Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Who the H-E-L-L Am I?

That's the question of the day. Week. Month. Maybe even year. It's one I think about often.

My life has changed drastically over the last year and a half. Met a GREAT GUY (waves at Chuck), have great almost-stepkiddos (waves at the Rockets), have a beautiful new son (smooches at Greyson). And sometimes I stop and wonder, "Where did that other girl go?" Meaning, the one who was a wild partier,  dyed hair, facial piercings, attitude and a foul mouth. And snarky. Very snarky. Smart, driven, curious, ambitious to a fault.

Note: I'm not saying I miss the bad behavior, but sometimes I look at this blog and think to myself, "My God, woman, you're so vanilla."

There was a time when I was hot shitake mushrooms in the blogging world. Estella's Revenge was a cool idea and people liked it. Now? Not so much. I even wrote that post about being sort of aloof to the goings-on of the blogosphere--though I meant in the way that I shy away from drama--not that I don't care about the community. Reading posts about BEA and Book Blogger Con has left me a bit envious and sad that I haven't been more involved lately. I feel out of what used to be a very comforting and challenging loop.

There was a time when I was a cutting edge scholar in children's lit. Or at least I was working toward making a name for myself in academia.

There was a time when I was funny. On and offline.

Now? I work for a corporate "college" with a 40-hour week (if I'm lucky) which generally sucks away my will to live. I have really great health insurance! I'm exhausted a lot. More by work than the new baby, sadly.

I'm pretty boring online. I read but not as quickly as I'd like to, and I don't make too many biting observations. Sometimes I wonder if I'm forgetting how to be critical and chatty--at least to the extent I was before.

In short, I feel far more Mrs. March than Dooce these days. I'm not unhappy at all on a daily basis, though I do feel that I challenge myself less because I'm so damn tired all the time. I guess I feel like Andi went missing a while back, and I'm just trying to get a handle on all my new roles these days and simultaneously recover some of who I was before. The good parts. Slightly less of the drunk parts.

So I'm promsing myself one thing: to make myself into someone I admire again. Reclaim some of my snark, my vigor and verve, ambition and originality. I need a "me" makeover.

23 comments:

  1. Life is full of change, sometimes we take things easy, sometimes we push ourselves. Personally, with all the change in your life I think you are more than entitled to take it a little easier.

    I know when I took a step back from blogging it wasn't so much an actual choice as something that just happened, and then I started back because I felt it was time. When you feel ready I'm sure you'll get "back in the loop".

    Although I do empathise with the feeling less chatty than before, I know I post a lot fewer "chatty" blogs now. I sometimes miss those random ones of mine, but they aren't something I can force. Or at least, they aren't something I *want* to force. If that makes sense

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  2. Ah, yes, I can relate. I never know who the heck I am week to week.

    I've been blogging for 2.5 years and shift gears all the time. Things never seem to go as planned online. And who wouldn't want the success of Dooce.

    Come to BEA next year, and you'll get the rejuivenation you need! At the very least, you will find tons of great books to read.

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  3. I think it's only natural that our blogs will change as we and our life circumstances change. But I absolutely don't think you're boring now, Andi, and I don't love you any less than I did when I "met" you three years ago. If you're not completely happy with your voice then by all means make an effort to get to a place that makes you happy. But know that we enjoy reading you just as you are.

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  4. When I left Chicago (job, master's program, etc.) and settled down in a small town (husband, community college job, etc.) I went through a similar shock to the system. Suddenly I felt all small town soccer mom without the kids. I started wondering if I should remove my piercings and hide my tatt. I was reading less and less Intellectual Texts and more and more YAL. It was a scary time. Now I've learned to balance the intellectual rebel with the middle-class woman. Things have a way of evening out. :)

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  5. Thanks, Fence. It's a weird transition, going from the constant GO-GO-GO of school and multiple part-time jobs to the settling down phase of children and a home. I love it, but it's a definite transition that seeps into every part of one's life. And I'm like you...I don't want to force it, but I don't feel like I'm putting in an iota of effort at this point.

    TGFTG, I don't think I could stomach Dooce's success. While she gets to stay home and write about whatever she wants, the legions of haters would make me a bit nervous to go to the grocery store. Nah, I just want to be willing to get out of sweats on the weekend and not wear the same pair of pants everyday. And be a little hipper on my blog.

    Thanks so much, Nymeth. I really appreciate your encouragement. I'm not happy with my voice as I don't think it 's necessarily reflective of who I really am at home, in public, online. And it's mostly because of a lack of effort, stress, exhaustion. All that "life" stuff. And I would like to stop being lazy in numerous realms of my life...not just blogging. It's an ongoing effort, I suppose. :D

    Thanks, Trisha. I suppose it's the natural reaction to this much change and this dramatic a change. I'm waiting patiently for the evening out. lol

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  6. I ask myself that question pretty often too. In my case, it's the getting married, moving halfway across the world and not quite knowing what to do with myself here with my 'dependent' visa status. So I can kinda understand what you're going through.

    I can't remember when I began reading your blog, but I still continue to enjoy it and look forward to new posts!

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  7. Welcome to growing up? And y'know, those are questions I ask myself all the time. It's good to ask oneself who you are and why you are. Keeps you on your toes.

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  8. Well I do wish you and Heather would bring back the zine but that's all I'm going to complain about! :)

    I know what you mean about missing out on what's going on in the blogosphere. I don't mind missing the drama but missing other things. I just don't know how people do it all though. I love blogging but it can be such a time commitment. I find that even taking a week off from the blog makes me feel so out of the loop!

    Anyway, you know I love stopping by here and reading your thoughts on books and all that good stuff. You still rock!

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  9. *hug* I don't think you're boring at all! I of course support snark but yes, you are not boring. At all! I always love reading your posts. :)

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  10. Please tell me I didn't spark this bit of self-recrimination! You are NOT boring. Like Nymeth said, it's only natural for us to go through phases as things change in our lives. I know I've been more subdued since my mother's death -- I don't like it that I'm a not quite as light-hearted on my blog, but I'm pretty sure the real me will come out to play, again, at some point.

    Anyway . . . I guarantee you that everyone who fell in love with Andiloo's blog years ago still knows you're brilliant and funny and there's a wild girl under the new mommy persona.
    Give yourself some time to adjust. Big changes take time to get used to. The snark is still there. It's just covered with a big, fat layer of contentment, near as I can tell.

    I don't know who Dooce is. Is that a bad thing?

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  11. Please tell me I didn't spark this bit of self-recrimination! You are NOT boring. Like Nymeth said, it's only natural for us to go through phases as things change in our lives. I know I've been more subdued since my mother's death -- I don't like it that I'm a not quite as light-hearted on my blog, but I'm pretty sure the real me will come out to play, again, at some point.

    Anyway . . . I guarantee you that everyone who fell in love with Andiloo's blog years ago still knows you're brilliant and funny and there's a wild girl under the new mommy persona.
    Give yourself some time to adjust. Big changes take time to get used to. The snark is still there. It's just covered with a big, fat layer of contentment, near as I can tell.

    I don't know who Dooce is. Is that a bad thing?

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  12. You've been through so many changes this year, all of which add up to lots of necessary "maturation" which sounds like a dirty word but really isn't. After all, wines do it and then become so much more valuable!!

    Your unique Andi-ness always rings through...

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  13. While I was never hot shitake mushrooms (and I'm talking real life, not blogging), I do wonder how I got to be 41 years old and so settled. Sometimes the day to day routine seems so boring and I wish for another life. I think it's something we all struggle with at some point.

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  14. You are so still funny! You are not boring!

    You've changed and you'll change again. Life would be so boring if we stayed the same our whole life. And Dude, you just had a baby! You're going to be That Person for awhile but you'll change again. Trust me. I'm a mom. I know these things. (You can say that stuff now too ;) )

    I've been following your blog for a few years now, and you've had a lot happen in just this year. You made a person! That's a Big Deal!

    I wish you lived near. I'd take you out for coffee.

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  15. Thank you, Olduvai! Your situation does sound like a hard one. Lots of change for you as well. I wish you luck!

    Melissa, I agree it is good to look inward in this way. This is just another phase and I'm trying to figure out how to navigate it best.

    Iliana, it is a huge time committment. I used to have far more time. The summer is actually a good time for me. I do have to continue teaching a very full load, but I'm not doing online classes, so I have a bit more wiggle room. And I have inklings to bring the 'zine back. It's a thought. :)

    Thanks, Jenny!

    LOL, Nancy! No, you didn't spark this self-recrimination. I had a long afternoon of nothing to do (when I should've been grading papers) and I started thinking. Not always a positive thing to do. I actually fashioned this post before you and I ever started e-mailing, but I was unsure whether I wanted to post it until this afternoon. I so rarely censor myself here, so why start now, right? And you should check out dooce.com. Snarky mom blog.

    Thanks, Becca. Maturation is definitely not a bad work in my book, but a lack of vigor is. I'm very feisty and I feel so *un*feisty lately.

    Amen, Jill. Amen!

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  16. Awww, thanks, Chris. I appreciate your words o'wisdom, and I do find them very wise. All this new stuff can leave the head a'spinnin'.

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  17. I go through this myself ALL THE TIME, Andi. And truthfully, I think it's natural...we always look back to who "we were" and long for that. But let me tell you Andi that I love you just as much as the day I started reading your blog as a lurker 3 years ago :D And I still see that snark in you all the time! *hugs*

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  18. If it makes you feel any better you are feeling something that a lot of new moms go through. I can remember feeling a lot of the way you do myself when my son was born and I woke up one day and wondered where "I" had gone! And I felt that way again when I reached my mid-forties. The great thing about being smart women is we get to keep reinventing ourselves as we go. I'm quite confident that you have taken the best parts of the old you and blended them with the best parts of the new you and that is who you are now!

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  19. Life does crazy things to us. I sometimes get a glance of myself in a store window and wonder who that person is -- what happened to the semi-hippie in me? But really, what would I give up to be her again? Nothing. I love growing and changing; being vanilla today doesn't mean you won't be hot and spicy again tomorrow. Go with the flow (as we used to say). Your blog is authentic, an extension of you, and it will morph as you do.

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  20. It's freaky when you start to feel that way, isn't it? But you're a great girl, Andi! You'll get a handle on it and come out full of spit and vinegar just like the girl we came to know and love. But even if you stayed, in your words, "vanilla", we'd still love you. :-)

    Lezlie

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  21. Oh sweetie, you're still there. You're just evolving and all the responsibilities get in the way sometimes. I promise you that even at 48 (clearing throat;-), you'll still be asking some of the same questions from time to time, but you won't give a damn. Everything will even out eventually. The people I worry about are the ones who think life if going to be a party ALL the time (she say's with drink in her hand). Believe it or not they miss out on living. Now get some sleep.

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  22. Don't be so hard on yourself. With the job and being a new mother you've got a lot on your plate right now. I'm still reading because I think you are still pretty cool!!

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  23. I think that's normal, whether you become a parent or not. Life changes and we change with it. It's all part of becoming the people we're meant to be, imo. I still see Andi. :)

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