My Master Masseur

Some of my recent tale-spinnings have done little to uphold my blog’s original vow of honesty, but I still applaud myself for desperate attempts to grasp the threads of the bright side.

This blog has played the role of the Master Deep-Tissue Masseur, skillfully kneading every sinewy muscle until he finds an enormous knot. At that point, Sir Masseur leans his face down, just centimeters from mine and breathes quietly,

“This feels like it’s from 1982. Are you sure you have the time and energy to work this one out or shall I leave it be”

As my writing gains readers, which thrills me, I am noticing an accelerating preoccupation with how it is received. I have always been intuitive in a sense, and have prided myself on the ability to read between the lines.
That blessing however quickly erodes into a dysfunctional curse when coupled with insecurity, which is most often a byproduct of extended unemployment, which in turn creates crippling fear.

Welcome to the Perfect Storm.

By my paranoid misconstrued translations of texts, emails, comments and conversations from this past year’s trying times, some readers have alluded to my being negative, in the form of questions like,

“Hey. Are you ok? These aren’t the posts we’re used to.”

Others seem disappointed by the lack of hard truth in entries that are laced with humor or hollow depictions of sunshine, and have expressed that an honest and raw telling may be more compelling.

“If you’re in a heap on the floor, we want to hear about it!” (That is not a direct quote)

The craziest part is the laughable notion that people are giving it nearly as much weight as I think.  People do have their own lives and their own preoccupations, leaving very little (if any) room for judgments of my silly blog!

It’s as if I think I’m Jim Carrey in the Truman Show and all humans are here to provoke and observe my every action.  The narcissism in that concept alone is enough to blow the canvas ceiling off this set!

But, in an effort to trick the world (or a tiny fraction of it) into believing in my humor, wisdom and strength during the hardest times, instead of flashing my bitter, angry, terrified, shaking in my boots hand, I have floated around like an amoeba, morphing my perspective into whatever I think people want to hear, leaving very little wiggle room for any truthful expression at all.

Being the Master Masseur that he is, Sir Blog has alerted me to the fact that this paralyzing practice is the VERY THING that has kept me from blowing the ceiling off of my limits as an artist, and all other roles I play on a daily basis.

Wow.

“There it is!”

I grunt from my gut, with an involuntary jerk of my heel, halting his forcefully massaging arm.

Regaining my composure, I breath deeply, take a pregnant pause and respond,

“You may resume. Let’s get to work on that knot, Sir. It is KILLING me.”

Quite literally.

So….

The answer is No. Ninety percent of the time am not OK. Yes, 10 percent of the time I am in a heap on the floor (the other 90, I spend looking for work and parenting which I can’t seem to do from the floor, although I have tried) 100 percent of the time, I cannot for the life of me see how this will work out in any favorable way whatsoever.

But, clearly it must….because it just must.  There are beautiful little people involved.

If any of you have obtained advanced, sneak-peek copies from Masseur Motherfog Blog, please skip forward a dozen chapters or so and let me know how it ends.  He absolutely refuses to give me the slightest glimpse.   Something about the “importance of the process…”.

Blogity blah, blah.

Gotta get off the floor. Kids need lunch.

Blogger’s Note: I cannot take credit for the wit of “blogity blah, blah”  It came from my dear friend Heather months ago in an email and I laughed out loud and vowed silently to steal it.

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9 responses to “My Master Masseur

  1. Well, let’s see.

    I’m on Year Six of an extended midlife crisis, so I’m not the person to ask if things will work out. But I’m dying to quote Shakespeare in Love when I tell you “‘It will all work out.’ ‘How will it?’ ‘I dunno. It’s a mystery.'”

    Being overwraught about how your readers perceive you is natural. It’s a poison borne of instant feedback. If you wrote these as short stories, you’d wait a year before we started sending fan/hate mail, and by then you would have moved on. With blogs it’s quick, and it feels more important than it is.

    Because by next year 80% of your readers will be different. Some will stop reading, some will stop commenting, some will join, some will leave, some will get offended, some will have major life changes. Not very many of them matter.

    You rarely see an audience again, right? Standing ovation, polite applause, or boos; good review, bad review: very little of it affects your career. It sure as hell affects your week and month. But not your career.

    Shake off the self consciousness. Write what you want. If you want to practice finding the bright side, do that. It’s good for you. If you want to rant, do that. It’s good for you. If you want to dabble in dishonesty, honesty, frivolity, sadness, sarcasm, or character-development on your blog, do it. Write drafts and don’t publish, or publish everything.

    It’s a blog. It’s not the Middle East peace process.

    On the bigger question on life and career and money and whatnot, though, I’m totally useless. I don’t believe any of that “everything happens for a reason” or “you are only given what you can handle” or “there is a plan for you” crap. I believe humans find meaning when they need to, leap when they need to, and cling to safety when they need to.

    Follow your gut. Or design a hilarious quiz for your readers and let us decide, just like those old “choose your ending” books. I love those. Write one for me in your spare time, wouldya?

    • I appreciated every word of this comment. You have been doing this longer than I and much of it still baffles me. I don’t think I even knew what a blog was until a few months before I started writing one. I’m always amazed at the strong pull it has in my life, for better and for worse. I think often that I’ll stop writing and am always pulled back in. It gives me the illusion that I am “working” right now. Which I need to be doing. I imagine that once I am in fact working, like making a paycheck, as novel an idea as that is, the magnifying glass on this blog will pull back a bit. I believe I’ll still write. I hope I’ll still write, but with less preciousness, maybe. Or maybe not. I’ll get to work on that quiz for both of us. In the mean time, lets you and I enjoy a cyber glass of wine.

      • Any creative work is creative work. Mark that well. Blogs are not a true journal in that they’re modified slightly. As such, it’s a character study where you’re making choices, honoring instinct, being in the moment, and exploring expression.

        So it is working, given our lines of work.

  2. Blogs are living things. The content (at least on many) changes as the mood of the author changes, sometimes they’re happy, sometimes they’re sad, sometimes their reflective, sometimes they’re mad… sometimes they rhyme… see how I worked that in 🙂

    And I have to say, Christine’s comment is right on, about the instant feedback and the fact that 80% of your readers will change over time. If you’re a blogger about a specific subject of industry, maybe its different but in these personal blogs that most of us write its just about writing what moves you on a particular day and the feedback, whatever it may be, just sorta happens.

    • Living things…. I love that. I always enjoy the versatility of your writing. I don’t put nearly as much judgement on other peoples mood swings than on my own! No. I’m not calling you moody 😉 And your rhyming moods are often my favorite!

      The 80 percent piece is interesting and something I didn’t know. It seems there are audiences of other bloggers and audiences of friends. Because my blog readers come mostly from facebook and not from a network built from reading and commenting on other blogs, it feels more naked somehow. I probably should get on reaching out more to other bloggers, but I still struggle with the integrity of that practice. I never want people thinking I’m leaving a comment for advertising purposes. I have become invested in yours and Christine’s writing and stories. How do you find the time to give that investment to 15 plus? I am taking it way too seriously, probably. As I said to Christine….I need a job 😉

  3. Heather Vincent Larkin

    :0) Love you. Love your blog.

  4. I have recently become acquainted with your blog. I’m an old school friend of Steve’s. I do find it utterly amusing as well as oddly empathetic as I have SO been there before in these feelings you have and tragic happenings that become so explosive in our lives. Especially being a Mother juggling everything possible with ZERO possibility of respite, thinking, “how will I ever get through this?”. You do have faith it seems and although I’m not a church goer, as I’ve always felt to live life appropriately through my behavior, not my beliefs and all the major bible thumpers I find so extremely hypocritical, I am faithful as well. So, if there is any consolation I can give, it would be my life motto, “this too shall pass”. These times seem eternal, however you will look back wishing for a teensy bit of time back then again with babies when they are babies. Carryon my friend, this too shall pass! Somehow things have their way of working out in the oddest ways we never seem imaginable.
    😉
    Heather Recker

    • Heather,

      What a thoughtful and beautiful comment. I do thank you for taking the time to reach out and write it. It is so true, I believe. this time will pass. I know that, but have so needed the reminder lately! It has been laughably hard as you have read. But this post was the most honest of all of my entries and your response means so much. We keep reminding ourselves that there must be a way we aren’t seeing. And we’ll hold to that! Things have worked out in the past! thank you, thank you for writing.

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