It Ain’t Me, Babe…


Soooo, long time no see.  I have been in absentia for quite a while, haven’t I?  Ugh.  I put so much heart & soul into creating this blog and then… I neglected it.  Poor little blog!  I loved you fiercely and with abandon, then  suddenly and without warning, I just… dumped you.

But why?????

I’ll tell you why.  Have you ever dated someone that you really, really liked, and because you liked them SO much, you altered yourself drastically to fit the image of what you thought would please that person?  Maybe you didn’t express your true opinions, or you pretended to like some genre of music that makes you gag, or you dressed in a style that was completely opposite your usual … you get the picture.  Yeah… I’ve done that. And guess what?  It.  Never.  Works.  At least not for long.

While compromise is important in any relationship, pretending to be someone you’re not becomes exhausting and sucks the joy out of life. At some point, you have to relax and just be who you truly are, even if it means you lose that person.  They’re weren’t into you, anyway… they were into that faker, that phoney baloney you created, that mask you were wearing.

I think that’s part of the problem I had in staying committed to this blog.  I was trying so hard to be someone I am not:  Perfect.  I studied everything I could find about blogging, blog design, food styling, photography and social media.   I joined several wonderful, supportive online blogging communities.  I collected notes and photographs and bookmarked  at least 1,000 websites, including blogs I admire.  (Curiously, many of the most successful blogs are by bloggers blogging about blogging, so I guess I’m not the only one.)

But even as I was working hard on my blog, I was “in absentia”… I wasn’t there, because I wasn’t myself.  I did the worst thing you can possibly do:  I compared.  And felt small (which these days is actually kind of a GOOD thing… LOL), insignificant, untalented, doofus.  So many gorgeous, professional looking blogs out there!  I want to be like THAT blogger… oh-so-perfect and beautiful, with an amazing design and eye-catching fonts and post after post of awesomeness.

FoodGawker thought my photo sucked. Maybe it did, a little... but DAY-UM those artichokes were GOOOOD!

FoodGawker thought my photo sucked. Maybe it did, a little… but DAY-UM those artichokes were GOOOOD!

And then there’s me… doy-da-doy, the obvious amateur, rejected by Food Gawker for my crappy food photography. That’s okay… I’m still learning and growing. There may NEVER come a day when my very basic, mostly Android phone photography is good enough for them.  It’s just that it’s so easy to take a pic and edit it on your phone, as opposed to setting up special lights (which I bought, by the way) and props and backdrops and standing on a ladder for that perfect shot.

There may never be a day when this blog earns me my own TV show like The Pioneer Woman… oh, who am I kidding.  There will NEVER be a day!  But maybe I’ll make a bad video and post it on Youtube.

I really wanted to blog, so I dove in head first, without even checking the depth.  I didn’t even have a clear focus.  When I asked myself what I’m truly passionate about, the answer was “duhhh…. I dunno.” I do like to cook, and I do like artful things.  I truly do!  But what’s my passion, really?

Let me just be honest here and tell you that I’ve been having a really tough time lately.  In both mind and body, I’ve been feeling really, really awful.  Yes, Auntie Blues DOES get the blues sometimes. Sometimes it’s because my family lives 1,000 miles away and I miss them terribly, though we try to visit often.  Sometimes it’s because I watched the news.  Sometimes it’s because I’m exhausted and achy and a simple trip to the grocery store can leave me limping and in tears.  (It comes and goes… it’s not there EVERY day, thank God!) BUT… I don’t give in.  I fight like a mutha to feel better, mind, body and soul, and my art–whether it’s painting, crafting, writing or cooking, because it’s all art–is one of my most powerful weapons in the battle to beat the blues.

On top of the aches, pains and fatigue, I began to suffer from shortness of breath and some pretty scary chest pain.  The doc, certain it was a heart problem, set me up for some tests, including a heart CT scan.  And wonder of wonders, guess who has an amazing heart with ZERO crap in her arteries?  Me!  Me, after all my years of smoking and various other forms of self-abuse… it’s a miracle! Woot! But… while they were looking at my miraculously healthy heart and clear arteries, a rather chilling discovery was made… a lung mass.  It was 1.2 x 1.3 centimeters, with the sort of spiky edges that are consistent with malignancy.

My lung on CT scan, looking upward from my feet... red circle is the Bad Thing

My lung on CT scan, looking upward from my feet… red circle is The Bad Thing… all that other scary stuff, including the little SKULL looking thing to the upper left of the red circle… is “normal”

A biopsy was scheduled quickly. Of course, I cried and worried, wondering how much time I had left.  I pondered how I wanted to spend that precious time. And I prayed.  A lot.

The results came in on Friday the 13th, which will forever be My Lucky Day, a cause for celebration.  It was BENIGN!!! YESSssss!!!!

I’m told The Bad Thing may be part of an autoimmune, inflammatory condition I’m dealing with.  I’ll have another CT in a couple of months, just in case.

Meantime, I’m not dead.  And I refuse to live like I am.  I’m not dying, but I want to live like I AM.

Dis de Los Muertos

Hammin’ it up at a Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit

Now, I’ve got absolutely nothing against people who have their sh** together.  More power to ya, honey! But… if I try to clone myself to be like some other blogger, some perfect, fashionable, skinny young chick who only eats/cooks organic, works out every day, makes art that obviously belongs in a gallery, has a perfectly clean, uncluttered, organized house and a blog full of perfect, glowy, sharp photographs that she takes with a $1,500 camera… I’m dead to me.  And I want to LIVE.

As with most ordeals, there was a gift hidden in the middle of all of this.  It was me.  I discovered what I’m REALLY passionate about, and it’s HEALING.  It’s feeling better, mind and body, inside and out, and I discovered quite by accident that any creative pursuit works almost magically to do just that.  If you’re looking for that perfect blogger to help you live that perfect life, ummmm… It Ain’t Me, Babe!

So there you have it.  A confession of sorts.  There will be more of those in this new category called “Whoops, I Spilled My Guts.”  It’s about to get real up in here, and if you don’t mind imperfection…aw, hell, let’s be REALLY real… a hot mess, I hope you’ll come along for the ride.  I’ll be posting some healing, healthy recipes… some artsy stuff… journaling tips… maybe even some journal entries.  And who knows, maybe the occasional rant. Because optimism and positive thinking are WONDERFUL, but #@$% it, venting is healing too!!!


My kitchen, myself: A hot mess! When I lose myself in my “art,” I’m oblivious to the chaos around me


PS:  I’m feeling WAY better now!!!


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1 Response

  1. Candy says:

    I LOVE THIS! I can soooooooo relate to the whole blog research and perfect blog planning…. you hit it on the effing head! Exhausting! Your humor and authenticity is what I love about you. Looking forward to your next update!

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