Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winds of Change that Change Nothing

 Photo attribution: here


I am feeling the winds of change here at The Weed.

But that's nothing new. I feel the winds of change over here regularly. And then I write about those winds of change, becoming all meta, and then 80% of the time, nothing actually changes. It's how I do life.

If you've read here long, you've seen posts about blogging--several a year, at least. It's actually one of my favorite topics to write about. I blog about blogging a lot, I think, because like so many things in my life, blogging is something I strive to get better at, and when I suck at it, I try and analyze why through writing. I pick at it over and over and over trying to psychoanalyze and motivate myself. I blog about blogging because I'm constantly trying to crack the code of how to remain committed to doing this, even with my ADD and my four kids and my career as a therapist and my other career as a writer of books that haven't been published yet. There is a seemingly endless concourse of starts and stops in the history of this weblog--always, the epiphany: "Ope, I'm finally gonna do this regularly herewegoooooo!!" leading, sometimes just days later, to a big red stop sign in my head.

In recent years, those halts have been brought on by huge, cataclysmic (to me) events that stop me in my tracks. One of the most recent was the church's new policy, which I have yet to tackle in writing (it has taken me a long time to process that sucker, and I'm still heartbroken for so many people I love, but I've found some peace with it. I'll probably write about that soon. (Famous last words, as my Grandpa Woody used to say.)) Other halts include: the time a guy threatened my family on Facebook; the time my Mom went to a rest home; the time I posted about marriage equality and then took the post down days later cuz God told me to; other crises too personal to mention; Etc.

Before things got serious here--back when this was an ADHD blog and a then a humor blog--the halts came mainly with me getting annoyed with my limitations of voice. For much of that time, I felt like I had to be only funny and absurd, and there was no room for serious things, and it stymied me. As I've chronicled before, my coming out post in 2012 (over three years ago! Whoa!) was, in part, the result of me having writer's block on this very blog and Lolly saying, in what felt like an almost offhanded remark, "I know the problem. The problem is that you need to come out of the closet."

I had no idea how right she was. Doing that opened up both worlds of authenticity in my blogging, as well as worlds of complication.

When I started this blog in 2010, it was on a day where I felt similar to how I feel in this moment. I was about to turn 30 years old, and I was frustrated by my inability to do stuff. I felt disorganized and sporadic and desperately wanted to find a routine. I opened a blogspot blog for the sole purpose of having a place to list, online, the stuff I wanted to do to get organized. Instead what came out of me was this post where I came out, so to speak, about having ADD (presaging later revelations in ways I could never have guessed.)

It's no secret that one of the things that trips me up most as I write in this sucker is knowing how to deal with people's crappy comments. I could give master classes at this point on all of the ideas I've tried in order to overcome this hurdle. "Water off a duck's back!" I say. "Just ignore it," I say. Somehow, though, I have such a hard time with that. So much of the feedback I've gotten over the years has been beautiful, wonderful and supportive. So, why then the one comment that's grating? Why is that the one the tinges the conversation for me, gets me distracted, makes me waste time?

I've been having some thoughts about that--about why negative comments trip me up so much. Maybe that will be tomorrow's post.

If I post tomorrow.

Because that's the joy of the life of Josh Weed. I never know the staying power of anything I start. I never know if some effort will last six years, as this blog has now, or come screeching to a halt the next day. When I started this blog in 2010, there was no indication, whatsoever, that it would become a blog written about in major periodicals around the world, or that it would end up with a tally of visitors in the millions. That heyday has, of course, seen more robust moments. But that's the beauty of my spastic, impetuous life: who knows what the next heyday will look like? Who knows but that I start something today, just like I started in February of 2010, that through hard work and luck, will yield amazing dividends that change my life for the better in innumerable ways as I keep plugging along, just like this blog has?

That's why I start again every time I fail. That's why I write about blogging so dang often here and constantly try to feel the winds of change pushing me towards consistency, even though they often lead to no change at all. That's also why every time I fail in my attempt to write here consistently, I pick myself up again, dust myself off, and start anew. I know it might be annoying to read about these attempts, or about my difficulties with critical comments. I know that each time I promise to be consistent and then only write for a few days or weeks and then fall off of the planet, I lose people's trust--that is totally understandable. I would have the same exact reaction as a reader.

As a writer, it's an occupational hazard. I accept it.

But please know that every false start is the way my brain knows how achieve my Goals with a capital G. Know that each time I try to recommit, I am committing to something deeply important to me. Know that I have loved every minute of writing in this blog, and I have loved interacting with all of you so very much, and hope to continue to do so for many years to come, if you don't get too sick of me.

When I'm being generous and loving and understanding to myself--giving myself grace, as they say--I realize that every "broken promise" in this endeavor is not a failure--it is simply another step in my tenacious pursuit of my dreams, kicking the stone farther and farther down the path. And if there's one thing I can, with 100% surety, promise you about myself it is this: I do not give up on my dreams. Ever.

No matter what.

Thanks so much for sticking around while I make those dreams happen in the face of internal demons and other adversity and lots of of starts and stops.

It means a lot.

In the meantime, I'm gonna be better at posting. No, really. Pinky swear!

(And thus my post about the winds of change concludes with nothing having changed at all, bringing this post, and probably this blog itself, full circle. Aaaaaaand scene.)

24 comments:

  1. Just turn off comments. You aren't obligated to open yourself up to the entire internet's opinion every time you post.

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  2. I'm thinking about the problem with the few negative comments, with the need to have a place to put out your authentic self, the history of the blog, and this post being all about this very big problem in life that we all have. Maybe that's why we're all so happy to see posts from you, whenever they come. So what I think is, that this is about this problem of needing to share who we really are with others, and our very real need to feel safe. And BE safe. And how authenticity is risky, not just "oh, it feels risky, but it really isn't", but REALLY a risk. So when you ponder these things out loud and share them, and even more, witnessing you actually doing it, on the blog (because that's what you do on a blog, and why my progress with my own has been so halting), it allows all of us first of all to sort of do it vicariously. And also to do whatever it is that happens when you are a true witness to someone else. So I think the ongoing challenge is to find ways to share, to risk, to be authentic, and to find ways to protect who you are. Who we all are, really. We all need to find ways to do that.

    The comments are an important way we communicate with you. Is there any way you could hire someone to vet them so that you yourself are not the first one seeing them? So that when you approach the negative ones, you do so with some preparedness? In fact, can you not have someone kind of be a comments secretary because as important as the blog communications are, there is a point at which the sheer number becomes overwhelming. You can't put your life on hold to read comments because "aha - this just in". And yet lots of comments are what you are going to get the more authentic you are, right? That's what strikes a chord. I think we all need to learn to handle our communication channels - the many, many more we have nowadays - with common sense and dignity. But I don't think that's going to be a very easy thing to do... just saying. Oh, and thanks for a wonderful post!!

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  3. I feel like my blog has the same problem--mostly meta posts about how I haven't been blogging. Or posts about the things I want to change, but I haven't yet. But, I keep trying, and like you say, it's better to keep trying. It's always great to hear from you (and thanks for being pretty much the only person who ever comments on my blog).

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  4. There's nothing quite like a 1 am post, is there? Then waking up the next morning and suddenly remembering you posted something, but you don't know how you feel about it now that you've slept on it. :)

    I love your reasoning for why some of us get that writer's blog, or stop feeling as if they want to share. I think you're right. It often means there's something you should share but don't want to, not that you're at a loss for words but that there are too many that you're afraid to spit out.

    You're awesome. The end. Ignore the haters (but notify the authorities about the weirdos who threaten your family). Like Taylor said...."Cuz the haters ganna hate...hate hate....hate hate."

    Hugs.

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  5. There's nothing quite like a 1 am post, is there? Then waking up the next morning and suddenly remembering you posted something, but you don't know how you feel about it now that you've slept on it. :)

    I love your reasoning for why some of us get that writer's blog, or stop feeling as if they want to share. I think you're right. It often means there's something you should share but don't want to, not that you're at a loss for words but that there are too many that you're afraid to spit out.

    You're awesome. The end. Ignore the haters (but notify the authorities about the weirdos who threaten your family). Like Taylor said...."Cuz the haters ganna hate...hate hate....hate hate."

    Hugs.

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  6. What's really annoying is that I can't seem to remember (EVER!) how the crap to sign in to my google account so you can know it was me who commented on your blog. Obviously I figured it out this time. Again. After literally minute(s?) of exhausting work.

    Josh Weed, I'm going to appeal to your inner poet at this moment and use W. B. Yeats's metaphor of laying dreams under feet. You do dream big. And you are willing to lay your dreams under the feet of many many people. Most of us appreciate this and show our appreciation and respect by treading softly on your dreams. A few see your dreams and loath them. Your dreams make them uncomfortable, maybe even afraid, and like a child in a temper tantrum they trample and stomp.

    There are many of us (I'm in this group, of course) who stand softly here on the dream-blanket you spread beneath us, in awe of both the laregeness of your dreams AND their beauty. There are some who may experience both awe and confusion, and there are some who may not be experiencing much at all. But all, in some way or another, and to some degree, experience one very important thing: influence. I suppose what makes shared ideas so powerful is their ability to influence real people with real lives.

    I,for one (and I'm not the only one), am very grateful for your dream-sharing blog posts Josh Weed.

    Thank you and I look forward for many more to come!

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    1. ^^^^ This was a really beautiful comment and I like the dream blanket analogy very much.

      You know what else I like? This blog. Happy to take it however frequently it comes

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  7. Hire a comment moderator - hire outside of your family circle, so it isn't personal to them. They can just approve the ones that aren't truly asinine, and you can just see and respond to the ones that are constructive or that spawn conversation.

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  8. Josh, all I can say is that sometimes speaking your truth is so incredibly painful but if you don't do it, nobody will. You have to decide how much you can take as a consequence when your truth is not popular or well received. Let me know if you figure out the answer.
    Bjorge Queen

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    1. So glad to find a new post from Josh and maybe even happier to see a comment from Bjorge Queen. Old friends--back together, having lunch!

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  9. Great to hear from you, Josh. Whether you write once a week or once a year, I always enjoy reading your posts.

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  10. I also have the frustrating problem of not being able to focus and wanting to get so much done without being able to do it. Your blog is such an inspiration to me! And I love that you reference God in just about everything you write about. It's so inspiring to me that everything you do is so closely tied to Him and what He wants you to do. Keep it up Josh!

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  11. I just want to say that I love your blog, I have loved it through all its phases. It makes me laugh, cry, think, laugh again... I have a lot of family members with ADHD, including a son so I get it. The point is you are trying. I'm not even ADHD and half my journal entries are about how I'm going to start writing in my journal more often. So, whatever. You're doing great. :)

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  12. Darn, you're a therapist and /you/ don't even know. It recently took me several days to get over a fellow driver making a gesture at me. WHY?? A person I don't know, who doesn't know me, who I'll never see again, or if I do, neither of us will know. But I got the whole fight-or-flight response-- adrenaline, racing heart, felt my face flush. Just from one random person in an otherwise lovely day. And he wasn't /threatening my family/ -- good heavens, that's terrible!

    Sorry you get haters. Really sorry you get threats! I just finally made myself a blog follower (after years of getting it by email) to make that nice concrete number a teeny bit closer to showing how many people are still reading you with delight, whatever the timing of your posts. (Like Benjamin above, I'm fairly blog-tech-ily challenged.)

    Best wishes. :)

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  13. Well, you can be proud of yourself for your civility and sensitivity in your own writing, no matter the comments that come. Civility is one of those lost virtues in America, and not just in politics.

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  14. I am choosing to assume that the picture of you eating corn is at the Puyallup Fair. I really want a Krusty Pup. And then two more.

    * sigh *

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  15. As a writer it's so hard to not want feedback...and yet, it's a two edged sword. I never get comments on my blog, so I don't know that pain (yet?) but as it goes, you're great. My whole family looks forward to your posts, and I comment so that you know that there is mostly good thoughts about you out there. You're an inspiration to many. I look forward to the books that are coming... :)

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  16. Josh,

    I come to your blog more often than you post. So I value your posts.

    I also want to add my voice to the hope that you self-publish if you don't get a publisher to pick up your books. I'll buy one.

    Your struggles with organization and with criticism really resonate with me. I was late to a meeting with a client and he was really mad. I had a hard time forgetting about it. One thing that helps me is punching a punching bag. Seriously.

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  17. It's really good to hear from you again. I like the thought that your blog is more than a record of your life; its existence and content reflect your honesty, self-care, healthy boundaries, respect for your family priorities, all that. Write when you want to, and know that we're learning from your not writing as well.

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  18. My husband's graduate advisor wrote about the fact that evil is more powerful than good. That sounds awful, but in some sense it's true - the effect of one harmful, abusive, bad event is so much more jarring than a whole life of good. I think about the negative comments - they are hurtful and jarring and they disturb your peace. But the goodness of your life and choices will be the ultimate power in the end.

    So would you write something already? Anything would be better than this terrible silence! (I'm just kidding, heh). But seriously. Write something.

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  19. It makes me sad that you have to deal with the negative & hateful comments. There is so much vulnerability involved in pouring out your soul in writing and then sharing it with others.
    I hope you know that the majority of us are here because we love you and we love your writing. Posts about blogging, funny posts, serious ones, long breaks between posts, it's all good. We're just grateful that you're willing to share your gift of writing and your thoughts & experiences with us.

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  20. Also this particular post is very helpful to me right now. Just a reminder that even though I often have a hard time being consistent with & sticking to the things I set out to do, it doesn't mean it was a waste of time, it doesn't mean it's not worth trying to begin with, & it definitely doesn't mean that I should just give up on those things. So thank you so much for posting. I needed it right now.

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  21. Be selective about which posts you enable comments on. Turn them on when you want to interact, otherwise no need. When they're off, we'll still come to view your 'art' because you're a wonderful writer. And you'll be able to express yourself when that's all you want to do.

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  22. I have occasionally stopped at your blog for years now and cheered silently in the background for your little family. I have have learned from you, and your openness and authenticity has challenged me to take a look at many of my own assumptions. I am grateful for what you have written, however sporadically it has been. I'm not sure that you owe anybody anything here on this blog, even consistency. Because as far as I see it every time you choose to write it is simply a gift that you give to others. Some will cherish it, some might just be curious, and others will invariably reject it. So, my friend who I have never met, keep up the good work!

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