Looking Elsewhere

Yep. Still thinking about this shit. Still writing about this shit.

I have been thinking a lot about the women that I follow (they are usually moms), who gradually walk away from their online spaces (and I want to take a moment to stress again that this is not what pisses me off, at all, I totally understand when life gets in the way or blogging just stops being important). While there is a part of me that doesn’t quite understand how one walks away (only because I seem so incapable of doing so) there is another part of me that suspects that the women who walk away have fuller lives than I do, that they don’t need their spaces because they are getting what they once got from their blogs somewhere else. Or maybe they just don’t need to get what they once got from it, because they’ve moved on. Or perhaps they just have so much else going on that they literally can’t write. (Maybe they are actually keeping their houses relatively clean and their family fed with interesting, healthy, balanced meals–two things I fail miserably at daily.) Mostly I assume that they don’t need to be in their internet spaces because they feel fulfilled in their real lives.

And the truth of the matter is, I don’t.

I just don’t feel that fulfillment in my everyday life. Something is missing. And the only place I can get a little of what is missing, is here.

But I wonder if I were to step away, would I find ways to get that fulfillment elsewhere? I don’t know. I doubt it, but maybe that is just my fear talking. Maybe I need to make myself step away so that I’m forced to look elsewhere for the processing opportunities and support I’m getting here.

Yesterday I sat next to Mi.Vida, tears streaming down my face, and confided that I just didn’t think I had it in me to move classrooms again. I explained my fears about being isolated in my new classroom, away from everyone and everything, unable to even join the staff for the short break (my room used to be NEXT DOOR to the staff room and across the hall from the office, so I could see people during the short opportunities I had to do so). Without a lunch break to see other adults, I’ll literally not see anybody over the age of 13 ALL DAY until he gets home. How am I supposed to stay sane?

And he rubbed my leg and he said he was sorry, and then promptly looked back at his computer screen. It was clear the conversation was over.

That isn’t enough. It’s just not enough for me. I need more. When I sit myself down and show him how vulnerable and scared I feel, I need more than that. That is when I need a friend. That is when it hurts so much not to have someone I can call. That is when I sit down and write a Toxic Stress Dump and feel at least a little bit better.

{And yes, I know I should have pulled him away from his computer and TOLD HIM what I needed. I’m going to do better next time. It’s just hard and I suck at it.}

So that is where I am right now, wondering if the people who can, and do, gradually step away, are able to do so because they have something in their lives that I am lacking. Even if that isn’t the case, I know *I* would need to find something somewhere else, or leaving this space would be too hard. And yet, I think I do need to step away some. I think I really do need to rely on this space, and this community less, and while I’m contemplating different ways that might play out, it’s clear it will take me while to figure out how to ultimately do it.

This space, and this community have meant more to me than I ever could have fathomed when I wrote my first post almost five years ago. This space has helped me learn who I am in ways than nothing else in my life ever has, and the people who read and comment here have validated me in ways I never felt validated before. This space has been invaluable to me, and I want to honor that with whatever decisions I make for the future. I hope I can figure it all out.

What does your blog space mean to you? Do you ever contemplate changing the way you blog? Have you already? What might cause you to do so?

14 responses

  1. I wonder if you’re falling into the trap I often do: believing that other moms, other women, other people have their shit together when I clearly can’t handle my own life. I think the reasons people walk away from blogging are varied, and it might not actually be related to feeling fulfilled OR keeping clean houses OR being happy OR not needing a place to put their Toxic Dumps.

    All I can speak to is my own story, which is that I don’t blog because I feel like what I think about/obsess over is kind of stupid. Like first world problems, and about halfway through a draft of a post all I think is “really, Serenity, who cares?” So I stop writing and can never pick up another thread. But for certain, it’s definitely not because I am fulfilled. (In fact, I often wonder if I even have the capacity for fulfillment. Sometimes I feel like my mind likes to sabotage any good feelings I do allow myself to have.)

    One of the hardest things to swallow about being done with family building is that I didn’t expect to still have this hole inside me, the part of me that keeps asking “really? Is this IT?” I suppose I expected once I came to terms with our infertility and acceptance that we were done family building, I’d magically be content and happy. Or something. And in some cases, it’s easier for me to justify being unhappy – after all, I never did get that second child I so very much wanted. But I have this sense that even if I DID bring home my ghost child, I’d have had a few months of bliss, then looked up at my life and said, “wait, this is IT?”

    I don’t think you have an unhealthy relationship with this space, nor do I think you necessarily NEED to go look for your fulfillment elsewhere. The beauty of blogging – and of life – is that you get to define your space and your life the way you want. Figure out what’s important to you, what’s a need, what fills your cup, and then try and figure out how to get it… or at least some semblance of what you need.

    Not sure I’m making sense. Hugs, though. Here and abiding with you as you figure it all out.

    xoxo

  2. I don’t think you necessarily need to step away from this space either. And I bet there are a lot of readers out there who are actually envious of you and what you have here- an ability to articulate so well exactly how you are feeling and put it out there so bravely- and you get validation and support from friends. Yes, friends. Sure, it IS nice to have friends you can call up and meet for dinner- it is, and I think you should pursue that- but THIS, what you have here, is very very special too. I wouldn’t walk away from this.

    I am sorry about Mi.Vida’s reaction/lack of real support last night. R does the same thing- I was really down last week and “I’m sorry” is about all I got too. I think we are fed this line that men are “fixers”- but not all of them are. Some of them get so paralyzed when their women are upset that they do nothing- it’s frustrating.

    Hugs to you- and I’m serious- the next time you need someone to talk to- call me.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with Serenity and Elizabeth. I don’t have my crap together. My house is a wreck. My family, while I do love them…they’re not taking up my time with their awesomeness. True story.

    I am one blogger who just doesn’t have the determination like you do to sit down and write. I wish I did. I really do. I read your blog and sometimes I don’t comment but I read it and think to myself, “this is one educated, articulate, woman. Why can’t I write posts like this?!”

    A lot of my toxic dumping goes to my co-workers/friends, who are also working moms of 1 or 2…or 4! But they totally understand where I’m coming from, what I’m going through and sympathize with me. At times, most of them have solutions to my stupid, first world problems.

    I do hope you continue this lovely blog. I enjoy your words. They speak to me.

  4. I haven’t been blogging lately because of my job. It is pretty all consuming – 90 hours a week sometimes. I wouldn’t say I’m super fulfilled and so I stopped blogging, more that I literally just don’t have time. I’d suspect this happens more often than you would think. Life has intervened.

    When I was a SAHM I felt very isolated. I think your job is also isolating. I think your concerns and need for friendship in any way are totally valid. The reason there are so many mommy bloggers out there (the largest category of bloggers by far) is because being a mom can be terribly isolating! So many women feel that way. So don’t feel weird or alone, or let that one comment gnaw at you. You’re in good company.

  5. I can guarantee you my life is not fuller than yours. I am constantly thinking about things I should write on my blog. I think I’ll take a few minutes during the girls’ morning nap, while Piglet is playing on his own for a bit, but that’s when I usually get a chance to finally take a shower. Then I aim for after they all go to bed, but by the time that happens and I’ve washed bottles, taken out the trash, folded laundry, etc., it’s close to 9:30 pm. I’ll turn the TV on, thinking I’ll just watch a little bit, and because TV is a usually great relaxer for me, and inevitably, I’m asleep within a half-hour. The cycle then repeats itself the next day. I have so much I want to put down, especially for posterity’s sake, and I’m failing at getting it done. The irony is I’m jealous of how great a job you do at keeping your blog going! I love reading your stuff, and it’s one of my favorite blogs. Not sure if any of this helps, but I would definitely miss reading you if you posted less frequently or stopped altogether.

  6. Obviously my situation is unique but I had to stop blogging because of the change in my life situation. I’ve been reading, but I feel so disconnected from this community I can barely stand it. I feel guilty reading and not writing or commenting much. I’m also feeling like my life changes have isolated me as very few if any people in this community can understand where I am in my life journey. I’ve been writing, but strictly privately. I’ve thought about starting a new blog, but again who wants to read about the shit show that is my life. No one has it all, especially a mom of 2 young children, and a working mom at that. Sometimes spending time with my kids, which is limited now due to my situation, is more important than anything else. I’ve set aside the things I enjoyed in life to enjoy the time with my children. I believe we all need friends. Unfortunately, I like you am very isolated. No one wants to hang out with some one in my situation. It’s rather depressing. So know that you are not alone in your feelings…I think we all feel a bit alone, in this community or IRL. Some of us more than others for sure. HUGS! I hope you find what you’re looking for….I still haven’t found it.

  7. I have so much I want to write… and zero time. Right this second I’m stealing time from dissertation writing… but you are important to this community and it’s worth it to let you know that. I regret terribly that I’ve been so MIA the past couple of years. I read your posts and think dang, I should make the time to write like E does. Envy is pernicious and will always find a place to put down root in the soils of our dissatisfactions.

  8. I’ve been meaning to comment on your blogs recently and failing miserably. I think blogging is a priority for you in a way it isn’t for others. I write a lot when depressed, hence when I did readingeachpage.blogspot.com but now not so much (and I need somewhere more private to vent than that blog). No one has it together, but people deal with it differently.

    I too wish I had more close friends. I’m actually jealous of all the blog friends you seem to have and commenters, since I never had that. Are there places you could go with you kids after work with adults? Maybe play groups or story time? It’s so hard making friends as adults, but finding other local moms might be a good start.

  9. I don’t even know what to say because everyone else has said it so well.

    I blog for myself, to have something to look back on – to reflect on. I had so much more time with just one child, and I struggle now to write anything beyond a kid or fitness update. Right now though, the kids and fitness are at the forefront of my life. I know that my blog is extremely boring right now. I have things to write about (my sister’s marriage is almost over, and it’s affecting me more than one would expect; my MIL has no respect for how we parent; my own parents have nothing to do with their grandkids; I wonder on a weekly basis if a third baby is a good idea or not; etc.), but I don’t have time to give those heavy topics the time they deserve. So I post about food, fitness, and kid milestones. Blah.

  10. Exact opposite for me. I did not become more fulfilled, I became less fulfilled. I am incapable of addressing the current issues in my life so I’m incapable of writing. My number one rule is honesty, and I’m not being open and honest with myself, so I can’t with the blog world either.
    I am sending light, love, support, and a plethora of fulfilling adult conversation because shit, it’s needed.

  11. Have you thought about going for a run/walk getting physical exercise apart from that walker thing you have?
    Helps tremendously to just get out

  12. The problem with relationships between two different people is that often we hear, or receive, a different message than the one that was said/sent. The number of times my husband has tried to fix things (wanting to help me) that ended up making me feel as if my concerns were being dismissed! An “I’m sorry” and an affectionate/apologetic rub on the leg probably gave more than you got from it. What you got out of it was the “turning back to his computer” and a sense that your feelings were being dismissed. I get that. What Mi. Vida might have thought he was giving was a) physical comfort, b) showing you were heard and understood, and c) some space, rather than a lecture. (I fully accept I might be completely wrong here!)

    What I found, particularly when I was stressed and going through loss, but even now when everything is relatively good, was that my husband can’t give me 100% of what I need. And that’s ok. I don’t know anyone whose husband gives them 100% of what they need. That’s why we have friends, or seek understanding on-line. And that’s okay too. Having an outlet on-line can fill a number of gaps. We are semi-anonymous, and so can say things we might not say to our friends or family. We can reach a wider group of people and so learn from their experiences, or put our own into context. We get support and validation from people who really understand. It’s not a weakness to get some fulfilment from our lives on-line.

    Oh, and all those “so fulfilled” women who stop blogging? I doubt their lives are as wonderful as you think. Maybe I can suggest some less wonderful reasons they are not blogging. Maybe some of them live in denial. Maybe they couldn’t express themselves articulately and so didn’t get anything out of on-line relationships. Maybe someone was judgemental about their on-line lives, and they felt pressured to leave. Maybe they don’t have time, energy or perhaps even intellect to think about their lives in the way many of us do. etc. etc. There are so many reasons people don’t blog, and so many reasons we do. I think you should do whatever works for you.

    (Sorry, once again I’ve written screeds.)

  13. I admire you for being able to blog daily. I’ve been a crappy blogger and even crappier commenter this year (partly due to technical issues). I think maybe those that step away from blogging do so because blogging filled a temporary need for them but I also think that the more likely story is that one thing leads to another and next thing you know, you have an abandoned blog.

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