When you’re feeling lost, don’t hide


Feeling lost is part of being great. If you are forging your own path then you are often lost. Because you have not seen this route before. I wrote my book because I did not have a road map and I am wanted other people to have a road map to do a career like I did.

I have been thinking about this because I am really lost right now. I’m going to show you something. Here is stuff that’s going well. The farmer is totally hot, and he tries so hard to get along with me, and his singing voice is the kind that allowed him to hook up with any girl after his band played a gig. And he matches my wall:

Another good thing is that he lets me do whatever I want with the house. See? In the background? We definitely needed a hutch in the dining room. It’s exactly what fit with the decor. But I thought if I bought a hutch I’d just start buying stuff to fill it with. So instead, I drew a hutch on the wall. I showed it to the farmer and he said, “I really like the undulating lines. They have confidence.”

I would show you a whole photo of the hutch, but I don’t have a camera. I have never had a camera so it’s absurd that I am adding photos to my blog. I’m dependent on other people to take photos. Luckily, everyone who visits the farm takes photos, including my mom. Who visited just last week.

It was a scary visit. First of all, I don’t really get along with my mom. I used to think it was because my childhood was totally horrible and ended the day the police removed me from my house as my visibly relieved mother looked away. I think now, though, that my mom and I don’t get along because we are so much alike. She probably would not say we are so much alike. But it’s my blog and I get to say what I want, and, (in a good example of how much my mom tries to get along with me, she abides by my wishes to never post a comment on my blog) my mom will never disagree on the blog.

So she took the photo of the farmer. And she took a great photo of my son, being King of the Hay Bale.

And, look, my ex-husband took a great picture of my sons jumping:

So I can’t say that my life is going to hell. But it is, sort of. I am fighting with the farmer every day, and I am having culture shock in a way that is beyond anything I could imagine. Wait. You want an example, right? I am not kidding when I say that everyone in the town knows me. I do not know how this can be true, but every single person I have met has told me that people can identify me from far away as the new person who does not fit in. A lot of times other bloggers will write to me to ask me about how I deal with being famous. Mostly, I tell them that it’s easy to deal with: I hide out in my hotel room at conferences, and I remind myself that I’m lucky to have 100 comments on a blog post even if they all think I’m an idiot. But you know what? There is no famous in a small town. Everyone knows everyone. I don’t even really understand it. Perspective: In a small town everyone is identified by their last name and what their family is known for. But we get mail under the following last names:

The kids’ last name

The farmers’ last name

And my three last names

What does that mean for us? I’m not sure.

I am trying to think of the last time this happened to me. Which is how I got to thinking about my book. Because the last time my life fell apart was when I was at the World Trade Center when it fell. And I couldn’t leave my house so I decided that I was a writer. And I took a humongous pay cut and I worried that I’d never make it and I wrote panicking posts that drained me emotionally but made me money because people identified with them.

Then being basically a stay-at-home mom with two young kids caused another identity crisis. The thing that I did to get myself through that time was writing poetry.

I have never published it. I don’t think I’m a poet. But I get upset that The Pioneer Woman has ten billion visitors and I don’t. And she publishes her poetry. And I don’t need to tell you she is no poetic genius. So I figure that maybe I’d have a more popular blog if I published my sucky poetry. But then I sent it to my ex-step-sister (only a family of insanity has titles like this, but I can use titles like this because, after all, I’m the one who get to tell the family story here) and she is a NYC poetry editor type, and she said the poems were not bad. And my blog editor, who sends me poems he thinks I’ll like but in fact I cannot understand also thinks the poems are okay, and he must know something about poetry if he understands those poems. So here’s the link to my poems.

I think it’s important to publish the poems because this is a blog about finding a life and a career that work together. But really, this is a blog about being lost. Believe me, no one likes to read blog posts about people who are smug about how they have solved all the problems of the world. I mean, look, you either are winning a Nobel Prize or you do not have any answers. So I think it’s safe to say that this blog is about trying to figure out how to do life and work and not really knowing what I’m doing. So it is really essential that I publish the stuff where I was really lost.

The poems are what it looks like to be lost. I was not sure what I should write. I was trying something I was maybe good at but probably not great. And I was hiding.

The only thing that’s different between now and when I had kids is that when I had kids I could flounder in private. There is no private on my blog. There is no private in Darlington, WI. But I’m convinced that the less we hide ourselves when we are lost, the faster we will get unlost. The world provides a mirror for us to see ourselves more clearly, if we give the world a chance to reflect back to us what is there.

Here is another photo. It is me, running through my red dining room. My friend Liza took it when she came to visit the farm because she couldn’t believe I married the farmer. She had to see it for herself. I like this photo because it’s what I feel like right now — a colorful blur in an unsettled space:

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  1. Sinead
    Sinead says:

    You’re definitely lost and not hiding but together, I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

    I’ve got a feeling you’ve outgrown your life and don’t know what to do. How about nothing? How about stopping? How about just sitting with it? … and seeing what happens.

  2. Alex @ Happiness in this World
    Alex @ Happiness in this World says:

    Wow. Penelope. Intense stuff. I so admire your courage for declaring to the world such obviously painful and intimate feelings. I don’t know if you’re right that the less we hide ourselves when we are lost, the faster we will get unlost. But perhaps the support being revealing does help, at least to encourage us that we can get found again. In that spirit, though what I write may not strike at the heart of what’s going on with you, I hope you find this helpful: http://www.happinessinthisworld.com/2010/08/15/when-you-dont-like-yourself/

  3. Carole Dixon
    Carole Dixon says:

    Thanks for the perspective. I’m feeling lost while publishing an online county newspaper. I just published my first piece that challenged a city council person and now I am scared to publish my next piece. I do the paper so I don’t have to think so much about my 100% disabled combat veteran husband, my mentally ill son and other details in my personal life which overwhelm me. But I definitely feel lost TODAY!

  4. alan wilensky
    alan wilensky says:

    You got a handle on it, your excellence preceded you, and now you have a competent co-pilot to help you steer the ship. I am sure that you appreciate that man has stretched his ideas of who he would love and marry, and took on your wonderful craziness.

    And the poetry is great, P-Lope. Great.

  5. RS
    RS says:

    I like your poetry. I have a 3 yr old son obsessed with Buzz Lightyear, so it spoke perfectly to me. :)

  6. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    “…this is a blog about finding a life and a career that work together. But really, this is a blog about being lost.” I love the candor, and I love this post!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Melanie, and everyone else who has said nice things about the poems. Thank you so much. I have said before that a post is no good if there is nothing in it that scares me. In today’s post, the thing that scared me is the poems. (It’s so hard to show a new thing about oneself. It’s so hard, also to know what is new and what people could see even though I didn’t show them.) Anyway, it means so much to me that you like the poems. Thanks.


  7. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    Of course you don’t fit, Penelope. Not fitting means you are one in a million, with a unique perspective, and you know and have known for a long time that that is who you are. Fitting in is overrated . . .

    Pioneer Woman, who has a gazillion hits, must be pretty bland to appeal to such a large number. Apparently, she offends no-one, and is middle-of-the-road. You, however, are not bland. Blazingly outrageous, not bland. And yes, of course, you spark controversy and offend some folk. Which is a good thing.

    Can you get comfortable with modest success? Modest appeal, a modest number of hits/responses to your blog?
    (I myself, like modest . . . fits in with a Zen perspective, I believe.)

    You are giving some of your best energy to your newly configured family. There can be no strict lines of demarcation between career and family–they have to blend together. Haven’t you been promoting this blending all along? Ergo, you cannot give it all to one or the other–career or family. It is not either/or. It is a kind of limbo–is that, perhaps, why it feels like “lost”? Because it IS limbo?

    Give yourself a chance to adjust to all that is newly formed in your life. Relax in your bright home. Enjoy the beauty that you have created (decorating) and the natural beauty of a Wisconsin farm. Enjoy the music from your music man farmer. Take deep breaths. Give long soaks in the bathtub to your restlessness. You are okay, really. The worst that is happening to you is that you are in transition and you are adapting and adjusting.

    • Ornette
      Ornette says:

      Have you actually read Pioneer Woman’s blog? She’s hardly bland or middle of the road. She’s authentic. Which is something PT struggles with, as long time readers know.

      What authenticity means to PT (or indeed any number of people) is a difficult question. Trying to find out who exactly you are and then what to do with the knowledge is important. But knocking others who’ve figured it out isn’t the way towards happiness.

  8. Jen Gresham
    Jen Gresham says:

    I think I mentioned in my last comment to you that I am a poet and have published fairly widely (I’m not famous or anything, but successful at it). Your poems are like unpolished gems. They need editing and polishing, but the heart is pure. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Now I just need to drop a copy of my book in the mail for you as I promised. We just moved (well, a month ago) and I finally found the box they were in.

    As for being lost–I agree. It’s good to be lost from time to time. It shows you’re taking risks, and that’s what life is all about. And hey, there’s at least one fairly sane person following in your footsteps (me).

    All the best,

  9. JustJessi
    JustJessi says:

    While, being lost is a black holed pit that seems hopeless, I love when I can grab hold of the roots in my rabbit hole and climb back up and dust myself off. I love looking down the hole and seeing how its added another dimension to ME. I love what i learn from being in the rabbit hole.

  10. Louise
    Louise says:

    Too early on a Monday morning, I’m sitting at my desk at work and contemplating a million different moving pieces of my life. Literally no idea how to piece them all together and make something whole. This post made me feel less alone, so thank you!

  11. Sociologist Tina
    Sociologist Tina says:

    I’m not lost, but I am financially IMPOVERISHED, which is causing an untold amount of stress.

    I agree. There’s absolutely not point in hiding when it’s completely obvious that you need help.

    There’s always going to be someone who’s “doing better” than you are, so why focus on it? I agree with Alfie Kohn that competition is a malevent force in our society. And I DISagree with Seth Godin’s view on the subject.

    “The Farmer” was manipulating you from the beginning, even before you met him, and this has been painfully obvious to me. I suspect that it has been willful ignorance on your part that has kept you from seeing it. The question is, do you see it now?

    Perhaps you don’t want to see it because you love him. But as long as it’s his intention to control you, how can this relationship ever work?

    I’m quite convinced that’s what he’s up to.

    What do YOU think?

  12. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Hey Penelope, I’ve never been married but my married friends all say the first year is the hardest, for loads of reasons, even if youre happy. Also you’ve moved house & had a re-furb which are both stressful anyway. And your point about everyone knowing you locally may not be as much of a problem as you not knowing them back all that well yet? Which you will eventually, its all part of settling in eh.

    Anyways, I love your blog so much I’m convinced I’m responsible for at least 50% of your UK traffic ;-) I let everyone know about it. Love your honesty, keep up the blogging, you wont be lost for long….

  13. janet
    janet says:

    Wow. You are really good. For whatever its worth, your writing really speaks to me. Thank you and good luck.

    P.s. it is clear that you are ambivalent about the farm. Maybe there is a balance between total rural seclusion and frantic big city life.

  14. Lien
    Lien says:

    enjoy it! my lost moments are the best. I also married a farmer 8 years ago. He has opened a whole new world for me, the one I would never know without him, because we tend to socialize with people who confirm our existence. My farmer challenges my existence, that’s why my productivity, career, and wealth doubled with him. Lean into the pain, embrace it, breathe more. I am serious, you will remember these moments fondly 8 years from now. Good luck, Lien

  15. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I like that…”A colorful blur in an unsettled space”

    You said exactly what I feel like in my own life right now.

    ps Just got your book – looking forward to reading it!

    TED LESHER says:

    You are just using the ‘farmer’ as a writing technique and it’s gotten very boring. Dump the ‘farmer’ sex toy, get yourself a good vibrator, find a way to have at least three full-body orgasms each week and stay in Manhattan. Your writing will improve and you will get the attention you need.

    • alice
      alice says:

      Ted Lesher doesn’t get that a vibrator is not something to love, does not love one’s children or oneself, and has no new insights to offer (other than there’s nothing lonelier after a while than mechanical sex, in all its guises). Ted, you are a dope.

  17. angela
    angela says:

    I grew up in a small town where everyone knows you. I know how hard it is. I didn’t want to move back to a small town like that, but I did because it was (surprisingly) the best thing for our family. It’s hard, I know. You have to get past caring about the fact that everyone knows you and your business. I’m not sure exactly how to do that. I know it takes a long time. My mom has never really gotten over it, and she has lived in a town like that for 30+ years. But for me, I decided, I could find happiness here or I could be miserable. I choose happiness. It may not seem “right” that they all know your business and you’re the outsider. But that doesn’t really matter to them. They won’t change. It’s up to us. We have to chose, everyday. Happiness? Or not.

  18. MH Williams
    MH Williams says:

    I agree with the comment that you are a unique voice and not the “Miracle Whip” of the blogging world. Honestly, not to slam Pioneer Woman, but who give a sh.. about cow patties,adorable children (unless they are our own) and endless cooking photos that contain copious amounts of butter.
    It’s good to be lost once in awhile. Still yourself. :)

    • Ornette
      Ornette says:

      Well, if PT’s farmer was raising dairy cattle, he’d be thrilled with PW’s “copious amounts of butter”. Dietary fat doesn’t make you fat.

      Anyway, why the sudden obsession with PW?

    • Patty N.
      Patty N. says:

      Well, PW’s gazillion readers obviously give a sh*t about those things or they wouldn’t be reading her site.

  19. sandra
    sandra says:

    Relocating and marriage are both initially stressful,coupled with redecorating….
    The culture shock will wear off and you will settle in. Don’t worry about anyone else.
    I admire your courage and honesty.

  20. Mary Budge
    Mary Budge says:

    First of all, as a ardent follower of your blog – you are not an idiot, and I am sorry if people post implying that you are, you’re not!

    It is okay to be lost, especially when you know you are. Use it as a opportunity to reevaluate your life, and to find something – anything – to do that provides you with some direction. For me (and I won’t bore you with my “lost-ness”) I find a project to work on, usually a craft of some sort, just having that to focus on, that I can escape into, makes me feel in control of something. A year or so ago I got totally addicted to playing games on my Nintendo DS (I am in my 50’s so that itself seems strange – not being 50, but playing video games!). Looking back I realize it was the one thing in my life that I could control, accomplish something, make progress, etc. I think it saved me from a total downward spiral!

    Hang in there, and I would say don’t fight with the Farmer, it only leads to discord and with discord the lost feelings are magnified.

    P.S. your poems are beautiful, I love them. Thanks for sharing them with us.


  21. Mindy Sunday
    Mindy Sunday says:

    The book ‘Women Food God’….all about being lost, then
    sitting still and listening, and finding your life. Read it for yourself. I married a farmer in 1978. The whole town knew who I was. there was no hiding, no autonomy. Who knew that farmers have a telepathic line of communication. I felt smothered and didn’t stay. They meant well, but they chased me off.
    I was always the outsider. Farmers lives are a challenging adjustment. It’s a romantic notion, but reality is hard. Get the book….so insightful and healing. Loving yourself enough to allow your truth, then you will stop bickering with your farmer, and remember why you fell in love with him. Maybe you will stay, or maybe you will need to go…but if you don’t find yourself first, it won’t matter. Good luck, and enjoy your life.

  22. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    My favorite photo is “King of the Hay Bale”. What ‘kid in us’ can’t relate to the feeling your son must have been experiencing at this moment?
    I’m hoping you take a leap and get yourself a camera to explore your surroundings and express yourself in a new way. They’re really not that difficult to use and yet are capable of capturing some really great and meaningful moments. Your photos could be used at a later time to rekindle and keep fresh thoughts and emotions for the words on subsequent posts on your blog.
    I also like your hutch drawing (and the reason for not buying one).
    If I had to comment on being lost, I would have to write a post. :)

  23. Kathlyn
    Kathlyn says:

    I think it’s very important for you to write about when you are lost precisely because your blog is essentially about trying not be be lost. My blog is about baking, and my farmer always reminds me (bless him) to be sure to put the really crappy things I bake up on the blog too, because no one succeeds all the time, and if you’re going to presume to have anything to say to others on a subject, it’s best to make sure they know you don’t do it right every time. The teachers I love most say “I don’t know the answer to that,” or “I’ve never figured that out.”

    Sorry you’re lost. It sucks. It’ll get better.

  24. Joe
    Joe says:

    I don’t really know you, of course, but it seems from my distant vantage point that it might do you good to just drift and see where life takes you for a little while, rather than trying so hard to steer it (especially when you don’t know in what direction you want to steer). Instead of gaping at the weirdnesses of small-town life, try to accept and enjoy them.

    One of my favorite quotes, from Hawthorne: “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

  25. Kate
    Kate says:

    I really like that your dining room is red. And I keep writing to The Pioneer Woman, but she never writes back, even though I was homeschooled and I think she and I could have a good conversation. Oh well. Sometimes I think that if I moved to somewhere in the middle of nowhere and blogged, I’d get a lot more hits.

    I also like that you are sort of doing a romantic, pioneer-y thing like that. But you’re not romanticizing constantly. You’re still being difficult and complicated and utterly Penelope :)

  26. Alison Rayner
    Alison Rayner says:

    Your post about being lost spoke too loudly to me today. I get really nervous about the fact that I am lost. Eventhough that’s the case I still have to confidently project me as a viable, worthwhile being while I openly struggle with the idea of becoming a mother, stumbling around for a job that suits me as a person, and somewhere sorting out the meaning of all this.
    I read your post as I lay in bed, bleary-eyed from sleep and connected to how you felt. But it wasn’t until later when I read your poetry that I truly found some direction. I worry so much about becoming a mother because it is the area I have the least experience in. There were no kids in our family–how am I supposed to know what to do to raise them? I connected with the “moments” you described through your poetry. They were very real excerpts from your experience that I can use to help me find solace and understanding. I am about to embark on the journey of starting a family while I still am very lost on the topics of my career, my identity and self-confidence, and the sense of family I want to create for my kids. I hope it will come with time.

  27. Stacey Kannenberg
    Stacey Kannenberg says:

    Opps – I posted this on the wrong thread–I had to go back to find one of my favorite Penelope quotes, “I realized that the greatest joy in life is simply watching the lives of people you love unfold in their very own way.”

    Instead of thinking you are lost; I believe you are simply watching yourself unfold in the way you are supposed to unfold in your very own way.

    This summer, I find myself in the same spot: I feel lost about feeling safe and have been confusing the professional and private faces of me. The entrepreneur in me is a passionate risk-taker but the mother/wife in me totally craves the family solitude of safe – €“ so how much of a risk am I willing to take to upset the balance? I have been slow to launch my next start-up because it is a game changer and I want to keep a handle on that delicate balance to keep both sides of me safe and happy!

  28. Karen Tiede
    Karen Tiede says:

    Been there. When I made the first run to the dump in my small town, the dump guard said, “Are you the girl who bought the preacher’s house?” I said I was. He said, “when are you going to put a roof on that porch?”

    They get used to you in a while. It might take till someone else new moves in. People in big cities don’t know what it’s like to NEVER leave the house without running into someone you know.

  29. Olivia
    Olivia says:

    Your post reminds me of a fantastic book, "Le Rebelion de las Masas" (Revolt of the Masses), by Jose Ortega y Gasset, published in 1930. I looked for a resonant passage, and here it is:

    "Life is at the start a chaos in which one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is frightened at finding himself face to face with this terrible reality, and tries to cover it over with a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear. It does not worry him that his – €˜ideas' are not true, he uses them as trenches for the defense of his existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality.

    The man with the clear head is the man who frees himself from those fantastic – €˜ideas' and looks life in the face, realizes that everything is problematic, and feels himself lost. As this is the simple truth – that to live is to feel oneself lost – he who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground – He who does not really feel himself lost, is lost without remission; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality."


  30. Mariane
    Mariane says:

    Hi Penelope.
    Thank you for sharing… and BTW< I looked up Pioneer Womans blog since you mentioned it in a post some time ago and it is kinda nice but I have to say I prefer yours… !!!

  31. H to the Izzo
    H to the Izzo says:

    Thanks for sharing, and for the links to your poems. I don’t have children, so I can’t identify with the same exact feelings in them, but I feel the loneliness, the struggle, the repetition, the scared, and those are things that we ALL feel.

  32. Jennifer Gruden
    Jennifer Gruden says:

    I really like this post. As the editor of a website geared towards women at midlife I have to tell you that this is such a common experience for women our age – but we all go through it in different ways and I think tend to think that everyone else around us (like Pioneer Woman) has it together. When mostly, most people don’t.

    One really common way I’ve seen people address it that seems to work (I haven’t found my way yet) is to shake themselves up by doing something really really new. We’re running this really cool contest right now where Canadian women can enter to win $5k towards trying something new after 40 and it’s amazing some of the things we’ve gotten already – go to clown school, learn to swim.

    But travel is one of the biggest and it made me think of how you’re travelling into this new culture and really shaking up your viewpoint – but of course it’s also your home so the stakes are pretty high. I think lost is a part of the process (not that I accept that for myself!) The poems are a neat record of that.

    Anyways mostly wishing you luck and that you’ll keep writing about it. And also – you’re not alone, even if you are unique as a person.

  33. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I have 2 kids and went from a high paying job to breastfeeding, dirty diapers and being the person who knows everything in the neighbourhood because we go for a lot of walks and that sometimes is the most interesting thing I do. (And that is now my connection with my working mom neighbours…telling them what is going on when they are at work) Life is totally blurring for me as well. Best of luck on your journey :o)

  34. Sociologist Tina
    Sociologist Tina says:

    I hope you didn’t find me to harsh in my last post. I agree with the others about your writing talent, authenticity, etc.

    I’ve found some assistance AND solace in a book written about the creative process, and I think that’s a big part of what you’re going through. It’s called TRUST THE PROCESS: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff. It’s a brilliant book from someone who knows.

  35. Robbin
    Robbin says:

    I’m lost too. And hiding. In fact, hiding in the house for two days now (going on my third), devouring sugar-free popsicles and observing the messy surroundings I have created. I’m hiding from the fact that I can’t figure out how NOT to go back into the world of corporate hamsters and do something that will not only sustain me but create feelings of inner fulfillment.
    I think I will take your advice and quit hiding today so that maybe I won’t ‘stay’ lost but give the world a chance to reflect back to what I truly should be doing.
    I love your blog. It is the ONLY blog that I take the time to read….besides my own. :)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Popsicles? I’m gorging on popsicles, too. They are not sugar free, and I have to say I was shocked that I could gain weight on a popsicle diet. I think the thousands of popsicles a day diet has put me into diabetic overdrive or something.


  36. Steve Collazo
    Steve Collazo says:

    Thanks Penelope. I enjoyed your poetry (a lot… my 7 and 8 year olds just rediscovered Toy Story DVDs this past weekend and they’ve been carrying around the holy trinity of toyland – Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear). I can identify with the “lost” feeling… at least I have my own version of being lost. For me, it’s always been more of not fitting in and of being lost in my own world (2 months ago I left the company I had worked for after 21 years because I simply could no longer handle that feeling of not fitting in… plus I hated the work!). At times, it’s maddeningly lonely but most of the time, it’s like watching TV… living life with a sense of nothing being real. Now I’m faced with the reality that I need to return to work and ALL I know is sitting at a desk and shuffling papers and poking at keys on a keyboard and I’m just a small bit (OK, more than just a small bit) terrified of returning to that world of cubicles and smiley faces and all that chat chat work-talk and rush to shove paper around without really DOING anything. But I gotta do it. Not creative enough or disciplined enough to do anything on my own and kids got to eat. Being unemployed in the summer-time allowed me to spend time with my kids. It hasn’t been all happy summer vacation time… as any parent knows having too much time with kids can be as maddening as not having enough time with kids (I’ve yelled at my oldest daughter for no damn good reason WAY TOO much these past few weeks). But after August plays out, I think we’ll mostly have good memories of this time and now it’s time for me to get over the lost/detached feeling and go back to (after finding, of course) work. I will admit it here: I HATE WORK. No, I really REALLY hate work. Damn, life sucks but to (hopefully) end on a happier note, thank you again for your blog. I’m sorry you’re in a “lost” state. I wish I had something really funny or wise to say at this point to do for you what your blog does for me. For me, I know autumn is almost here. It’s my favorite time of the year and even if I’m still unemployed, I plan to make the most of it by helping decorate the house and getting the kids outdoors (I’m secretly hoping I will still be unemployed for the remainder of the year though I think my wife will have had a nervous breakdown by then… I’ve been the main income provider up until recently).

    I’m looking forward to reading more of what you have to say about life!

  37. Jane
    Jane says:

    It’s ironic that after years of opening yourself up to a global blog audience you’re bothered by a lack of anonymity in the real world. And yet I understand it completely. Your bravery as a writer, in my opinion, isn’t that you’re able to share such intimate feelings with your audience, but that you’re willing to expose them to yourself. That’s also what makes you a poet. Pioneer Woman, on the other hand, is a commodity.

    • Sociologist Tina
      Sociologist Tina says:

      Yes, I love this comment from Jane. You see, I’m very much the opposite of you, Penelope. I acknowledge a tremendous amount to myself on a daily basis, and just about anyone who truly wants to lend a kind ear, but so far I express it very little in writing. I have very little to show for all that I’ve done, most of which is on the inside.

      Thanks, Jane, for your insight and that creative inspiration.

  38. Zom G.
    Zom G. says:

    Hi blog post, meet my thoughts from this morning:

    I would learn more and be better liked if I pretended to I know nothing than if I acted like I knew something. People like people who don’t know things because it makes everyone more comfortable. (People also like people who give away fancy cameras and kitchenaid mixers…ala Mrs. PW.) People like me less (or don’t understand me) when I think I know something (like right now.)

    I discover more when I get lost.

    Hi blog post, meet my thoughts from this weekend:
    My minor blog scares the gum out of me now that I put my paintings on it. Google analytics is terrifying. Now that I know people are looking at the bare minimum that I write I am freaking out. Calm down, me. This is just the internet. I had to take my partial self-portrait down after only 15 minutes and put up a crummy still life because the portrait felt too revealing.

    I guess what this long comment is saying here is that I really appreciate this site and this small confessional. It makes me feel like I have a map when I am lost.

  39. lynne whiteside
    lynne whiteside says:

    why does it seem like rainy days (summer in s.f.) are more often than not ‘lost’ days? my creative juices just don’t seem to flow as well as on sunny days. so I continue to take my vitamin D and realize this will pass.

    we are never alone with our emotions, look how many people related to your post. we will survive, but today, well, I’m trying to figure out any new marketing strategy.

  40. Natasha Fondren
    Natasha Fondren says:

    Oh gosh, I’m with you Penelope. Last year I sold everything, gave up my piano teaching business of 15 years, and moved into a teensy-tiny camper to travel the country and write stories. And… I was completely unprepared for how much and how badly I would flounder, changing my identity like that. (I wrote about it here.) I have never been so lost in my life. I want to tell you I’m “all better” now, but… I’m still working on it. And I am way better and I do love my lifestyle now.

    I love the desert, so I took a lot of time to delight in the small miracles the desert had to offer. I volunteer for a day every week. (And the lizards!!!!!) But… I’m terribly ADD (and not in the way everyone says they’re ADD these days), and I’m still struggling to adapt to a lifestyle without enforced schedules.

    Good luck, Penelope! And I love the poetry!

  41. sophie
    sophie says:

    Pioneer Woman is okay. But after a while, she gets a little tiresome. I mean, is everything always so cutesy and romantic? Hardly. Plus, she’s becoming very corporate and going in a zillion directions. There’s no way she’s doing this all herself.

    That said, I hope you’re just verbalizing the adjustments normal to every newlywed couple. I hope this “lost feeling” doesn’t become problematic to the point of affecting your marriage, your children, the happiness and stability of your home. Because, Penelope, those problems cannot be options for you. You can’t do this to your kids. You can’t do it to your husband. (And you can’t do it to the house, especially since you went ahead and painted the woodwork. :-)

    I’ve always lived in rural, small towns. It can really bite sometimes. The trick is to stop caring about people and what they think of you (well, care FOR them, but don’t care about them). Forget about privacy, you’re a blogger, after all. Enjoy being a novelty in their eyes. Join a church and go together as a family – churches are huge parts of small communities. So are taverns or supper clubs, for that matter, so on Fridays, go for a fish fry.

    And what about your blog? Hey, you’re really neglecting it! How often have you said blogging is integral to your well-being? I bet if you sit yourself down in a Darlington cafe one morning a week to write and you mention at least one business a week by name, the town is going to love you! After all, their website asks “Are you open to new ideas?”

    I’m thinking small town living could be a ton of fuel for regular blogging. Tell us about the unique quirks in a fun and non-belittling way. Help Darlingtonites find humor in themselves, along with the many positive and special qualities they have. Heck, you could have a major impact on the town’s whole economy!

    Take a deep breath and say a prayer, Penelope. It’s going to be okay.

  42. Monica O'Brien
    Monica O'Brien says:

    I know this is not the point, but the poems on TPW are (I just deleted this because it was mean, and I’m not going to fill it in because all my replacement words are mean also). Anyway, 239 comments? It’s mind-blowing.

    I read your poems and they made me laugh out loud. And then I read Jay’s poem picks and I didn’t understand them. They sounded pretty though.

    So now I’m a little interested in poetry, at least more than I was before, and I’m trying to wrap my head around what makes a good poem.

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