Nearly a year ago, with fresh and renewed enthusiasm I started back into the world as a journalist, as a blogger as a writer, the deepest of my passions. I had an entirely new life. From my job, to my partner, my zip code, my life, everything was new, different, exciting and scary all at once and I was feeling fierce. Feeling alive and ready to get back into the most challenging part of my life: writing.
When my life turned completely around (by my own doing) I took a sabbatical from my freelance journalism career. But in the end of summer of ’14 I was ready to dive in again. My new job posting with its four hour commutes to Philly gave me time and space to think, create and write again.
So late one summer day I posted here about my experiences as a “flawed mother” something that had resonated with me in a lovely book I’d read. I posted my angst about being a working mother, a mother who chose life for myself versus a life living through my darling, adored child. I felt selfish, yet my beliefs about living for yourself while giving your loved ones time and attention is the best lived life. I exposed myself, my fears, my flaws. I felt brave in doing so, despite knowing that some would vehemently disagree with me. But a writer knows that being true to oneself and putting it out there and hoping to get at least one person to consider a different point of view IS being a writer, and damn the torpedoes!
That’s me, in a nutshell. Me, The Writer.
Yet what happened to that one vulnerable post took the wind out of my pages. More than anything I’d expected to ever encounter.
The timing of my “Flawed Mother” post came just days before a very personal, difficult death in my “family”‘and unfortunately for me one of the people also affected by this tragic moment is a bully. She did not like the role I played during this most emotional and personal time. She felt “ousted” so she did what bullies always do when they are most insecure; lash out and aim to hurt. She made things personal. She attacked me and my “Flawed Mother” post on a very, very personal and inappropriate level. She attacked me publicly, but worse she attacked my family and loved ones through this public post.
That was the last time I wrote.
As insecure writers, this would be difficult enough to handle, but she made it about my family. I don’t take that lightly and rather than attack back, I circled the wagons and put up the armor to protect them. And yes at the same time I shielded myself.
Nearly a year later I was bullied again, this time at work and as I sat in my jumpseat, tears falling into my lap wondering how to deal with this face to face bully I knew to I couldn’t confront her like I did in junior high school with a knock out punch that earned me the knickname Muhammad. But I HAD to confront it. I thought about what I’d tell my son if he was bullied, if it happened to him. And that’s when it actually occurred to me that I’d been bullied publicly too and that I hadn’t written since the attack on me almost a year ago.
See the one thing I hate the most is fear.
I’ve never lived my life in fear, except now. Now I was afraid to write, to confront my bullies head on. To keep doing what I love, writing and flying, to face my bullies. To live fearlessly in ALL aspects.
Well I thought a lot about what I’d say to my work bully, and you know what? I never got the chance to say what was on my mind. She treated me VERY differently from the moment we got out of our jumpseats, and it’s continued that way ever since. But I was prepared. I was not afraid of her anymore.
And the same goes here. My fearlessness is back. I’ve found my thick journalist’s skin I wore so well not that long ago. And I feel at home in my skin and in the pages once again.
So yes, I am truly a flawed mother, but who isn’t? I deeply love my son and would die for him, but I also have a life and spirit that is all my own. And what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t get back into the fray and fight to be true to myself? What kind of journalist, what kind of writer would I be if I didn’t lay bare my soul for all to see? I wouldn’t be ME that’s who I’d be, and for me that’s no way to live, scary fear and all, cause honestly that’s half the fun. 😉
As the anniversary of this tragic life changing death in our family approaches I am grateful to the one adult person it affected the most as I watch her grab a new life, leading HER family through the fray, more beautiful and strong as ever. I dedicate this post to you Emily Carroll. Thank you for being fearless and spreading love everywhere you go.
So I’ll leave you, my dear readers, with my favorite quote so you can trust I will be true to me the writer for YOU my reader:
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open,” Natalie Goldberg