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
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: