Speaking of people you are totally jealous of whose idea you totally had too, here is the blog for The Happiness Project, the book I had really planned to write someday, except that someone already did. (She spends a year trying out all advice about happiness she can find.) It just came out in December and is a bestseller, and probably the only reason I haven't read it yet is abject envy. That, and my book budget doesn't generally cover new hardbacks.
However, the nice lady who had my idea keeps a lively and down-to-earth blog about her Happiness Project, and it includes a way to start your own Happiness Project group, something I'm pretty sure I was born to do. (Any interested participants? Comment at me, Gentle Reader.)
It's funny, I never understood the blogging thing really, except when I read blogs kept by family and friends, because they're like little portholes into the generally brilliant and lyrical internal worlds of loved ones. And when I wrote a blog to chronicle the boredom and degradation of the temp jobs I took, it was a really fun way to stay in touch, and tell people in detail about my life without having to call each one up individually. It was like sending a mass email that no one had to feel obligated to read if they didn't want to. But now that I have a very general subject matter (becoming a celebrant and what that will teach me about relationships; the desire for happiness; the hunger for meaning in life) I think I kinda get it more. There are other people writing about these matters dear to me, like this guy , a thoughtful Buddhist doctor, and this guy, a motivational speaker type who is notch more Type-A corporate than suits my personal preferences, but nevertheless is thinking about things that I think about.
I like reading these blogs (in fact I've been reading them this afternoon instead of doing things that have a more direct correlation to my current livelihood).This makes me wonder why I have hesitated at sharing this blog I started with family and friends. My family adores it when I write about anything, and when I kept the temping blog they were known to request posts when there was a lull.
I guess the thing is that topics like, say, Love and Hunger, cut to my quick, to places inside that I don't share with just anyone. I have always walked this tightrope - on one side, you have the most warm n' fuzzy, chicken soup for the soul, incense-lighting, bow-to-the-light-in-you-and-me gal you'll ever meet. On the other side, you have my deep appreciation for potty humor. I feel like I go back and forth all the time. One minute I'm all, yes! Let us dance most jubilantly with our spirit totems! And the next minute I'm like, seriously? You seriously considered naming your blog "Love, Happiness and Hunger"?
Sometimes I have a hard time letting gray areas be gray, rather than trying to parse out the black and white of it all. Maybe I can just let myself be both sweet and sour. In fact, I hope to turn this into my niche market as a Celebrant - someone who can be both down-to-earth and touchy-feely. (Spangles tells me this could be particularly appealing to clients of the male persuasion.) I will eschew pink, and bells, and doves, and hocus pocus. And yet I will try to have lots and lotsa heart.
I suppose it's always scary to put yourself out there. It's one thing to write about the minutiae of the day and gloss it over with a little patina of sarcasm to show everyone how cool you are and how everything just rolls right off your back. It's more difficult to let it all hang out, admit that you care and care deeply, tell the people about the things you guard most carefully in your heart. Reject my little jokey descriptions of the office and life goes on. Reject this - my longings, my nascent dreams, my Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey - and it's much more difficult to continue. (Plus people sometimes use the anonymity of the internet as license to be mean. Then again, some people don't even wait for anonymity.)
Still, what kind of person would I be if I spent all this time talking about the kind of person I would be and then not dig in my heels and admit it: I have feelings and hopes, I'm sensitive, I care what people think, I cogitate on things like how to be happy and what it means to love. The world can be harsh, and we're no dummies - we quickly learn how to make a protective shell around ourselves, be it with sarcasm or shyness or judgment of others or pretending we don't give two hoots. But I think that one of the ways I want to be with other people is open. I want to have the ovaries to reveal myself in all my cracked, insecure, mentally insane glory. Why?
Because, um...well, because that's how you connect with people. Because I want to be real. Because I want to tell the truth about myself. Because I don't want to spend my life in hiding, constructing elaborate facades to obscure my me-ness. And if that opens me up to the possibility of people kicking me in the gut when I'm at my most vulnerable, then so be it. That's on you, gut-kickers.
So here I am, world. Know me.