*Ferns in my garden

It’s been really quiet around here, and my first

inclination is to explain where I’ve been and everything I’ve been doing, but it doesn’t
really matter.  Good things
have happened over the last six weeks, but I don’t want to give a list of everything.  I
don’t feel compelled to give a play-by-play of our daily doings around
the Libbert house anymore.

When I first began writing the blog, ten years ago, it was a
way for me to develop a regular writing practice.  I imagined writing mostly about running– hence the name, Running Monologue.  Over time, it became less about running and
more about life with my children.  I
wrote about our adventures in the woods, baking “mouse houses” and messy art
projects.  I kept the name, though, because isn’t that what life is?  Our own little running monologue.  Over the past year, however,
writing posts became something I struggled with.  A
lot.

Many of the posts felt a bit hollow, like a listing of all
the good things that were happening.  It
was, in essence, a way for me to keep the blog going and to remind myself of
all the goodness surrounding me while I was just trying to keep my head above
water.

The “dark place” consumed me, but
I wasn’t ready to write about that.  Most
of the time, when we face periods in our life when we are struggling or are not
at our best, we can’t really write about them or share what we’re going through
until we have come safely across to the other side.

I have come to the other side.  Yet I don’t feel particularly compelled
to share the full story.  I only mention
it now because an old friend said that my writing had taken on a
“Pollyanna-esque” quality, that I was painting a “my life is perfect and
here are all the cool things we’re doing” picture that others might view as
unobtainable or inauthentic.  Ironically,
the last thing I want to do in my writing is to be inauthentic.  But I knew she was right.  I knew when I was writing those posts that
what I was saying was not entirely real or accurate.  All of it was true, and as always, my family
was my saving grace, but there was a note of falseness to it simply because everything was not entirely rosy.

Blogging is a strange creative outlet in many ways.  I write about my life and give it to hundreds
of people I don’t necessarily know.  I
want to be authentic and real, and the reason I write is to share the things
I’m most passionate about while offering, I hope, a little inspiration and a
feeling of comraderie along the way.
Readers expect true stories and real life; however, no one really wants
to read a year-long diatribe on how miserable I was either.  Despite the fact that I blog, I
am, for the most part, a pretty private person, so I don’t share the dark
places too often.  Still, with
the advantage of hindsight and an amazing group of friends, I think it’s  important to a least recognize that things
aren’t always pure bliss.  That life is
messy.  That we get pissed off and angry
and irritable, and that we screw up.
Often.  That we cry when we know
we should be laughing.  That we want to
bury ourselves in the bed and hide out until Monday morning.  And that we feel pretty damned guilty for it.

If you’ve ever felt that way, you are not alone.  Not by a long shot.  And it’s not something to feel guilty
about.  It’s not shameful.  It just is what it is.

I took the past six weeks to hang out because I needed to write only for myself.  I didn’t want to write again until it was real.  And to be honest, I
haven’t felt like writing anything other than my journal.  Instead, I’ve
been pursuing new creative outlets, and much to my surprise, it’s been
awesome, liberating in many ways.  After years of saying, “I’d
really love to learn to play the fiddle,” Rob bought one for me, so I got a
teacher, and I’ve been taking lessons.  I
don’t practice like I should (echoes of childhood), but I have fun when I play,
and I can play several old Appalachian songs and hymns, which is what I most
wanted to learn.  It’s been really nice
to be a beginner again.  To not be the
teacher.  To learn.  I love the feeling of trying new things.

Then, in May, I participated in the Foothills Arts Council
production of Motherhood Out Loud, a
reader’s theater.  I both wrote a piece
to be performed and then actually performed several other pieces; it was a
blast.  I discovered that
I really like being on stage.  Who knew?

So, at the suggestion of our director, I auditioned for the
community’s summer musical, Little Shop
of Horrors
, and got a part.   Harper
Lee and I are both members of the ensemble, and I play Mrs. Luce.  It’s a small part but a great way to get my
feet wet, and I’m looking forward to trying something new with my favorite girl
this summer.

As school winds down this week, and we break into summer (my
favorite time of year!), I want to thank you for sticking around.  Thank you for bearing with Pollyanna posts—it
was as real as I could be at the time.
That’s not an excuse, just the truth.
You know as well as I do that while I love Pinterest, my life is not
Pinterest worthy.  It’s messy piles of
laundry, dirty socks on the floor, weird things growing in Isaac’s room, and
dog hair on the furniture.  It’s the
smell of wet running shoes and sweaty bike bibs.  It’s the exhaustion at the end of an
overscheduled day, which, by the way, I swore I wasn’t ever going to do again.  It’s real life, just like yours.  Don’t ever believe any different.

“Maybe
that’s what the night is for, just so’s we can know the difference when the
light comes again.”   -Howard, Bahr, The
Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War

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