Category Archives: Tuesdays 2 Think

Tuesdays 2 Think: Esperanza

This weeks Tuesday 2 Think post comes from Esperanza over at Stumbling Gracefully. Not surprisingly, many of us blog writers share a passion for writing… I love this post from Esperanza. I love how the words just tumble out. Check our her blog for some great writing and lovely photography.

Also, I am looking for more Tuesdays 2 Think writers… I have someone on deck for March 1st, but after that I think I am open. Let me know you want a Tuesday by e-mailing me at amoment2think at gmail dot com.

Now here is Kait:

I’ve been thinking about this for two weeks. What to write for my Tuesdays 2 Think post. I pondered possible topics. I reread the original prompt (several times). I revisited the subsequent entries. I told myself that I had time, that I’d think of something. I counted the days until my deadline. I told myself not to worry; inspiration would surely hit.

And then suddenly I woke up and it was Valentine’s Day. February 14th. And before I could idly dream of heart shaped chocolates, it hit me. After 14 marches 15. And February 15th would be my Tuesday 2 Think. I had less than 24 hours to bang this baby out.

And yet I couldn’t figure out what to “think” about. And it was making me kind of depressed. I mean surely I had something, outside of my daughter, to talk about. I’m a relatively interesting person. I have friends who enjoy my company. I can make people laugh. I quiet a room of 32 young adults dozens of times a day. I went to college and earned a Masters. I’ve traveled all over the world. I speak two languages. I practice mindfulness, acceptance and loving-kindness in the Buddhist tradition. I adore photography. I pursue my life with wit, ingenuity and ardor. Surely I can think of something, one simple thing, I’m passionate about.

And yet, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Tumbleweeds and such. All those trite metaphors of barren emptiness.

I kept singing those National lyrics in my head. “I better get my shit together, better gather my shit… You could drive a car through my head in five minutes from one side of it to the other.”

I was losing hope. I was despondent. Panic was setting in.

When I casually mentioned this complete failure to identify something that inspires me to my man he stared at me incredulously. What about your writing? He asked, with a tone like my middle schoolers spout when they can’t seem to understand how I could be so inane. Or did I infuse that tone into his words myself?

What about my writing?

It’s true that my writing is something I’m very passionate it about. Writing ignites a fire inside of me. Writing not only allows for self-expression, it fosters a connection with others, keeps a record of my life and encourages my creativity.

Can I write a post about… writing? Some how it feels like a cop out.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that writing is my true passion. When I read a good book, I’m inspired to put a pen to paper. When I begin a post, I feel the world at my fingertips. Writing allows me to discover myself.  Writing is my passport to creative communities. Writing solidifies core beliefs while challenging them. Writing exercises my imagination. Writing makes me whole.

I used to write in journals. Endless diatribes scrawled across countless pages. These were purely therapeutic pieces, not meant for others’ eyes. But deep inside I felt there was more. I devoured the written word and ached to emulate what I read. I longed to piece things together, word by word. I aspired to mold something meaningful from the mundane. I yearned to be a writer but I didn’t know what being a writer was.

I read once that writers have to write; the words are constantly flowing – each moment lived as a descriptive narrative. Writers cannot function without getting it down on paper. I did not suffer from this compulsion, so by the transitive property, I was not a writer. I lamented the fact that fact and moved on.

Then I started my blog. It brought focus to my diatribes. It forced me to interpret the minutiae of my life. Simply put, it helped me make sense of things at a time when I definitely needed things to make sense. Suddenly I did feel urgency to bring narrative to the circadian. Suddenly I was jotting down that which I would return to. Suddenly I felt like, well, a writer.

And it felt wonderful. I’d found a piece of myself that I never knew was missing. I felt validated. I felt whole.

My writing brought me other forms of approval. My blog provided the opportunity to participate in a community of like-minded women who were driven by the same compulsion. Each of these women was weaving all the dangling threads of her life into something beautiful and unique. As I contributed my own efforts, relationships were formed. Not only did they comment on the design of my life’s tapestry but they pressed their fingers against the stitching, experiencing it’s very substance. For the first time in my life, I felt I was presenting an honest account, an authentic version of myself. And it was being accepted, even celebrated.

As the months passed my drive to write grew stronger. My posts morphed from prosaic play-by-plays to polished pieces. I was actually saying something and, occasionally, I was saying it well. I tentatively began to take pride in my work. Eventually, I wanted more.

Recently I’ve taken my writing to a new level. I’ve authored a children’s book and am laboring over it’s illustrating. Since I wrote that original manuscript I’ve birthed dozens of ideas. I have to write them down for fear they’ll get erased or written over. I have plans for bilingual books, integrating another great passion of mine with my writing. I have hopes of young adult fiction. I actually believe my dream of being a writer, a real writer, might come true.

In the meantime I will continue to etch my thoughts across the page. Stumbling upon the precise word, weaving together an impeccable sentence, fashioning the perfectly adorned paragraph, these are the moments I live for. The fruits of this labor compel me to cherish each and every day. These prose are the legacy I hope to leave, my imprints upon this short time here. And if nothing more than this ever comes of it, I will still know the worth of every word I have written.

Tuesdays 2 Think: Jana

Hey everyone, today is our second installment of Tuesdays 2 Think. This week up is Jana from TigWeb. And I have to say, I LOVE this post. LOVE. I hope you do too!

(Also, I have a couple more contributors on deck for the next couple installments of Tuesdays 2 Think… I am sticking to running it every two weeks… but I will need more. So if you are interested in sharing what you are passionate about, please send me an e-mail and I will get you set up with a date to go.)

I was all gung-ho to write a post about my involvement with the Reconciling Hearts ministry at my church (First United Methodist Church of Lawrence, KS), which is a gay rights advocacy group. I might still write that post someday (because I’m sure most people think of gay rights advocacy and mainstream Protestantism as pretty mutually exclusive), but something else has been nagging at me lately, something I think fits the qualification of something I am passionate about:

I want to change the way women talk about their bodies. In fact, I want to change the very fact that women talk about their bodies. The way we do, the frequency with which we do, the focus we put on them, etc.

Okay, boring, right? What thinking, contemporary woman doesn’t want this? You might be right, and in fact I hope you are. But I wonder whether we aren’t coming at this topic the wrong way.

First a little personal history by way of stage-dressing. I am 33 years old, and have struggled with some kind of eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.) for 20 years now. Pretty much from the age my body began changing (in my mind an unwelcome insurgency) I began what would be a lifelong fixation.

Lately I have read a few of those new year’s resolution posts about getting one’s health in order, and two in particular stood out. Both Maggie (mightygirl.com) and Danielle (knottyyarn.com/blog) talked about not knowing much about food, about how it works in the body, and how learning about that (for both of them, Weight Watchers was one part of that education) has helped or is helping them get a better handle on their health. Let me say right now that I think that is great.

But: this summer, when I had been ignoring my body for a while and then suddenly woke up to the realty that I had gained 20 pounds and for some reason decided to talk about it with my husband’s family (WHY!?), my mother-in-law innocuously recommended I try Weight Watchers, something she’s used in the past with success. At the time I gave a pretty brusque, dismissive answer, but the real answer is: I don’t need a program to help me count points or measure out food in obsessive numbering systems. I have been doing that, internalizing that, for 20 years now.

My freshman year of college I spent hours on my computer (an old desktop my dad sent to school with me) typing away at a document. I had a stack of books I had taken out of the library that I used as references. What was this magnum opus? Sadly, not a term paper or even a long letter. It was a master document of food nutritional values.

I don’t know what my goal was for this document (like, did I think I would print it out and carry it around? Pull it out of my backpack in the cafeteria and calculate the calories in my deli sandwich [like I would ever eat a deli sandwich, ha, those things have so much fat]?). The final (which was still, in my mind, a work-in-progress…this was 1997 and I knew I hadn’t gotten ALL the foods yet) was 27 single-spaced pages long. I am not kidding when I say I spent hours on this document.

So the last thing I need is a program that flips that switch in my brain again, that starts me thinking about food as a measurable intake substance rather than what it is: fuel. (Again, not dissing WW, just trying to articulate why a program like that is probably not a good idea for a reforming anorexic/bulimic).

Here’s the thing that made me want to write this post. I think that kind of obsessive behavior, that finicky attention to what we eat, what women eat, is really encouraged.

Two and a half years ago, I was having a reunion with my old college roommates. We were out in San Diego, all eight of us (well, nine, as I was six months pregnant with Sam). One day, some of us were driving around looking for a parking spot, and the talk turned to weight gain since college as, I’m sure, it does. And it stayed there. I participated, because I always fall into that trap, that self-belittling, maybe compliment-trolling trap. And my friend Mindi, who is one of the most well-adjusted, least physically obsessed people I know, was pretty quiet. And then, after the conversation had gone on far too long, Mindi interjected: “Guys, can we talk about something else, please? I mean, we’re better than this.”

We’re better than this.

A while back I stumbled upon a link to a blog from a woman who had been vegan for years who eventually went back to being an omnivore after a series of health issues. I read the blog entry with interest, because I dabbled in vegetarianism in my twenties, although I was never really a real vegetarian. As you can imagine, my vegetarianism was just another attempt at controlling what went into my body. And either this blogger or one of her commenters made the point that there is an element of creepy patriarchal control evident in much of the sort of vegan/vegetarian image. What I mean is, a majority of vegans and vegetarians are woman. And a lot of the marketing or products or media created for this group is aimed at women. Well, call me a skeptic, but whenever an industry or group seems to be courting women I have questions about their intentions. This blogger (I’d link but her site is down for maintenance) began to have these questions, too, and turned to the words of Megan Mackin (http://paleosister.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/interview-with-megan-mackin/): “It begins, eventually, to look like a very effective way to co-opt a movement: take the most passionate activist-minded, girls especially, and get their focus on a way of living that drains energies and enforces conformity in others. The Big Boys still run things, but now even more freely – with out much interference.”

YES. That resonated with me, because it seemed to be a theme: take a thinking girl, a smart girl, and get her to focus not on something that could potentially change the world, but on her body? Well, you’ve just signed her up for a lifetime of Sisyphean obsession. Because our bodies will always change and surprise us and react in unexpected ways and not bounce back after that second baby and sag and age. That’s what they do.

When I was applying for graduate school, not one but two good friends, smart, educated friends who happen to be male, made a “joke” asking whether I sent in a photo with my applications.

When I tell that story to people, they usually react in one of two ways: 1. Disbelief and indignation. If you react this way, you are most likely a woman who has been thinking about these issues, about how a woman’s worth is wrapped up in her appearance. 2. Disbelief…that I could be insulted by this obvious compliment! This response comes from men and women, people who really think I should have been, should be, flattered…flattered, I guess, that these guy friends who I thought respected me as a potential academic and a buddy and a kind of fun, funny person wanted to make sure I knew that they thought I was attractive? That my physical appearance was in some way an advantage to me, one that I should use…to get into grad school?

What I think is that there’s this system in place in our society where people think: uh-oh! Woman gettin’ too big for her own britches! Let’s remind her that she’s still attached to her body and that she should be worried about that! Let’s show her a mirror!

I’ve spent two-thirds of my life engaged in this endless battle with myself. And I want to change. I want to get on my own team. Ladies. Gentlemen. Everyone: we’re better than this.

But the problem of changing something that is linguistically, systematically, fundamentally part of our culture seems so enormous and daunting, doesn’t it? So lately I’ve been thinking about this in the framework of Anne Lamott’s advice on writing: take it bird by bird. So my single-fowl approach to this is to change the way I talk about my own body, especially around my kids. Why do I eat a salad every day? Not because I’m trying to lose weight, but because salads are good for my digestive system. They’re full of vitamins, I tell Charlotte, and that will make my body strong. We sit at the table, eating our veggies and flexing. We are strong, we are invincible. We are…people. And we have better things to do than worry about how we look. Watch out, world: we’re better than this.

Tuesdays 2 Think: Heather

Okay all- this is very exciting! We have our first Tuesdays 2 Think submission today thanks to Heather. As I mentioned last Tuesday, I want Tuesdays 2 Think to be an opportunity for us to share something that we are really passionate about and share a bit of who we are with each other. I want to get each other thinking about stuff maybe we wouldn’t and just generally celebrate who we are. If you are up for writing a guest post exploring your greatest interest/passion/cause send me a an e-mail at amoment2think@gmail.com.

Oh oh oh! And I totally forgot to say something last week when I announced Tuesdays 2 Think! Cheryl over at PicPoetProse did up this awesome badge for me. She has recently move her blog- go over and say hello!

And now here’s Heather:

Hi A Moment 2 Think readers!  My name is Heather and I’m a Calgary Blogger When Kathleen first asked about submissions for this meme I jumped at the idea.  And then when I sat down to write my piece I revisited her blog where she spoke about the kinds of posts she was looking for.  She was looking for ‘non parenting’ material.  “Ok, I though, that’s easy, there’s lots I could write about!”

And then I sat down to write and Oh My.  Nothing came.

So I thought about it really hard.  What did I used to do before I had kids?  Who was I?

Well, I used to read books.  Lots of them.  And I had started writing one too.  I was passionate about the written word.  I participated in online writing forums and I wrote short stories.  I sent them out for publication and had a few successes with flash fiction.  I loved to write.

“Man,” I thought, “what happened?  Will I ever finish that book?  Would I ever get published?”

And then I realized that I was still a writer – I had just switched formats.  So I don’t write fiction, right now.  It doesn’t mean I never will again.  It doesn’t mean the book that’s living and breathing in my mind wont ever come to fruition.

Right now, what’s right for me is blogging.  I write about my children and I relish in the geekiness that is blogging.  I play in the html and the php and resize pixels to my hearts content.  It’s something I can do sitting in front of the tv as my husband watches ‘Dirty Jobs.’

It’s still me.

I’m thankful for this outlet and the ability to engage my brain in the few moments I have to myself each day.  As any parent knows, those moments are very scarce.  I enjoy the conversations that are started and the people who come by and share their thoughts with me.

The novel can wait.  It can wait until my children are in school and don’t need me as often.  With a three year old and a 2 month old – it’s going to be awhile until those days are among us.  But I can wait.  I won’t forget that my passion lies in writing because as a blogger…I’m still doing it.

Tuesdays 2 Think

So I have been thing about starting a bit of a blog meme, and inviting you all to share your thoughts via a guest post. You don’t have to have your own blog in order to be a guest blogger, everyone is welcome to participate.

Here is what I am thinking. I would love to hear what you are all passionate about, care about and think about outside of parenting stuff. Things that you are involved in in your community, things you like to learn about, things you debate about, things you think about, things that get you excited and spark your passion for life, things you consider yourself an expert or advocate or hobbiest in.

Yeah, its pretty open. Mostly I want to hear about you. You outside of the parenting you. Because, lets be honest, I think most of us feel that the ‘you outside of the parenting you’ gets a bit lost and muddled, at least when we have young kids. But it is there. And it is alive. And I think we should celebrate it.

So, depending on how many submissions I get, every other Tuesday I will feature a new Tuesday’s 2 Think. What do you think?

(Now I am waiting nervously to see if anyone is in….)

(Oh, and I guess I should tell you how to sign up! Just e-mail me and I will let you know which Tuesday you have and then write your post and e-mail it to me. That’s it! )

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