Although I don’t know you and you don’t - let’s face it - really know me, we’ve been through a lot. I started blogging in 2006, and began this lifecast in 2007. I chugged away, dutifully recording these bits of my existence, photographing and captioning and - especially in the first years - reflecting quite a lot, ruminating on life, love, and happiness. Sometimes I shared deeply personal stories with you, other times - lately - not much at all. Sometimes I offered you advice. Sometimes I just posted awesome photos of my pet dog. I did these strange, sometimes hilarious, sometimes awful things called lipdubs. I filmed over 100 episodes of a little show called TMIweekly. I got a tattoo. I fell in love, got heartbroken, fell in lust, got heartbroken, dated and loved, dated and liked, dated, dated, and finally fell in love again. At this point my heart is so battle weary and scarred I can’t even tell if it’s broken or intact, but I’m leaning towards broken. Finally, I talked about my faith - which I came into (relatively) late in the game, but which has changed me inexorably as I navigated my way through the byzantine maze of my late twenties.
That maze continues, but I will no longer be documenting it. At least for now.
This post has been a long time coming, and I think it will surprise no one to hear that I’m taking a leave from lifecasting. How long will I be gone? Perhaps only a few weeks. Maybe a few months. And yes, there is the possibility (however implausible) that I’ll never lifecast again. I love the solidity of closing the door to the past, of ending this life chapter with a definitive thud, all “Well, that’s THAT!”
But that, of course, is not how life works. Life humbles you with irony and twists, it surprises you by giving you everything you ever imagined you wanted, only to leave you grasping for something else entirely. And just when you think you’ve figured everything out, you find out you know even less than when you began.
For so long I was ambitious and enthusiastic and genuinely, GENUINELY happy. I am no longer any of these things, and I haven’t been for quite some time now. I am badly, badly burnt out.
Various readers have asked what is going on “behind the scenes” here at Nonsociety - what “really” happened with Jordan, what “really” happened with Mary, why I never post anymore, do I care about my critics, why don’t I do this or that or the other thing, what’s happening with my career, what’s happening with Prom King, what’s happening with my waistline and my face and my future, and here is the short answer, the answer that should surprise you more than anything:
I don’t want to talk about it.
And the longer answer, which I sent to one (originally rude, but later quite reasonable) reader:
Why do you think I owe you anything? I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you, but honestly, you’re not a friend of mine, nor are you family, so I’m a bit confused as to why you think that you have some sort of say in how I should or should not be …
Here’s the deal: I *DO* ignore the critics, absolutely. I don’t read the reblogging site, ever ever ever, and I have to shut them out (even emails like yours), because the truth is, I know better than anyone how I’m doing, why I do what I do, what my goals are (or were, at least), etc. And if I were to listen to outsiders who didn’t know me - most of whom wish me ill will - I would literally go crazy.
And sometimes the things going on behind the scenes are far, far too painful to talk about … I’m already going through a total Turning 29 crisis (it started when I was 28 1/2), but I don’t feel like sharing that with the world. In fact, I’m not sure WHAT I feel like sharing with the world, except photos of my dog and occasional party pictures. I’m exceptionally confused with what I want in life … I thought I wanted one thing, then I got it, and now it doesn’t seem so great anymore. So where to from here? I have NO idea. And even if I had the answer, I’m not sure I’d write about it.
Is that lame? I don’t know. Part of me has really stopped caring what other people think. I mean, it still can hurt my feelings (which is why I don’t seek out criticism), but ultimately I can’t spend my life worrying that strangers aren’t pleased with my decisions. We each have to travel our own path, replete with all sorts of lessons - some of which aren’t so much fun to learn sometimes.
This career - this wild ride I embarked upon when I moved to New York, a naive, ambitious, frightened girl of 23 - has given me everything I wanted. More than that, even.
But I no longer want what I wanted back then. Last August, everything changed. It wasn’t subtle and it wasn’t gradual - it was literally a moment, and EVERYTHING shifted. All of the cliches about women and biology rang true for me: I went from being blissfully single to obsessing about finding a husband in a span of about six months prior to my 29th birthday.
At the same time, I began experiencing this strange unhappiness and exhaustion and frustration with what I had been doing - quite happily - for the past five years.
I tried writing about it, several times, including this one, which I wrote in February:
So … so. The elephant in the website (does that slight permutation on the cliche even work? sigh) is that I’ve drastically reduced my posting here over the past month or two.
It’s obvious, and yet I’ve failed to address it. Why? For a multitude of reasons, really, not the least of which is that, while I knew that something was wrong, I couldn’t really articulate it.
I had planned to write something around the first of January explaining that I was taking time off. Except that in order to write something, I needed (or felt I needed) an explanation.
But I had no explanation. Not for you, and more worryingly, not for me.
Oh, sure, I could list a variety of reasons I wanted to stop - for a while, a few months maybe - but I had disproportionate trouble putting them down on paper. Er … screen.
And what does one say when one has a general malaise? ”I’m going through something? Except I don’t know what?” “I’m just not that into this website? Sorry?” “I can’t muster up the enthusiasm to do anything, much less post on my website?” “I have no idea what’s wrong with me, but I sure as hell am not going to reveal any weakness to YOU!”
But those “reasons” had been around for some time. What had changed?
I had no idea. All I knew was that in the last six-eight months (since August, really), something had shifted in me. I wasn’t myself, and it took me until December to realize what it was, and how bad it had gotten.
It has been very bad indeed.
The truth is, I’m not sure what I want anymore. I really have no idea. And that has been deeply confusing to someone who has charged full force ahead (sure, sometimes in entirely the wrong direction) her entire life.
Frankly, I don’t even know in which city I want to live. New York doesn’t seem like *ME* anymore, but I don’t know what city does. I know I don’t want to travel as much, I know I don’t want to go to parties as much, I know I don’t want to “network” as much. I also know that lately I stand in photos and smile and pretend my life is just perfect, BUT IT’S NOT.
What do I need now? Who the hell knows? The only thing that appeals to me right now is going to an ashram far, far away. I’m embarrassed that I don’t have these answers. I’m exhausted - not physically. My soul is exhausted. I’ve lost my purpose. I’ve lost perspective. Worst of all, I’ve lost the joy I used to find constantly in life, except in very rare moments. I don’t feel like ME anymore. I’m just … I’m sad. I’m really, really sad.
But I know myself and I know I’ll pick myself up and dust myself off and all of those other cliches, and one day I’ll look back on this and laugh and laugh and say, “See? The universe can’t fill your basket unless you empty it first.”
So I guess this is me emptying my basket. I don’t regret this experiment, this foray into real time sharing, this career or this life. I am proud of some things I have done, I am ashamed of others. I am not perfect - I never claimed I was - but I believe I can be better, I can treat others better, I can live a better life.
I won’t disappear forever, but now it’s time for me to focus on other projects, on my relationships, on love, on regaining that sense of joy that I have lost, but most of all, on living my life with a deep sense of purpose and faith.
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
As a wise friend once told me, sometimes it takes as much courage to leave as it does to stay.
Thank you for listening.