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insecure icing Where to begin? How about unsweetened honesty? That seems a good place to start.

I'm having a hard time. And I know 'hard time' is so very vague, frustratingly vague, so I will qualify. Recently, I have been feeling a profound, almost crippling tension, between career (book/blog) and family. And I'm not sure why. It could be that LIFE AFTER YES is hitting shelves soon and this writing experience is going from intensely private to incredibly public very quickly. It could be that my girls are getting bigger and are beginning to articulate their sorrow about my frequent absence. It could be that I am coming off a long stint of denial about losing Dad and that I am finally, finally grieving and feeling an urge to shrink back into the nest.

It could be any of these things. Or all of them.

I don't know. What I do know is that I left the law firm for a reason. And that reason was overwhelming and amorphous and only became clear over time. And, now, with the fine benefit of that thing called hindsight, I can see why I walked away. I walked away because that world and that job were sucking energy and joy from me. I walked away because I was stressed out too often. Because I was not happy as much as I thought I should be.

But now? Now I am doing what I love. Writing is my thing. My passion, I dare say. And yet. On many days, I feel stressed, deeply stressed, and not as happy as I should be. I hate to say this, but recently I feel just as I did as when I was a little pinstriped diva in Midtown.

This is not good.

I don't know what to make of this, but, hey, I make something of everything, so I will not shrink from this challenge. And a challenge, it is. How can it be that doing the thing I absolutely love doing is not making me blissfully happy all the time? How can this possibly be?

I don't know. But it's high time to guess. I think it's time to be honest. Blisteringly honest.

This blog thing? It's tricky. I have fallen head over heels in love with this world. It was love at first byte. (Hee.) But. Here I am, almost a year later, and I am having reservations and hesitations. Blogging does not always make me happy. Many, many days, most days, it absolutely does. But some days? Some days are soggy. Some days, I post a vulnerable post and I angst over it. And then I wait for the comments to come. And sometimes, they don't. And I get sad. And insecure. And then I promptly determine that my writing is terrible and I have said something awfully inappropriate and that no one loves me. I actually think these things. I do.

And then? Some days, life kicks my butt. And I have zero time. Zero time to visit my favorite blogs. Zero time to leave comments on my friends' thoughtful posts. And not being able to do these things? It makes me feel sad. And guilty. And inadequate. And you know what? I am a mom. I feel plenty of guilt and inadequacy on a daily basis. I really don't need more of these things.

So. The truth is this lovely little blog is adding somewhat to my existential unrest. And I will keep up with it because I love it like a daughter and it is my creation and I believe, and deeply, that it is doing wonderful things for me and for my writing. But that doesn't mean it's not hard. Because it is. It is.

Where ever am I going? Where ever am I taking you on this fungible Friday in February?

Right here. My family is my sustenance. My cake. And my writing? My career? It is important. But it is my icing. I will only taste it and tolerate it and consume its existential calories if it is yummy and sweet. If it makes me smile far more often than it makes me sulk. I will only write here or elsewhere if it adds to my experience of life. If it detracts, if it depresses, then I'm out. It's that simple.

So where does that leave us?

Right here. I am going to make this place, this blog, fun for me. I am going to write about things that mean something, about ideas that consume me, about the silliness that peppers my parenting days. I am going to stop setting expectations and announcing them. I am going to write what I want when I want. On weekdays. On weekends. Whenever I can and want to. I am going to (try to) stop counting comments as evidence of my worth and start reading them as fabulous fragments of a conversation that I have started! If one of you raises a hand, I will call on you and I will listen to every turn of phrase, and swallow every ounce of inquiry. If one hundred of you swoon for my attention, groovy. It will be a good discussion then.

Conversation. Yes, I promised to tell you about conversations, actual conversations. I know. And I will. But this is a good time to buck my expectations and implore you to wait. I am confident that you do not care as much about my word as I do. Conversation? This is it. This is me. This is the thing that makes me giddy and gives me goosebumps.

Conversation is my icing. This blog is a conversation. LIFE AFTER YES is a conversation. My life is a conversation.

And so. One more time. And with gusto: Where does this leave us?

Right here. I am going to stop letting this blog add to my insecurities. I already have plenty. I am going to make this a fun and philosophical haven. A joint for anyone who is up for big questions and good conversations. And, in this renewed spirit of Ivy League Insecurities, I am going to try to answer every single comment that is left on this blog on this blog.

Every single one.

A silly goal? Perhaps. A foolish quasi-promise? Probably. But if you are here, reading my words, and taking precious moments from your own good and complicated life to leave your own, then you deserve it. Not only do you deserve it, but I deserve it! I am not interested in monologues. I want to start, and then participate in, conversations.

So. If you ask, I will do my best to answer. If you say something, I will make an effort to say something back. And then, if you are a blogger, I will come visit your blog when I get a minute. And if you are not a blogger, I will email you when I get a minute to say thank you and hello. It might not be that minute. Or that day. But I will. Because I want to.

Wait. Hold up.

Aren't I just announcing another expectation? Aren't I just making another rule for myself?

You bet. I never learn my lesson. Never.

Here's what I think: There is nothing more lonely than speaking words, and spilling guts and being met with silence. Believe me. I know. So, I intend to do my best to keep the silence at a minimum.

Welcome to the conversation, friends. Once again.

Let's have fun.

Let's be who it is we are. Real. Raw. Delicious.

Let's be icing.

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Fellow bloggers - do you have moments when you are disenchanted with blogging too? When you find yourself unduly obsessed with traffic, and comments, and feel stretched? Have you left comments on this blog or on others and heard nothing back? How do you ensure that blogging is fun for you, that it is your proverbial icing on life's cake? Non-bloggers - I am confident that this post speaks to you as well. How do maximize the enjoyability of your profession or passion? Do you think that I am being idealistic? Should I just acknowledge the fact that nothing can be fun and anxiety-free all the time?

(Happy Valentine's Day!)

Thank You

A Circle in the Snow