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I keep writing and giving up. I’ve started no less than 20 posts this week, only to quit one sentence or paragraph in. They’re still in drafts, in case inspiration strikes, but instead I’m going to let it alllll out.
There is a question that plays through my mind every time I sit down to write:
Who am I to think I have anything useful to offer?
It feels pretentious to write some “how to” post when I’m floundering a bit. Everybody’s already said everything, haven’t they?
I can’t even get my butt to the grocery store once a week. I’ve eaten Wendy’s every day this week, and haven’t exercised at all. Self-care? What’s that? Pfft. Bill collectors don’t pat you on the back and tell you to take it easy.
Who the hell am I to write about self-improvement, reaching goals, or health? I can’t even follow my own advice on one bad week. Sleep is important, but apparently I think I’m superwoman or something. Who needs sleep? Not this girl. Sleep deprivation and stress is all the fuel I need.
There is a lot of advice out there about how to be a functioning, happy person. However, that’s part of the problem. To say I am skeptical about “life changing” promises is an understatement, and there are just too many promises floating around. Pay for this course to make 10040232091 dollars! Pay for that course to lose 50 pounds in a week! Barf.
I’m over the expectations.
“They” (whoever “they” are) say that you shouldn’t talk about yourself too much, but instead you should give the reader something to learn, something to take away from your post.
To that I say, with my mouth full of donuts and wearing the same leggings I’ve worn for three days: Can you relate to me now? Huh? Come at me, bro. I’m over it. I’ll write informative posts another day. Today, I’m weirdly pissed off and apparently it’s time to write about that.
I know a lot of things, but my brain doesn’t always want to help me write down the things I know, so we’re going with chocolate donuts and general whining tonight. That’s my Friday night.
When I try to write a “how to” post, I feel preachy unless I am fully, 100% convinced in what I have to share. My family would probably disagree with me, but I don’t typically like telling somebody what to do unless I pushed them out of my body at some point. I assume that everybody is doing the best they can, and my advice is patronizing at best, or painful at worst.
How many different ways can somebody write, “Hey, you need to exercise.” Hey, did you know that you should exercise? You really should exercise.
We’re not stupid. We know that exercise is important. It’s not the knowing that’s the problem. Same with cooking healthy meals, taking time for yourself, and any number of things that can feel like a noose around your neck.
Yes, the expectation for me to be a normal, functioning human being sometimes feels like a noose around my neck.
The very people and things that I am grateful for, I feel suffocated by sometimes. This week is one of those weeks. Every hour, somebody is hungry, forget the fact that they will literally be eating while they are complaining. Somebody wants water, and they are perfectly capable of getting the water. Somebody wants to cook, and then leave dishes everywhere. Bills and body odor, all day every day. It wears me down.
We’re approaching Those Years. I’m about to start waiting for the bus with a hose in hand, ready to spray them down before they get into the house. It’s at that point. I don’t even want to think about summer. Lord, protect this house.
Excuse me. Let me meander back on track.
See, I’m more of a “Here’s my experience, take it as you choose to” kind of person, not a “HERE ARE THREE THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO TODAY” kind of person. I don’t hate on the blogs that do give out that kind of advice regularly, in fact I love them when they’re coming from the right people. It’s simply not how I usually like to write, with some exception.
Here is a very complex illustration of how I view those posts when I’m in one of these moods:
Yet, “they” (those mysterious judges again) say that you have to be an expert at something. If you want people to come back for more, anyway.
Ugh, but me…an expert? Expert at what? Let’s explore this.
My Areas of Expertise
- Eating way too many Baconators (God bless you, Wendy’s)
- Stepping over laundry until we’re wearing ripped loincloths, and the children have built a bonfire in the living room.
- Buying a lot of groceries with great intentions, and then eating fast food the rest of the week.
- Ignoring mail for weeks until I determine that it’s probably “too old anyway” and throw it all away. (My husband handles the mail now)
- Bursting into tears at the worst possible moments. In line at the grocery store? Sure, why not. Let ‘er rip, tater chip.
- Washing all the clothes in the house with the intention to fold them all in one day, and then digging through that pile for two weeks instead.
- Scrolling through Facebook for 5 hours and waking up in another dimension.
Ok, ok. I’m good at a few things for real. In the interest of balance, I’ll list a few.
- Reading minds. Also known as empathizing to a severe degree.
- Building websites. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I am certainly well above beginner status. I’m going to be blogging about that on a different site, though.
- Following court orders. Pro tip: follow your divorce orders if you have a difficult ex. Life goes better when you do.
- Letting go. With God, I’ve gotten much better at giving away things outside of my control. This week, not so much. Most weeks, I am.
- Self-awareness. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m perfectly capable of lying to myself, but I’m also shockingly honest with myself about myself.
Sometimes, this whole peace and serenity thing just doesn’t happen on its own. It does take work. Whudathunkit.
Logically, I realize that I am not alone in this. I’m not actually getting down on myself, I’m having a moment. There are empires built on the lovable screwup stereotype for a reason. We all like to be reminded that we’re not perfect and that’s ok, but sometimes I’d like to feel like I have my crap together for more than a week or so. It would be nice. That’s all.
I’m not entitled to happiness all the time, though. Got it.
So what’s the point of all of this rambling?
First of all, I am a huge fan of actual experts.
I have learned most of what I know from them, and I’m immensely thankful to them. People like Jon Perez (SureFire Web Services) and Lee Jackson (WP Innovator podcast) completely opened my mind to the possibilities with website design and development. The WordPress community is full of experts. I’m not ranting about actual experts here. Those guys, and many others, know their stuff. I know a lot of stuff now, thanks to them and my husband, and I’m grateful.
However, this blog isn’t about WordPress or building websites. It’s a bit more abstract. The Soberistas community changed my life when I was contemplating whether or not to actually quit drinking. They don’t claim to be experts, but they were (and are) helpful.
I simply don’t want to pretend that I am anything other than what I am: a work in progress. I’m an expert at screwing up a lot, and figuring out how to not screw up quite as much. My journey is my journey, and I hope it helps somebody out there, but I would never assume that everybody should do exactly what I’m doing. I’m just not there yet. I may never be.
Look: nobody is perfect, and even though we logically know this, it’s hard to remember in this age of filters. I really, really have to work to focus on progress instead of perfection. I’m real. This isn’t some persona that I’m trying on, it’s just me being me, just as I am. I’m just as much “me” in this tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic post as I am in my calm, peaceful, grateful posts. That’s the beauty of being a human.
Tomorrow is a new day.
I’m going to post this without overthinking it, and then go curl up with my husband and watch a movie. It’s just one of those weird nights. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get a good cry out later. Fingers crossed, right?
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Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around. Read my story...
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