December 13, 2010

Typically one of these posts begins with an apology.  It is like striking up a conversation with a very dear friend after several months’ separation. A few literal conversations like that are in the future as well, via phone when I am away in Minnesota for a few weeks. So, the apologies will wait for those conversations. This is, after all, my blog. There is a certain obligation that comes with having readers — readers I have let down; however, it does seem somewhat presumptuous to assume that the absence of my writing has let anyone down. That is not a dig for a compliment. It’s just an honest speculation.

Most of the traffic that comes to this blog shows up because, if my blog is any resource, people are looking for pictures of dachshunds and Bigfoot. They are probably disappointed to find that the only photo of a dachshund showed up because I once compared my thighs to it on a particularly low day. The posts about Bigfoot are likely slightly more satisfying, though I haven’t posted nearly enough information on him. He remains a fascination. I have yet to go on a Bigfoot scouting expedition. I’m saving it for my Honeymoon.

For quite sometime it has become very clear that I need to find healthy coping mechanisms to balance out the stress of my job. I love my job, but it can also be challenging. I don’t like the way I just phrased that, because the fact that it is challenging is one of the perks. I’m never bored. It is a relief to do the boring stuff. On long days, all I want to do is sit down and enter information into a spreadsheet, to give my mind a rest from problem-solving and decision-making and customer service. Nonprofit work is often energy-sapping. There is so much work to be done and not enough people, resources, or time to do it. I’m not trying to be a martyr. Lots of people have stressful jobs and are doing important things — probably more successfully than I. I’m just explaining why, after such a long absence, it has become particularly vital to post something on this lonely blog.

Writing used to be such a beautiful thing to me. The stacks of journals I wrote as a child and teenager and college student are sitting back in my bedroom at home. For this past year, any time I have sat down to try to write something, I have needed to stop. I’ve tried to write in the journal, write letters, update the blog, and even write short quippy things on Facebook. These have been met with limited success. It’s been a year of growth and maturity. It’s been a year of tearing down walls and randomly crying in episodes of Glee because those kids are just so talented, and isn’t it beautiful the way they dance and sing so triumphantly? I am not sure if I am crying because of a longing that life could actually be so simple as to be summed up in a song, or if it is just beautiful to see people — any people — manifesting their talents like it’s nobody’s business.

Heaven has meant more to me this year than it has before. Now I know a little more of why God made it, and why this world can be so hard to understand. The vague concept it used to be has become as much of a reality as it can for me in this life, at this time. In India, I saw a newly-wed wife and her young husband exchange looks from across the room. The warmth and love and excitement and joy in her eyes were so clear and unquestioning that I didn’t even have to glance to the other side of the room to know who she was looking at. That look was meant for one person, and in the middle of a normal day, it just happened as quickly as a breath, much shorter than this sentence.

Some friends have started writing using Reverb10 prompts. They have come up with some good stuff, and inspired at their success, I signed up to receive the prompts via email. The questions have been good and thought provoking but have amounted to little more than a few scratches in my journal so far, a journal that is as lonely as this blog. Perhaps my journal and my blog should hook up after a long night at the bar. They could spend the whole evening railing on me.

I don’t like writing in the form of answering questions. It feels stilted and self-centered even though it isn’t much more stilted and self-centered than being so presumptuous as to start a blog about myself. So, I’m going to start answering a few of these questions but in the form of essays. I do, however, want to give Reverb10 credit for the prompts. They’re doing a cool thing.

I also feel the need to say that writing has been hard lately because it requires quiet reflection, and that’s something I’ve been avoiding for a long time. Thinking about things only opens up to thinking about more things, and not having solutions is difficult. I problem-solve so much at work that life tends to take a backseat right now. And maybe it’s the season for that. Still, when I got home from work today, I couldn’t even listen to music, because I felt that even that was taking in more information than I can handle right now, because so many words and ideas and speeches and others’ thoughts and others’ plans and others’ solutions are going into my brain, and very little of my own reflections are coming out. I am full and overflowing with things I have inputted without giving myself a chance to let them go. That brings with it a tremendous amount of unbalance, and maybe that’s at the core of the stress.

So, I plan to write a lot in Minnesota. I will be there for two glorious weeks of family, food, sleep, and snow. I will likely leave my computer behind so I’m not tempted to work at all, and just use my parents’ ancient desktop to update posts and check Facebook sporadically. I plan to read books. Imagine that. And bake. And watch cheesy Christmas movies on ABC Family. And talk to my mom. And play on the floor with some kids. I may just cry when I step off that plane, because the reuniting is just always so beautiful, like when I landed there for Christmas last year, and there was my mom holding onto my winter jacket, ready to put it on my shoulders and take me home.


5 Responses to “Disclaimer”

  1. Ann, your mom is so sweet! And holding winter jackets seems to be a servant-skill she excells at. Remember Angela’s wedding when she and your dad held our piles of puffy coats while we smiled and shivered, and handed them out so we could warm up between pictures?

  2. DeMo said

    You made me cry. I’m so glad that you’re going home and so sweet of your mom to bring your coat. I didn’t have time to read the whole post until now, so I had just read the first sentence and the last line earlier, and now it all fits together. I was really hoping that you weren’t going to say that you were going to quit writing on your blog anymore. The posts are unpredictably-timed, but I really like reading them. I’m glad that you’re resting and writing again. 🙂

    • girlfromthenorthcountry said

      I’m sorry for making you cry! Thanks for always being so encouraging, Demo. It was a real uplift for me today. Hugs.

  3. Kathleen said

    Even though our jobs are different, I feel the same way about mine most of the time. I wouldn’t trade it, but if I don’t learn to deal with the stress in a healthy way it will be my undoing. Learned a lot about that this year!

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