Confessions of an Inconstant Blogger

Posted by on Aug 31, 2011 in Self-Discovery, Self-Esteem | 17 Comments

“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, Grow, grow…”
The Talmud

When I read that quote last night, it just about near broke my heart. If even the blades of grass have angels encouraging their growth, then where was my angel? Why was I not growing?

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like we’ve become stuck. Jammed into an in-between space where its uncomfortable, we don’t really fit, but we’re not altogether sure how to get out of our stuckness. Or, and this is somehow even worse, that we can see so many ways to get out of our stuckness, and the sheer number of directions is so bewildering, that we just stay where we are.

This is where I’ve been, and, if I’m being completely honest with myself and with you, dear reader, in many ways, I probably still am.

In August I finished teaching at Stirling University. I arrived at this university when I was 17 and completed my undergraduate degree there in 5 years – slightly longer than it should have taken, but I did get married and have three children in-between matriculating and graduating.

After graduation, I took 2 years out to raise my 3 tiny children, before returning to the same university to do my masters degree in Gothic Studies. I followed this up with a 4 year PhD, during which I started teaching for the English Studies department.

When I finished my doctoral studies, I carried on teaching as a post-doctoral teaching assistant, which I’ve now been doing for the last 2 years, teaching the first 3 semesters of undergraduate English, twice convening and lecturing on Digital Media and creating and delivering my own summer course on contemporary Gothic.

And now, due to budget cuts, it’s over.

I’m 32 and my whole life since I was 17 has been structured by the university system, those 2 years out notwithstanding. I feel disorientated, lost and, yes, I’m grieving a little as my former colleagues prepare for the start of the new semester in just a few weeks time.

But then I think, you know, this is such an amazing opportunity. I can really focus on my business. I can experiment with my writing. I can give the proper level of attention to my kids that they deserve.

Yet, I find myself stuck in this uncomfortable, squashy in-between space, unable to grow, unable to make decisions. Well, that’s not strictly true, I make decisions, and then I make new decisions the following day. I am resisting setting my sights on anything, preferring to leap lightly from one big idea to the next, embarrassed by my own inconstancy.

And I think, my lovely, that this is why I’ve not been blogging here so much. I keep reading all of these posts advising on how to blog, how to run an online business etc. and they all talk about consistency and focus and drive. They talk about niche and target markets and coherent brands.

So I’ve shied away from posting anything for weeks now. After all, what if you discovered all the seemingly mismatched aspects of myself? What if you realised how difficult I find it to remain focused and driven, always moving in the one direction? What if I gave way just how impossible I find it to make any kind of decision at the moment?

Do you know, sweet reader, that I cannot think of anyone I would inflict this kind of hateful inner monologue on. If one of my friends came and told me she was having the same issues, I would be infinitely more compassionate with her than I am with myself.

I would tell her that we are necessarily complex beings and the drive to neatly package ourselves in a consistent and appealing personal brand is ultimately an effort in futility.

I would tell her that people need to grow beyond the boundaries of the pigeonholes they find themselves placed in.

I would tell her that whatever she chooses to share will be fine. Whatever she chooses to keep to herself will be fine. Because in the end, all that matters is that what you do choose to share, rises up from that wellspring of truth flowing from your heart.

So here I am. Inconstant and inconsistent. Multifaceted and mystifying (especially to myself). Free floating and on the fence.

And with this admission, I look above my head and see that there is an angel whispering, “Grow, Amy. Grow.” I think, perhaps, she’s been there all along.

* Both of these beautiful images come from Deborah Koff-Chapin’s SoulCards 1 set – my absolutely favourite oracle deck. Do check out her gorgeous website on touchdrawing, the technique she’s creating to produce these gorgeous images.

17 Comments

  1. Emmanuelle
    August 31, 2011

    Oh Amy this is such a beautiful post! Acknowledge where you are, this is oh so uncomfortable and the soil is muddy, but this is your truth right now. You are stuck, because you’re planting new seeds and foundations. Think about the lotus flower that needs dirt and mud to grow into the beautiful flower it is.
    Take the time you need to appreciate the door closing, making space for whatever is ready to emerge and open. Take care of yourself, and to hell with niches and target markets :)

    Reply
  2. Jenny
    August 31, 2011

    Hi Amy, with or without a focus on personal brand, your posts and website are inspiring, and a welcome point of view/space amongst all the ‘marketing’ style content we see so much of (especially those of us working online a lot). A reminder of angels is reassuring, thanks. Best wishes, Jx

    Reply
  3. Rachael Stott
    August 31, 2011

    Amy,
    So many things came to mind as I read your post. I felt the visceral urge to give you a hug, put the kettle on and chat around the kitchen table.

    I think mourning is something generally discouraged in western societies and it is a shame. Without properly mourning loss and taking pause at the end of a chapter we lose the opportunity to integrate. Every cycle has a trough; even the moon goes dark. Regardless of the pressure to focus and be positive I feel that resting and homing space for the void is far more valuable.

    Also, authenticity is far more important than ‘brand’. Your inner voice, or intuition, is wise. I would trust her and follow her lead. Especially if this post came from that place – this post was beautiful!

    Reply
  4. Shai Coggins
    August 31, 2011

    Nice post, Amy. Thanks for sharing. It’s definitely an inner monologue that I’m quite familiar with. This time of growing and non-growth can actually be pretty special, though it may not feel like it at the time.

    And, on that branding thing — I really like what Rachel posted here too: ” … authenticity is far more important than ‘brand’.”

    For someone whose job at the moment has a lot to do with branding, I like being reminded by this thinking, as it’s one I live by on my own blogs, socmed accounts, etc. :-)

    In any case, I wish you all the best in your journey!

    Reply
  5. Stephanie
    August 31, 2011

    Amy, thank you for posting this. It’s so hard to be in the descent and see the daylight. I know what it’s like to leave something behind and start over when you don’t know what it looks like yet. But this is an important time to notice what you need and want and what feeds your soul. So many riches and surprises can come out of this time. And really, when you think about it, if we were always constant and sure, would we really be alive? I love your honesty and courage. For me, at times like these, the word is “Trust.”

    Reply
  6. Jackie Walker
    August 31, 2011

    “there is an angel whispering, “Grow, Amy. Grow.” I think, perhaps, she’s been there all along.” … how lovely you noticed her, I’m sure that’s all she wanted, and she didn’t ask you for anything, nor give you a timeframe, she’s just there to help :) xx

    Reply
  7. Amy Oscar
    August 31, 2011

    Oh, my friend – what times we are living in. I am so sorry you’ve lost your place at the university. But I also know how priceless and gifted you are – and that this will become an opening that, in future years, you’ll look back on in gratitude.

    You know this but I will write it anyway: Divine timing knows just where we belong and when – just as, this morning, I ‘happened to’ open your post and read those words, “Grow Amy, grow!” as I began my own next passage.

    Many blessings on this passage to the next phase of your life and work.

    Reply
    • Amy Oscar
      August 31, 2011

      AND… I just realized the images in this post are from the Soul Cards! My sister sent a deck of those gorgeous cards to me last year – and I thought I’d lost them. Until yesterday afternoon when they allowed themselves to be found again, behind a stack of books. More resonance for me in your lovely post.

      Reply
  8. Rachel @ Suburban Yogini
    August 31, 2011

    It’s funny, the whole time I was reading this I was saying to myself “but Amy, think of the advice you have given so many of us in this position, how kind and compassionate you are to us” and then you acknowledged that yourself. And I did a little cheer here in my study!

    I find that the best way of dealing with this sort of thing is pretending I am one of my own clients, and thinking what I would say to them. And then (the hard bit) follow my own advice!

    Reply
  9. Roland Hesz
    August 31, 2011

    I hope you will find something you love to do soon.
    And not posting for a few weeks is not the end of the world. You shouldn’t be afraid that your “mismatched” self is somehow disappointing – we all are mismatched :)

    But if you don’t feel like posting, you shouldn’t – I didn’t post anything for over 6 months now, I just don’t feel like it.

    Growing is good, and posting your hesitations, doubts and mismatchedness will not reflect badly on you.
    If for someone it does, then you wouldn’t want to do anything with that person anyway.

    But post only when you feel like it, don’t post when you don’t. It shouldn’t feel mandatory, because when it turns into a burden, your posts will suffer.

    Here to a bright future, much growing, and the finding of what you want to do :)

    Reply
  10. Nikki
    August 31, 2011

    and breathe….. it’s amazing how much has shifted for you just by posting this blog!! Be kind to yourself and let your mind wander… Have fun, make decisions, change them and then make some more!! It’s thinking out with our seemed limitations that the magick happens!!

    Good luck with all you do or don’t do!!

    LoLi (Love & Light)

    Nikki x

    ps Gothic studies… sounds intriguing….please share some more if you wish to x

    Reply
  11. Joanna Paterson
    August 31, 2011

    But Amy you are constant – constantly thoughtful, creative, innovative, kind, funny, you are constantly beautifully Amy x

    Reply
  12. Joanna Paterson
    August 31, 2011

    The other thing I wanted to say – I’m being driven mad myself by all the rules and shoulds and advice about how to write and share our voices on the web, which means a lot of people are a whole lot quieter than they otherwise would be. Which is a shame, which would be a shame if it stayed like that. But I think free-wheelin’ bloggers will make a come back before too long :-)

    Reply
  13. Megan Potter
    August 31, 2011

    Amy –

    I wanted to say, you aren’t alone in this; when you said this: “I keep reading all of these posts advising on how to blog, how to run an online business etc. and they all talk about consistency and focus and drive. They talk about niche and target markets and coherent brands.” I wanted to tell you all about my identical reaction to all this information. I’ve been a non-existent blogger for a while now I think…

    On the other note, I love what Rachel said about mourning and would like to second that and also to say that there are all kinds of different seasons/phases/stages in our lives. One of them feels like exactly what you are talking about here… my theory is that it’s better to embrace where you are now and allow that season to slowly reveal the gift it brings than to try pushing through it -forcing something else – and not only missing out, but probably messing up too.

    Easier typed than done, but… Breathe. You are always being taken care of – ALWAYS!

    Yours,
    Megan

    Reply
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  15. Stephen Smith
    September 3, 2011

    Isn’t it amazing when we can get back in touch with ourselves. Thanks for sharing this, it gives me another perspective on a decision that I made recently. (If I may humbly submit for your consideration: http://blog.incontextmultimedia.com/2011/08/actively-pursuing-the-future/ )

    Reply
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