The only thing that annoys me more than some long, drawn-out explanation about why a blogger is taking a break or ceasing to blog is when a blogger just leaves his or her space to linger in web infinity, no new posts but not taking the site down, either. How long do you give a blogger before you stop reading altogether? Which is why I am here to tell you that I am taking a blogging break. I’m not sure how long it will be but the longest it will be is October, which will be my five year blogging anniversary. By that point I imagine I will either resume all of the projects and thoughts I have here ( the Pittsburgh project, the reading through the stacks project, etc), start a new blog, or quit the form. I’ve definitely felt a lack of inspiration every time I come to this space, even though I have dozens of ideas at any given time. I feel it’s lost some of its passion, its spark – there are a bunch of reasons for this. Partly I think it’s because I’ve significantly lost my anonymity over the years…friends, family read this blog and I feel I can’t be as honest or (sometimes) snarky as I want to be. Partly I feel a need to return to journal-writing – pen-to-paper. Partly, I’m just tired.
And, actually, it’s not just blogging that I’m ceasing to do. I’ve decided to cease all personal writing for awhile, as well as any other commitments I’ve made to myself beyond working and exercise. After discussing this at length with S. (and, actually, a bit with my neighbors last night), I’ve decided to treat myself to a big ol’ step back from my own self.
See, this is what I’ve realized: when I started the job I hold now, I never gave myself any time to adjust to my new life. Even though I was coming in at a manager level, even though the work I did stretched across a very large and demanding hospital system, what I felt in an overwhelming fashion was “this can’t be all I do – I must still write – I must still finish/sell that novel so one day I can live the freelance dream” – and so, despite the newness of the job I continued my five a.m. wake up calls to write and regardless of end-of-day fatigue I continued to work out and I found (still find) myself not giving my all to anything in my day because my mind is constantly distracted by what’s next.
Two years later, and nearly six years in the field, and I’ve been nominated as one of six people to a national committee on cancer policy. And once I found out about the nomination I realized how badly I wanted it, and I demonstrated to my boss that serving on this committee despite using work time for it would benefit the organization, and she said okay, yes, of course and then I accepted and then I thought well, shit. How is this going to effect my writing?
It was a terrible thing to feel – that guilt – that writerly guilt. Despite my job, despite this recent nomination – I so often feel like a failure because I can’t prioritize the act of writing every single day and then I feel like a failure because I’m not acting anymore either and God gave me gifts and I’m simply wasting them to be just another douche bag with a blackberry and I can’t even find time to go to yoga regularly or clean my house because I have to write and I have to go to work and I have to make it to the gym because, I mean, there is diabetes in my family and I do not want THAT and what in the world are we going to have for dinner? I should make something nice for dinner because I only see S. fifteen days out of every month.
This is what I realized: all of this guilt and stress is my own making. I can take a time out. So much of what I do is what I think I should be doing rather than what really interests me, and I don’t know why I’m like that! I obsess about making beautiful, local, seasonal meals in my house because that is what seems to be important to everyone when really, I’m so good with half a can of soup and two glasses of chardonnay. I feel terrible if I watch an hour of television instead of read a book for the same amount of time. I feel flickers of resentment if a seven a.m. meeting is scheduled because that is my writing time. And you know what? This has all got to stop. I don’t want to be like this anymore and what’s more, I don’t want to raise children who are influenced by this kind of attitude. I believe I can strike a balance…I’ve met many women who work and engage in the arts and raise children and maintain homes, and I see myself as one of them…a working woman with a family who acts and writes and hosts dinner parties but on my way to becoming one I’ve decided I need a bit of a break – a contemplative time, so to speak. I want to hang out with S., walk my dog, actually commit to my yoga practice several nights a week – all without feeling like something else is suffering from my choices.
A-hem. So. That’s the scoop. Taking a break. Will be back, and will certainly be reading your blogs throughout the time – I can’t imagine ceasing to read blogs! Like the rest of the world I’m also on facebook so you can catch me there, too, if you like. After I post this my break from myself begins – I’ll evaluate every couple of months and see what I am restless for…my neighbor wants me to audition for a play…I don’t know how long I will go without writing…I’ve always needed a variety of artistic outlets but what I need more, right now, is to do what I didn’t do when I first came to Pittsburgh, cut myself some slack, and simply work, and exercise, and rest. Talk to you sometime between now and October!