Thursday, July 8, 2010

identity crises

I've had many crises of identity in my life.  Oodles.  Motherhood was a big one, for sure.  Still is, some days.  I embraced it wholeheartedly from the beginning, threw my entire self and soul into life at home raising the kid(s) and being a supportive, help-my-wife-get-out-the-door-to-work kind of wife, and then woke up one day awhile back and realized that I didn't know where heck I'd gone.   This realization is, in large part, what led me to this blog, and to writing.  In so many ways, big and small, this pithy, sarcastic, and yes - often grouchy - blog is where I could balance the me part of me with the wife and the mother parts of me.  It's been a bit of a lifesaver, really.  It's space where, to steal a phrase from second wave feminist discourse, my personal can be political.

After starting the blog, I also discovered and starting writing for a web based mothering zine, which was a huge boost to the self-esteem that had been waning for quite some time.  I started to entertain thoughts of trying to freelance for, you know, actual pay.   Then I started getting really grandiose and thinking that maybe I could write a book, or a collection of essays.  Even more grandiose - maybe, just maybe, someone might publish it.  And then the downer.  I got an email today from the site I'd been writing for suggesting that my writing is too negative, too reactive, not constructive enough.  There were other criticisms, but the main gist was that I wasn't the "right fit" anymore.  (To be fair - they said "I love your writing but..... it doesn't fit our site."  Talk about taking me down a notch.  Or three. 

I wrote back a really cordial response.   (For real, not for sarcastic).  I (quite grown-up-edly I think) refrained from saying things that were, you know, not constructive.  And then I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling kinda like the houswife who thinks she's gonna make it big selling Mary Kary and win The Pink Cadillac, only to discover she's crap at selling shit.    (Get those stars outta your eyes, Mama T).    

Here's the thing.  I am cranky by nature.  This is part of my dubious charm.  I am sarcastic by nature.  This is also part of my dubious charm.  I am highly sensitive by nature.  Again, dubious charm.  I am also fairly depressed by nature.   This is not part of my dubious charm, but it seems I'm kind of stuck with it.   These  things in combination work together to create my sense of the world and how I see it.   It's not always pretty (Really. You can ask my wife for verification).  It's not always sunny.  It's certainly not always positive  (although I do crack myself up more than I should admit -whether or not I have the same effect on others is again in the dubious department).   But it is always profoundly me.  I'm cranky.  I'm often mad at the world (though frankly I think the state of the world should make more people pissed off, which, you know, makes me madder).   I have trouble seeing the silver lining sometimes.  Okay, oftentimes.  I'm unrepentantly sarcastic, which probably comes off as caustic now and again.  I'm fairly self-absorbed.  And I'm hyper, hyper aware of all these short-comings (and many, many more that I could add to this list).  Us cranky, sarcastic, pissy people tend to have deceptively thin skins.

But there you have it.  The reason I no longer have the "you can read my posts on _________", is because you probably can't read my posts there anymore, at least not on a regular basis. 

Now me and my thin-skinned, reactive, non-constuctive, negative self are off to lick some wounds.  And maybe drink some wine.  And ponder this next crisis of identity.


  1. UGH. I happen to be a silver lining kinda gal ... wait ... I am NOT a gal ... woman? Am I a woman?
    Anyway, that is who I am & I really enjoy your writing! Is it because I know you? Because I can relate to it on some levels? Because I, too, am a writer? Etc.
    At any rate, whether I take it to heart or tongue in cheek, your writing is valuable and something for the world to see.
    Just let this experience be fuel to your creative fire. Your niche is out there, there is a publisher out there who can't wait to sign you.

  2. Aw Danes - you are the sunny yin to my grumpy yang ;-) (Thanks hon.)

  3. I love your writing. I want to return to regular writing myself. Let's start our own mothering zine. It can be as cranky as we want it to be. Screw the perpetually cheerful folks.