Checking In on My Year of Risking Dangerously

I briefly mentioned it in Monday’s blog, but a college friend recently approached me to ask me about blogging. He wanted to know how to make money with the blog, increasing visibility and readership, how to make his blog better, and general advice (like writing) for his blog.

I had a really great time discussing the business side’s minutiae and dispensing advice.

Ok. I won’t lie.

I LOVE dispensing advice regardless of the topic. I am definitely my own favorite echo chamber.

But anyhow, after texting with him over the course of several days, it reminded me of my lofty goals at the beginning of the year and kinda lit a fire in me again.

Now, I’m not saying that my goals are now exactly the same because, HI BABY4! But I didn’t want a pregnancy and subsequent new life form to be an excuse. (Even though it’s been a very handy excuse.)

As a result, I thought I would check in on my Year of Risking Dangerously and see how I was doing.

So, here are a few things I mentioned that I wanted to accomplish this year, as well as some goals I had written for myself in my planner.

1) Become “internet famous.”

I’m not sure how to gauge this exactly. I definitely haven’t gone viral or won any awards or taken the internet by storm.

However, in my little niche of Mandarin stuff (you like that technical term?), I seem to be “famous” enough. And although it’s not the same as going viral on HuffPo, it’s acceptable to me.

Of course, if HuffPo comes calling, I’m not gonna object. So, you know. Get to working, internet.

2) Submit my work to online publishers.

I was pretty good with this the first few months of the year.

I pitched Postpartum Progress and they published an article of mine on How to Get the Most Out of Your Therapist

I was interviewed at Moms and Biz about Chinese homeschooling and loved my two minutes of fame. 

I also submitted to a few other places, and although it’s technically not an online publisher, I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother and made their San Francisco cast. (You can see the video and read the transcript here.)

So, even though I didn’t do much else after that due to my extreme fatigue, I am satisfied. I may get my act together enough to submit a few more articles, but truthfully, I probably won’t.

I am content to hold off for now (unless I start getting some second or third wind).

3) Create and publish ebooks from my Chinese (and other) series.

I have TOTALLY dropped the ball on this. Like, completely.

I deluded myself into thinking that I would do this during my Taiwan trip, but mostly, I just focused on eating my own weight in shaved ice.

However, after talking to my friend, I am newly re-inspired.

So, I will definitely try and make this happen before the end of the year. (Heck, even if it means squeaking in just under the wire or right at the new year.)

Of course, to get it out in time, I have to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies and maybe not have the ebook be as completely re-written as I’d hoped.

But sometimes, good enough is still good enough.

4) Create material for and launch my own YouTube channel and series. Start a podcast.

Total fail.

I did record some videos, but I don’t think this will realistically happen this year or the next. UNLESS I stop caring about the “professional” look of the videos and just post whatever. Like, Facebook Live quality types of videos.

We’ll see.

Otherwise, I’m content to let this go for the next year or so and wait until Baby4 is a little older.

5) Take myself seriously by owning my talents/abilities/influence and acting like a professional.

Although it did not quite manifest in the ways I originally had in mind (such as starting a newsletter, revamping the website, making it more businessy by getting sponsors or ads), I did start participating more in online communities, subscribing to blogs and Facebook pages and interacting more with the writers.

Also, I’m not sure what it is exactly, but my personal attitude about my writing and abilities has shifted. For some reason, I no longer feel embarrassed (not even sure if that’s the right word) about blogging.

Instead, I’m confident in my writing and my voice.

I don’t know how it happened, but I like it.

So, I give myself a C. I did well on certain tasks, but others, I completely failed. It kind of averages out, right?

Ok. My brain is mush. Introspection apparently hurts me. But thanks for reading anyway! We’ll see if my sudden surge in energy is going to last long enough for me to get things done to my satisfaction.

Otherwise, I’m ok with letting things go.

See you Friday!

My Love is an Act of Will

LoveIn case you missed my performance back in May, here is a video of my reading for Listen to Your Mother SFI’ve included the transcript of my piece after. Also, please do check out the entire line up for Listen to Your Mother SF 2016. They are hilarious and moving and fantastic women with wonderful stories. You will not regret!

“Mama,” said Gamera. “I love Daddy more-er. He’s the funnest.”

Twice a day, my 4 year old daughter, will inform me without fail that she loves my husband more than she loves me.

She has her reasons.

He was her first word. He’s way more fun. He plays with her (especially that awful Cooties game that I would rather stab my eyes out than play). He takes her to McDonald’s and indoor play spaces and to the park.

He calls her “Sweetness” and “Baby Girl” and cuddles with her at night and throws her onto his shoulders and plays Tickle Monster until she collapses into giggles on our bed.

He is the funnest.

And most of all – he rarely yells at her.

For the first eighteen months of my oldest son’s life, I never yelled or raised my voice in anger. I used to be so proud of myself.

Gamera never got to meet that person. She was six months in my belly and had another three months to go. By the time she showed up, I was tired and overwhelmed and had made yelling a way of life.

It was slow at first. A slow ramping up of fury until it broke over my small children in a consistent wave of screaming and yelling.

And later, at two and a half, she would defend herself and her older brother, holding her ground. “You don’t know what you talking about it!” she would stomp, face red with scowling, arms crossed in indignation. “Mama, you’re NOT kind!”

So I totally get why she loves my husband more-er. Who wouldn’t?

Before I had children, I thought love would be effortless, flowing through me as water from snow melt.

Who would have ever predicted it would be like squeezing blood from a stone?

Who knew love could be so hard – especially when it sent the dark corners of my heart into stark relief?

Of course, I knew that love was not always easy. I had plenty of experience of that in my romantic relationships. And I knew from growing up with an abusive father that love for our children could look much different than what I wanted for my own kids.

But I had thought – I had hoped – that I would be better. I would be different. I wouldn’t let my father win.

But I was broken still and my inner beast, the echo of my father – his script, his cadence, his very words – spilled hot and rushed through my trembling lips and clenched fists.

Of course, she loves her Baba more-er.

I accept that she may never know or understand that my loving her is an act of will.

Not because she is not lovable. She is. All my children are.

But I hope and pray that they will never understand firsthand how I clawed my way up from my despair, buried under decades of lies, denial, and self-protection.

That I love her when I ensure that the cycle of abuse will end with me and not be passed onto them.

I love her when in November 2014, I decided enough was enough and asked for help.

I love her when I choose to do the hard mental and emotional work when I go see my therapist every Friday and plonk down $150.

I love her when after a year and a half of weekly counseling, I have finally turned a corner and now rarely yell.

I love her when I get enough sleep.

I love her when I pay attention to what my body is telling me – and when I listen to my body.

I love her when I drop my armor of anger and apathy and allow myself to feel and process pain, fear, and anger.

I love her when I look at the hard truths of my growing up, my coping mechanisms, and their consequences.

I love her when I choose to walk away from her instead of scream.

I love her when I humble myself to apologize and ask her for forgiveness.

I love her when I let her feel what she feels and say what she thinks – even if it’s messy and dramatic and overblown and infuriates me to no end.

I love her when I model how to pursue healing.

I love her when I tell her that even if she loves Baba more-er than me, or is angry at me, or even hates me, that I will love her. That she can never lose my love.

I love her even though she loves her Baba more-er than me.

It doesn’t matter.

Because every day, my love for her is a hard won act of will. And that is enough.