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I don't know what happened yesterday, but I feel more like myself than I have in ages. Ever since I became a mom, I’ve gone through some sort of psychological cocooning. I became a much, much more private person than I’ve ever been, and as a consequence of this unexpected cocooning and the stresses of the economy, work, and my transition into another phase of life (motherhood), I got… quiet. It’s not that I didn’t feel like writing anymore; I just didn’t seem to have the ability to find my voice outside of work. There’s also been so much noise. I never seem to find the quiet that I need in order to gather my thoughts, and it is jarring to me to have no time at all for real introspection. Over the last three years, I keep trying to rearrange things in my life so there’s time to live. For me, I’m not living unless I’m writing.

I don’t know if I’ve broken through a wall, but at the moment, it feels like I have. Huzzah?

Soon, I’m going to be mirroring my LJ posts on my WordPress blog. At the moment, I’m just trying to clean that junkyard up and turn it into somewhere that I can sensibly organize my thoughts.

Today’s question: what holds you back?


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
Speaking as one of the last sad denizens of Livejournal, it's truly lovely to have you back :)

Self-consciousness holds me back, and the sense that nothing I say is good enough for anyone else to read.
Nov. 20th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
For me, it's social anxiety. I have missed out on so many events that I might have really enjoyed, but the idea of walking into somewhere alone is enough to make me sick to my stomach. And what's sad is, I am a very social person. As long as I have someone with me.
I'm better than I used to be, much better. But there are still days when the idea of having lunch by myself outside the house is terrifying.
Nov. 20th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
For me, it's over analyzing the consequences of my choices, and also, time. As a mom, I have do much that I have to do that I now have more difficulty choosing what I *want* to do sometimes.
Nov. 20th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
Me. I'm my own worst enemy.
Nov. 20th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about this since I posted. I think my greatest problem is that I've internalized those voices from my childhood that told me no matter what I do, or how great I do it, it'll never be perfect or even good enough. Since it won't be good enough, why even try? Even when I think I'm not listening anymore, I am.

I'm also really good at denial and fooling myself, so I use excuses -- my daughter, chores, depression, whatever -- to excuse myself from trying. Then I feel badly about that, which leads to more excuse and self-flagellating, which leads to things that are important to me not getting done, which leads to...you get the idea.

So yeah. Own worst enemy. :P
Nov. 20th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
I think my greatest problem is that I've internalized those voices from my childhood that told me no matter what I do, or how great I do it, it'll never be perfect or even good enough. Since it won't be good enough, why even try? Even when I think I'm not listening anymore, I am.

I can empathise with this one SO much. Add to the mix a partner who basically verbalises the "internalised voices" and family whose mottos seem to be "aim low so there's no risk of you trumping us" and there you have the bulk of it. You can't fail if you don't try, right?

I used to think I had an intense fear of failure, but I realised what it really was this week: it's a fear of trying and failing.

Nonetheless, I'm still trying to get into uni for next year because my brain's turning to mush and I miss study. I'm completely terrified because I want this more than anything.
Nov. 21st, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
I find that sometimes it's the things that you fear the most that you just have to do, and you come out not only stronger but happier in the end, because you not only faced down the fear, but conquered it. (Holy Run On Sentence, Batman!). The failure isn't in the fear, or even in the not succeeding, it's in the not trying.

And yeah, need to take my own advice.
Nov. 20th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
Self-consciousness and overanalyzing, to echo two previous posters. Also the (now mostly irrational) fear that I'll just be told 'no, you can't do that'. Or that I'll be unloved and rejected for doing so.

(Also dislike how this supposed lack of guts is sometimes framed by the more naturally bold as a sign I don't actually deserve what I want. Ugh. It's a tangled web.)
Nov. 20th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
I am so glad to see you writing, especially here on LJ, where they will tear my journal from my cold, dead hands. I think. ;)

For me, motherhood has also been something that made my writing (and my yoga, and my creativity) slow and sometimes stop, because my thinking is always shoved into a corner and taken out for a mad rush of examination during nap or while rocking her or whatever, and then put away for a day of running around and doing All The Things. In my old life, I had lots of time to ruminate, to know what was going on inside me and find ways to order it enough to talk about it. But now, I sometimes get to point A or B and maybe even start writing...but then I'm called away and the post sits for 3 days until it no longer feels relevant and I give it up as lost. While motherhood has done many, many wonderful things for me...fostering thoughtful, quality, creative, open writing time isn't one of them. :) And a lot of my quality thought time is dedicated to parenting-related thought, which is a whole other thing and an area of extreme emotion and growth but usually, those thoughts are things I only have a chance to apply practically in real life, not actually talk about in typing form on the internet where I used to process basically everything.

So yeah. Thanks for asking, and talking about it. It made me want to think and talk about it, too. I am hopeful and happy to hear that you feel like you've broken through the wall, even for now. Hi. :)
Nov. 20th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
Being self-critical & having an inferiority complex I am still working out at 35. Aside from that, which is huge, the economy has made me really suffer & all means of creativity & progress with the aforementioned has me stunted/stifiled.

Thankfully I have a network of beautiful friends who nudge me forward.

Welcome back Beth's voice - wise beyond your years; an old soul I greatly admire.
Nov. 20th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
I thought motherhood would hold me back as a person, but it actually opened me up wide. I no longer care so much what people think of me, which has been a beautiful gift that finally gave me a passion and a career. What really holds me back is having so very many things I want to do and not nearly enough time to process it--or sleep. Every moment is full now, which is a great gift, but also a challenge. ~DelilahSDawson
Nov. 20th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
For the last year, and especially lately, it's been the stress and worry over trying to figure out how to save our home. It paralyzes me from being able to function normally and I find myself doing things that require little to no thinking. I have a ton of things going on in my head, it's like a pinball game, hard to focus on just one, which in turn makes it hard to accomplish things I've been trying to get done for what seems forever.

Good news is that hubby finally found a job. Bad news is it's a 75% cut in pay and it's going to be near impossible to catch up on house payments. I've not been able to find anything so far. Social anxiety doesn't help, there are times when I can't even bring myself to do something as simple as say, picking up the phone to order a pizza.

But I'm not giving up hope :)
Nov. 20th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
I feel like I'm too private for the public world of the Internet. I always worry I'll say something and someone from work or my family will judge me. I end up just not posting. I am not sure why I care, but it's overwhelming.
Nov. 21st, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
Nov. 20th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
I choose partners who unwittingly hold me back through their own lack of ambition, success, and luck.

Right now, for example, I have a great paying job, but I am spending every cent I earn dealing with my partner's finances and results of bad decisions he's made and bad luck he's been dealt. If this were the first time I'd found myself in this situation, I'd think it was a fluke, but I've done this over and over, sometimes with the same partners.

Unfortunately, walking away means walking away from someone who loves me and whom I love, so I stay.
Nov. 20th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! In the past week I feel as though a lot of voices are starting to reappear on this site -- it feels good to have a place to write where it's more than a snippet, and a bit more personal, with more space to think and expand.

What holds me back: overwhelming fear, worry, and the insatiable desire to please other people. It's paralyzing.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 21st, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
I think too much. I'm also a somewhat private, quiet, introverted person, so it doesn't really fit for me to post about EVERYTHING in my life in the way that many do. That said, a lot of my problem is that I just don't have enough QUIET to be able to think, or TIME to be able to sit down and post my thoughts when I have them.
Nov. 21st, 2011 04:33 am (UTC)
I've been held back for decades by crippling self esteem issues, thanks to a lot of negativity I internalized early on. Nothing I do ever makes me feel "good enough," ("other people can do things, but if *I* do it, then it's stupid") and I'll use that as an excuse for not being more sociable or successful. I'm getting better; I feel like I've slowly made a lot of important and positive changes these past few years, but I still feel ugly and stupid and unlovable a lot, and inadvertently I project that negativity outwards and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Career-wise I still often feel like a big phony even though people keep telling me they like my work (I always just think, "surely they are just being polite! I'm really not all that good.") Feeling good about myself is a bit of an alien concept, but I'm trying to somehow get the hang of it so I don't spend another decade avoiding doing things and meeting people out of fear and shame. Reprogramming my brain to stop constantly berating itself is proving to be one of the biggest challenges of my adult life.
Nov. 21st, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
I struggle with the different parts of me - Mommy-Mandy, Wife-Mandy, Writer-Mandy, Browncoat-Mandy. I really have been trying to find Mandy-Mandy and embrace her.

I love being a mom but I don't want that to be the only thing that defines me.
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Elizabeth, your post makes complete sense to. I'm not a mom, but I can imagine how motherhood would even biologically make one quiet and focused on the incredibly important task at hand. Perhaps now that your little one is a bit older, your brain has allowed you to re-focus and re-calibrate, as the task of caring for her is perhaps a little less vital, since she can probably do so many more things now. I haven't been writing at all in my life, and it's totally totally frustrating and terrible. What has been holding ME back is an intense family situation regarding my father and my mother getting breast cancer (very treatable kind, early-stage, thank heavens). I think it's been normal for me to get quiet and focused at the task of supporting my mother as well. I've put many things aside for about 2 years now, and while of course I don't mind doing it for her and for our family stresses, I hope to get back to my own voice eventually. I am so happy to hear (read) your voice again!!!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )