Hi. Remember me? I write here on this blog. At least I used to. Back in the day, I started writing here as a way of staying in touch with family from whom I moved away. (Raise your hand Traveling Circus Fan.) I kind of accidentally fell into the business of blogging because I was in a hot geographic area and an early member of the “mom blog” groups that brands started to pay attention to.
It was a strange time. I stumbled around for a few years trying to find my place amongst my peers who came from backgrounds that seemed more suited to either writing or marketing, both of which this business is a weird mix of. I was a teacher. A writing teacher, ironically, and I could never quite figure out how I fit.
I love to tell stories and I love being part of a community of women. So I, and my blog, thrived in those early days when it was just that, communities of women sharing their stories. Then, when it felt like I had to start telling my stories in a way that fit a particular style or attracted a particular audience I just could never make it work.
Then what happened was I started to see my peers moving in the direction of “professional blogger” and they all just seemed to have something I did not, so that direction didn’t feel like a fit for me.
So, I went another direction. One that included school and an entirely different kind of writing and teaching. For some reason, when I chose that path, I thought that meant I had to walk away from writing on this site. Every time I’d try to do it, it felt weird. I used to come to share my insights gained from bumbling through parenting mistakes and searching for my voice in the ever changing role of mother.
Then, when my other world took me to places where I listen to other people’s stories all day and try to help illuminate in some way, I suddenly felt like sharing my own pitfalls far and wide (or, realistically to the 15 friends and family members who still see this blog.) felt off at best, self-indulgent and tone deaf at worst. So, I stopped.
But then, three funny things happened. One, I have consistently felt the physical ramifications that come when I feel inauthentic. My job is not that of expert, but for a while the more I learned and studied, the more I felt like I had to keep up the image of someone who “knew more”, whatever the heck that meant. The truth is, I’m still just the same old me who started this blog when I was struggling with three kids under 6, and a different life path that included learning to navigate an entirely new town and, quite frankly, identity.
Sure, since then, I have read and heard and learned more than the average parent about child development and the art and science of raising children. However, my work is still often informed by my own personal experience of falling and dusting myself off through this journey of life as a mom.
Never fear, former professors and supervisors, I’m not disclosing all over my sessions. But I have learned it’s ok if I come here, or on facebook or instagram, and share what I’ve learned-even if it’s at my own kitchen table. If a future client finds it, then all they’ll know is I’m human, not a life expert at all, but someone who is figuring it all out just like they are.
The second thing that has happened is that I finally, after 45 years of circling around it, have admitted that the thing that drives me, deep in my heart and soul, is writing. I was an absolute mess without it. Yes, I write more than I’ve likely ever before (Can we say Doctoral Dissertation?) but it is not in the way that fills my soul.
I stopped writing consistently here in 2013 when I started grad school (again) and I have been missing a huge piece of myself ever since. So, it’s time to get back to it. Writing more often. Writing what I want. Writing in my Cristie Mom Voice, not only in my future Dr. of Psychology voice. (God, that one is so dull.)
Finally, the third thing that I can no longer ignore: The Universe. I’m a big believer in the universe sending signs. Sometimes, I wildly misinterpret them. Other times, I see them when they’re not there. For the last couple of years, and for sure in the last few months, I keep getting them and they are mostly screaming at me even when I’m not looking.
For instance, in my email, on my Facebook wall and IG ads, I get near-daily invitations to join groups or attend retreats that I’ve been thinking about starting for years. Or, sometimes I’ll see advertisements for people doing the exact kind of parenting work I want to do but thought I needed, you name it, degrees, certificates, time, whatever, to be more qualified to do it.
You know what? These people, the ones advertising their retreats or women’s groups or coaching services-they have NOWHERE NEAR the qualifications I do to do the same work. And yet they had the chutzpah to do it, so shame on no one but me.
It seems then, that the time has come. The time has come for me to stop underestimating myself. To stop ignoring the signs. To stop listening to the bitch voice (Thanks for naming her for me, Alex Jamieson) inside my brain that continues to tell me I can’t, shouldn’t, won’t be able to. I am a writer. I know some stuff. Perhaps, most importantly, I have a tremendous passion for building community around sharing that stuff to help others feel good about themselves. It’s time to follow that passion.
New things are coming. I’m ready to take my place and do what I think I’ve always been meant to do. This post is called Working Title, because I’m writing it in LA and movie writing is on my brain. And like any good project, I’m announcing the intention before the details are entirely fleshed out. I’m not sure exactly what’s coming, but I know it’s going to be great. Look out world (or at least the 15 friends and family who read this) I’m coming for ya and you’re going to want to jump on the ride!
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.