Free Advice!

I have always considered myself a professional advice giver, from having been a magazine editor for so many years. I loved, LOVED, that people would sidle up to me at public events and say, “Hey, I just wanted to know…..”

And frankly, I was an amateur advice giver before that. Often giving advice even when it wasn’t solicited. You know, a know-it-all busybody. Hopefully I’ve mellowed with time.

In any case, I’m going to be penning an occasional advice column for my friends at TueNight.com, and I’m in need of questions to answer. Thought I’d drop a note here in case you aren’t yet following me HERE:

Check out this post, and there’s a handy-dandy little button that will open an anonymous form where you can put your question. (Or you can put your email and I’ll send you the answer. You’ll still be anonymous to everyone but me and I promise to keep it all to myself.)

ASK ME A QUESTION, please and thank you!

I’ve Moved

Dear readers…. I have chosen a new home for my writing, which you can find here.

And to lure you over, here are a few sentences from my second post there, “The Aftereffects”:

I felt RELIEF to have this public, shared moment of acknowledging where we are — on our knees — but with hope, resolve, and faith. The exhale that I’d been holding in.

And yet.

In the days following the Inauguration, I began to crash. I spent Thursday and Friday in a bit of a fog, with iron dread sitting in the pit of my stomach. I struggled to motivate to get into the flow of my workday. I kept sitting back from my desk to scroll through all of my regular news sources to read … what? Yes, it was great to read all that Biden was undoing in his first days, but that wasn’t reaching the shadow I was carrying...

Thank you for having been a friend and follower to Filling in the Blanks. I’d be so honored if you would join me in my new, new home.

xo Stacy

The Blank Slate

I don’t know what to write.

And that has been the hardest transition of all, the blankest of the many blanks I face in my life every day.

I “re-opened” this space for myself weeks and weeks ago. And even though I have the kindness of people who would like to hear from me (thank you, Debbie), I still have not found the clarity within me to understand what I have of value to share. 

((Even though, as I type that, I instantly feel myself say inside my head, “Don’t be silly. Everyone counts. Everyone’s thoughts and ideas and words bring something new to the table. Everyone is human and alive and has meaning.”)) 

I do, however, intellectually understand that the ego is a force for putting words down on a page. And I suppose that is why I keep silencing myself. My ego is in a crouched position, hunkered down, unsure beyond reason. 

It’s not writer’s block I suffer from, at all. It’s fear. 

And there is plenty to be afraid of in our world right now, COVID-19 being the least of it. 

What does it mean to be a “good person”? And don’t you think we •all• strive to be a good person? Isn’t that a basic, orientation of being? I presume that the broad majority of people strive to do good, be good. Even the politicians I disagree with? The non-mask-wearers among us? The people screaming in stores and slapping strangers and driving cars into crowds of people? Yes.

How did we get so lost? COVID didn’t make us lost. COVID showed us how lost we had already become. 

And I’ve been lost and adrift in my life for more than ten years now, unmoored by the simple fact of work having become a vague and unreliable thing. 

I used to be a THINK BIG person, and now I just think small: Live today. Make today’s decisions. Point yourself toward the unknowable future, I think. Try to imagine what choices you could make that would make work more stable.

(Should I become a radiation tech? How much do managers at Home Depot make? Is a masters degree in health care management a good idea? Does having no interest in the work I do outweigh having a modest regular paycheck and health insurance? Why won’t Cornell consider me for a Masters in HR? I’d be great at HR. Could I create the next great gourmet condiment? Could I win the lottery? What do I actually WANT to do? I have no idea.)

Cook delicious dinners. Take long walks outside when you can. Try not to mourn all that you have lost too deeply. Stay light. You still have so, so, so, so much. Even if you have no direction, no certainty.

But I miss writing. I miss feeling like I had something to share. But writing most days feels like an act of ego too big to muster. Who am I? Just a woman lost in the woods trying to find her way, pulling dried leaves out of her hair, slapping the dirt off her palms, looking up to catch a glimpse of the sun, which winks and bobs, but is always up there shining, even on the darkest of days. 

Here I Am Again, Again

In that funny way life works — a little bit funny ha-ha, a little bit not-funny funny — I re-started this blog again in April, at the height of quarantine quonfusion, because I felt a momentary flare of optimism and hope that maybe I should start writing again, for myself… And then the blog died.

No, really. Gremlins. Or bad juju. Or I spilled orange juice on my blog in the middle of the night, causing it to short out. (I don’t drink orange juice, ever, so that seems unlikely.) But I was unable to publish another post. Which undid me. I pressed all the buttons and made all the prayers, and I even restarted my computer! But nope. WordPress just kept offering up “Unable to Publish Post.”

I wanted to make It All Mean Something Big and Meaningful, but my partner told me “Get over it, and yourself. It just happened.”

Hrmph.

But then he went on to fix the problem, by investigating, and then wiping everything out again after not being able to find the problem, but having confirmed that, yes, the site was corrupt and I could not publish, or delete, or edit, or anything. And then he started from scratch and re-launched it. He’s a pretty great guy. But more than that, he really wants me to write.

And so, I begin again, again. Which is perfect since Falling Apart in One Piece (my book) and Filling In the Blanks (this blog, in its many lives) and my one wild and precious life (h/t the great Mary Oliver) have always been about beginning, again, and again. The Buddhist promise and reward. And the simple truth of how life goes. At some point, or if you’re like me, at many, many points, we must begin again.

So I will, and I do, and here I am.

Hello, It’s Me

So, here I find myself again. Still with the blank pages of life in front of me. And once again ready to write out loud all I do not know.

I closed down my blog in a fit of some kind of despair. And now, we are all mired in despair as COVID-19 permanently changes the outlines our of world in ways we cannot yet

see

or

understand.

And so. Here I am.

I write for company, mostly. Company in the hard, strange work of figuring out how to carry our painfully vulnerable human-ness. For the last few years I felt maybe too human. Too vulnerable and scared. But after almost a decade of drifting — what a shock it has been to learn that my identity is almost completely anchored in my employment — I’m finding some stability in the confusion now.

So. It seemed like a good time to start writing out loud again, seeing as we are all so terribly confused.

Thank god for writing. Thank the heavens for friendship and love and connections and for the millions of people in the world who truly understand we have to be able to lean on each other, count on each other, see each other, for this whole humanity thing to work.

Thank you for that. More soon.

— Stacy