I Had What Alcoholics Refer To As A Moment Of Clarity

If you follow me on Twitter and have bothered to read my twitter bio, then you know I am the short, white, overweight, female Samuel L Jackson of Twitter. Since I have made this claim, I don’t feel too bad about ripping of a bit of his Pulp Fiction dialogue for my blog post title.

I have no idea if it’s cool to do this or not. If I end up inexplicably dead, then y’all should question Quentin Tarantino first. 

I am either starting to come out of the other side of a painfully long bout of anxiety with bursts of depression, or I’m about to crash.

Kind of curious how this will turn out.

No worries, I suspect I’m coming around. I feel a lightness in the middle of me that I haven’t felt in months. Probably since I started this new job last December.

I belong to a Facebook group that I adore. We’re a group of women bloggers who cover such a broad range of writing. I am endlessly entertained and inspired by these women.  I will be honest, I feel like I am there by mistake. I am terribly afraid that I’m the weird girl sitting her lunch tray down at the cool table without understanding that everyone is giving her the side eye. Not that anyone there has ever made me feel anything but welcome. This is just my fuckwit inner voice messing with me. 

Anyway, I posted this status to my Facebook group tonight:

Do you ever hate writing more than stubbing your toe and your second husband who is currently dead? Seriously, I am making myself miserable all the fucking time worrying over projects that I want to work on or start or goddamn finish all while being old and kind of sick, working full time AND menopausal. Who does this? Crazy people. Crazy fucking people do this to themselves.

THEN I think..okay..Stop. Just don’t write anymore. You don’t have to. And THEN I think…well, fuck. What would I do then? Whatever it is, it wouldn’t be any good.

Okay…I got that off my chest. Please go about your Friday evening.

Bear with me, because I’m about to veer off for a minute, but I promise, this is going to come back around.

Friday nights are spent on skype with our mountain friends. We have a standing date and have for months and months, maybe even years by now. We have named Friday night ‘youth group’ night. I look forward to youth group like I looked forward to Christmas eve when I was a kid.

Anyway, I spoke with Mountain Girl and the Bass Player about where my head has been and in speaking with them I found some clarity.

I am not going to stop writing. Fuck that. This is what I want. However, I do need to make some changes.

I want to finish the book I am (kind of) working on and just rewriting the chapter outline was like having my toenails pulled off with rusty pliers. If I am struggling this much with an outline, how the fuck am I going to write a goddamn book?

As we spoke, my friends suggested that I redirect some of my focus. Maybe scale back on some other projects and focus more on the book. My blog, for instance. How hard would it be to post a little less frequently? Perhaps submit less to other outlets as well and really focus on the book.

Writing this blog has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I love it. I get instant gratification. I write something. I kind of edit it. Randy goes in and fixes the shit I miss when I edit. I post it. Then I talk with you guys. I love it. I have no desire to stop writing my blog, but I need to scale it back a little.

I feel like I’m stuffing myself with candy all the fucking time. I am gorging on writing in short bursts and then moving on to the next idea. I’m not running myself down or suggesting that there is no substance, but I have to find out if I can do more. I have to stop only eating candy. I have to stop relying on this instant gratification to take me to the next day.

This goes for social media as well. I have to step back. Not leave, fuck that. I love social media, but I have to change my focus. I get a shit ton of encouragement, opportunities, and enjoyment from social media, but the truth is, I use it as an avoidance tool.

I have to step back.

I have to plan.

I have to let go of my need for constant instant gratification because I don’t think it is my friend.

Here are my fears and/or self-recriminations:

Your stats just started getting much more impressive. Now you’re going to scale back and watch that die? After working for years on this blog?

You are too big for your britches here. A book? A memoir? Who gives a fuck about your dumb life anyway? Self indulgent twat. 

You’ll fade away. 

You’ll stop writing and then where will you be? Restless and unhappy and that isn’t good for anyone. 

I’m going to ignore those fears and move forward, because the alternatives are bleak. I’ve been living in a bleak place for way too many months now. I need to get to a more comfortable place in my head. I can’t keep driving myself crazy over this book. If I am going to write it, then I have to admit that I only have so many hours in a day and only so much stamina. I also can’t risk burning myself out because, if that happens, I would be miserable. I’d probably take up knitting and be terrible at it. You’d see me on the news in some sort of knitting needle related assault.

I’m not going to stop writing my blog, I just won’t be quite so prolific.

I really want all of you with me because you guys are like the best security blanket on the planet.

I’m also turning the stat counter off my blog. I’m not going to look at them anymore. So, obviously, I’m going to need you all to cuddle me.

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96 comments

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  • You want to give God a good laugh? Tell him your plans. The first things we alcoholics learn after our “Moment of Clarity” is “One Day at a Time” It’s all going to be OK 🙂
    Chuck E.
    20 years, 7 months, and 17 days..

  • Sounds like a healthy plan to me! If I’ve learned anything at all in my 56 years on this earth it’s that you have to choose to be happy, and healthy, and whole. It’s not easy – and sometimes it consists of making choices that are less than comfortable but in the long run those tough choices are the ones you look back on and are happy to have made. By the way – I tell my kids that the really great thing about a choice is that most of the time if it really doesn’t work out you can make a different choice and do a little course correction 🙂 By the way, I really on them to be intelligent enough not to take that piece of advice when it comes to life or death type decisions.

    You got do what you have to do. We’ll be here waiting for your next blog post 🙂 Don’t they say absence makes the heart grow fonder? lol

  • I keep starting to write. I keep putting down some idea that I have for a story (I’m great with the creative shit but not big with follow through) or I forget that I haven’t done stand-up in 4 years and I’ll write some jokes. Every now and then I think that I’m going to type up my patchwork life and sell it to someone but then I think that I’ve had a Seinfeld episode for a life; sure I’m a quirky recovering alcoholic with mild autism who happens to be working on his second degree while yearning for my semipro football or army days but my story still has no point…I’m a sitcom character without a situation. But you? You’re a writer. I’m one for taking things a tad literally but I know that you’re a writer because I’ve read and felt your words. From what I’ve read thus far, you and I could probably go 10 rounds in the “who’s life has been more of a rollercoaster” game but in the end I know that your book will trump my collection of memorized and rehearsed anecdotes (as an aspie I’m not good on the spot) any day of the week because you are a writer. Now go be.

  • I can’t wait to see what you do. I’ve loved your posts since I discovered you many months ago. You are so honest and giving when speaking about your anxiety issues. That takes a lot of guts and is very encouraging to me. I am often told that I need to write and put it out there, but it is so scary. Thank you for your example.

  • Turn off your stat counter. That’s a good idea. Remember that we externally validate the heck out of you, then you can step away from it. We are looking forward to the book. It’s okay to focus on that, and let go of other pulls on your attention. We will be here when you get back.

  • I miss you already!
    🙂
    However, yes you should do this, write your book, scale back and concentrate on something which I believe will have real substance.

    As for worrying about stats., social media stats actually mean nothing, they used to mean something but they mean less every month. I know this from bitter experience, what once were open waters with endless possibilities and the ability to reach people without restriction is now a landlocked sea. We, the independent creatives, have been corralled by big business who want the internet market for themselves so the boundaries are set. Breaking free from them means using real world, old school methods again, which is maybe no bad thing, though I’m finding that it’s got a lot harder to reach people in the real world too.

    I believe you can do this and will look forward to reading your book.
    Rock on, sister across the pond! xx

    • And boy, has social media conditioned us! I was searching for the button to “Like” your comment, KK! HAHA!!!!

      • Ha ha, yes I often wish I could like some of the comments here
        🙂
        We have indeed been conditioned like rats in an experiment. If you watched the series ‘Lost’, I’ve often thought the like button was just like the button they had to press there. ‘It’s a rat trap and we’ve been caught’

    • Thank you, gorgeous. I’m not going to change things up THAT much..just cut my posts down to one or two a week. At least until I get a grasp on what this project is actually going to take.

  • The only thing the stat counter informs you of is that people enjoy reading what you write. That alone is WHY you need to write that book! We will still be here, waiting with anticipation for the finished product of your dream. I’ve told you before that I discovered your writing at the perfect time in my life because so many of your topics parallel similar situations in my own life. I totally identify with you as you struggle, triumph, push on, etc. This topic was no different and as you begin scaling back to write your book, this week I will be starting a writing class, something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. It’s true that you are only one person with only so much time in the day and if you are feeling the “call” to finish this book, then it’s what you MUST do. Don’t worry! Just do me (and all of us who care about you) a huge favor and remember to enjoy the process, too. Revel and be happy in it! “Now” is all we are ever guaranteed, so stay in the moment and don’t allow the little demons to sit on your shoulders for too long. Kick the shit out of them! Haha! Wishing you the best of luck with this new “chapter” of your life—haha!—yeah, I’m bad.

  • I’ve always found that saying something out loud seems to cut it down to size. I hope this post has done that for you. Good luck on your book. I’m jealous — you’re years ahead of me on this curve.

  • Michelle,

    You sound like a normal writer to me. The same insecurities and doubts. That doesn’t make you feel better, I know, but at least you’ should know you’re not alone.

    I always thought a collection of your blog postings would make a terrific book. I’ve been telling people they remind me of Erma Bombeck meets George Carlin, with moments of non-humorous clarity.

    • Thank you JL! Yeah, I kind of proposed that idea to the agent I will be sending this new proposal to. They didn’t like it. They didn’t want the feel of a bunch of blog posts tied together, so I am trying again.

      And I hope you heard the gratitude in my ‘thank you’..I appreciate the Erma/George comment…the highest compliment right there..

    • Oh I am not going anywhere…I’m just going to post a little less, I very often post every other day. I’m going to cut back to once or twice a week.

  • Consider yourself cuddled. Boy, do I get how social media is an avoidance tactic. I can come up with all kinds of excuses to not write. I hope this works for you. Good luck!

  • I think your cool as Hell. I applaud your honesty and look forward to reading whatever you write. When we spread ourselves too thin everything suffers…I encourage you to secure your oxygen mask before helping everyone else on the plane lol…WRITE YOUR BOOK!

  • Oh I get this. More than you know. In fact, I had to shoot my eyes to the header to ensure I didn’t write this. Lordy. Thank you for inadvertently pushing me closer to the edge. Here’s to shutting out the negative voices and churning out a chapter.

  • I literally cried while reading this. Reading your thoughts was like peeling back the onion layers of my own fucked up inner dialogue, except I haven’t reached the moment of clarity yet. I’m still muddling through the muck of self-doubt. But this post gives me hope. You are lovely, my friend, and you are a security blanket to me.

    • Oh thank you. It’s not fucking easy. I’m so out of sorts with this. I am proposing changing a routine I’ve had for years now. It is keeping me stuck in one place. I have to shake it up. I am rooting for you and will cheer for you when you do that same.

  • Michelle, as much as I love reading your blog and following your Twitter, I’d much rather have you be happier than have you posting more often…if writing less here helps you balance yourself, I know I’ll still be right here waiting for enjoying what you write (and I imagine lots of other people will be too)!

  • I used to love “Moments of Clarity”, the videos Lee Camp used to post to the web twice a week. He may still be doing this, but as I can’t watch video on my internet connection, I don’t really know.
    I had a moment of clarity in 1980, when I realized I needed new music equipment (after not being able to be heard properly at an audition) and I dedicated 1981 to the cause. It took me nine months to save up the thousand dollars it took from working two $5 an hour jobs (that was the going rate in Eureka in 1981) while putting most of the rest of my life on hold. It worked! I still have most of the amplification I spent that G on 34 years later, and I have repeatedly looked back on that part of my life as evidence that I can actually get things done if I want them bad enough.
    I have complete confidence that you can manage your resources to accomplish your goal here. I would stand in line with my quad-cane to attend your book tour.
    You got this.

    • Oh god…no…YOU aren’t candy…writing my short little posts at the expense of bigger projects is the candy. I mean, y’all are sweet like candy and I like you MORE than candy. But you aren’t THE candy. Unless you wanted to be the candy, then you could totally be the candy.

  • Ha ha ha ha. Who said you could write my life on your blog? I have a gazillion unfinished projects, ideas for books, half-written plays, half-written chapters partially begun outlines up the ying yang ideas ideas ideas enough for 10,000 lifetimes poems spin around in my head like tops blah blah blah blah blah 🙂

    I have five blogs. Three websites. Seven Facebook pages. Seven twitter accounts. I make myself dizzy just thinking about it.

    Are we not hilarious?

    http://amazingsusan.com/2013/06/07/see-me-2/

    • Well…..we ARE goddamn hilarious.

      I have no idea how you do it. I can’t keep up with little handful of accounts. I don’t even know what to do with tumbler or instagram. I think I have accounts, though.

  • (take this with a grain of salt, obviously):

    If outlining is so bad, stop fucking outlining. I hate it. I don’t do it, or do it only sometimes. I almost always immediately diverge from any outline I have made. Every formatting nightmare in word processing comes to have a hoedown while trying to type an outline. I feel my thoughts are better organized and things turn out better if I just write instead of trying to plan and/or micromanage.

    /cuddles

    • Thank you for the cuddles.

      Yeah, I did not have fun with the outline, but it is done. I’ve been finding it MUCH easier today to just write. It has felt really good, like I’ve broken through the veil that’s been holding me back.

    • I hope you get some. Mine comes in tiny teeny little bursts and they don’t last and I don’t always trust them because I am me. BUT…I am going with this. It still feels right after 24 hours.

  • A great artist always leaves the audience wanting more.

    You’re a great artist.

    Even if you’re not as prolific here as you used to be there are a lot of us who will keep coming back because we want more, and who know the book will be worth waiting for.

    Also I can’t offer a physical cuddle, but I work in a library, and there’s a space in it for your book when it comes out. I hope that helps.

  • I NEVER look at my stats. I was obsessed for a while but it was just making me rethink every thing I wrote. I didn’t get into this for stats.

    Ain’t nobody forgetting you Michelle. I promise you that. Work on your book. You’re never going to feel settled until you do it. And the only people who feel that a memoir is self indulgent are the sadomasochists who want to write them. 🙂 Everyone else thinks it’s pretty awesome. Right? Right? Please tell me I’m right…

    You’ve got a lot of people who got your back and I’m one of them. xoxo

  • If I had been given a choice as to two things I could do well, it would be to sing and to write great books. I can do neither.
    You have a wonderful way with words. Even if you’re struggling, you make me laugh.
    Write the book, but don’t beat yourself up. Take your time. Breathe, and ‘Easy Does It”.
    Consider yourself cuddled and hugged, with pleasure.

  • I read your title (on my phone, before caffeine this morning) as: I *hate* What Alcoholics Call ‘A Moment of Clarity’. And it made me wonder if my dad’s ever had one….

    *snaps back to reality*

    I like the correct reading better.

    I love that you are writing a book, and I totally understand the need to step back from some of the more daily/instant-gratification things. I started a cookbook as a…uh…graduation present for my daughter, who is now a sophomore in college, and I’m constantly reminding myself that, although now it will probably be more like a wedding present, I really should finish the damn thing. It’s already 200 pages long, yet there it sits while I screw around writing blog posts and dallying on Facebook.

    If I was writing even TWO posts a week, and nothing else, I’d be wiped out, so my hat’s off to you for posting as often as you do (which I love, but will love it just as much if it’s once a week, or whenever you can), while also working AND submitting other places AND writing a real (non cookbook) book.

    Stats. My stats make me laugh because all they make me think is this: “Well. 85 people read your blog today AND NO ONE COMMENTED”. I’d like to turn them off, because they make it seem like, wow…lots of people end up on my blog, but it’s not interesting enough to engage with. Then I remind myself that I don’t give a flying rat’s ass who reads it or comments on it, because I write because I just like writing. Still there’s that tiny voice that always “Wow, you must suck more than most because LOOK AT THOSE STATS. No one finds this shit interesting except possibly you.” I hate that voice…

    You should definitely give yourself the gift of time to work on the book more. Throw out the outlining stuff, switch into “author mode”, and just enjoy the process. If that means less blog posts, FB posts, tweets, or homemade dinners, then do it. We are all cheering you on and envying your Sam L Jacksonian humor and straight-up honest insights, and we will be here to cuddle with, the whole way.

    *muah*

  • **CUDDLES**

    Also, you? Scale and focus as you need. If the word bucket gets dipped repeatedly for Twix-like purposes, when it comes time for Beef Wellington, you are going to come up with less meaty content.
    Especially since Twix is SO much easier than Beef Wellington.

    I cannot wait to read your memoir. I think it is going to be amazing. You have a great story and a superb voice.

    • Thank you so very much. I worked last night for hours and was pretty pleased with what I churned out. Still trying to find the funny, though. It’s pretty heavy so far.

  • M, you’re thinking/fretting too much – and you’re stalling. Blog once per week on your “day off” from the project. Don’t blog about writing. Get material from anywhere else – friends, your kids, fall down again if you have to for shit’s sake! – because we’ll still be here and we’ll read anything. Also, since when does a full-blown menopausal woman give a rat’s ass about statistics??? So, put on your big-girl panties and get cracking. (It’s not that I think you’re immature, it’s just that you don’t want any derriere-distractions/discomfort while you’re sitting & writing for long periods, right? I think this is my best advice. Yes, I believe it is.)

  • Sometimes blogging is a double edged sword. You’re writing, but not getting what you dream of writing completed. I just went through this myself. I finally finished my first draft, but there is still a lot of things left to do. I’m changing things up here and there and trying to get my shit together. Good luck!

  • Big ass cuddles! You inspire me to get back to the crafts I keep putting off. I am not a writer but making things brings me joy. Joy that I have been pushinbg away for no reason then I have fears that someone will dislike what I make. Well it’s time to say fuck that! I need to do things that make me happy. You do what you need to do we will still be here when you drop by and we will still love to see you. I wish you joy in what you are doing it will be hard at times easy at times but it will bring you joy in the end.

  • Gotta do what you gotta do! We understand. We’re not going anywhere.

    At least, the ones of us who matter.

    Thinking really hard in your direction about cuddles and confidence and inspiration. Go kick some ass!

  • Thank you for putting into words what I think to myself over and over about stopping writing and then what would I do with myself..well I’d seriously be cleaning more that is for sure. Plus hysterical about how social media is so fun and you use it for avoidance. I am right with you there. It’s a guilty pleasure that ruins me every day. These are two things I’ve had on my mind a lot lately. Found you on Empty House Full Mind today.

  • I can’t wait to read your book, Michelle! And I second what others have said here – As long as you don’t disappear completely! Throw us a bone every now and again, please! Hugs and cuddles!

  • I too love every post you write. I too am kind of lost in this net of instant gratification and unsure of whether my blog even has a point anymore; all it is these days is bitching about redundant work shit and shitty friend(s). But I love to write and I love scrolling through Twitter looking for I-don’t-know-what.
    I think I may just be hung up on/depressed over the shitty friend… but I can’t stop writing because I love it.

  • Realizing that “hugs” was nowhere in my comment; even though I meant for it to be. Would never hold it against you for less blogging or Twittering or FBing.

  • Wow, you’ve summed up the writing life. The need to express ourselves vs. the exhaustion and stress that comes when we do. For whatever its worth, I also have an editing husband named Randy who has saved me from blogging mishaps more times than I care to admit. Just keep going. What else can you do?

  • You go girl!, and come back for cuddles whenever you want. You will be missed but that is our issue not yours.
    And ya, stats counters are anxiety producing.
    I think I need to follow your bad-ass lead.

  • I skipped over this several times – ‘fraid I’ve had about all of the fuckin’ 12 Step indoctrination I can STAND this summer!!! (No offense)
    I miss my blog, such as it was – tweren’t much, but it was MINE for 11 yrs… I’ll fire up a new one after next Mon’s business is settled.
    What can I tell ya??? Sit down & write write write – we’ll be here for cuddles anytime you need ’em!!!

  • I’m a sporadic blogger, a sporadic blog reader, a sporadic tweeter, and a not even sporadic Facebooker*, and no Interweb police have picked me up yet. If you’d like to have written a book by the time you’re kicking the bucket, I say Hell yes, move it on up your priority list and hit pause on the blog. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll be sporadically reading when you get back and I’m looking forward to your book. I’m going to buy it for a friend of mine for Christmas whenever it comes out….can you plan on doing a book tour? I’d like to attend your book signing at Book People in Austin. Word to the wise, plan not to be here in August. BEST WISHES WITH THE BOOK! 🙂 (*I might should disclaim that I Instagram ALL the time. It’s my drug of choice. 🙂 )

  • I think your blog will be just fine. You’ve made connections, I’m sure and if you write, people will come. (says the girl who hasn’t written on her own for weeks!). After the moment of clarity comes just take it a day at a time. Seems to work for me.

By Michelle

Michelle

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