Monday, February 06, 2006

Freedom From Fear

"The feelings we refuse to feel rule our lives."
-- Rhonda Britten
"When we run from our feelings, they follow us. Everywhere."
-- Martha Beck in O magazine
"A great deal of talent is lost in this world for want of a little courage."
-- a quote I saved in my wallet from an old copy of Glamour magazine
The other day a friend said he was glad to see my blog back after a month's vacation. I was flattered until he added, "I hope you put a little meat back into it."


When last we saw my blog, I was becoming, quite frankly, a blog whore. After enjoying some HUGE spikes in readership around the time of Hurricane Katrina, I started checking the number of blog hits several times a day. When things slowed down, I posted a Maureen Dowd column -- she has a HUGE readership. In the end, my blog stopped being about my perceptions as I posted more and more NYT columnists. Lest you think I was a total slut, let me remind you that I NEVER posted Thomas Friedman! I do have SOME standards.

But here's the deal. The new year brought a new focus. We kicked it off with wishes for the best of luck for everyone we know. We ate pork, black-eyed peas, collard greens, almond cake, drank champagne. EVERY possible good luck consumable I could think of. Our friends received "blessings bracelets" and as the fireworks exploded on the Space Needle, we kissed 2005 GOODBYE and GOOD RIDDANCE and high hopes for 2006.

So far, the new focus is bringing good things. My beloved has enough work to keep him out of trouble (not out of the bars, just out of trouble) for a few months and my therapy seems to be finally kicking in. I'd still like to know where the hell this extra 60 pounds came from, but that's for another blog entry (and maybe another year).

The point is, I'm trying to focus my time and energy on making this the best year EVER and the blog is gonna have to work WITH the process, not IN ADDITION to it, regardless of the hits I get. Nobody needs me to remind them one more time that the Bushies are corrupt evil faschists. I'm going to do my bit for the 2006 and 2008 elections, but in the meantime, I gotta get my own house in order.

So for now, I'm writing about stuff that may seem meatless to some, but nourishes me. No more fear about whether anyone's going to read my blog or think it's stupid.

And speaking of fear, (you can tell by this smooth segue-way that I used to work in radio, can't you?) I have become convinced that the most dangerous force holding us back -- even worse than the Bushies -- is fear.
  • Fear of what people think about us keeps us from speaking out.
  • Fear of what people might say about us keeps us from doing what's right.
  • Fear of change depletes us.
  • Fear of scarcity keeps us from being generous and tolerant.
  • Fear of losing our house or job keeps us from asking for justice.
No matter how scary the terrorists might be, we can't be brave until we are ready to fight for own lives. Martha Beck wrote an amazing article about how we let fear shrinkwrap our worlds in this month's O magazine. It starts with this line:

"Becky's life was shrinking like a cheap blouse
in an overheated dryer."

Come on. An opening sentence like that deserves a read!

Something else to check out: The Best Year of Your Life website


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Loganite said...

I get to be the FIRST comment since your hiatus. WELCOME BACK!

By the way, I am almost positive that the quote you mention that you clipped and saved in your wallet is from my favorite movie ever, "The Wizard of Oz." I think it is what the "wizard" says at the end to Tin Man when handing out the "ticking heart."

You are right to return to your Weblog as a personal forum for expression, and if people want to comment, great. I love reading your voice here. You rock, sistah!

A loyal fan,
-- L.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger WHS Cheer Girl said...


I love to see that you are writing more about the things which matter to you. I am one of those that missed your voice. Anyone can cut and paste an article (as a former teacher, you are definitely familiar with that!), but it takes true talent to divine the essence of female living in our society as you do.

I appreciate all of your thoughts on feminism, literature, and even those damned contradictory magazine covers. Thank you for putting a voice to thoughts I have but sometimes fear to say. I guess Martha Beck's column needs to be a daily read for me for a while.

Welcome back. You have been missed.


At 12:39 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Hey, blog what you want! Otherwise, what's the point? Sometimes it'll be relevant and interesting, sometimes it'll be one or the other, occasionally it'll be neither. The real question will be: Are YOU happy?

There's an old joke that I love because it's a New York joke, and you have to have a New York sensibility to get it. It's about the guy interviewing for a job. The interviewer is reading over the resume, and he gets past the jobs and skills and comes down to interests, where he sees that the candidate lists his hobby as "beekeeper."

The interviewer is fascinated. "You keep bees?"


The interviewer looks at the resume again. He notes the address.

"Interesting. But you live here in Manhattan. Do you keep them in the country somewhere?"

"No," replies the candidate. "I keep them in my apartment."

This further perplexes the interviewer. He scans the resume again. "I recognize this address. My DAUGHTER lives in this building. It's all studio apartments. Where can you keep bees in a place like that?"

"Actually," replies the candidate, "I keep the bees in my closet."

"In your CLOSET?"

"Yes. Actually, more specifically, I keep them in an attache case."

The interviewer is flummoxed now, totally out of his element, and couldn't begin to care anymore whether the candidate had really gone to any college at all. "Let me get this straight," he summarizes. "You keep bees. In New York. In Manhattan. In a studio apartment. In a closet. In an ATTACHE CASE."

"That's right."

"Well," the interviewer sputters, "Won't the bees DIE?"

The candidate leans forward and says, "F*** the bees!"

I heard that joke at my first job out of college, and (besides nailing New Yorkers) as life philosophies go, it ain't bad.

Screw the bees. Write what you want.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger uniongrrl said...

Thank you, Mikey...what a hilarious joke!



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