Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I've been feeling a bit down lately. It's nothing serious, mainly hormonal coupled with a hectic life that doesn't seem to want to slow down. It is interesting to me that when I'm feeling down, life seems to throw more lemons at me, as if testing whether I will let them knock me off balance or take those lemons and juggle them.

I'm juggling them right now. And I have decided to use my writing as a way to throw them back.

Maybe writing is not exactly the right word. I spent a lot of time pondering at first. Then I separated my ponderings, pulled out some promising seeds of ideas, and now I'm taking those seeds and planting them to see if something legible will sprout. How am I doing?

I did learn something from my ponderings. Let me explain. I recently joined Facebook. Yes, I did. It caught me at a weak moment. I was feeling nostalgic. Nostalgia once meant I spend a day or two wondering where this person went and how that person is doing.`In the age of Facebook, you can actually type in a name and unless your old buddy was John Smith or Mary Jones, you can usually find them. This can be a blessing and a curse.

The blessing is that you can reconnect with the friend. Find out how they are doing. Maybe share a few jokes and some quiz results. And give your friend a sheep.

The curse is that you start getting flashbacks to your former self. I know this isn't a curse for some, but if you weren't part of the popular crowd in your old school, or you were more of a follower, or shy, it is best to know who you are now. Especially since reconnecting with friends on a screen is quite different from reconnecting in person. I am a writer. I know this. I like to be able to collect my thoughts, write them down, edit sections, rewrite them again, and take my time to figure out how best to say what I want to say. I don't fool myself that I am like this in person. I once blanked out when a doctor asked me who my kids' pediatrician was. Never mind that I had been taking my children to her for seven years. I could not remember her name. I've tried to give my opinions in public and ended up flustered and misunderstood because I had to speak off the top of my head. My words are disorderly when they are floating in the air.

But when I write, I can let the thoughts flow out of me because I know I will edit them and make them coherent before they are set before the world. No one speaks over me and interrupts my train of thought. I don't have to worry about the topic fading behind three subject changes in the course of a conversation before I've figured out how to say what I want to say. Conversation is a babbling, bubbling brook for me. Writing is a quiet pond with gentle ripples that expand across a reflecting surface.

Which brings me back to my point. "Meeting" friends on Facebook unfairly freezes them in time. You don't look at them as they are now, but how they were when you were with them. This means I'm suddenly cast back into the role I played. I remember that role well, since it was the time in my life when I was most depressed, and at times suicidal. I don't wish to return there. Luckily, I know who I am and who I am not.

I am a writer.
I am not an intellectual. Homeschooling has taught me that I know very little, but I am open to learning and I am not afraid to hear different opinions on subjects.
I am a cartoonist and facepainter.
I am not as great an artist as some. I know I could spend my life on one drawing and never feel it is truly finished. The outlets I have chosen for my creativity allow me to let go of my perfectionism and actually produce something.
I am a juggler.
I am not a performer. As much as I love this artistic form, I would rather teach it than stand before a crowd seeking approval for my skills. I never tire of seeing that smile spread across my students' faces when they realize they are juggling three objects for the first time.
I am an environmentalist and care about human rights.
I am not an activist. I prefer to change the world quietly, not angrily. Homeschooling my children has taught me there are very few issues that are black and white. I find the lack of respect people show when they press their opinions on others distasteful. You cannot stop a war, even a war of ideas, with anger.

This is who I am now. I love my life. I love to laugh. Finding joy in the everyday saved my life. If that makes me shallow, call me a bowl. Something shiny like a copper or stainless steel bowl. I like to shine.


Spinneretta said...

:) I resisted the urge to find people on Facebook and make them friends- I chose to just make FRIENDS my friends. Plus new friends I make in the art/homeschool community ;)
be strong- I for one think you are a very talented comic artist :)

Kez said...

Wow, you have so eloquently written how I feel about writing vs conversation. I am very conversation challenged in real life, and much prefer communicating by email for that reason. I have time to think and refine what I want to say.

Inner Elder said...

You've come a long way. I am proud of the wise woman you've become. Love, Mom

jugglingpaynes said...

Spinneretta: I've hardly made friend requests, unless it's someone that I've been in contact with. I don't consider myself a memorable person, especially when it comes to my old school and juggling community. I'm always surprised that someone remembers me and wants me on their friend list!

Laura said...

Beautifully written, Cristina -- thank you! This kind of reminded me of a quote by John Cardinal Henry Neuman:

I'm happy with being a link. I know I'm not the chain. ;-)
Blessings - Laura

p.s. oh, and word verification:
It's how a quail says 'hullo'

schmobes said...

I love your "I am" statements!

Mama Teaching 2 said...

I too have been feeling the way you describe. I love your writings...

ComfyDenim said...

It can be just as bad when it's family. ... I have faced a lot of old "stuff" by having my family on my "friends list".

not to mention - I take that word "Friend" really seriously. I'd rather have a stranger on my list than someone that wasn't my friend to begin with.

I like who you are. :-) Thanks for being my friend.

ComfyDenim said...

WV = Snoppese

A muffled Snicker/sneeze combo??

WV = slikem -- what happens if you snoppese with your mouth full of liquid

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