There are things we agree to in life that we know are terrible ideas; ideas you could feel in your gut are not the right move for you, but you make them anyway. I’m smack in the beginning of my terrible idea.
But what if these terrible ideas aren’t terrible ideas at all? What if these terrible ideas are actually moments of clarity dressed in wolf’s clothing; lessons to learn, aha moments. Could terrible ideas actually be life-changing moments disguised as terrible ideas?
15 days ago to be exact I started the next three months of my life. (Being a mom. Writing. And introducing…teaching.) To be honest, even after I said yes I wasn’t sure why I said yes. By the end of the first week, my mind began to feel like it was dripping out of my nose. The strong, vibrant muscle my brain once was had quickly been replaced by an overworked and under-rested imposter. In the second week, my brain was beginning to move into the machine-with-an-electric-short-in-the-middle-of-a-rainstorm phase. I felt like my wires would cross at any moment and it would all go up in flames of destruction.
I’ve been going to bed every night by about 8:30 in hopes of unburdening the brain system malfunction that is well on its way. I promised myself I would steer clear of event planning a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g (which if you know me is impossibly impossible). I’ve gone out less, come home earlier, and organized my time with even more precision than it was before. Yet I still wake up with the mushy brain effect. I am still getting up at 6:30 every morning but am more tired, less happy and more guilty about leaving my kids than I was when I was getting up to write.
What was I thinking? Why did I say yes? I’m leaving my kids for this? At least when I was leaving my kids before it was to pursue my dream… this is not the dream.
Like the Bluth Family I’ve found myself saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
Then last week an amazing thing happened. The Huffington Post published one of my pieces. And the following day, Matador Network published another (and paid me for it). And then a post I published on Mom’s Magazine in January started earning revenue.
Things weren’t looking so bad. Maybe I needed to revise what was happening. Maybe there aren’t huge mistakes. Maybe the most terrible of ideas teach us the most important of things.
Since I haven’t had as much time for writing, I’ve been rereading and editing some of my older pieces; giving them more love and breathing fresh life into them. Maybe there are things in our life that need new air again? It was one of these posts that got published to the Huff Post. Also because of my lack of time, I’ve been submitting more and fearing failure less because the alternative is to submit and write nothing. Maybe we need to just put it out there. It was one of those pieces that got published to Matador. I’ve expected more of myself and yet lowered my expectations. Maybe we could cut ourselves some slack. I have been savoring the moments I have with my kids; seeing more clearly how fast they get older and bigger, noticing my youngest develop more words and my oldest become a model older sister. Maybe I was too busy before? Maybe we see what matters when it isn’t as available to us. Since I haven’t had much free time I’ve had to evaluate and reevaluate what matters and prioritize. Maybe we should all be so lucky to have something come into our path that shows us what really matters in our life.
This “terrible idea” actually gave me clarity to see what was foggy before; it showed me this in full color: that I never want to say yes to something again that isn’t my family or my dreams.
I’ve struggled with calling myself a writer for years. I’ve struggled to carve out time, to find a routine, to be proud of my accomplishments. But I’ve enjoyed every moment of this writer life. I’ve struggled with being a good mom, wondering if other moms were better. I’ve struggled with mommy guilt and breastfeeding. But I’ve enjoyed every moment of mommy life.
And now that I’ve added this other thing, I realize just how much I’ve enjoyed those lives. I realize that what I want in my life is to be a writer and a mom. And nothing else. I realize that I don’t just want Saturday mornings with my kids. I realize that before being a writer I was happy as a teacher but that after being a writer there is no going back. This is who I am now, and also, who I want to be.
So what this terrible idea taught me is that I was on the right path but perhaps without veering in the wrong direction I would have never known for sure. And now… I’m sure.