I have long lived with the stigma that I am two awkward steps behind the rest of the world.
Case in point: I was under the impression that Coldplay's most recent album was X&Y. I have been jamming out to this album for months now. OK, many, many months. I have spent numerous sweaty, puzzled moments on the treadmill wondering if they were ever going to release something new. Apparently they released a new album in 2008 that has gone quadruple platinum. Good job guys. Way to go.
Upon realizing that I had missed an entire album, Ryan looked at me with a puzzled and slightly irritated face, "Really Jen?"
He's convinced that I'm living on another planet.
And I have to admit, sometimes I feel like I am.
Today, I feel really behind.
I am currently experiencing a furry of joyous blog-mania. It occurred to me the other night that maybe my true calling in life was to be a writer. A blogger in particular. This joins a long list of other would-be contenders for the role of jenny's official career. I have also been convinced that I was created to be a professional whistler, voice-animator, board-game developer, photographer, airport greeter, high-school history teacher, motivational speaker, food critic with a speciality in cupcakes, and a talk-show host. Now, I am quite sure my real calling is to be a blogger.
I told Ryan this with the same excitement I had in the sixth grade when I told my dad that I thought I heard God tell me during the Sunday morning worship service that I was going to travel the world whistling songs for people until their hearts melted and tears streamed down their faces. I was sure it was God's voice. I saw some sort of light, apparition, and I knew. A whistler. My heart was so satisfied that a smile broke out across my face for the rest of the morning. Don't know about the rest of you suckers... but God has given me a calling. It was an internal victory.
My dad's response was something like, "Won't you pass out after a few songs? I'm not sure you'd have enough oxygen to make it through an entire concert of whistling."
Ryan's response was something like, "Lots of people blog," with a smile on his face.
My dad and Ryan are my advocates, so their responses were not mean spirited. The truth is, they are practical and I am not. They are well-calculated and balanced and I am not. They work under some measure of reason and control, and I do not.
Still, once my mind is made up, I go for it. With all my heart, with everything out there, I go for it. All in.
So a few days ago I decided my new career was going to be a professional blogger. This, my friends, was a revolutionary idea in my head. What a brilliant concept! A professional blogger! Whoever thought of such a thing? I will go where no woman has gone before. I will pave a trail into the wild unknown of on-line life sharing. I will build an on-line community. I will even have different sections on my blog about different topics and different aspects of life. People from all over the country and the world will come to this place, this oasis, and their lives will be a bit better because of it. This is going to be amazing. Amazing! I can't believe I thought of this. Brilliant!
That's when I got an e-mail from a girl in my church about a new blog called (in)courage.
An amazing blog with the 20 best female mom bloggers in the country. An on-line community. With different sections. Different topics. With readers from all over the country and world. These ladies have won numerous blog awards. Best new mom blog of the year. 100 Top Mom Blogs in the country. Travel blog of the year. Blogger choice awards. And my favorite, The 2009 WeBlog awards... established in 2001.
2001? I mean, dang, I was barely getting e-mail back then.
People were blogging back then? In the old days? Really?
My heart sunk. My gut felt sickly. Once again, I missed the boat. I was stupid to get my hopes up.
The blog-o-sphere is vast. Mommy blogs. Travel blogs. Political blogs. Food blogs. Spiritual journey blogs. The list goes on and on. And experts, all the writers are experts. They are quirky poets, English majors, out-of-this-world moms who apparently have time to make their own cleaning solutions, home school, maintain gardens, take professional pictures on the side, win awards and land book deals, oh yeah, and then blog about it on top of all that!
I did not feel envious. I just felt little. Stupid. Minute. How silly to think that I came up with something new or amazing. This blog empire is so far beyond me. I felt two awkward steps behind the rest of the world. And in a final moment of self-defeat I made my way to urban dictionary to look up the word "blurker." Someone used it in a comment the other day.
Sure enough, there it was: A blog lurker who never leaves a comment.
Great, these people even have their own slang. I will never make it in their world.
"They already have good girlfriends, it's too late for me to be included."
"They already have their couple friends, it's too late for us to fit in."
"They already have more than enough people to volunteer, they won't ever need me."
"They already work-out together, they don't want one more person."
"They already have a vast blog world, they don't need one more person. I'll never be as good as them."
I'll never catch up. I'm too late. I can't offer anything new. I'm not needed. I will die alone and unaccomplished... nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I guess I'll go and eat some worms...
The thoughts plague me. Two steps behind everyone else. Or as Fergie says, "You're so two thousand and late..."
Something seeks to disable me just enough that I am convinced I will never find my place and I give up.
Giving up is easy. Believing the voices is tempting. Living a life of self-pity sits in front of my eyes like a plate of extra cheesy enchiladas and three cupcakes begging to be eaten, to be consumed, to be devoured. Self-pity tells me I am too late. I have missed the boat. It tells me that I have no reason for confidence, passion, or excitement. It tells me that there are no good, amazing, abundant plans for my life. It tells me I am nominal. Plain. Nothing special. It tells me that I am not good enough. Not needed. It tells me I am just an insignificant speck who has missed my chance...
Self-pity robs my voice. Robs my heart. Robs my life. Self-pity is the voice of death.
So what? I didn't know that blogs were like... the thing.
So what? I'm behind and I don't have hundreds and hundred of loyal readers.
So what? There's no book deal on the table or bloggie award on the wall.
So what? I'm a little late on the scene.
So many times in my life I have let myself go down the road of self-defeat. I have lived there. Oh, how lonely and bitter it is. How hopeless.
But then my mom has always said, "Jenny, if you don't have friends... go out and make some." "If you want to be a writer, just write a book." "If you want to volunteer but there are already too many people, go anyways. They will need you eventually." "If you want couple friends, throw a party and invite all the couples you know."
Mom has always reminded me that no situation is permanent. Self-pity is only to be indulged for a day. Then you pick yourself up and you start over again. You go for it. You dream big, try hard, put yourself out there, and don't believe anything else. She would say, "So what? Now what?"
So tonight I am pretending that I am sitting at Starbucks talking to my mom. Telling her that it's too late for me to make it in the blog world. That I am seriously, like 5 years late, and not nearly smart enough, cutesy enough, or awesome enough to ever make it in the blog world. I'm just too late.
She reminds me that I felt that way about having friends before. I was convinced I would die old and lonely with not one single girlfriend to my name. And now I have more girlfriends; true, deep, amazing girlfriends than I can even keep up with.
She reminds me of other examples too.
She tells me to learn from the people that are already out there writing their hearts out. To be happy that they have paved the way. She lets me complain and mope over a few more sips of coffee and then she does what she does best.
Jenny. You are a good writer. There are tons of writers but there are not tons of Jenny writers. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop planning your blog funeral. Stop comparing yourself. Stop limiting your call. Stop it.
You want to be a professional blogger? Go be a blogger.
You want to whistle for an entire concert? Go whistle.
You want girlfriends? Invite some girls over and ask them, "Please by my friend."
You want to be a writer?
Write Jenny. Stop talking to me and write.
Thanks for meeting me at Starbucks tonight mom. You are far away, but you were here. This blogs for you :)