So with my newfound sleep rules, my desire to celebrate the season of Advent fully, and a nagging case of writer’s block, I’m finding that this blog is becoming cumbersome. I’m sure my feelings will pass (past experience with myself annoying myself on my blog tells me this much). However, there have been several days recently when I’ve been tempted to write a good-bye post and call it a day. I’m not sure where these feelings are coming from. Maybe it’s the reality of finishing a book and that before you break out the champagne, you have to wait to hear if your “baby” is ugly or if it’s worth presenting to the world without completely re-writing the whole thing. I gave birth to those words. Some of them were very personal words since parts of the book dredged up pieces of a painful past where an intensely critical eye in my mind picked apart my body, my very self in every way.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gained a lousy seven pounds since we moved this summer. Those seven pounds spell failure to me, and this discourages me greatly and makes me think I’m not qualified to write a book on reclaiming the beauty of creation. My real disappointment lies not in the fact that I’ve gained weight but that I’m still letting it bother me. I had a physical recently and all my numbers were in the healthy range. I’ve always said I’d focus on health and not the number on the scale, but I weighed myself recently when some of my pants were feeling snug and when the larger number registered, I had to fight every urge to cry. For that moment, I did not care about my health. All I wanted was to be skinny. I know many of my readers won’t understand this. They’ll perhaps skim my “About Me” page, see glimpses of my charmed, blessed life, and assume I’m a narcissist and that I should stop my wallowing because I clearly don’t have a weight problem. They’re right on some accounts. I waste so many thoughts analyzing the shape of my arms or the calories chewed in my mouth. And they’re right: I don’t have what most would define as a weight problem. I have a healthy BMI. But I do have a weight problem, a scale sickness, a preoccupation with my weight and body image that sometimes wanes and almost disappears completely but for some reason has reared its ugly head in recent months. Thankfully, I’m good at keeping this to myself and projecting a healthy image to my daughters. Oh, how I want to save them from this lifelong angst I’ve had to battle. So when my daughter said matter-of-factly that I was looking chunky, I laughed it off. She means nothing by it. Fat and chunky are not bad to her (yet). They shouldn’t be bad to any of us. Our dignity has nothing to do with our clothing size. Yet, we do have a responsibility to take care of our bodies, and maybe that’s why I’m struggling. How do I find that balance? I don’t want to let myself go and say I could keep on gaining seven pounds every year, but I don’t want to feel so miserable either.
I’m sorry for this whiny post, but I need to write about this, I’ve decided, to work through it. At first, I was reluctant to do this. I’ve read all these articles on how to take your blog to the next level and it’s not by hosting therapy sessions or going off-topic. I’ve seen my own blog reach a lull and I started thinking maybe I needed to change things, but I can’t. I can only be myself, write what I know, what I want to know, what my heart is hungry for: God, love, self-acceptance, chocolate without the guilt, courage, faith, and a happy home life for my husband and children.
When I first started blogging in 2007, my mom and mom-in-law were about the only people who read my ramblings. Slowly over time my audience grew. I started to think that maybe I should transition from a freelance writer for print media into something more than a hobby blogger. I gave it go for awhile, but it started to feel like pressure. Since I’ve cut back on online time, blogging, and even other freelance work, I’ve had more energy. I don’t feel pulled in so many directions. Of course, from time to time a small voice in my head begins to wonder why, I – with *only* three kids – can not write lengthy, thoughtful blog posts, manage a household, homeschool, Twitter throughout the day, and take amazing photos of amazing crafts like so many other moms out there. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just not one of those moms. I consider myself fairly apt at time management and maybe I just need more sleep than others, but I’m determined to overcome the temptation to compare myself to other moms out there. I also refuse to only write what I think others want to read. At this juncture of my busy life with little ones, I need my writing to be a break not a burden. I need it to flesh out my feelings, thoughts, and to overcome my self-doubt and body image problems.
I’m praying hard about all of this. I’m trying to reshape the image in my head, but I’ve got to explore why I still feel like losing weight would make everything better, especially when everything isn’t bad in the first place.
I’m sharing this with all of you to warn you that my blog may take on a stream of consciousness kind of pattern, that some of my writing may seem self-indulgent. I’ve read that to be a successful blogger you have to look outside of yourself and provide service-like posts. I’d like to do this, too, so when I’m not navel gazing or trying to prevent navel and other body bashing, I’d like to answer some of my readers’ questions (hence, the blog title). I’ve been getting more frequent emails asking about certain aspects of my life. Even though my blog has reached a plateau and hasn’t really grown in months and has actually lost readership since I started blogging less (I shamelessly checked my blog stats for the first time in months this weekend and in a self-defeated tone told my husband, “I guess I’m just a hobby blogger.” To which he celebrated and said, “Good! That’s all you should be.”), I have found I’ve been getting more and more emails asking me for advice on myriad topics from how to break into freelancing to how to safely co-sleep. Once upon a time I responded to every single email I received, but this is becoming increasingly difficult. I say this not to discourage people from contacting me (I cherish every word you gift me with!), but I just don’t want you to take my silence for not caring. In an effort to more effectively manage my time, I’ve decided to save any questions or any emails that are asking for something from me in the hopes that I’ll be able to slowly start to respond to them in posts.
Some questions I’ve received recently include:
- How do I help a daughter struggling with an eating disorder? (Given my own recent struggles I plan to answer this one first…stay tuned.)
- How do you homeschool your older child with little ones around?
- What homeschooling curriculum do you use?
- How does co-sleeping work in your family?
- What’s it like being married to a doctor?
- How do I break into freelancing?
- Is your older brother still discerning the priesthood?
- Do you ever yell at your kids?
- How do you deal with parental anger?
- What kind of craft supplies do you recommend having on hand for your little ones?
- What’s your recipe for homemade hummus?
I plan to answer these in upcoming posts. I can make no promises as to when I’ll post about these and other related topics, but I like the idea of having a plan. This will hopefully help with my writer’s block as well and keep me from only writing about my body image struggles.
If you have a question for me about my life, my faith, my parenting style, cooking, postpartum depression, eating disorders, recipes, home management, etc., feel free to leave a comment or email me at kmwicker[@]gmail[dot]com, and I will do my best to provide a response and/or feedback eventually.
Finally, I really have been re-thinking the future of this blog. Although it does need to be a hobby for me and not a stress-inducing chore, I’m so grateful I’m no longer writing into a black hole and really do want to cover some topics and themes my readers are interested in. Thank you for your patience with me and your faithfulness. I’m so grateful for your kind words and encouragement, and I love to hear from readers. I especially love to hear that something I wrote or shared resonated with you. I’ve always said I want this blog to be a ministry of sorts; I hope this may continue.
To that end, even though I can’t promise to always write what I think others want to read (especially since I often think something will touch people when it doesn’t or I just write something on a whim and receive a surprising response), I do want to know what types of blogs and posts you like. What about blog design? I’m thinking my blog is too cluttered right now and want to give it a face lift down the road and clean it up so that my writing is emphasized because as much as I aspire to be, I’m just not a brilliant photographer. Words are my primary medium. That said, do you enjoy occasionally seeing charming photographs of my charming cherubs? Do you like the brutal honesty of some of my more poignant posts, or would you rather I shared more sunshine than shadows? Do you prefer essay-like posts or devotionals or funny anecdotes or a combo of both? Do my faith-centric posts inspire, or not?
I value your feedback but must put this caveat out there: I’m realizing through yet another round of counseling related to my eating disorder, that anxiety over what people think, how people perceive me, and come crippling perfectionism (expecting myself to be a perfect mom and my kids to be perfect children) is at the root of me not feeling good enough and subsequently not feeling thin enough. Therefore, I’m working on being a people pleaser only in so much that it gives glory to God and is part of His plan for me rather than a way to build myself up or to silence the voice in my head that’s constantly badgering me to be better (thinner). I thought of shutting myself out by closing up this blog shop, but I believe, instead, I need to write from the heart and detach myself from the need for affirmation or to be one of those uber bloggers I admire and yes, sometimes envy, too. (Yes, this has been a recurring theme over the past year or so.)
At any rate, I’m not sure what you’ll get out of all of this. I realize I’m ping-ponging ideas back and forth – some of which seem to contradict each other. I’m not sure where I’m headed, but I do know this: I’ll keep blogging as time allows. I will value each and every reader who reaches out to me, but I cannot be everything to everyone. I love my family so much. My finite energy supply can only go so far. I owe my husband and my sweet girls my time first. Then I owe it to myself to take care of myself by eating well, sleeping more, exercising, and writing what is healing and good and fruitful to me with the hope that it may minister to others as well.
Peace & Joy,