Long-time readers of this blog may be wondering why I’ve been posting less. Others may have a more direct question: Why have I been so quiet about myself? I guess it’s time to answer.
My focus outward has been brewing for about six months or so, but it became more pressing about a month or so ago after I took Little Girl to a Mommy and me class. It was a class that my mother usually handles since it takes place on a day that I work. That week, however, my mom couldn’t sit for me. She’s been dealing with a very close friend’s serious health issues, so I was without a sitter.
Okay, so it’s not like it was my first trip to this Mommy and me. I had been there before, obviously, and knew some of the women on a, “Oh, hi, the kids got so big,” level. On that day, as always, I spent the class running around after Little Girl. She’s like a whirling dervish. Afterward, however, when we stopped into Panera for a pumpkin muffin top I had a chance to socialize with some of the moms. (Little Girl, seeing her “friends” loudly expressed an interest in sitting with them, and their mommies were kind enough to extend an invitation.)
The next three hours flew by. Little Girl sitting with the kids laughing and having a ball. Me sitting with the moms feeling relaxed and included. I have no trouble admitting that I really enjoyed myself. (I’ll digress a moment here and explain that, unlike my time with Big Girl, I haven’t really had a chance to do a lot of baby/mommy playdates, something I really, really regret and miss. Besides the fact that I have been feeling a little lonely lately. Okay, digression over.)
The women were really nice. The kids were really nice. It was a lovely time. Then, when the women asked if maybe I wanted to get together again, I felt really warm inside. I was actually looking forward to the next week knowing that my mom would be at a doctor visit with her friend.
That week flew by, and it was time for Mommy and me class before I knew it. I spent that class thoroughly enjoying my little girl and her exuberance and love, all the while looking forward to lunch. Afterward, I went back to Panera taking a place at the table with those same moms again. Then something happened. About five minutes into lunch one of the women told me that she Googled me. Something to the effect that my mom had bragged about me and my work so much that she had to look me up. And oh, she read this blog. The other people at the table nodded in unison. Seemed like they all read my blog, too.
Immediately, I felt like I was standing naked in front of them. Quite honestly, I wanted to cry. (And I did once I got into the car.) I smiled my way through the rest of the lunch, but I was pretty miserable the whole time. Especially when they started talking about some of my more personal posts. No, she didn’t just look at my impressive clips. (Yeah, I’ll own that — not too many people write for Time, Woman’s Day, Parents, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other pubs). She looked at this blog, too and in effect took a peek into my soul since it is, for the most part, me. Warts, crazy and all, it’s me. My failings, my fears, my shortcomings. They all had a front row view into my brain.
Now some might say, hey, you put it out there. What do you expect? People read what you write. To that I say yes and no. When I started this blog more than 300-plus posts ago I never thought about new-to-my-life people reading it. I assumed friends, who already know me and like me enough to tolerate my foibles, would read it. I assumed editors would read it. (I hoped they would, actually, because I think it shows people what my unedited work looks like, and that I know how to tell a story.) I assumed other parents or people who don’t know me would read it and find comfort, inspiration, and knowledge in it. But no, I didn’t imagine that, for example, people from my beach club would read it. Or people from Mommy and me. People who I view as potential new friends.
The neighborhood thing, well, that’s my fault. I put it out there on my Facebook page. I truly didn’t think that anyone from around here would be interested in what I had to say. I have a very specific slant, and didn’t figure anyone would bother to click through. Stupid, shortsighted, and obtuse of me, I guess. The Mommy and me people? Well, I use a different last name in those circles. Problem is, I didn’t count on my mother bragging about me. My mother, who shares my maiden name. But whatever.
The problem is that people who don’t know me as a friend assume things from reading this blog. Hard to explain, but it’s almost like they look at me the way someone would look at another public figure. The intimacy is there without the hours of work and mutual sharing that a friendship usually goes through. Hence, the reason I often feel uncomfortable and uneasy when someone who is not my friend talks about something private I have written about. And again, yes, I know if I have written about something in a very public way in a very public forum, it’s not private. But in my mind it is. And now I am going in circles, aren’t I?
Back to the Mommy and me incident: That afternoon I sat in my car, called my husband, and bawled. It was ruined, I said. I couldn’t be friends with those women. It was too PERSONAL, I wailed. They seemed so nice, but how could I grow a friendship when they already had all the dirt on me? My ever-patient husband tried to calm me down telling me that it was okay, and that they obviously liked me even after reading the blog. Little Girl told me she loved me and that I shouldn’t cry. Still, I drove home brushing tears from my cheeks.
And that brings us to today. I’ve been thinking about this and thinking about this. I absolutely love this blog. I love disseminating information. I love the catharsis that comes from spilling my soul onto the page. I love getting emails saying that I helped someone feel better, or that I helped them on a greener (or saner) path. I don’t love knowing that people I meet think they know me after reading what is only a small part of who I am. And I hate it when good friends of mine — people I truly love and respect — apologize for bringing a plastic bag to our house, for instance, or reference something I’ve written about as absolute. In writing, there is absolute. Either you write it or you don’t. In life there are shades of gray, and I like that and live that way.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’ll be launching a new blog in a few weeks as well as giving this one an overhaul. This one will have more reviews, more news, more ways to make positive, healthy green changes. The name of the blog is changing slightly, too. It will become AsNaturalAsPossible.com, although this URL will remain up. In addition, another new, soon-to-be-launched blog will join it, capturing a year of my life in a way that’s more conducive to my social life. Yes, I will still be spilling who I am, but in a different way. (You’ll get it when you see it, I promise!) I’ll wait on announcing the URL until the site goes live, but it should bow soon. I can’t wait…