Where to Next

It’s not that I’m not thinking about writing. I’m thinking plenty, and even writing some. I have three unfinished posts in my inbox. But, aside from the fact that I have no time whatsoever to put toward this blog right now, I’m also having some pretty serious identity issues.

To be honest, I am having something of an identity crisis. A murky kind I have never before experienced. I am accustomed to understanding my own self. I almost always can find words for my various emotional malaise; they might not come easy, but if I sit down earnestly, I can pick them out. This time around I am at a loss. People ask, ‘Are you glad to be home? Do you miss New Orleans? Do you feel torn?’ The truth is all of the above, and none of it, at the same time. It’s the none of it that troubles me.

It seems that the more I try to put words to my cloudy emotion, the more I undo the truth of it. Like explaining a dream. I am glad to be home. But is it still home when I am not the same person who left? I don’t feel out of place, it doesn’t feel wrong, or disappointing. I could say any of those things and they would be almost right, but completely wrong.

And thus, I am at an impasse. Both personally and writing-wise. Being the honest-to-death type, I cannot seem to just carry on as if everything is usual. Though a part of me would like to, I can’t just write about laundry and jam making and the disappointments of plugging my kids into the iPad so I can fillet 20 salmon.

Coupling with, not coincidentally, the identity confusion is a kind of ‘place disorientation.’ I am so incredibly tied psychologically to where I live that, even though I was coming home, this move has entirely thrown me. I don’t know where to stand, or who to be.

I just recently realized that this accounts for at least some of my absence here. I don’t know what to write. I feel like I have to reconstruct myself first, reconstruct this space and then begin anew. I might even have to re-open somewhere else. Start fresh.

This probably seems drastic to you. A good more than half the posts will still be the same– making bread, keeping house, growing a garden, raising ruffians, psychoanalyzing myself. But it’s all about context for me. I really cannot explain the profound difference in physical and psychological environment here. Or maybe what I cannot explain adequately is the profound effect that change has on me.

Either way, I love words because they help me to make sense of things, to unravel a few syllables at a time the tangly confusions that clog my mind. Apron Stringz gave me a place and a way to make sense of a few years of my life. This new phase might just take different words.

The idea of starting up a whole new blog is incredibly daunting to me right now. I don’t know when I might get the time for that sort of endeavor. Let alone that I need to sort myself out a bit more first. Our life is in all kinds of upheaval, not just the move, and I feel like it has to settle out some before I can hope to make any sense.

Will you wait for me?

35 thoughts on “Where to Next

  1. We will wait.

    Might I suggest switching up your wp theme before moving to a whole new place, blogwise? Sometimes a fresh theme is enough. ;) I went through a whole phase of theme switches and blog name changes before I felt something fit.

  2. All I can say is, give yourself plenty of time to adjust. Your family has made A LOT of changes in a very short time. It’s understandable that you feel discombobulated. (BTW, that’s a fun word!) We, your readers, will wait patiently, sending our silent good wishes your way.
    Could you maybe carve out half an hour each day to reconnect to yourself and your surroundings? Maybe go for a short walk alone each day? If you need to write, but it’s too personal to publish on the web, grab a notebook. Sometimes writing things out helps me more than simply thinking about something.
    And if it’s all too overwhelming, if something doesn’t get done, you will all survive. I know I’m really bad about setting super high expectations for myself and then getting upset when I fail. If some of that salmon goes in the freezer rather than getting canned, so be it. Sometimes you just need to take the easy route.
    Best of luck!

  3. Yes, we will wait. Don’t worry about starting a new blog, just continue here, it iis a record of your evolution.

    I agree with Sister x, write it down on paper, rather than on here.

    I too am suffering from a massive ‘who am I’ moment, related to finishing my MA, not wanting to teach and not really knowing what is gonig on with my life.

    take your time, we will be here

  4. Dude – I totally understand the ‘remaking of the self’ time. Best of luck on your journey! Although I am very new to your blog I have enjoyed what you have shared and am very grateful! If you end up processing some of your transformation through this or another blog, I’m sure it will be very healing for your readers.

  5. Center yourself, like on the wheel. That place in the middle of the spinning clay where all is still. I am doing this now. I am under a lot of stress and pain. Finding the center of ones self calms the spirit. You feel the wholeness of your being. It spreads a calm across all the turmoil of what is going on, and alot is going on with me at the moment. By finding the center you find yourself. Life is about following your bliss and finding self actualization as Jung would put it. Love is at the center of all things. Much love to you my dear friend. Dennis

  6. Hmm, I don’t get all the angst. You’re back where you want to be, doing what you want to do. Maybe I am just too old (twice your age) to relate so, I hope you get yourself together soon. Best luck in the future!

    1. i know. i know. that’s the exact thing. i’m back where i yearned to be, the place i love. why do i feel so not quite right? i think it might just take time to re-unite emotionally with my place. like with a lover three years absent. i hope so.

  7. Hey, Great to hear your words of unknowingness and uncertainty from all the way over in Alaska. Can I say something? Maybe you’re done with Anchorage but feel like you’ve made a choice and now gotta stick with it? Maybe this is just an interim before you go where your heart leads. Maybe this is it for now because you needed to center and ground yourself and get the balls to go where you really want or need to go? Do you feel a sense of duty or obligation to be there? Is it for you? For your kids? For your partner? Maybe you will end up somewhere neither you or your man have even thought of yet? Either way – it’s exciting! You don’t need to stay stuck with anything that doesn’t fit. If the blog don’t fit, chuck it…. maybe youre feeling like a snake thats carrying round a flaky skin that won’t come off so you can emerge all new and here-in-the-now ish. Wanna start a new blog? Do it! Wanna change your name? Your hair colour? Your primary mode of self-expression? Do it. Free yourself and shake off everything that feels stale and crappy. Do what makes you happy, starting with something little if that feels less intimidating, then work up to the bigger things. Be authentic to yourself as you are right now, not a slave to who you were yesterday, last year or a decade ago. You are a work in progress and the ending hasn’t been written yet. You can do anything you want CJ ;-)

  8. I hear you. On the half-assed blogging, that is. Want to blog, don’t have time to put decent effort in to it, don’t want to do it if I can’t be honest and sincere and have it reflect who I am. But it is shitty for you to feel like a missing person in your own body. Hope you find yourself and your place again soon & without too much drama. You will work it out, no doubt, but these things take time to settle and sometimes (well for me anyways) they can take more handwringing than was really necessary!

    Take your time, you know your fans will wait. I’d come perve at a new blog if you start one of those. If you start a new blog, it might help you work some stuff out… would it be sad to compare choosing headers, templates and layouts, with choosing who you want to be from now on??!! Hmm, I’ve been blogging too long.

    Maybe you need to immerse yourself in your pottery? Find the answers in the clay?

  9. We will wait, of course we will!

    Sometimes I find switching to paper for a phase helps. Then back to my blog when in back to feeling like I want to talk to the world. Or even both at once but different things.

    You have made huge changes in a short time, and for me, I think my identity had to make a few adjustments over several years of those first years of mothering – even without any other big upheavals.

    I other words, giving yourself time and permission to feel discombobulated might be helpful.

    But yes, we will wait.

  10. New to your blog, hang in there. Sometimes it helps to take time out to throw away some clutter you have collected along the way and you will be refreshed and ready to keep going. Less is more sometimes. Will wait till you are back again.

  11. When I returned home to Alaska after two years of being house-bound with my dying Elder Ma in Kern County Calif. the love of my life, 39 Mile, had grown saggy. I’m still trying to trim the seams and not entirely sure how. We change. Sometimes in awkward fits and starts, lasting far more seasons than seems reasonable. If you’re married to ‘place’, reinventing oneself can be extremely tricky. The kiddos continue growing and do you. Some years are just damned messy.

    Your honesty is refreshing…always.


  12. Absolutely still here.
    Your writing is helpful, insightful, and encouraging to me, even when you are down in the dumps yourself. Good luck with your internal recalibrations.

  13. I’m certain that something about your post resonates with all of us. We’ll all wait, of course, but remember that no one expects perfection, of you, of life. The beauty of both lies in those imperfect, unsettled moments, like charged air before a storm.

  14. Apron Stringz, it is powerful to share what we individually go through (that’ s why I love words) so it is okay what you are experiencing right now. don’t beat yourself up for it and thanks for sharing.

  15. Space has such a powerful impact on all of us. Location is what grounds us and joins together culture of the area, who we are around, connection with that land, what we do… it definitely becomes an aspect of identity! Where we are located is often what determines our access to friends, food, privilege and comes to define us.
    That being said, I think that it’s always healthy to every once in a while stand back and realize that it’s all temporary and fleeting, that we don’t need to create such significance to the point of paralysis. It is just a house. It’s just now. It’s just a town.
    We all have power to choose and re-choose how we respond to the circumstances around us. I can choose to love all of the reasons to be in the place I am in now, or choose to love all of the other reasons to leave and then start packing. There’s lots of options, there’s lots of power. That’s how I see it.
    Thank you for sharing your struggle. I think that it’s important that we are shaken to our core at least once in our lives.

    1. 30 to 50, actually. And as a chef you will understand that you don’t even necessarily need to eat a food to get sick of eating it.

  16. dennis, adrian, sister x said it better than i will.

    i don’t know if you’re like me but aaaaaallllllllllllllllllll the long time i was away i tried to make it easier by doing 2 things: 1) deny that i was homesick and 2) find things to love about where i was. a little of that gets in my way sometimes.

    i will say that, after gardening downstates, trying to do so in a cold wetfest is a big why-t-f bother. and this summer’s been a long, cold wetfest.

  17. CJ: Hang on for the ride and don’t fight the flow of things. It’ll all work out as it should. And you will find yourself again. I’ll still be here waiting and in fact, if you start a new blog I’m sure most of us will go with you–I know I will. Namaste.

  18. Will I wait? You bet ya arse I’ll wait. Like crazy, I’ll wait and I’ll enjoy every moment that you come and write, poetic, and true.

    Because that’s what I do. And it’s what you do.

    Hope the dust settles in a nice tidy pile out the back yard for you, real soon.

    Kylie. x

  19. The mistake too many of us make is in thinking consistency is expected in life, when if fact that is an illusion (or delusion), with change the true reality.

    To help with your thoughts and feelings, I suggest reaching out to an old “stellar” friend, now in her 3rd country and 5th city over less than three years. I expect she can commiserate.

  20. waiting patiently… take your time.

    and while you are, just know, that everything you have written (including your confusion and “none of the above”) is resonating with others. your words are therapy not just for you, but also for those around you. which, in our cyber world, stretches far beyond alaska or new orleans. ;)

    just knowing other mamas have been out in the great unknown before me (whatever shape that takes for each) is an inspiration.

  21. I appreciate Motherfunkers reply, for sure. Gotta say that possibly for the first time ever reading your blog, I am one step ahead of your thoughts/actions. Not that life is a competition or I measure myself against others, but typically I read your posts, ponder stuff, get inspired, do stuff (my mega inspiration journal for example), read stuff (Radical Homemakers). Today, this post finds me on the downhill side of an identity mountain. Downhill being a good place, great views, closer to the river, beauty, calm. The unrest began a year ago with a move, sense of place issues, career hiccup, unmet goals, dreams, true reality, and a committment to another person. All I will say is you are not alone. I will patiently and happily wait for your return. In whatever form that may take. Happy resurrecting.

  22. I’ve often found that coming home is the biggest culture shock. This is not in small part because I feel like I’m *supposed* to fit in and be used to the place, but my brain still needs to major adjustment, as with any move.

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