both giving and receiving love.

Ultimately, that's why I decided to quit my job.  I found it was sucking up way too much of my energy.  The job space turned into a black hole that sucked in calling, creativity, sense of self, healthy pride in my accomplishments and much more.  Staying in it was the opposite of love (of self or the others in my life).  I needed to make a clean break with that season in my life in order that I might move more fully into the next.  Again, the key word here is freedom.

So now I find myself starting a new season.  I will label this season Becoming because it feels transitional to me.  I am starting things, trying things, moving in the freedom that comes from self-acceptance.  Each day I am becoming more at home with myself as a mother (soon to be a full-time stay-at-home mother!).  I am also claiming the title writer as I move in that direction, backing up my words with actions like writing this blog, submitting manuscripts of various finished works, networking with other writers, etc.  I am thrilled to be here.  I've been walking toward it for fifteen years (when I first felt a calling to write) and now here I am, actually doing it!  It feels amazing.  Now is the time, now is the season, now is the becoming.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Funny Things Kids Say

I've been wanting to share this story for a while now because it still brings a smile to my face.  About a month ago my son and I were talking as we drove down the road.  We were exploring gender together.  It went something like this:

"I'm a boy.  Daddy's a man.  Sister's a girl.  You're a girl."

To which I responded: "well, yes, but to be more specific I'm a woman."

His reply, with a big toothy grin: "nooooo, you're not a woman; you're a mommy!"

I laughed out loud.  How true.  This came in the middle of a season I believe all moms experience: a season where I felt truly identified by all-things-mommy and no-things-self.  I had been struggling with this and was just coming out on the other side when my son announced his apt observation.  Thank God I had worked through most of my angst; otherwise, I would have burst into tears instead of laughter.

It was my husband who helped me.  He noticed I was short with my kids and generally seemed to be in a bad mood all the time.  He also noticed that I did nothing - absolutely nothing - for myself.  From the moment I woke up I was taking care of kids, going to work, taking care of kids, taking care of the house, and collapsing into bed.  I didn't go out with friends.  I didn't let the laundry sit an extra day in order to rest.  I didn't tell my son "no", "not now", "wait" while I spent time doing something I wanted to do (like writing) for one simple reason: guilt.

Letting myself become defined by my kids actually prevented me from doing what I wanted to do most: love my kids well.  I was hurting them because I was angry, resentful, impatient.  I had allowed things to become out of order.  By putting my kids first, I was actually making them come last.

My self - my body, my brain, my psyche - was screaming for help, for care.  When I realized that it was absolutely necessary for me to tell my kids no and take care of myself first, then I was able to take care of them better.  When I left my husband to do the dishes by himself and to take care of the laundry, I found I was able to give him more of myself when I returned.

I know this sounds obvious.  I wager that many non-married folks could have lectured me on the need to love thyself first in order to have love to give.  BUT - trust me on this - it's a heck of a lot harder when you're staring into a two-year-old's eyes and have to tell him no. 

Now, when I find myself in that situation and begin to waver, I simply remember the ironic wisdom he shared with me that day in the car.  And I think: "yes, I am a mommy, but I'm also a woman.  And to be a good mommy, I must be a woman first."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Beginning

I can't believe I'm doing this.  When blogging first became popular, I confess that I thought it was - at best - stupid.  Nothing more than a way for too many people to share too many thoughts for not enough people that care.  In short, blogging is extremely self-serving.

I'm happy to say that I'm wrong.  Yes, blogging can be self-serving, but so can many things that are good for you (exercise, for one).  It can be self-serving, but it can also be productive, helpful, other-centered.  (Not that mine is - I'm just saying....)

So here I am, laying down my sanctimonious pride and giving this thing a shot.  It is an act of humility.  I want to be a professional writer, so here I am.  It seems to be a prerequisite for publishing today.  And even if it's not, if I have that wrong, I hope that this space will give me an opportunity to flesh out ideas and discipline myself.

As you bear with me, dear Reader, you may expect random opinion-sharing (such as this), links to information that interests me (from politics to religion to parenting - you know, all the tabu subjects), and updates on my budding writing career.  Oh, and hopefully some humorous observations about life as well, probably quoted from my 2 1/2 year old son (who is by far wittier than I am).  Just to be fair, of course, I'll give my 10 month old daughter some quote space as well.  In her words, "nana, UH!, uh-oh, dada".