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perils of perception perils of perception

perils of perception

The good news is that my family reads my blog. The bad news is that my family reads my blog.

Good news. First of all, I am not sure who in my family reads and who doesn't. I don't need to know this. But I do know that several of my family members check in here pretty regularly. And you know what? I'm not going to be coy. This means the world to me. This means the world to me because whether or not I've done a good job of conveying it here on ILI, family is my number one. Husband and the girls. My family of origin. My family by marriage. My scattered extended family. That even a small percentage of this vast Donnelley/Rowley crew is taking time out of busy days to come here and read my words makes me happier than I can even articulate.

Bad news. The bad (and patently also very good) news here is that my family members know me and care about me. My family is privy to the bigger picture of my life. Simply stated, they have more of the story. As they should. My family members are more invested in Me. So, in many ways, in important ways, my family members come here to read for a different reason. They come here ostensibly to catch up on Aidan and Aidan's life. And often I give that window. I love giving that window. But here's the rub: This blog is not all about giving that window, about catching people up on my family.

This blog is about more.

This blog is changing even as I write this. I am going where it leads me. I am at the mercy of an evolution I commenced but no longer completely control. Here, I am asking questions. Questions that occur to me and interest me. Questions about deeply human things and universal themes. Questions that affect us all. Hard questions. And in asking these questions, in rooting them in my own life, I sometimes veer slightly from the script of Happily Ever After (even though, let's face it, my life pretty much fits that bill).

Sometimes. Sometimes, on this blog, I write love letters to Husband. Sometimes, I write about chandeliers or celebrities. Sometimes, I explore my deep, inscrutable love for my little girls.

But sometimes. Sometimes, on this blog, I talk about things like sadness or loneliness or longing or grief. I talk about these things because, yes, I feel them on occasion, but also, more so, because I know that you do. These things are aspects of humanity. We cannot pretend they don't exist. Oh, wait. We do pretend they don't exist. All the time. We are master pretenders, aren't we? For better or worse, I am intolerant of Make Believe when it obscures basic truths about which we should not be ashamed.

And sometimes. Sometimes, on this blog, I wonder aloud who it is I am, what I want, what the good life entails. These topics, by their very nature, are not rainbow. They are not the stuff of Hallmark cards. They are gray, layered, more difficult. I know this. I think you know this.

Fine. But still. There might be a problem. A perception problem. If someone comes to my blog and reads my most recent homily on Sunday sadness, my brief inquiry into that timeless distinction between loneliness and solitude, a perception is formed. What if that perception is of personal struggle and sadness? What if that perception causes concern?

The prospect of my words worrying and hurting people whom I know and love? It breaks my heart. I mean it.

The truth? First of all, I don't pretend to know what truth is or claim to know how to express it. With that caveat aside, here it is: I am a very happy thirty-one-year old wife and mother of two. I am madly in love with my husband and infatuated with my beautiful girls. I love to write, to ask questions, even impossible ones, and it is a genuine privilege that I get to do these things here every day. I have tremendous friends, new and old, who keep me smiling. And I love my bigger family, beloved creatures who are scattered near and far who read my words and care enough to worry about me. I have a good, glittery life. I do. I feel immensely fortunate. I do.

Okay, there you have it. The Truth. But is it okay that I don't want to scrutinize the sunshine every day even though it's there? Is it okay that I am personally and philosophically curious about life's clustered clouds and periodic storms? I hope so. I hope these things are okay.

This is my blog. It's not my life. Every word I write here is true, but there are so many other words that aren't showing up here. That's the way it should be, right?

Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring.


If you are a blogger, does your family read your blog? Has that caused any issues? How often do you think about how people perceive you online or off? Do you think that if we think about perception and appearances too much it can be paralyzing?

Forgetting & Forgiving

Sweet Sunday Solitude