Who. Do. You. Think. You. Are.

I worked all weekend…so this is three days of post in one…

Several weeks ago, my girlfriend Pea was headed towards her car in her driveway when she ran into a neighbor.  After chatting for a few minutes Pea told her she had to get going.  She explained that she was on her way to wine night and, on that particular evening, a psychic would be giving mini-readings to all in attendance.  Pea’s neighbor scoffed and said “who do you think you are?!  The Real Housewives of Orange County?!”

When she relayed the conversation to us later that evening, we all laughed, but something about her neighbor’s reaction stuck with me.  I wanted to write about it then but couldn’t put my finger on why her comment kept replaying in my head.  Until this weekend.

On January 4th I started this blog.  In the beginning I simply hoped some of my friends would stop by from time to time.  They were usually patient and receptive to the verbose emails I sent their way so I assumed this would be a natural extension of the conversations we were already having.  After a bit, I wanted to have readers, an audience with whom I could connect.  People who might be able to relate.  People who might be able to confirm, or deny, that I am in fact crazy.  As I started to want these things, however, I also started thinking “who do I think I am?!”  I mean…I’m from Minnesota…we don’t want attention.  Right?  We keep to ourselves.  We certainly don’t share everything about our lives in a public forum.  Who on earth is going to read my writing, who in the world would think it’s good writing, and seriously…who do I think I am expecting anything to come of this blog?!  Simply.  Ridiculous.

Well…then something happened.  I began receiving emails and comments from readers who were relating to my stories.  Relating to the ridiculousness I put in my posts.  Relating to the honesty I was sharing in a public forum.  Nothing is more inspiring than hearing from perfect strangers that they think you’re inspiring (and funny…and possibly good-looking).  So I kept writing.

Those of you who have followed since the beginning know it hasn’t all been hope, and inspiration, and sunshine.  Neither the life experiences I’ve shared or the posts themselves.  I’ve struggled with whether or not to post when I don’t feel inspired.  Or to publish posts I’m not confident are fair let alone good enough to put “out there.”  But I’ve never struggled with whether or not to be completely honest so I’ve continued to come here almost every day to share my experiences and to say “what if.”

After Pee’s incident with her neighbor, I’ve been thinking about the way I speak to myself, and how we all relate and speak to one another.  It seems that saying and/or thinking “who do you think you are?!” is commonplace these days.  I ask that of myself time and again, and I know I’ve asked the question about others, but what is the deal?!

There has been a lot of discussion lately about moms attacking one another for our choices, or lifestyles, and how we communicate all of those things to the world.  Whether it’s Twitter wars, the recent Time Magazine cover asking “are you mom enough?” or, simply the way we talk about one another to each other.  But here’s my question…don’t each of us have the right to do everything in our power to live happy lives with our families?  Regardless of what that means?  I mean…obviously if that means keeping your children in cages or being abusive the answer is no…but within reason we should all be doing what we can to be happy.  Right?

It extends past parenting.  If my girlfriends and I think it would be inspiring and so much fun to have monthly wine nights that sometimes involve special guests, why wouldn’t we jump into that with both feet, and why is that wrong?  And let’s talk about the Real Housewives, shall we?  I am a recovering addict to all things Real Housewives.  And yes, while I concede that much of it is ridiculous, it is also women trying to do their best to juggle husbands, careers, children, and the plethora of new opportunities that have become available due to their Real Housewives fame.  So tell me neighbor of my girlfriend Pea…what exactly are you implying?

I work from home at least a day a week.  There are just days in which I have so much to accomplish and I know that I will be far more productive in my home office.  I established that this was important to me right when I started my job.  Thus, my boss is fine with it, but every time I stay home I feel guilty.  I feel like my colleagues, many of whom don’t ever work from home, are thinking “who does she think she is?!”  My answer is that I know myself well enough to know when I will be more productive at my house than in the office.  And yet…I still worry about it every single time.

At my age, I know a lot of people who are starting to think ‘man…how did I get here professionally…and what in the world do I want to be when I grow-up?!’  It’s so tough to wake up one day and realize you really want to do something that you a) have no experience in, b) have no idea how to start doing, and c) has nothing to do with your already well-established career.  Some of us are lucky, and we’re able to stick our toe in gingerly without it upsetting our daily lives too much, but for others it’s much harder.  Even I roll my eyes sometimes when I hear of husbands of friends, or people I know from the past, who are suddenly jumping into a band or theatre or creating art, when they’ve never done it before.  But why?!  It’s exactly what I’m doing but in a different medium.

I had an appointment on Saturday morning with a healer to look at my hip.  The pain is constant and great and I’m so tired of it.  In our conversation she started to say things to me that were a) totally outside of what we’d been talking about, but b) totally freeing.  She said things like “you have the right to be creative.  There is space for that in your family, your marriage, and your life.”  Wait…what?  She continued and at first I thought ‘well…yeah…of course I do.’  But the truth is, I’m not sure I’ve believed that thus far.  It’s like getting permission from someone who isn’t a part of my life has allowed me to feel the freedom to actually write.

All of us have the right to do what makes us happy, what strengthens our family, what enhances the confidence and joy of our children, what makes our homes feel like home, what makes our communities better, what allows us to shine.  We GET TO.  What we do not get to do, unless when speaking of criminals, is continue to yell “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!” when other members of our community/world are doing their best to keep themselves and their families strong, healthy, and happy.  We DON’T get to do that.

But we also need to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.  We have gut feelings and intuition for a reason…there’s no need to muddle it by thinking “who do you think you are?” about ourselves.  It’s our job to find the things we love, to lift them up, and to shine.  It is not our job to be miserable or to settle with a mediocre existence because we don’t feel we have the right to be happy.

Today, I will reach 13,000 views on this blog, which is utterly shocking to me.  And for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you!  A million times thank you!

In addition, today, a blogger named Britt who has far more influence and followers than I do, posted a link to my blog.  She’s helping the “little guys.”  I’m so grateful for her support!

And, today, I learned from the host of my blog that they think it’s good enough to offer advertising on it.  Imagine my surprise when I opened it up this morning and Cynthia Nixon was talking at me, from my own blog, about rosacea.  You know I’m a little fanatic when it comes to Sex and the City, right?  It was crazy.

And finally, today, I started a six-week course on Building a Blog I Truly Love.  When I signed-up I was wondering if I could last the year with this thing.  And yet in the past week I’ve rediscovered my love for it and I’m so so excited to take the course and see what else I can learn.

What I’m trying to say is…to that girl who five months ago thought “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!” when wanting to start a blog?  You’re doing just fine thank you very much.

TODAY:  What if we stop asking ourselves “who do you think you are” when we’re thinking of doing something really special?  What if we remember that we have the right to be happy, to keep our families healthy and happy, and that we GET to be happy?  And what if we allow everyone else to do what makes them happy without getting on their case?

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