I want to look at myself while I work on myself. I should make a recording so I can listen to myself while I look at myself while I work on myself as I leaf through my Self magazine and read about how myself can improve myself. Maybe I’ll go to my Facebook page and look at photos of myself and read what myself has written about myself.-Jim Gaffigan on mirrors at the gym
In a few days I will reach the one year anniversary of this blog. (Jan. 15, 2012) It started as a New Years Resolution to myself, something to force me to write more. If I was supposed to post regularly, if anyone at all was reading this, than I couldn't be lazy about it. I wasn't sure how long I could keep it up, a month if I was lucky, or two. Instead, I surprised myself. I love writing this damn thing! I love sitting down with a cup of coffee in the morning and lamenting about my jiu-jitsu struggles, or Maya's beady eyed glare. I don't even care that the same 15 people read it every week, that I am perpetually stuck in "come see my band" syndrome. (You know, when your buddy in college has a band. And he invites you to all his shows because he needs to bring people. And every show you go to is just you and his 6 other buddies. And you have to stand all the way up near the stage so he feels like he has fans, instead hiding in the back like you want to be, pounding $2.00 PBR's. And no matter how many shows his band books he still can't seem to get past the "hey guys my band is playing this weekend, please come" stage. Yeah, that's my blog.)
Except of course I am lying. I want hundreds of people to read this thing, thousands. I want to change the world with my words. The problem is, I am not really saying anything.
I read a lot of blogs. Some of them are written by other martial artists, women mostly, who share their own tales of escaping the mount or choking out giant blue belts. Most of what I read are by other moms. Every mom and their mom has a blog nowadays. And some of these women, wow! They tell stories of their babies with autism, of their battles with cancer, of overcoming horrible trials and tribulations . Some of them also talk about normal everyday parenting things like poopy diapers and screaming fits, but they do it so eloquently. They are funny! Or heart wrenching! Or both!
Me, I have a blogging identity crisis. Am I just another mommy in the vast sea of mommy bloggers who is brave enough to put all her parenting successes and failures out there on the Internet for all to see? Or am I a tiny woman stubbornly navigating the very male world of fighting? Or am I a random political voice for free range parenting, gun control and public schools? The problem is, I am all those things. And when you write a blog that is about everything, the only thing you have to attract people is the quality of your writing.
I am not fishing for compliments. I know I can string two sentences together. I also know that I am no J.K. Rowling or Toni Morrison or John Grisham or whomever else you think of as synonymous with the term "good writer". I am depressingly, frustratingly "ok" at writing. (I also use too many adverbs.) Occasionally I finish a blog post and I am moved to tears by my own mastery of the English language. (Like this one http://mamommyarchives.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-story-i-never-told.html. That was good stuff. But really how hard is it to write a powerful, meaningful story about finding a dead body? Just ask Stephen King.) Most of the time I am like, hey that was fun, glad I got that off my chest, maybe someone else will like it too.
This morning I read a blog post from one of the mommies whom I follow regularly. Her kid has Down Syndrome and she was talking about the negative comments her blog often generates. Either the readers are furious that she has, akin to Liza Long's viral post about her fears of her special needs son , admitted some deeply troubling truth about parenting that should have been kept a secret. Or they are snarky and bitter at the beautiful photos she has posted of her "perfect", smiling family.
It seems that when total strangers start showing up to see your band play, what you get is a lot of complaining. "Derivative." "Amateurish" "This music sucks!" "Play Freebird!" But I often wish I could write something meaningful enough for someone to be angry with me.
In the world inside my own head I am some kind of Zena mommy. Being a woman who frequently rolls around on a mat trying to keep her arm from being bent backwards, a woman who has spent 24 years tying on a belt and stepping barefoot onto the wooden floor of a dojo, a woman who now teaches karate to small children while attempting to be a good mommy to one of them; all of this seems so damn meaningful, so very important! Of course it does, it is my life. Being a blogger involves the obnoxious, arrogant belief that other people give a rats ass about what you do every day.
I write this for me. But who am I kidding, I also write this because I am egotistical enough to think that someone else might care too, that they might somehow identify with tales of Maya's snappy retorts, that they might find my constant indecision about continuing to dodge low kicks on Friday nights interesting. I often fantasize about writing a book filled with these anecdotes. When I am really on a roll I can even imagine piles of said book on a table at Barnes & Noble while some dumb-ass in a skirt interviews me for the Today show. "So Jennifer, your book about working on omaplatas while trying to raise a decent human being in today's evil world has deeply effected the way we view, well everything. What do you have to say about your meteoric rise to fame and fortune?"
So yeah, being a blogger is a bit narcissistic.
But since I'm already putting my fuzzy PJ wearing, not yet showered self out there, I might as well go all in. I am pretty damn awesome,people! So, in honor of my reaching one full year of literary masturbation, if you like my blog please share it with your friends. Pass it on so even more people will have their life not altered one iota by the glory that is me.
In other words, come see my band.