Monday, January 28, 2008


I forget the things I know. Does that ever happen to you? The things I really need to keep in front of me, the realizations that are hard-won and long-coming, and I have them and know them and then--poof!--gone. Except that somewhere, hiding out under the back porch is the slightest sense that I'm missing something important, something that will make such a difference in how I see things and feel about things. Something that is crucial to my moving onward. But I don't know what it is. Or where to look to find it.

Like this: Everything Does Not Have To Become Something. Does that make any sense? Let me give you some background, then. I come from a family of strivers and doers and use-your-talents to-the-utmosters. In my family, if you could carry a tune, you took voice lessons and plotted your course as a singer. If you could draw, then obviously you'd become an artist. Have an idea? Get it patented; put it into action; create success around it; do; achieve. Even now, I can hear my mother and my aunts and my cousins scheming: Janie dear, you're so good at X, Y, and Z. You must become an Xer, a Yer, and a Zer. One couldn't simply have an idea that was "good"; it had to be actualized. One couldn't simply be; one had to become. I learned those lessons better than well, and it's now an automatic response for me to, as soon as I get a cool idea or an urge or a notion, figure out how to maximize it. Which is not only exhausting, but just plain wrong. It puts the emphasis on the product at the expense of the process even as it sets me up for failure.

I realized that a while ago, and immediately knew it was a crucial piece of information for me. And then I forgot it.

Did I forget it because it was so crucial? The urge to inadequacy is quite strong, and the mind has a way of getting its way.

Last night, I remembered it. And thought: I can't forget this again; it's too important. If only I did needlepoint, I could stitch it on a pillow. Instead, I'm writing it here.

Will I remember that I've done that?


  1. Well. Aren't we on the same page?
    I need about 1000 yellow stickies to keep up with all the things I shouldn't forget.

  2. This is so absolutely true, so absolutely, mind-blowingly true. I'm so glad you wrote this today. I needed the reminder. Particularly as a writer, being task oriented can be problematic. If every day we sit down and our writing needs to be meaningful and complete and a cog in a greater wheel, then it becomes daunting and impossible. The process in and of itself is just so important.

  3. You've said it so well. God bless your family. Aren't they exhausted?

    I'd tell you to stitch that lesson on a pillow, like you said, but an iron-on transfer would be much faster. Leaving you a lot more time to just write.

  4. denise: I need stickies for my stickies.

    cce: thank you for always letting me know you're listening

    jennifer h: my family is indefatigable, endlessly so.

  5. I never thought about it that way. You may need to remind me as well. My family wasn't like that, but I am afraid to some extent I have. I try to slow down and breathe, but even then I think, "I have to practice my breathing". STOP! OMG.

  6. I got that message at home too - the one about achieving. But I also got another message: you can't be everything to everybody.

    It has helped me know when to let go. Sometimes.

  7. hrh: yes, remembering to breathe is a crucial part of mindful breathing. And did you know that when some people are depressed, they hold their breath. Breathing--it's just one of those things we can't live without, I guess.

    nina: in my family, certain of us were expected to be everything to everybody.

  8. Are you SURE you're not my Aunt Rosemary, blogging under a penname??? Which says to me: Call Aunt Rosie, TODAY. You are just as awesome and cool as she is, and if she's not blogging I need to plant that seed. :)

  9. tj: I am NOT our aunt rosemary, but call her today anyway.


So--whaddaya think?