Woman hiking but criticizing herself in the caption to demonstrate self-criticism
I was hiking, but I should have gone further, and that shirt is so unflattering, and I’ll probably never get a book deal, and I probably picked the wrong color to paint the bathroom walls…

Probably because she was sick of hearing me whine about how I’ve started to hate writing, a friend challenged me to blog more. So I’m going to post a few times a week in the hopes it will keep me out of the Chardonnay and Mad Men. At least until it’s late enough in the day that I’d be getting into them pre-quarantine, you know, like after noon.

My first thought when she suggested frequent blogging was, oh, I’d never be good enough to write often about anything anyone else wants to read about. I’m far better in small doses (just ask most of the men I’ve dated). I can barely handle a post every six months. Well I could, but I’ve never gotten much social media traction, and I used to write for magazines but I wasn’t good enough for it to amount to anything. Now I’m writing a manuscript no one will actually want to read. And no, I don’t much like listening to myself either.

Resolution One: Stop the Self-Criticism

We are going to be spending more time with ourselves, with far fewer interactions to dampen our self-abnegation. Far fewer reasons to put on make up and our darkest jeans and hear from our companions that we look great, no not old at all, really, the pants don’t look too tight. Far fewer chances to grab bits of my tummy and ask for a third time if the pants should be retired. Which which is probably why I never got invited out much for meals in the first place.

I remember when George died and having no idea of what I looked like. Sure, I was thin and tired, but did I look old for my age or young or attractive or expired or ? I was so used to seeing myself through his loving eyes. I had to make my own judgments without his voice to tell me my truth. And those judgments were cruel.

My self-assessments were based on some combination of OK Cupid responses and the stigma that came with being alone for days on end and dating a bunch of really self-serving men I was too ignorant to recognize as enemies. And I didn’t have a career anymore, and I’d never accomplish anything. My own voice was a nasty mean girl.

Now many of us have far more time alone to evaluate ourselves and, sadly, to find ourselves wanting. Let’s look at my morning online yoga class wherein I tell myself: Good for you, you’re sticking to an exercise schedule. But then comes: You won’t get any trimmer. Your metabolism’s shot. Better do that hard vinyasa class if you want it to have any effect (even though my body’s crying out for gentle yin).

Amp all that up a hundred-fold when I try to write.

So, my goal is to be quarantined with a dear friend, not a nihilistic critic.

That’s the new me. And I have to change since my darling partner keeps offering praise, to which I reply, thanks, but you’re wrong. (see tummy grabbing above). He finally told me it was exhausting to try to cheer me up. I thought, nooooooo, if anyone loves praise it’s me and now I’m killing it off.

So I resolve to stop following my own inner voices. I will silence them with positivity (once I figure out what that is and how to make it last) and without too much alcohol and Mad Men. I can do this. It will just take some reprogramming. Like, great, you’re doing yoga. That’s enough.

As I said above, I’m trying to blog more to keep writing. So contact me with your quarantine resolutions and I’ll put them in the comments amd maybe get a discussion going. Or ask my advice on widowhood or dating or whatever. As a self-loathing wanna-be writer, I’m completely unqualified to answer anything, but I did it before a few years ago and it was a lot of fun.

if any of this resonates, I’d really appreciate shares or subscriptions. I’m trying to see if I really want to blog anymore.

Take care, Love,

Debbie