I Survived. Barely.

Hey again,

So, miraculously, I survived the writing and publishing of my first blog post since the universe handed me that extra-large shit sandwich. The one I told you about last week. But, just barely.

I’m not gonna lie (not that I’ve been lying up until now) but this whole experience left me feeling nauseous and nursing a giant “sharing” hangover. You know the kind. It’s that intensely uncomfortable feeling you get when you have a flashback of some awkward comment you made at a party the night before. Yeah, that. On repeat. For a week. It’s been excruciating. And, it’s not just the posting itself. It’s the stress that led up to it AND the lingering anxiety afterward. Here, let me give you a little glimpse of what I’m talking about.

The first challenge for me was the sitting down and writing part. Yes of course, there’s fear of sounding like an idiot.  There’s concern about what exactly I should say.  But the big problem for me is that I’m so ADD that it literally takes quarantining in a global pandemic to force me to put aside all the things that normally distract me in life so that I can sit still and buckle down to do the work.

Then, once I conquered that part of the process, there was a new dilemma to confront – the stress and mental anguish about the potential outcome. For me, this part has a way of creating a lot of pent-up nervous energy. So, in an effort to let off steam I paced around the house. And the yard. I walked the dog. I binged on carbs. I did the laundry and straightened things (THIS I might add is how you know things are REALLY bad). And, I worried a lot.  About all kinds of things. For instance, I worried that – despite having spent months obsessing over the pros and cons of restarting my blog in this way – the timing suddenly didn’t seem right. I also worried that I’d send it out into the world, and no one would read it, leaving me to wonder what that meant. And finally, I worried that people WOULD read it and then, they’d start looking at me in that way most Americans look at the Tiger King. The bottom line here is that I worked myself up into quite a frenzy. But if there was any lingering doubt at all about the depth to which this process was REALLY triggering me it disappeared the instance, I hit the publish button and attempted to get up from my desk. At that very moment (I can’t believe I’m telling you this) my lower back completely seized up and I could barely walk.

Yes. That’s right. I actually threw my back out writing a blog post. I know. Who does that?! I mean, it’s not like blog writing is a high intensity activity. Ugh, I wish I could tell you that I’m making this stuff up. But sadly, I have my chiropractor and my 19-yr. old daughter Sloane as witnesses to the validity (and absurdity) of it all.

Ok, but there is some good news in all this. As much as I wanted to chicken out, I didn’t. And you know a funny thing happened that surprised me. Just like that, with the tap of a final keystroke that sent my post into the internet ether I was struck by the feeling that with this action some part of my old life had just drifted off into the wind and was gone. In its place I now see the seedlings of a new life that’s just taking shape.  This revelation has been both exciting and pretty terrifying.

Of course, you might wonder why I didn’t just put off the project for a while longer or abandon it all together? After all, I didn’t have to torture myself with this. Well, there are a couple reasons. The first is that despite all my fear of the uncertainty of doing this and feeling so exposed, somewhere deep inside me I knew it was right, for me. You see, I know what it’s like to go through some of life’s suckier moments on one’s own and I just don’t want others to feel they are alone. So, there’s that. And, I was sick and tired of feeling stuck.

But honestly, the biggest motivation for me to get off my derriere and take action was this. I looked at my daughter and wondered, what kind of life would I want for her if she found herself in my situation? Would I tell her to just muddle along, don’t rock the boat, focus on your family, don’t do anything risky? No, of course not. I’d want her to listen to her heart and do what was right for her, and her alone. – Not what the world tells her she ought to do. What SHE wants to do. In short, I’d want for her to be courageous. So then, if that’s the case, how can I settle for anything less in my own life than what I’d want for her in her life.  THIS is why I pushed past my fear. To show my daughter how to live courageously.


8 Discussion to this post

  1. kate kennedy says:

    Holy crap, Batman! That’s way more than anyone should have to handle but it seems as though you are emerging on the other side of that horror story. I have several good friends that have been through the shit field and come out better on the other side. Patience and honesty with yourself is vital. Just 16 years ago I quit my job to student teach, had to go to summer school because somehow accounting and statistics didn’t qualify as a math, my mother died, and I filed for divorce because my husband was cheating while we were in conciliating. This all took place in about 60 days. It was hell. Each day gets better.

  2. Melissa Nelligan says:

    Love this. Bravo!

  3. Mary Ellen says:

    I love your honesty and openness. You have survived lots of intense, difficult experiences and continue to survive and grow. Maybe one of the most important things uncovered is it takes a leap of faith to realize the worst that can happen, lots of friends support and care about you. You are a gifted writer and a fabulous person, watch out Act II!

  4. Susie says:

    I recognize that feeling all too well. The mental anguish & the suppression of your feelings & emotions have to go somewhere….it was L5 for me. Losing the use of my right leg & being “advised” to have spinal surgery immediately. I only wish I would have had the courage to act as you did. Writing, as you do, is not only the perfect outlet for you but it speaks to me & triggers me to recognize that there’s nothing wrong with sharing the bad as well as the good. Your words resonate with many of us & ignite us to look deeper & peel the onion of not only ourselves but our collective selves….because we really are all one.

  5. Jill Jacoby Brugger says:

    Jeanine: You are one courageous lady! I am inspired by your words and actions. Your daughter is so lucky to have a mother like you.
    I’m so happy our paths crossed in life. Keep up the fabulous writing! ~ Jill

  6. Mariannne Wise says:

    Wow Jeanine! you are amazing gal – I knew that already! Sooooooo good to see you here again!!!

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