Content with No Content

Hey! Hi. Hello there, world. (And by world, I mean the two people who may still subscribe to this thing.)

Yeah, it’s been awhile.

Today seemed as good of a time as any to get these fingers tapping away at keys again. To say “it’s been awhile” is really quite the understatement. Given the fact that all but one of my posts published earlier in the year were being pushed forward from Instagram, it’s safe to say there’s been absolutely no intention here. None. Zip. Nada.

I don’t feel bad about that, at all. In fact, I have felt a great deal of permission to defy the norm of the day: to be a writer who is not blogging.

The shock! The horror! The freedom.

My daughter is an expert teacher in the art of expectation, or the lack thereof.

Around the time I last showed up in these parts, she had just up and given away her afternoon nap. Good riddance, rest! My world spun upside down on its head, and nothing has been the same. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that, but it’s true. This chang wrecked me, quite possibly more than any of her previous transitions. Every notion I’d ever had of getting that coveted midday break to just be or to accomplish all-the-things was gone. Poof. Vanished. Though we moved immediately into what is known as “quiet time”, I no longer had permission to let my mind quiet. (And I am a woman who thrives on quiet.)

Because as anyone who has actually spent time with my daughter knows, she is anything but quiet. Even when she thinks she is. She could literally spend hours playing alone in her room and sometimes does. But unfortunately, not without bouncing off the walls and her bed, getting into every drawer and crevice of her room, and carrying on long, loud dialogues between her many stuffed animals and toys. I keep my eye on the monitor at regular intervals, otherwise I’m likely to find some unintended harm done to something in her room. Curtains pulled down because she wanted to “swing like Tarzan”? Yep. Poop on the carpet and clean clothes and the walls of her closet (in that order), because of her hope of cleaning up an accident? You betcha. Pajamas hanging from the chandelier with a hole burned through them. True story. (I’m guessing you don’t envy me, at the moment.)

I could spend my whole life bribing, coercing, or threatening her to be quiet and stay in her bed and not get into things. I’ve wasted more time trying to get her to fit into my expectations for our afternoons than I’ve invested in figuring out a way to make our mutual need (but obviously different preferences) for downtime work for the both of us. It is a tension. But I’m working on it. And we’ve been talking through it. And we’re finding our way.

And that’s kind of how I feel about blogging.

It’s been almost TWO YEARS since I announced my intended departure from photography and my entrée into life with “no plans exactly, except to serve my husband, cherish my time with our daughter, prepare for the arrival of our son, to look for God’s call in my every day and to respond accordingly – with words or simply action”. In between now and then, I’ve prepared for, welcomed and loved on that sweet boy for a year and a half, cherished that big girl, and played a big support to my husband and his everyday at work. And as for the writing? Well, most of what I have written lives in composition notebooks, Word files, and my lengthy captions on Instagram (sorry, not sorry). That last bit has even died down a bit lately, as I’ve become more and more guarded – even, dare I say, stingy? – with the thoughts of my heart.

And no matter how many times I hear the “content machines” say that the equation for success as a writer is success as a blogger, I push back. And push back. And push back. Because though at one time, I was a blogger – I was a writer first. And I think, for a long time, I was okay with blogging because I was just writing, not thinking much about how people responded to me or made me feel good (or bad) about myself. LiveJournal. Xanga. Blogspot. The specific tools in medium changed, but the intent didn’t. I did it because I had things in my head that I wanted to share and enjoyed connecting with people. Plain and simple.

Somewhere along the way, something shifted, and I couldn’t get that back. I wasn’t being true to who I am. Blogging became a mechanism for ensuring my success as a photographer, a means for ascribing self-worth (or deprecation) to myself, and something I really started to loathe. And I think, to safely become “just a wife, mom, and writer”, I needed to cut the tether.

I needed to be able to be content with no content.

I needed to be reminded that writing was not just – or even first – about being read.

I needed to let the dust fall where it may, while my heart was tidied. (Though let me tell you, that’s a lifelong journey.)

So now, I’m here. And I’m wondering and dreaming about what this could be, again. What blogging in DEFIANCE of the “content machines” could look and feel like, and how I can connect with my words. Not feed (or starve) my ego with what people have to say about what I write, but really write things that matter to people without my own regard for mattering. It is a tension. But I’ve been working on it. And I am thinking through it. And I will find my way.
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