A Quick Meditation On My Silence

Ponder perfect: the intersection of curtains and wall and ceiling in my bedroom, colors to calm the mind.

I got an amazing comment this week: Someone came by my blog to see if I had written a new post.

That simple sentence contains three gems: (1) Someone reads my blog (which I did kind of know, but still…), (2) Someone actually came by ON HER OWN ACCORD, not pulled by a Tweet or a link or a Facebook like or my Feedburner post pushes, (3) Someone actually was interested to read an update from me, a post, some thoughts, some words, something.

I have been feeling so heavy with heavy lately, that I had kind of made an intentional decision to stop writing until I felt I had some more positivity in my voice. I know, this blog is not about positivity — it’s about authentically experiencing pain, grief, loss, confusion, uncertainty, doubt. And also about authentically experiencing joy, peace with the order of things, coming to terms with the challenges of consciousness etc etc.

It’s definitely not about nail polish, mascara and the best new booties for fall, which happen to represent about 22.7 percent of what else is in my brain besides what is in this blog.

I struggle with How much is too much? I struggle with the fact that people I know and see every day or every week read this blog and sometimes give me the “How aaaaaaaarrrrrreeee you?” huggy-face greeting shortly after I’ve posted. I struggle to figure out how to explain to those people that the thoughts I type here are not my 24-hours-a-day experience of living. (See previous paragraph re: nail polish, mascara, and booties, and be sure to check out my totally awesome Pinboard on the latter item.)

I have been branded “intense” for a very long time, a word that has both positive and negative connotations. Positive interpretations: passionate, enthusiastic, committed, visionary, engaged, deep-thinking, loving, accepting. Negative interpretations: emotional, volatile, sensitive, unbalanced, unboundaried, unraveling.

It’s the “unraveling” part that keeps me quiet on this blog sometimes.

My mother was manic depressive and suicidal for large swaths of my so-called childhood. I say so-called, because I was her keeper, a role she happily bestowed me with, as did my father. (Bad parents! Bad, bad parents! But they were great parents, too.) I have been in therapy long enough to know truly that her illnesses and struggles are not mine, and yet, still I pause.

I know we all struggle to be understood. I know this is one of the primary reasons that the blog culture became as powerful as it did. Blogs brought the work of witnessing and being witnessed in our daily lives to our fingertips, reaching women, especially, who toil under the burdens of too many expectations and roles and not enough support, from our government, corporations and society as a whole. But wait… I digress into the larger cultural picture, which is my safe place. Because then what the ME is experiencing becomes the story of how our world is unfolding and my pain momentarily is swept away in the fascinating storyline of how humans get things right and wrong all at once in such a stunningly glorious clusterfuck that it’s impossible not to be entranced at the interlocking colored cables of all we are trying to figure out…..

Yes, right struggle to be understood. Struggle to understand. That’s what this blog is about. And I will take this moment to thank anyone and everyone who has ever read a word.

Know that I wrestle with the Big Questions, both here and in my head, partly because I am intense. But mainly because I am interested. Yes, this is a terrifically challenging time for me in my life. I am humbled every day by how much pain and loss I’ve experienced in such a short time. I still can’t believe how lonely I am, and that I haven’t gotten better at populating my daily life with support, community and friendship.

I can’t find my place.

Do we all even “have” a place? Do we even have the right to expect to get there?

These are the things I want to talk about here. And I am going to try to give myself permission, once again, to do so, and not be concerned that anyone who reads it thinks I am “unraveling.”

Because if, at any point, I suspect that I might be unraveling, this is most certainly the first place I would come to share it.

Thank you, readers, commenters and lurkers all. Thank you for confirming to me that I am not the only person in the world who sees things the way I do. Thank you for making me not alone, in more ways than one.

And thank you, especially, to Melissa, for her comment on September 10 on an old post that gave me permission to claim this space for myself again, and be whomever I need to be on any given day. I bow to you in a deep Namaste for welcoming me and my thoughts into your life.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses. Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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16 Responses to A Quick Meditation On My Silence

  1. Lindsey says:

    God, Stacy, I read this in tears, nodding at every word. Like you, I have been called intense my whole life, and I even wrote about that, a couple of years ago, about the good and bad aspects of being “too much” and how much shame I have about it. I have absolutely no idea if any of us has a place in this world, I wish I did, but I know one thing, and it’s that mine is near you, even though we have never even met in person. xoxox

  2. elisa says:

    I check in to this blog every week or so to see if you have posted any thoughts. In under 3 years I went from being married to my high school boyfriend for 17 years, a senior marketing position, and a dream farm house we renovated. My marriage ended, I have a one bedroom apt, and am cleaning houses. Your words here, give me inspiration, as did your wonderful book.

  3. pamela says:

    Your post SO resonates with me. I too have been heavy with heavy and writing is the way I unravel my own heaviness. Or demons. Or whatever. So it’s rare that I write about happiness, because it’s easy, and to paraphrase Tolstoy, no one really cares about happy families. And I too worry what people think and I worry that I will make the world more sad by spreading my heaviness. I worry that even my blog is too intense, too much, too …..

    Your writing has a place, and so do you. I think we all have a place, but sometimes that place can be really uncomfortable. Your book has reached so many people and you write about your own difficult moments with such grace. Don’t doubt yourself and please don’t stop writing!!

  4. Jules says:

    I’ve been reading your blog(s) ever since I read your book. And I, too, come back regularly in search of new posts. Your thoughtful reflections on the things that bring you peace and joy inspire me to appreciate those things that do the same in my life, and your sorrows remind me that I’m not the only one struggling to find my place. Thank you for giving such a graceful voice to so many of the same things that I feel.

  5. Cathy says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I have been very heavy lately – for a long, long time actually. Heavy stuff is heavy stuff. I consider myself “authentic” and I am unable to mask what is really going on inside. My periods of quiet are usually when I am most heavy, most buried, most sad and I choose not to write because I don’t want to always be so down. There are many times when I feel good and alive but the irony is, I just don’t write about that stuff. Maybe it’s too fleeting and doesn’t stay on my mind. The irony I’ve found that is that writing about the heavy stuff can prove to be so therapeutic. Hugs to you. I feel a special kinship with you because of your book and how my life seems to have mirrored a bit of yours.

  6. Witnessing. Yes.

    Big questions. Yes.

    “women, especially, who toil under the burdens of too many expectations and roles and not enough support, from our government, corporations and society as a whole…” – All the more reason that we express such a range, when at last we can?

    Glad to know you are writing again, whatever the words – and wherever you may gaze to encourage them.

    We are, so few of us, at peace.

  7. Jeannie says:

    I read your book not long ago…right in the middle of my divorce…I remember having a “ah ha moment” while reading your book…it spoke so loud to me…I don’t think you have to write when you’re positive or negative…think your writing just made sense…I hope you continue to write…because your writing still speaks to me very loudly…

  8. Megan says:

    I check too and am glad to see a new post, even if it’s about the heavy. The the fact that your are still interested is enormously important. That means you are still engaged, still feeling, still experiencing, even if it is heavy right now. People call women “intense” as if it’s a bad thing; no one thinks an “intense” man is somehow too much. Being voracious about life is a powerful thing; we all need to step back sometimes, and rest, but intensity makes life interesting, I think. Thanks for writing.

  9. melody says:

    You are so precious. Thank you for this great post and saying “out loud” what so many of us don’t know how to express – even inwardly. You are entitled to every moment of silence, but please know that when you choose to share, risk, inquire and explore in front of the rest of us……. you are sharing something powerful and moving for every reader –the intentional seeker AND the accidental stumbler. 🙂 Thank you for your words and heart.

  10. Melissa says:

    Thank you for sharing. As you can imagine, this was such a lovely surprise to see this week. Especially as I struggle with finding/creating/maintaining my tribe, and am increasingly preoccupied with wondering how, as my son gets older, he contextualizes our lack of a tribe.

  11. stacy says:

    Thank you all, each of you, for appearing to say hello and urge me on in the act of being me, however I define it. I hope that by witnessing you and your comments and your stories that you share with me, I, in some way, repay the favor. Melissa, oh, the words “lack of tribe,” how deeply I feel that. I am right now in the Adirondacks — my special place — with my son and my boyfriend emeritus, as I’ve taken to calling him. And feeling all the feelings mixed up in one aching conglomerate of happy/sad, wistful/wise, and above all, feeling so tremendously *adult*, which I suppose is a polite way of saying resigned. More to follow. The Adirondacks always make me think and feel and I’ll be back soon with more. xxoo

  12. heather says:

    I’ve been struggling for months to find a blogging voice and began anew at a different blog, but still I struggle. You hit the nail on the head with the ‘intense’ observation. There is so much connection to be had when we can write at the edges of our pain and intensity. I like to think that in the lighter moments, being present in my life is enough. I don’t have to find a way to then write that out as well. Writing taps into some deeper way of connecting and I’m glad you’re writing in this space again. I’ve said it before, but your book was one of the first I read after my separation two years ago and it touched me deeply. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and my kids are now the age I was when I was her caretaker. I get that. It’s a trip and adds to the intensity. You parent your boy so differently. I see your photos pop up in Instagram and I marvel at his beauty and how much you embrace him for who he is. xo

  13. Oh, my friend it is so good to hear your voice again. Even living in this selfsame city I get to see you far, far too infrequently. I don’t stop by much because I KNOW when you’ve posted because you are in my sidebar blogroll and thus you pop up to the top when there’s something new here. (The fact that it’s taken me 3 days to come and comment reflects the squashed insanity of my life right now, thoroughly sandwiched. Moving my mother into the nursing home permanently being one of the hardest things I’ve done yet in this life.)

    I love you and I love your voice and I want to hear everything you have to say. Your words are as beautiful as you are my friend, and you know I don’t mind the heaviness at all, residing there myself rather often. So here I am, calling for more, more, more! xoxoxo (and will deliver them in person, hopefully soon)

  14. Santina says:

    I too am a “lurker.” I used to read your blogs on Redbook and followed you here. I have been wondering how you are doing and frequently checked your blog for updates. Please continue to write, you are an inspiration! xoxo

  15. Blessing says:

    I came couple of times but I knew you were busy with Blogher and mother duties. Like you I struggle with what is too much but I now realize that there is power in transparency and it heals you. I share my opinions on my blog and people see me at work the next day and start a discussion that really helps me gain clarity. Glad to have you back and know that we do look forward to hearing from you!

  16. Rita Arens says:

    Hello, Intense. I heart you.


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