Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Learning From My Picky Eater

Child, Eating, Messy, Happy, Toddler, Kid, Boy

When my son was between 2 and 3 years of age, his palate impressed me and this was something I was so grateful for.  He loved cheeses just like his Mommy.  His favorite sandwich was havarti cheese with basil.  He also did not complain and even asked for more when during breakfast, I would let him have a bite of my toast with my favorite Boursin cheese with garlic and fine herbs.  I thought it would turn him off considering how strong the flavors are (especially for a toddler) but he enjoyed it and it made me proud.  He also ate eggs and scrambled and hardboiled were his favorites.  So, pretty much he ate most anything except of course those with strong non-kid friendly flavors.  I would’ve loved for him to love cilantro but I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic.  Still, generally, feeding him then was quite easy.

Something happened at some point because by the time he turned 4, he wouldn’t touch cheese and doesn’t want to have anything to do with anything that has cheese in it…no cheese sandwich, no mac‘n’cheese, no pizza, no cheeseburger.  He also refuses to eat eggs regardless of the way it’s cooked and it’s driving me insane!  It frustrates and disappoints me because I really thought feeding him would be even easier as he ages; that as his palate matures, I would be able to train him more and introduce more complex flavors.  Maybe I expected too much but the fact remains that I don’t understand how he changed just like that, making it doubly hard to feed him!

And that’s when it hit me.  To put it in simple terms, what happened was that he changed his mind.  That’s all.  And the reason it upsets me, the main reason I find myself thrust into ‘pissosity’ zone when I now feed him and he says ‘no’, is because it’s an inconvenience.  His change of mind (or heart, or palate) is inconvenient for me.  I’m getting upset because I’m forced to find other things to feed him and be more creative with feeding him.  He’s not always picky and he consumes different things from the major food groups.  Medically, he is ‘healthy’ and thriving.  So really my getting upset is because he is not behaving the way I want him to and as a result, I am left with nothing but to adjust. 

In relationships, people are allowed to change their minds.  They can change their habits, preferences, and even the way they feel about us.  One day we are loved, the next day it's all over.  The timing may be all wrong for us, may be inconvenient, but they are entitled to that.  We don’t know when, how, or if it will ever happen, when a change of heart will strike.  So instead of worrying about others changing their minds, the real focus should be on ourselves and how we will conduct our lives amidst all these changes, actual or potential.  In truth, we can really only worry about our selves because it makes no sense worrying about anything that you have no control over.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why I Quit the Blog Challenge

So…I have abandoned the dream of making it to the end of a 31-day blog challenge and as I had previously written, more than anything I think it was a journey to greater self-discovery.  Yes, it was a good writing exercise and a challenge to my creativity, but it also did force me to be honest about my level of commitment to my writing, my writing thought process and my writing style. 

I’ve realized that I’ve been too hard on myself when it comes to potential topics to blog about.  With the blog challenge, I learned that potential topics are everywhere and that it all depends on what perspective you want to apply, how deep you want to dissect, or what piece of the experience you want to magnify.  It was a good mental exercise and it taught me to be more conscious of my existing thought process so that I can challenge it.  Once I challenged what I was used to doing, challenged the route my mind had been so used to taking, it was as if something opened and lit up and I could see more possibilities.  I see more clearly now that all I need to do is to allow myself to explore new avenues…new topics, styles and perspectives.      

That being said, we all know that it’s unrealistic to expect that you can turn a tiny puddle into a well all the time.  First of all, I am not that gifted of a writer to be able to turn something from nothing every single day.  Maybe occasionally it could be done but not when the pressure exists day after day.  Second, frankly I don’t think I have the time and energy given my daily responsibilities.  There are way too many variables in my daily life right now to be able to set aside specific blocks of time for writing and hope that inspiration will pay me a visit during same blocks of time.  It was just too unmanageable for me and I honestly don’t need the added stress.    

Since I started to blog more consistently 2 years ago, I’ve learnt that you can really only survive on here if you quit being (too much of) a perfectionist.  I now see the value in just freely writing sometimes and not having to worry too much about how it will turn out.  But at the same time, I don’t want to lose the identity of my blog site nor my identity as a writer.  Sure, I can write tips and lists and post reactions to videos, but do I want to do this too often just for the sake of publishing something?  Perhaps if my blog had always been in the business of giving lists and tips then that is a different matter.  However, Catharsis has a different character and I would like to keep my essays truly cathartic, at least MOST of the time.  Giving in to the mere pressure of publishing on a daily basis, even though it’s material not reflective of what I truly want to talk about is a betrayal of my sense of passion and personal identity.  It’s something I am not comfortable doing.

I’m not discouraging any of you from participating in a blog challenge.  On the contrary, I think each blogger should try it at least once, if only to see what you’ll end up learning about yourself and your habits as a writer.  Most importantly, I think it reinforces the direction you want your blog to take as it forces you to draw your boundaries in terms of what you will and will not write about.  Ultimately the most important thing is that you remain true to your objectives for writing.  Why do you write and who are you mainly writing for?  These are questions we all need to be clear about as writers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Quit

I dropped the ball.  I failed to post yesterday which means I failed the month long Ultimate Blog Challenge.  I got too busy and I wasn't feeling well so writing had to go.  Honestly, I'm just glad because (1) I at least gave it a shot; and (2) I failed later than sooner.  I really thought I would only last for 5 days but I was able to post everyday from October 4th to the 13th, so...not bad for my first time...I think.

This blog challenge taught me a few things about blogging, but more importantly about myself.  I have to think about that some more and promise to post it next time.  For now, I will leave you with this song from the musical Follies.  It's entitled Losing My Mind and though you can think of this song romantically (as I always have), this also pretty much sums up how I've been feeling and thinking in relation to blogging....."The sun comes up, I think about you; the coffee cup, I think about you; I want you so it's like I'm losing my mind...."


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lunch Bags Were Made For Super Moms

One of my son's most prized possessions (at least since school started) is his Batman lunch bag.  As you can see from the picture, it looks pretty cool since it even has a cape.  

When he saw this at the store, I easily agreed to buy it and didn't bother to argue or negotiate because I noticed its dual compartment feature, as well as this tiny pocket in the front which I thought was just too cute!
Little did I know at the time that this innocent looking compartment would be something problematic for a non-Martha Stewart-possessed-super mom such as myself.  Though I love my son more than life itself, I am not the type that bothers herself with every thoughtful act there is in the parenting world.  In other words, it never occurred to me that having such a 'cutesy' pocket translates to getting 'cutesy' notes from Mom to be read during lunch break.  Eeekkk!!

My first rational defense was, 'Hey, my son is just 4 years old and doesn't know how to read yet.  Love notes would be useless, right?'  WRONG.  Apparently, a lot of the other Moms do not let that basic and commonsensical fact hinder them from being perfect.  They send their notes and the kids then ask their teachers to read it to them. Ahhhh!  Brilliant!  Now why did I not think of that?  Perhaps 'cos I only went as far as Parenthood 101 and never bothered with the master's level?

Well, in the 12 sessions that my son has attended so far in his preschool, I've only sent in a note twice, one saying 'Have fun with the firetruck today!' (but then the firetruck visit was actually postponed); and then the other with a plain 'Mommy and Daddy love you' (thinking that such a message is good for the whole school year so no need to re-send, right?).

Sometimes I'm tempted to write 'crazy', atypical, non-cutesy Mommy notes like perhaps, "Carpe Diem", or "Invest in your good karma today".  But I do have to constantly remind myself that a primary objective is to keep my son from therapy at least until he turns 20.  Lord help me!...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Your Blog Became My Favorite

I read different sorts of blogs and I acknowledge that your niche is your choice and you should just do what you enjoy most.  This is really just an expression of my personal preferences and not meant to attack blogs that don’t fall within my preferred categories.  As my title suggests, these are qualities of my ‘favorites’ and not meant to suggest that these are the only types I read or visit.    

So, what do my favorite blog sites / bloggers have in common?  Let me count the ways…

1.     The layout is easy and straightforward.  There's nothing I hate more than going to a site and getting so confused as to where your posts are, the chronology (so I know that what I'm reading is not older than me), and where to comment.  I love how the fonts are the right size and type, easy to read and the page is not too busy to the point of distracting me from paying attention to what you REALLY have to say.

2.     You are actually saying something I find interesting.  It may not be anything new or anything I don’t already know but you say it in a very relatable, non-pretentious way but still come off as intelligent.  I love reading you because I can understand you.  I love reading you because you are insightful and genuine.  You’re not just selling me something or perpetually endorsing products and services.

3.     I keep coming back for more because you’re not too preachy.  A little moralizing and talk of the Divine here and there, in ‘acceptable’ doses,  is perfectly fine with me.  But if with every single essay you write you either make it feel like a public confession or some attempt to evangelize me, then you probably won’t see me visit you too often.  Like I said, I can only take you in small doses. 

4.     You make me think and challenge my brain.  There’s nothing I savor and value more than feel the wheels turn in my head…but not too much….just the right amount of engagement.  This, after all, should be a relaxing activity and not a stressful one.  You challenge me enough, entertain me enough, spark my creativity enough.  You’re amazingly insightful and even philosophical.  You make me want to be a better writer! *clap clap* 

5.  That being said, your greatness inspires me rather than make me feel insecure, inadequate or useless.  I feel ‘at home’ in your site.  You’re not the kind who always just tells me what to do or what I’m doing wrong.  And remember that insensitive and condescending comment you left on my site, like you know everything and I’m so beneath you?...Yeah, you’re pretty much marked for life so…Sorry but you probably won’t be seeing me much (if at all) at your site.

6.    You seem like a genuinely nice person and you feel ‘real’ to me.  Add to that the fact that when you visit my site, you take the time to comment and are thoughtful as well.  Somehow, something tells me we have things in common which is why reading you makes me feel like we’re having a really engaging conversation over coffee (or tea…with some amazing cookies on the side, perhaps??).

7.    There are certain things about your stories that remind me of home.  You may not necessarily be from the Philippines but somehow I see parallelisms between our lives.  In this sense, your words actually comfort me and feel like a warm hug from someone loved and familiar.

8.     I do love intelligent content, as I said above.  But there are days when I just want to relax and have some eye candy and your site happens to provide exactly that!  Wonderful photos of beautiful homes / interior designs and food never fail to make me smile! 

So there you have it, my list of why I happen to think you’re awesome as a blogger!  It’s your turn now.  Would you mind sharing your top 3 qualifications?  Or maybe you can blog about it too!  I promise to check it out!

*Trophy image credit 
Image: digitalart /

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Passionate Imprints

Passion is a beautiful word.  I feel that it echoes intensity and conjures up images of being swept away, experiencing complete surrender and utter engagement.  The tough part is when someone asks me what my passion is. For me, this question is right up there on the list of ‘Most Complex Questions Ever Created’, in the company of ‘What is the meaning of life’, or ‘How do you solve world poverty’.  It always deserves a long P…A…..U…….S……….E, as well as causes a bit of panic and discomfort. 

I think the challenge in figuring this out stems from the fact that a lot of us are burdened with expectations of being certain of an answer given a time frame, even more perpetuated by celebrities speaking loudly and proudly about their jobs, how they live for and love their jobs and how such jobs reflect their deepest passions.

But maybe this is why ‘work’ is work.  Isn’t this why Karl Marx came up with his theory of alienation and capitalism?  Because given how the world is right now, with most societies functioning under the capitalist mode of production, majority of us work mainly to earn money (a means to an end) and are forced to take on jobs that don’t really call to our ‘inner selves’, nor enhance us much in terms of our natural talents and inclinations.  There are some lucky ones out there and I'm happy for them...those who are completely fulfilled to the core by their jobs.  
As for the rest of us, the not so lucky ones, I say, give it up!  Not your job, but the false notion and expectation that your job/employment should necessarily reflect your deepest passions.  If you love food and cooking, it doesn’t mean you have to be a chef.  Not every music lover can be a musician either or work in the industry.  And what if your deepest passions don’t even have any kind of paid employment to translate to?  What if your passion is collecting crop circle pictures?  You can’t be hired by someone to do just that.
I was very fortunate to have been asked to reflect on this, the question of passion and my journey to finding it.  I'd like to invite you to stop by the Yellow Brick Road and read Samantha Bangayan's interview with me, "How To Live Your Truth".  I hope you'll enjoy it and also derive some insight and inspiration to finding your own path.  You can also read more from Samantha at her blog site What Little Things.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's It Like When You Write?

It's always a challenge to try to figure out what to write or blog about and I find that having a solid topic in mind is having half the battle won.  It's always interesting to hear how other writers do it and fortunately, I came across this Youtube video of Elizabeth Gilbert which I'd love to share with you.  Here she talks about the creative process.  Particularly, she speaks here about where she finds inspiration and generallly what her writing process / routine is like.  

Like her, I find conversations with people quite helpful but I must admit that this is something I don't actively seek. Conversations with strangers mostly just stress me out and rarely do they offer potential material given my style of writing.  Don't get me wrong though.  I'm not discounting the possibility of finding a gem of a topic given such circumstances.  All I know is that generally, it's my conversations with intimate friends that produce creative sparks and intriguing insights that I enjoy exploring.  

When I am struggling, I also find that just going out and being with nature inspires something in me.  For the most part, expect that the result will be something with a sentimental, or even romantic tone.

As far as the writing process per se goes, I always need to be in a quiet and relatively isolated zone.  I find it impossible to follow my thoughts coherently and allow the words to flow well when I'm distracted or when something external is competing with my internal 'noise'.

Lastly, and this I have just recently observed, oddly I find that I seem to be able to write better, easier and faster, when I am using my netbook rather than my other bigger laptop (which now functions more like a desktop since it's perpetually plugged in and can't be taken anywhere).  Somehow, this netbook makes me feel more like a 'writer'.  It doesn't make sense and it may sound strange but it seems to work!  Don't ask my why or how because I know it doesn't have anything to do with 'location'.  Even when the netbook is in the same room as the other laptop, the likelihood of me being able to actually produce something is higher with the netbook than with the bigger laptop...Weird!

Do you have any quirks yourself that help you in the writing or creative process?  What do you do or where do you go when you feel uninspired and are struggling to find a good topic to write about?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Certainty With 50/50

Anna Kendrick and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "50/50"
Hubby and I had a wonderful couples’ evening with my bff and her husband.  We watched the film 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen.  This film, having a cancer diagnosis as its main plot, got me wondering mainly about three things:

(1)  I wonder how many people I meet everyday (walking, shopping, riding the bus, eating in restaurants…) have been given this diagnosis and are now trying to deal with the news and the disease itself.  If I knew what they were going through, would it show on their faces?  What look would they have in their eyes?  Would it show more of fear, anxiety, questions, anger, sadness or resignation?

(2)  I wonder what I would do, what thoughts would initially cross my mind if I were to receive such a diagnosis.  I honestly haven’t thought about this and would need to ponder some more.

(3)  I wonder what I would do and how exactly I would respond if someone close and dear to me were to reveal that he/she has cancer.  I think I dread this more than the second thought above.  I have had family members die from cancer but I was either too young to fully understand what was going on or quite distant to truly feel the impact of it all.  However I have some vague idea as to the depth of pain and hopelessness this diagnosis creates and it is something I am not sure anyone can really prepare for.  I think a big part of the difficulty in battling this disease is precisely because of the sense of hopelessness it creates.  To me, there is nothing more defeating, nothing more draining to the human spirit, than the thought that you've run out of options, that there is no other way out or that everything is futile.

I liked the movie a lot.  It was funny, smart, touching and felt real.  Suffice it to say that it has left me with questions and hypotheticals to reflect on and that generally translates to at least 4 stars in my book!  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lunar Awakenings

What do you see when you look at the moon?

Do you see humanity's triumphs, the brilliance, the discoveries, inventions and the courageous souls who dared to pursue the seemingly impossible?

Do you see the vastness of the universe and imagine what other wonders lie beyond what we are already aware of?

Does it make you hear the call of a distant dream, long suppressed but begging to be awakened?

Does it bring you to worlds not chosen when roads forked and where buried possibilities are now resurrected, reimagined?

Or do you see shadows of a love long gone, almost forgotten, yet has left you with scars that continue to torment?

Howl at me...Behold me...Caress me with your desires...Let my misty gaze transport you, cradle you amidst your most treasured awakenings...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fortune Friday 10.7.11: Ride Your Heart Out

       “Love is a roller coaster.  It has its ups and downs.”

Yes, ups and downs, twists and turns and so many other similarities on so many different levels.  Scary as hell but the thought is too seductive to resist.

Batwing roller coaster from Six Flags America in MarylandIn the beginning of the ride, it’s all about the excitement.  The tightening and the butterflies in your stomach, the unspeakable anticipation driving you forward, overriding all rationality in your brain.  The promise of the thrill entices you and you convince yourself it’s all going to be worth the insanity and danger.

After the thrill, comes the uneasiness and you begin to doubt if this was the right thing to do.  Is this all really worth it?  Slowly, the excitement turns to trepidation and those butterflies in your stomach now make you want to throw up.  But you can’t get off now.  You can’t quit.  You must see how and where this will go and how it’ll all turn out.  Deep down you know you want to test your own limits.

In the end, as you live to tell the story, no matter how it went and how your experience was, ultimately, anyone who has tried it walks away with pride for riding through all of it. And whether you've had enough or you’ll say you want to go for another ride, the thing about love and roller coasters is that you just have to try it, at least once in a lifetime.  You just absolutely have to.  

Oh and one other important thing...Let's remember that both falling in love and the roller coaster are rides that only brave people take.    

Are you a roller coaster fan?  What other similarities can you add to the list?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Soulful Hands

I have awful looking hands.  The skin looks so dry and dehydrated, cuticles cracked and the skin surrounding my nails peeling.  I try to maintain the shape of my nails but I don’t always succeed.  Let it be said, (and this may come as a total shock to most of you), that I have never had a manicure and pedicure done ever.  ‘Self-service’ doesn’t count, does it? 

No, I don’t live outside of civilization, if that’s what you’re wondering about.  It’s just that I think it’s not a necessity, nor a luxury I can’t do without.  It’s one of those expenses I simply can’t justify especially since I know the results can be so fleeting.  I know my nails could look gorgeous after going for the service.  However, can that sublime effect really last given that I’m constantly washing my hands, washing dishes, sanitizing my 4-year old and then wait for everything to be dirty to be cleaned up again?  It’s one of those things I know I can do myself and one thing I would rather stay practical about.

Image by: Mart

They say you can tell a lot by a person’s hands.  I’ve always felt my hands were alright.  They’re far from gorgeous and like I said, they’re dry and peeling in some areas, but I’ve never been self-conscious about them.  Until….one day a couple of years ago, I was walking in the mall, pushing the stroller with Noah in it, and this salesman, selling beauty products, particularly lotions, I assumed, stopped me, and immediately zoomed in on my hands.  Then with such a tone of horror in his voice, he made it known to me how horrible my hands looked and that I absolutely needed some serious moisturizing.  Granted he was out to sell me something and that I need not take him too seriously, the point is that I’ve never felt so bad about my hands until that moment. 

I didn’t want to waste my energy arguing with him, defending my lifestyle choices considering he was a nobody in my life.  Nevertheless, I still thought it was one of the meanest things ever said to me, not to mention unjust.  Who was he, judging my hands that way? hardworking hands…these hands that care for a child and husband…these hands that run a household…hands that love and teach and comfort.  Those that truly know what these hands can do have no ill judgment towards them, but feel full acceptance and even reverence.      

Despite the less-than-ideal appearance of my hands, they are mine and have done so much for me and those I love.  Whether your hands spend their days caring for your children, or a sick family member, aging parents, teaching other children, defending the country, creating art, healing others or doing any kind of work to support you and your family…love them, and know that they are beautiful and precious.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tongue-Tied With Trivialities

After watching the morning news today, Live! with Regis and Kelly followed and for the first time, I actually sat down and listened to them.  (Oprah used to be in the same time slot which explains why I’m a Regis and Kelly virgin, up until this morning).  Other than their sense of humor and chemistry, what fascinated me most was how smoothly they segued from one topic to another.  First it was sports…then flowers…then bullying….then bread rolls and how Regis loves them…which led to gluten and celiac disease….then tuxedos making a comeback…then off to giant snails in Florida.  I was so taken by their skill at making conversation and making it seem so effortless (granted it helps they’re getting paid A LOT and have done this for years for a living) that I couldn’t help but wish I had even just a fraction of their talent.
I've admitted countless times before that I suck at small talk and making conversation. Normally after three minutes, I'm out...speechless...scrambling inside my head for something interesting to say or just anything that would make sense. Then I get nervous which all the more makes me look and sound like an idiot because at this point, my pronouns and prepositions get all messed up (note: non-US-raised Filipinos are known to be preposition-challenged) which makes me even more self-conscious about looking like a total loser.  I would much prefer doing away with all the small talk and jump into deeper, more meaningful conversations. However, life doesn't work out this way does it?

I remember an observation my ex-therapist made.  (And yes, I saw a therapist for 6months two years ago, so get over it!).  Of course we talked about relationships and she knew how my ex-boyfriend proposed to me after a month of speaking with me online; and then how my then-boyfriend-now-husband also proposed marriage after less than a month of my arrival here in the U.S.  I also kept mentioning to her how I would much rather talk about the deeper, more intense things, than do the casual 'small talk'.  She said, " have a pattern of wanting to skip the process and just jump right in."

As soon as she said that, I knew she made an important point.  Though some relationships can skip the trivial things, the more normal process is really to go from shallow to deep.  Really, what would make sense is to dip your toes a little bit to test the waters, walk slowly as you gradually get totally immersed.  The problem is, perhaps I am impatient and just want to know immediately if I'm compatible with someone, rather than go through the process and 'waste time'. But relationships don't work out this way and there is no instant litmus test that one can use to know if one is worth knowing and pursuing.  You really just have to do the work.  

And it's also not as simple as being impatient.  The problem with my sense of inability ALSO seems to stem from (again) my lack of confidence.  My best friend and I are the same and we agreed that, unlike our spouses who can seem to talk with anyone about anything, we never feel comfortable enough to ask questions.  And conversations between strangers really do start from questions don't they?  How will you know what common things you have if you don't ask? How will the other person know if you're even interested in getting to know him/her if you don't ask questions about them?  The trouble is, I always feel like it's prying, or I'm scared to overstep boundaries.  I tend to overthink and get overly careful not to offend anyone with my questions or not to seem too curious, or too ignorant or too whatever. 

Ultimately, I think I'm overly concerned with the other person's judgement or perceptions of me, rather than just be genuinely concerned with what the other person has to say and what possible relationship could develop.  I'm too concerned with putting my best foot forward all the time which is insane, not to mention, too self-absorbed.  

I need to get over least a a time.  If indeed I am interested in establishing connections, then it should really be about the 'other' and not myself; to get to know the other person more, hear their voice, their stories, instead of being deafened with my imagined negative judgement of me.  And like I said, self-confidence has an important role here.  I need to also remind myself that as I talk with others, it's not just me being assessed, as if I'm out there to pass others' tests.  I'm also an active participant, assessing them, their character and if indeed, we gel enough to walk together towards the deeper end.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Excuses Do Get Old, You Know....

A few days ago, a blogger friend of mine sent me an invitation for a month-long blog challenge and I was both surprised and honored (after being petrified, that is).  It was great that she thought of me and knowing her and how seriously she treats her writing, I felt that this was not just another aimless challenge for participants.  Well, this invitation actually caused something utterly shocking.  I said yes and clicked on that ‘JOIN’ button.  Yes, I decided to take on the challenge and though I am four days late, I figured it would not hurt to just do my best to keep up from this day forward.

So what was so shocking about me saying yes, you might ask.  Well, if you knew me, you’d understand.  You would know that one serious ailment I suffer from is having an overactive excuse muscle.  I make excuses to not put myself out there.  I make excuses so I can just stay put within my comfort zone.  I make excuses so I don’t even have to try, ergo avoid any sort of sense of failure.  And as with any muscle, the more you use and flex it, the more developed it becomes.  It becomes effortless in time and simply becomes an automatic response.

I’m fine where I am.  I don’t need change.  I’m scared of change.  Let me stick to my routine so I don’t mess anything up.  Oh I’ll be very busy this month.  We have a trip coming and it will be impossible to post and make time for writing.  Where will I get ideas?  I’m sure I’ll run out of ideas and I’ll just fail at this.  I don’t want to be someone who just posts garbage but I’m not sure I can commit to posting quality essays everyday for a month!  That’s insane!  I can’t do this!  Who can do this?  I have a life and a family to attend to, you know!!!!

That was just approximately two minutes in my frazzled head and that was probably just a percentage of the countless excuses I actually came up with.  Fortunately, after about maybe 20 minutes more and the muscle finally got tired, there was enough energy left for my ‘why not?’ daring muscle and it finally kicked in.

Why not?  What the heck!  Let’s do this and see where it goes!  How bad can it be?  See how much you can do, how well you can do!  Challenge yourself.  Just give it a shot.  It won’t hurt to try or even fail.  It’ll be a good exercise and new experience for you.  You might be surprised at what you could learn.  Breathe and stop being so scared.  You can NEVER plan for everything anyway, EVER, so just do it now.  If not now, when?  When will you ever say you’ll have enough time and energy?  Say YES for a change and take the plunge!

As soon as I said YES, as soon as I allowed myself to imagine the possibilities, I felt energy.  Yes, there is still fear and worries of not being able to write on some days.  But that is the essence of the challenge…to try to just dive in, take a free fall and believe that something will come to you and that you can live through it.  It’s all about committing and just saying yes and with this simple invitation to a blog challenge, I truly realized how afraid I have been; how wrapped up in self-sabotaging thoughts I am; and how much of a commitment-phobe I’ve become to an extent.  It seems I’d been so afraid of committing to anything that would require my focus and time because I always think it’s no longer mine to give.  What if something comes up at home?  What if I need to do something for my son and husband?  And yes, something will surely come up but it will be a decision for me to make and it will be my time to give.  I still have Me and I need to give time for myself as well…time to explore what I can really do, what I love to do and where this new-found passion for writing will take me. 

The challenge is on and with a simple thought of YES and a simple click on JOIN, I felt myself ignore a road block…something I myself create over and over, and now that I’ve been able to ignore one, who’s to say I can’t do it again?

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Blogosphere Turned A Paler Hue

I got my dose of shock for the day.  As I was looking at my Blogger dashboard and scrolling through blogs to visit and read, I decided to click on one I haven't visited in about a month or so.  I've been extremely busy with the move and other things, as you all know, so I've fallen terribly behind on reading and commenting.  Well, when I clicked on the blog and was taken to the actual page, I was shocked to find that the latest entry was about someone's funeral...someone by the same name as the blog author herself!  I wasn't sure at first, thinking maybe I remembered her name wrong so I decided to scroll down and read on.  Unfortunately, it was not a mistake on my part.  

The author, this wonderful blogger, has died.

She has been suffering from an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing spondylitis and though her blog entries have her condition as its context, the most amazing thing is that more than anything, she blogs about faith and choosing joy.  I've always thought of her faith as remarkable as not once did she doubt the purpose of her life or her disease. She has always been an encouraging voice and I feel that somehow, this was partly the reason why I stopped reading her when I was heartbroken and faith-broken after my miscarriage. It felt like having someone constantly urge you to look in a certain direction you are not prepared for or are unwilling to see.  Her words of faith have always been gentle, nothing too preachy, but I was really just unwilling and too hardened to even hear or see the word G-O-D.   

I still have my scars and know deep down that a part of me still resists God.  But the funny thing is that as soon as I found out about this blogger's death, my instinct was still to close my eyes and say a prayer for her soul.  And I meant it, not just a hollow knee-jerk reaction type of thing.  

I never met this person.  I only read her words that helped me construct her image, her life, in my head.  But her loss feels real and even if only for a brief moment, I could honestly say that I also grieved.  There will be no more blog entries from her, no more reminders of choosing joy, faith and gratitude, despite our pains and discontent. But I know that her 'voice', filled with grace, will always linger and continue to inspire, with shades of her happy energy tainting countless lives despite her physical absence.  

We take a lot of things for granted.  We take for granted the virtual community that surrounds us, the countless real individuals whose realities intersect ours only in the digital world.  But they are nonetheless important to us and influence us in real ways, some more than others.  I take for granted that my favorite bloggers and blogger friends will always be there.  But the truth is, one day, they can just quit, get sick or for whatever reason, find it impossible to still write and publish online.  This has been such a wake-up call for me to savor the wonderful reads I find in the blogosphere.  Most importantly, I now want to make sure that I tell my favorite writers how much I appreciate them, how much their words touch me and how their insights continue to echo within me long after the tapping on their keyboard stops.  
Words, when well chosen, have so great a force in them, that a description often gives us more lively ideas than the sight of things themselves. --- Joseph Addison