March 31, 2010

Inadequacy. The foil of perfectionism.

I was born a perfectionist. The toys on my dresser had to be lined up just so in the visually appealing order of my choice. Underwear on the left, socks on the right. Dinner napkins folded so that the edges lined up exactly--even paper ones. Every bubble on my standardized tests filled with just the right shade of lead, all the way to the edge without going over. I drove my less uptight friends crazy. And they drove me crazy in turn.

These days, I'm not quite so anal. I leave the bed unmade and clothes on the floor--although, the bed covers have to be straightened and distributed evenly at bedtime if I am to sleep well.

I guess I'm still a perfectionist at heart, which isn't such a bad gig. Perfectionism drove me to study hard in school, to meet every failure and criticism with a "try harder" attitude. Perfectionism means I take on a project and strive to do it better than anyone else. It's when I can't that feelings of inadequacy creep in.

Desperate to sell the piles of beaded jewelry that I've made that are now taking over the house, I started my own online store at (You can see it at I took special care to photograph each piece on a black velvet neck form, making sure the pictures turned out just right. I wrote good descriptions. Then I visited other jewelry stores on Etsy and almost immediately regretted opening my shop. Their pictures were magazine quality, their designs better, their prices lower, and with free shipping! I was devastated.

The status of my novel is bothering me as well. Still no word from half the agents I've queried. A copy of my manuscript still sits at my mother's house, practically untouched. After asking me every other week when I would finish it, my mom isn't going to read it, my greatest accomplishment aside from earning my B.A. (I know I said it was ok, but I'm upset! What do you expect? What do you want me to say?!)

My best friend said she would call me this past Saturday. She didn't. I don't even think she realized she forgot.

I haven't done squat in the house in the past few days, except to finish some jewelry and set up my store. It's like I'm swimming in quicksand, unable to get anywhere with anything. I feel like nothing I do is good enough to succeed. How do I fix it? I don't know.


March 26, 2010

I should be sleeping. I'm exhausted, and William is actually content at the moment. Talk about a tough week. Last weekend, William went from eating every three hours to crying for food every two hours and less. I'd finish feeding him, put him down to play, and he'd be crying again within a half hour. So, my husband and I decided to start him on rice cereal. Now instead of crying every two hours, William sometimes takes two hours to feed! Up until last night, I hadn't touched my beads in nearly a week.

I sometimes hate being a Navy wife. I often feel alone, and I'm responsible for so much. This crew my husband is on isn't helping matters any. He came home a couple of weeks ago and said his section might be assigned duty every six days instead of four, which meant he would only be away one night a week instead of two. Then he came home this week and said his section will probably be assigned duty every other day, which meant he'd be home only three nights a week. Now the word is he'll stay on the four-day duty rotation, but he has to work an extra two hours a day. Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit jerked around at this point.

I still haven't heard from half of the literary agents I have queried so far. All the other responses have been "no". I'm not feeling very hopeful about my chances. After bugging me to finish the manuscript, my mom isn't going to read it. Neither is my husband. In fact, I'm not sure anyone is reading it right now. If my family doesn't want to read it, why would anyone else? Maybe I should go the way of Rowling and Paolini and write the next blockbuster YA fantasy series.

I could use a better week.

A Song for William

March 21, 2010

May you reach the heights of happiness that I have never reached,
And your breast contain the fire of every sermon ever preached.

May you come to smell the roses that ever smelled so sweet,
And if you chance into the rain, find courage to go out again.

May your hands find the sand and build a castle great,
Never leaving the best of you to either chance or fate.

May the song of the nightingale come neither too late nor too low,
And let every lover's kiss be genuine and slow.

May you always approach the knocks of life with gentle manly grace,
And never turn away when the sun is on your face.

An Old Flame

March 20, 2010

Ah, yes. Twenty-seven. Three years away from 30.

In the midst of discovering the joys of motherhood, this thought has haunted me.

I thought I'd be so much more accomplished by now. Forget sipping lattes in Europe. I've yet to start my career--whatever that might be.

I've gone back and forth on career choices for ages: lawyer, psychologist, English teacher, full-time novelist. Every time I think I'm close to a final decision, the process starts all over again. My husband would have gone insane by now listening to me change my mind over and over, except he does the exact same thing. *Sigh*

I need to bite the bullet at some point. It just seems so final, and what if I don't like it?

I really wish I had my old tutoring job back. It didn't pay as well as I hoped it could, but helping students to develop such an important skill as writing really excited me. And I miss my colleagues.

So since I can't commute all the way to South Carolina, I've done the next best thing: I've started a blog so I can tutor through the Web. You can check it out at The "gn" stands for Grammar Nazi. You know it.

Don't worry, though. I'll still be posting here as well. Thanks for reading.

The Following Game

March 12, 2010

I've recently noticed that I've acquired new followers. Welcome to my blog! I'm so happy to have you.

Last week, however, I experienced a case of disappearing followers. I logged in one day to 42 followers. Next day, 41. Day after, 42. Day after that, 41. I was perplexed until I realized that people were finding me through an old post I had put up in the community "coffee shop" nearly a year ago, asking if anyone blogged about depression. It also dawned upon me that these fellow bloggers had joined my blog expecting me to follow theirs in return.

Oh, dear. I guess I should explain myself.

When I started this blog nearly a year ago, I was indeed interested in finding other bloggers who wrote about their struggles with depression. My hope was to network with others and possibly make some friends. In a way, I was successful. I found a few good blogs to join that were interesting and insightful. Occasionally I still find and follow great blogs. Just the other day, in fact, I began following "She Became a Butterfly," the blog of a young mother like myself who deals with depression on a daily basis.

However, I refuse to participate in the following game. First of all, If I followed people's blogs just to get them to follow me, I'd have hundreds of blogs on my dashboard crowding out the few I really want to read.

Second, most people don't understand that I'm extremely picky when it comes to following any sort of blog, no matter what the topic. Grammatical correctness is HUGE with me. There's only so much I'm willing to tolerate as far as impediments to understanding the blog's content, and lack of punctuation is one barrier I can't get around. I can stomach the occasional run-on sentence, but run-on paragraphs are O-U-T. (If you have more than four lines of text with only one period, you are wrong!) I've spent so much time working as a writing tutor that when I read jacked-up paragraphs, my brain spends more time correcting the errors than processing the content, which turns what should be pleasurable reading into an exercise in futility. It drives me absolutely nuts.

A blog's content also has to be on the up-and-up before I will follow it. Good blogs that deal with depression are hard to come by in my opinion. In this case I make a distinction between depression and teenage angst. If you're experiencing irrational feelings of sadness and guilt, great. If you're just whining because you think everyone in high school hates you, tough. Complaining is to be expected on depression blogs, but endless whining makes me homicidal. Poorly written emo poetry does, too. Don't just talk about your feelings--talk about how you are dealing with them, how you are growing (or hope to grow) as a person. I'm looking for writing that shows some sort of emotional maturity--or at least a little personality.

And I still pass up on decent blogs all the time just because they don't really interest me. Maybe the content is a little too fluffy or too bland--maybe the writing style just doesn't appeal to me. That's ok. People pass over my blog all the time for the exact same reasons. I don't hold it against them. After all, variety is the spice of life.

If you're following my blog, thank you. If I'm following your blog, feel free to feel flattered. :-)

Baby Love (and Other Things)

March 10, 2010

I get it now. I understand why so many women think motherhood is the greatest situation in the universe. Ok, so it still isn't everything to me. I confessed to my best friend early in my pregnancy that I always thought I'd be touring Europe and sipping lattes in French cafes at this point in my life. And that's not my only constraint: I'm forced to cram writing and beading projects in between feedings, laundry, and housework. But I get it.

The lightbulb blinked on about a week ago when I realized that William and I had finally settled into a pleasant routine. He was nursing fairly well and had started responding to me with smiles and coos. It was one of those moments when he looked at me with a joyous smile that my heart melted like butter in the sun. He cannot comprehend love, but he can somehow sense that he is loved--and that astounds me.

This week, he has started compulsively grasping objects that come within his reach. As soon as I pick him up, he grabs a fistful of my shirt and clings to me. The sensation sends me soaring to the heights of motherly love.

When my husband and I first talked of having a child, we didn't think there was room in our lives for a little one. Now it feels as if William has filled a gaping hole in our home that we didn't know existed. Many women say they cannot imagine their lives without their children; the same is true for me, except it seems that William has always existed somewhere. His expressions and noises seem familiar to me somehow, beyond the short six weeks that I've known him. It's both lovely and frightening--frightening because I've never felt this attached to anyone. Anyone. And if that attachment were severed...I don't even want to think about it.

At the same time, I'm realizing just how tough marriage can be. The commitment I made to "better or worse" is getting a real workout these days. Don't get me wrong: my husband is still a wonderful man. He came home yesterday and cleaned the kitchen, swept the entryway, and changed the litter box--all without me asking him to do so. He just seems different, especially since William's birth.

When I first started dating my husband, there was a sweetness about him--an inner glow. This glow was composed of a playfulness, a peace, a desire to dream. Now that sweetness appears to be smothered by anger or boredom or...something. I want to believe that sweetness is still inside of him somewhere, but it's been so long since I've seen it...I almost fear the worst.

I've thought about him lately--thought to myself "Is this still the person I married?" and "Shall this, too, pass?" And then he picks up William from his play mat and spends nearly an hour exchanging coos and smiles with him, and my hope returns.

Thanks for reading.

Winding Down

March 5, 2010

Sorry, dear readers, to leave you in the lurch. The past few days have been insane. I've cleaned and reorganized the nursery and living room, purchased several pieces of furniture, and finished an advanced beading project--all while nursing my son and changing diapers. I sat down to write at least twice before and then realized I was too exhausted to put two words together. So here I am a week later.

I finally managed to work out my feelings with my husband, though it got worse before it got better. Last weekend we went to breakfast at IHOP and talked things out. The rest of the day went beautifully, and by evening I was glowing. Then...well, my husband (unintentionally) did something I respectfully asked him not to do, and the consequences of said act resulted in him waking the baby about two hours after I had put him to bed. I ended up having to get out of bed three times to soothe the little one. By the time I got him back to sleep, it was 1 a.m. Had I been any more furious, I'd have foamed at the mouth. (I don't take missing out on precious sleep very lightly.)

So we had to work that out as well. And we succeeded in short order, and the home situation has been good ever since. Moping (on his part) and stewing (on my part) have ceased, intimacy has returned, and my hair remains attached to my head.

And I'm still off my Prozac. Ha-ha!