The universe communicates with me in unexpected ways. Perhaps you think I’m crazy or perhaps you completely understand. Either way, all that really matters is that I’m not completely in charge of my own life. Life has it’s plans for me and, no matter how much I fight against it, it’s a losing battle for me. Anyways, yes, the universe communicates with me in unexpected ways. For the past few months, it has been speaking to me through a dear blogging friend, Brooke, to remind me to keep my heart and mind open, to let the good and bad in and simply experience them for a fuller, richer life. But it also reached out to me in a completely unexpected way: through a song.
A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting in my car to pick up my son from school. My daughter was happily finishing her nap, so I had the radio on to keep her lulled to sleep and was reading a book (The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold, if you must know). Usually, I ignore the songs. I keep the volume just high enough for her and just low enough for me. But one song caught my attention. A 2012 song by Kelly Clarkson called “Catch my Breath.” It caught my attention halfway through, so I had to look that up! It was the first time a song had captured my attention like that, and it was also the first I’ve ever heard that song. I’ve only heard it once more since over the past 2 weeks.
Maybe it was just a song playing on the radio. Maybe it was a complete coincidence. But there are never any coincidences in my life; trust me, I’ve tried to find them and have failed. So, you think I might be nuts, but I’ve taken it as a message from the universe.
It’s time for me to catch my breath. To stop and back over what I’ve manged to accomplish. To not see the 5 and 10 and 20 year plans I’ve spent my life making and remaking from the scraps whenever something I planned for went up in metaphorical flames.
Two years ago I started this blog back up after an unintentional hiatus. At that time, I was intent on becoming a working mom. It should have been something I had accomplished by now. This blog was to keep me occupied until then. Instead, life had other plans for me and I’m finally finding contentment as a stay at home mom. At various times I’ve considered making this blog my job, but I always lost interest. The last time was sometime during the late summer of last year, when I decided I didn’t really care about my stats. I just happily posted and went about my life. But, whenever someone talked about their stats, I couldn’t help but take a peek at mine. Sometimes it was expected. Other times, I was completely baffled by the higher than anticipated number. Though, in all fairness, I never really expect more than a handful or so.
Still, blogging has been quite a ride and quite the journey. It’s been a little over 2 years and now, just as I’m making peace with being a stay at home mom and considering what my logical next steps are, a song has come on the radio to tell me to pause and look back.
I’ve been taking a breath and choosing to stand still. I haven’t been posting anything to social media. I’ve been letting things happen organically, as people somehow stumble onto my blog. It’s been an incredible feeling to just step back and see my journey.
Two years ago, I started back up with just under 200 followers. Today I stand at almost 1600. Maybe a growth of about 1400 followers over 2 years isn’t much compared to other bloggers who just bloom, but the fact that shy, quiet little me has somehow managed to gain almost 1400 followers and create some incredibly special relationships with amazing individuals all over the world is a bit mind blowing. I’ve gone from a handful of views a day to somewhere between 30 and 100 views a day. It varies depending on what I post, but I don’t really care because everything I post is written by my heart and soul and, fortunately for me, they only care about what my brain happens to think. In the early, early days of this blog, 2 views was normal, and, honestly, it didn’t bother me much, especially since I knew who those 2 people were, and one is still active (hi there, Jennifer!).
Oh, let me pause and talk for a minute about Jennifer M. Zeiger. She’s an absolutely lovely person who was one of my first followers. I’ve adored the choose you own adventure stories she posts to her blog and my son and I loved her book full of them, The Adventure. She’s currently working on a novel, but still posts adventures. I very much encourage you to take part in them and enjoy them as much as I have!
Ahem. Where was I? Ah, yes. One of the things I was doing when I started back up was writing book reviews. I’m not sure where the brilliant idea of writing book reviews came from because I’d spent all of my reading life jumping from book to book without a single thought of writing a review. Then, one day, out of nowhere, I thought it would be fun to write book reviews. I haphazardly patched together a review policy and didn’t hold my breath for any requests. I also signed up for Netgalley about 1.5 years ago because all the book reviewers I followed were talking about it. I didn’t hold my breath about getting any approvals. But authors started finding me, publishers approved my requests, I was invited to do book blog tours, I’m part of a book blog tour program, and am on a book reviewer list for a publisher I like. When it was all happening, I never really noticed what was going on. I went from one thing to the next. Now that I’m looking back, I can take pleasure in what I’ve accomplished because all of it is quite remarkable to me. I never thought I would have been capable of accomplishing any of it.
I’ve had this blog for almost 10 years now. Ten years ago, I had no idea what a blog was. I didn’t know what I was doing and completely freaked out when one of my story snippets that I suppose I must have posted got a view and a like. I immediately pulled everything I’d written and didn’t log back in for about 3 years. Ten years ago, I was incredibly quiet and reserved. I hated being around people. I even hated Facebook. Having to deal with people just overwhelmed me. Having people I didn’t even know try to interact with me online scared the living daylights out of me.
Ten years later, I’m a married mother of 2. I advocate for my kids every single day. I don’t hesitate about asking questions of their teachers, of making appointments, of letting other parents know their child did something to mine. I still would rather stay at home, but I’ve been putting myself out there more for my kids. I used to scuttle along the walls whenever I had to go out; now I walk with confidence and can approach someone if I need something without worrying too much about how stupid I might sound. I still won’t make small talk with anyone, but at least I feel comfortable in my own skin and completely unapologetic for who I am.
I’m not the type of person who was ever going to blossom overnight. Change can be hard for me. I need to carefully consider every factor and make a careful decision about everything. Doing anything without thinking is written absolutely nowhere in my DNA. My self has undergone fairly small changes over the years, so small I never really noticed, but now I am. Now I can see I’ve been slowly, so slowly, coming into my own, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Catching My Breath
I’m catching my breath here. I’m pulling up and stopping for a moment to enjoy seeing how far I’ve come. It’s oddly enjoyable to pick a point in the past to see where I was and then jump forward and see where I presently am.
It’s easy to get caught up in the future and the next steps. It’s not always easy to look back when something more exciting is approaching, but where we were has a hand in shaping who we are and who we will become.
Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out where I’m going and what I want to do. I’ve been so focused on where I want to go and what I want to accomplish that I forgot to take a peek over my shoulder to see where I had been. I must say that song was quite timely! It’s become easier for me to see just how far I’ve come over the past couple of years. Oh, some things will never change, but so many other things have changed. I don’t exactly know where I’m going or if I’ll be able to keep the plans I currently have in mind, but at least I can stand here and take pleasure in the sense of accomplishment I’ve never really felt before.
So, thank you, universe. I’m finally catching my breath.