I don’t remember how to blog anymore.
I can’t even think of the last time I wrote for my own site without it either being sponsored, or some calculated reason to either further my writing career or to make it more marketable and SEO friendly.
I hate it.
I hate both the feeling of being lost and the feeling of turning writing — something I love (and have always loved) — into a hustle.
I used to think that if I could just be paid to read books, watch movies, and listen to music, I would be happy. Get paid for what you love, right?
Maybe a harder working person or someone with more grit could have made a better go of it. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a business-minded person. Maybe I’m forever doomed to be a dilettante, on the cusp of fame but never famous.
So many people who started blogging or writing or whatever it was their thing after me have made it. They have exploded on social media. Turned their hustle into a full business. Gotten agents, book deals, and published either with traditional press or by themselves. They have taken a thing they wanted and pursued it and made it happen.
And though it may seem as if I’m jealous, I’m not. I am very happy for my friends and acquaintances. I know how hard they worked. I know they made their own luck and opportunities. I do not begrudge them their success. After all, I know without a doubt that their wins do not affect my own (and in fact, increase the chances of my own).
And then there’s me. I feel like I always get momentum, get comfortable, and then refuse to try and do hard things and then I stagnate, get burned out, and then find a new thing. Rinse and then repeat.
Oh, and then I get pregnant. Again.
Just when I think I’ve finally got my life together, I get pregnant. And not that I would change having Kitsune (6 mos) or any of my other children. I wouldn’t trade them for any success or accolades or recognition in the world.
But plenty of people have had children and success — whatever that means — and yet, here I am, unable to get my shit together.
Today is the 10th birthday of Glow Worm and also ten years of me on this blog. (Or rather, I started this blog right before he was born so it’s technically ten years and one month, but who’s counting? Oh, right. I am.)
I have, in these ten years: published a book on teaching kids Chinese, started a YouTube channel, started a podcast, written and edited for widely popular and super niche online publications, birthed two more children, re-started and ended therapy, started homeschooling, fallen in obsession with K-pop band BTS, made and lost so many friends thanks to the internet, gotten doxxed and had my life threatened with death and rape, attended countless concerts, made numerous trips back to Taiwan for weeks at a time, written several novel length fan fics, started and stopped several novels, tried a ton of new things like auditioning for speaking events, interviewing celebrities, and got recognized at concerts and on street corners by strangers thanks to all these endeavors.
Some would say that I am a success, and I don’t deny these wins. They felt big when they occurred, and to some extent, they still feel big.
And yet, I feel left behind.
Worst of all, it’s my own fault, right? Why am I here feeling sorry for myself when I could be putting my nose to the grindstone, posting regularly on social media, pitching magazines and all sorts of publications, querying agents, hiring coaches, joining accountability groups, and just work work working?
If I hate it so much, why don’t I just follow XYZ steps and do it? The world is my oyster! I have infinite potential! I’m amazing! The success is there if I just name it and claim it! Have faith and the universe will provide! If so-and-so can do it, so can I!
Except, I hate it. I don’t want to do the work, so does that mean I got what I deserved?
No matter how I figure, it’s my own damn fault. My own fault for wanting. My own fault for constantly getting pregnant. My own fault for keeping the pregnancies to term. My own fault for homeschooling. My own fault for wanting my kids to be bilingual and biliterate.
I made my bed. I should lay in it.
I am turning 45 in twelve days and I feel more lost than ever.
And I’m furious. Furious at myself for letting myself get to such a place. Furious that I know myself and don’t know that I would have ever done any differently. Furious that I want and am found wanting once again.
Didn’t I do this already when I turned 40? Didn’t we cover this ground? Why am I always re-treading the same path? Why do I never learn my lesson?
I made a niche for myself writing about teaching my kids Chinese and then people who were better at it, who were more consistent and persistent and frankly, produced better and more useful content took over the space. And honestly, I was and am happy for it.
I did my time. I wrote my words. I no longer am all about teaching kids Chinese. I’ve moved on.
I moved onto just writing about homeschooling because that was what I was dealing with. And again, there are so many more people who are in that space and better at it.
So again, I moved on. Moved onto K-pop, to BTS, to writing about pop culture and having opinions in the parenting space. I wrote and published over 165 articles in 2021 and burned out spectacularly.
And the thing is, I don’t know what to do anymore. I keep pivoting. I keep following my interests and people follow along, but I don’t know why.
I feel obligated to be smart about my writing. Shouldn’t I have been smarter? More strategic? SEO’d the crap out of my site with teaching kids Chinese? Or if not that, homeschooling? Or if not that, consumed as many movies, shows, books, and products as possible and reviewed those?
I had all the access and offers — and I did nothing with it that I didn’t want to.
I fumbled the bag except I’m not sure I wanted the bag in the first place.
So, no. I don’t begrudge other people’s success because they were smart or at the very least, consistent. Could I have surpassed them if I had tried? Who knows? It is useless to wonder.
(Except, sometimes, I wonder.)
If I were a well-crafted SEO article, I would now, after being relatable, be offering you suggestions of how to get out of this slump. Here are X things you can do to get the life you’ve always wanted!
(Except, it would all be a lie. A slick snake oil campaign. A neatly packaged product.)
I am sick of commoditizing my hobbies and interests into some sort of hustle. I’m sick of wanting more. I’m sick of feeling like a lumpy potato, close to some imaginary finish line but not close enough.
I just want to tell my stories (real and imagined) on the internet and have people squee about them with me. I want to scream about BTS and have friends scream with me. I want to do everything that I’m doing on the internet already and not feel the need to be a product and make money from it.
(Except, I also want to make money from it — because money’s nice. Who doesn’t like money?)
I make no sense.
I want to be perceived and yet, when I am, I want to scream and run away.
I want to do the things I want when I want without consequences.
I want everything I ever wanted but not work for it.
I want a fantasy of a life even though my life is pretty fucking great.
I want to be more than what I am, but I also want to be myself.
I am trembling with want, but I have no idea what I really want. (Because if I really wanted it, wouldn’t I have gotten it already? Wouldn’t I have bent my entire will to get it?)
I am a mess.
There is no neat resolution. There is only the daily slog in and out of my life. There is only my overactive brain, churning with stories about pretty, broken people trying to find meaning in this meaningless life.
I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I want (just that it’s this and also NOT this). I don’t know where I’m going and I both want (and don’t want) people along for the ride.
What would make me satisfied?
And please, do not bring god(s) — yes, lowercase “g” — or Jesus or any other imaginary, unprovable myths into my mentions. I don’t want it. I have lived a lifetime with these myths to fill my insatiable thirst and all it did was make me lie to myself about what I really wanted.
I feel as if I have spent my whole life screaming at the top of my lungs the same thing over and over again, frantically scribbling all my inchoate wants all over the page, begging to be given it, only to not recognize it when it’s handed to me.
Give me what I don’t know that I want.
Until then, I will keep screaming.