January 9, 2012

Digging Into A New Year

 This is me, celebrating my birthday last month at a newly-opened Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. Farrell's was a big part of my childhood – they used to have locations all over SoCal, including at the outdoor mall in Downey where my mother and her two sisters went shopping nearly every Saturday afternoon, back when I was a kid. At one end of the mall was a Farrell's, and I enjoyed many, many lunches there, eating grilled cheese sandwiches followed by their signature “Clown Sundae.” (One scoop of vanilla sitting in fudge, 2 cherry halves for eyes, topped by a sugar cone hat.) It didn't have to be an “occasion” to go  – I suppose it was my reward for being somewhat patient, somewhat well-behaved, while watching my mom and aunts browse and try on clothes at The Broadway and all the little chain boutiques.
It's no accident that my first post of the new year features a candid photo of me. I don't really want to talk about my birthday, or the gooey marshmallow sundae I celebrated with, or my thoughts about being back inside a Farrell's again after so many years. (Let's just say: you can't go home again.)

I'm posting this candid, untouched shot of my shiny, happy, toothy self, because a) it's a shot of the real me, not a posed, this-is-me-looking-into-the-camera shot and b) it makes me deeply uncomfortable to do so. 

But that's what I hope to do this year, here on the blog, and also out in the world: be unapologetically myself, share my real self, be true to my deepest, authentic self. Even when, especially when, doing so makes me deeply uncomfortable and anxious.

I have big ambitions here on the blog, which I think and hope will also translate into fulfilling some of my other big ambitions. Namely, I intend to try to post at least three times a week. Now, that may seem a laughably easy resolution if you're a blogger who posts almost daily, but for me, that's a big leap. Me, who half a year ago, was posting maybe once or twice per month. For now, in my quest to stay authentic and only share what truly engages me, three times a week should do (who knows, maybe my creativity will spring into gear, and I'll be overflowing with ideas of things to talk about).  And also, hopefully I will start to build a real readership, because most days, I feel I'm just talking into a microphone, into the overwhelming silence of the interwebs  -- like "tap, tap, is thing working??"

But also: it's very, very hard for me to commit to a routine and stick with it. Not because I'm lazy, or flaky, or can't focus. I don't like routines because they scare me, they fill me with fear and anxiety. Sometime I think my whole philosophy can be summed up by these brief lines from Joni Mitchell's “Down to You:”

“Everything comes and goes/
Pleasure moves on too early and trouble leaves too slow
Just when you're thinking that you've finally got it made/
Bad news comes knocking, at your garden gate/
Knocking for you.”

Since I was just a little older than my daughter is now, I've been living with fear. Bad news came knocking out of the blue, several times over during my early adolescent and teen years. Since then, I live a cringing sort of life, a life where I'm afraid to truly exhale. The other shoe can drop at any time, man. I'm tightly coiled, gasp easily, jump a mile if a door slams. My body, my mind, is poised and waiting: What's next? The fear of routine is built into me: If I dive into something, enter the swim of life, become unconscious of just living, what will it be that comes knocking to snap me out? So I stall. I procrastinate. I dawdle and circle and make plans to make plans. Between all that and raising two children, time slips away. And it's taken me all this time to figure out why I hate routines, why making lists and charting out the week ahead fills me with dread.  Just figuring this out feel like such a breakthrough.  

So. Be generous. Share myself, when it makes me anxious and uneasy. Embrace the fear, invite it over for dinner. Wrestle around with it after dessert. Take on some new routines, and stick to them, even if the nervous voice inside tells me to STOP DOING THAT, YOU ARE CALLING THE WOLVES TO YOUR DOOR. In short, it's time to dig in.
With gusto.


  1. Wonderful post. So glad we get to have more of you.

  2. Thanks, Christina. Hopefully you'll come back,now that my link is in your FB account! ;-)

  3. yes, I'm working on that too - and also, I must stop making so many to-do lists! life's too short :)

  4. Hila, to-do lists are something I actually need to START doing! Part of my whole "embrace routine" campaign.


Thanks for commenting! :)

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