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BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

the-lovers-tarot-card So I now look for partners with a job, a car, a driver’s license, and a good sense of humor.

Kelly Sundberg, Brevity‘s managing editor, responds to recent posts here and on Salon:

For almost nine years, I was married to a man who was our family’s primary source of income. During this time, I finished my undergraduate degree, had a baby, completed an MFA, and wrote the first draft of my memoir. You could say—I guess—that my then-husband sponsored me during that time. Still, although he was the primary breadwinner, I didn’t spend my days lounging around sipping mimosas in puddles of sunshine while lazily scrawling my manuscript. Things were still tough, and the day that I walked out on my marriage, I said firmly and clearly to anyone who would listen: I will never be financially dependent on my partner again.

Judging by my Facebook…

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No more waiting to live

I originally intended on blogging daily, but I was waiting for some inspiration.  It didn’t come, and when it did, I was too busy to write about it.  But, isn’t this always the case?  So, even though I’m coming in with no inspiration, I’m still going to fulfill my promise to be at least a little more proactive against my zero-blogging activity.

This week has been a bit of a manic mess.  Our neighbor, who almost certainly suffers from OCD and misophonia (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/health/06annoy.html?_r=0), keeps trying to kick us out for watching movies in our apartment.  It’s sad, too, how susceptible I am to giving into these kinds of people.  I’m reprimanded, unfairly, but then begin to self-reflect, and start convincing myself that maybe I really did do something wrong.  At one point, I thought maybe I deserved it, that I needed to get my life back together, leave our beautiful apartment to live by myself in a tiny room in a tiny house in a tiny city that’s way cheaper than Portland–just to suffer awhile and think.  I envisioned my relationship crumbling, me going through some sort of pre-midlife crisis, reassessing and uprooting everything.  Then I started to think, but really, Emily, you’re going to accept getting kicked out for wrongful reasons simply because you live with constant shame about completely unrelated behaviors?  Talk about low self-esteem.  Thankfully, with the support of my loved ones and my more confident self, I fought the termination notice, and it was pretty easy to reverse their decision.  And now I have my place, and my entire life isn’t completely unraveling simply because I accept responsibility for things I didn’t do, but feel, at some deep level, like I deserve.  Ultimately, being assertive and selfish is empowering.

Empowering is the theme these days.  When you start to stand up for yourself, be real about yourself, accept yourself, and not act out of shame, you realize how sad you were before.  How deeply engrained these people-pleasing behaviors were and try continually to be.  How much these people-pleasing behaviors led to the dulling of the self, erasing your individuality and all that makes you special.  For so many years now, I’ve been a shell of what I could be, all because I fear upsetting others (a common problem for most of humanity, I think).  I think I used to be OK with it because I had this deep feeling that this life was just one of many tries I’d get at this whole living thing.  But as I get older, that feeling gets less deep and more and more vapid.  This may be my only shot, and I’ve been spending my whole time waiting to live.  I can’t enjoy myself until I get a job, I can’t enjoy myself until I have a fulfilling relationship, I can’t enjoy myself until I have a perfect body.  Fully letting go and being present had become conditional for me, conditional upon these unrealistic expectations I’ve placed on who I should be, not who I am.  But now that I’m feeling that maybe this really, truly, is my only moment, my only chance, I’m starting to foster a very freeing f&*k it attitude.  Focus on things that matter.  Focus on things that you really want.  Abandon hope of making everyone else happy (or, realize that pursuing that hope means everyone else is happy but yourself).  And be who you need to be.  It’s cutthroat and almost feels manic, but I honestly feel so much happier already.  Because if I die tomorrow, at least they won’t be able to say I was waiting to live.

Back, six years later…

I recently began taking a Web design class, and we are playing around with building websites through WordPress.  I had remembered hearing about WordPress many years ago, but in the context of blogging.  I jogged my memory and realized that I had actually started a blog one day, long ago, and discovered it here.  With one entry, from all the way back in 2008.

Seeing that I never followed through on continuing to blog, despite many daydreams, aspirations, and inspirations, filled me with a sickening feeling.  It was all too symbolic.  All too a part of a chronic never-finish-what-you-start, throw-away-aspirations, running-around-in-circles illness that has plagued me for many years. (Okay, I’m not THAT much of a failure or hate myself THAT much, but I am definitely a little disappointed in my perpetual lack of direction.)

So, now I’m back to break the pattern of starting something and then stopping because I feel overwhelmed, perfectionistic, shy, or distracted.  I’m going to start this blog with very little self-editing and no real focus, with the hope that if I continue to blog daily, it will eventually morph into something I love.

I hope you enjoy!

Il Primo–

I would include a proper “first entry,” though I simply do not have the energy.  In short, I am not exactly sure why I am writing a blog, though am nonetheless curious to see what form it takes.  I don’t want to be sickeningly self-revealing or attention-seeking, but other than that, the content of this blog really shouldn’t have any limitations.  Luckily, I’m not using it for any “professional” purposes, so I’m not too worried about employers’ judgement.  Anyway, here we go…