Happy Birthday to Brimming (and me!)

Hi, hello, I know… Are we still allowed to blog in these weird times?

I’ve been struggling with what to write here these past ten weeks. It’s not like we need more noise about this virus or opinion pieces as to why this is so hard. I went back and forth as to with whether I should even do this annual birthday review, or just skip it because who cares, there’s a global pandemic and life is so much bigger than me.

But, in an effort to be present to this time, to honor what it means to be going through it, I concluded I should at least try to capture it. This is the space I’ve created to reflect, so why shy away now? I already dyed my hair and everything (highly recommend quaranpink, if you’re so inclined).

So. This past year was wild and significant (pre-pandemic). I had a baby! I got an agent! I started writing a second book! So many wins. And a few obstacles ahead.

Wins

Postpartum Health

I gave birth to my healthy, beautiful, ginormous baby boy in October. He’s now the chunkiest, cutest 7-month-old, with one tooth, a disdain for sleep, and I can’t even really remember life before him. Having babies is amazing like that.

So tiny!

The biggest win for me personally is that this postpartum experience has been so much healthier. I’ve been so much better about asking for help, acknowledging my dips in mental health, and am generally going so much easier on myself.

There have been many rocky moments, because the transition from one kid to two has required a level of juggling, multi-tasking, and surrendering that has me dizzy most days. And being in a tiny home every day, all day long, for 73 days wears on a mother’s sanity. To say the least. But expanding my family, having two loud boys in my home who already adore each other, is enriching beyond measure.

Perspective

This slowed down pace from sheltering-in-place (which we’ve been doing in the Bay Area for over ten weeks now), has given me so much time to see, experience, and really appreciate the small riches in my life. Like how my four-almost-five-year-old has a powerhouse imagination, how his curiosity for all living things from worms to whales expands my own knowledge daily, and how his seamless love and acceptance of his baby brother fills my heart to bursting.

How my baby has a stubborn, willful need to already do everything himself, and a smile and giggle that can crack any sleep-deprived morning wide open with sunshine.

The set of lungs on this one. Truly unmatched.

How my husband will do whatever it takes to keep me laughing, to keep us steady, to keep us safe.

These are gifts. Wins of the highest caliber.

I Signed With An Agent!

This time last year, I was in the midst of querying. I had a pretty quick querying experience compared to most, and I was so pregnant when we signed, that my attention was diverted from the get. So it’s taken me awhile to emotionally catch up with this massive milestone and career achievement. Six years ago, on my thirtieth birthday, I was a weeping mess in a bar because I wanted to be an author and didn’t yet know how. And now I have an agent and a book on submission and am working toward writing my second. When I think on it, this truly stuns me!

This was such a great day.

I’m Writing Another Book!

One of my concerns last year was how I was ever going to write a second book. How I was ever going to fit writing in with two kids. Well, with a lot of support from my husband, enthusiasm from my critique partner, and incessant characters pushing on my brain, I’ve managed to make it work. I was right on in my post a year ago when I said I would need to release all expectations of what it would look like (so many interruptions!). But that only serves my writing and makes me unbelievably productive when I do sit and work every day.

And now, I’m a third of the way through a second novel that is so fun and diverting and keeping me creatively afloat during this time. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to create amidst global suffering, but writing is my ultimate therapy, and I’m so grateful the words are flowing.

Connection

I created my first ever Instagram challenge and it went so well! I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone, but it was entirely worth it. I made so many aspiring author friends– there is no one more supportive than an online writing friend!

Obstacles

Grief

I lost my grandmother this year. I miss her dearly, especially right now as her birthday is the day before mine. The grief has been jagged and piercing and coloring much of the past year.

Future Unknown

I know everyone is struggling with the uncertainty of what the next phase of life is going to look like amidst this pandemic.

For me and the way I think, not having any clarity around the future is a major obstacle. The way I operate and orient my life and goals is with a future mindset. I can think far out and reverse-engineer how I plan to get somewhere. Not just for myself, but for my kids, my family. That’s simply how my brain works. With the future being so unclear, with so much being entirely uncertain, out of my control, unimaginable, I’m struggling. The questions flood me.

What will school look like for our kids? My older son is supposed to start kindergarten. I’m absolutely gutted for him that it won’t be what it could have been. Should have been.

What will the publishing industry look like for us writers who have yet to break into it? Did the likelihood of ever breaking in to a notoriously difficult industry just irrevocably shrink?

How do I ensure the health and wellness of myself and my family when the health and wellness of the world is at such risk?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers. No one seems to. And that makes me scared and angry a lot of the time. But I have to believe that it’ll be okay. That though we may be struggling, we’re also up to the challenge. We adapt and carry on.

I can’t anticipate much about the year ahead, but I can be present to it, and do my best to meet it with grace, guts, and guile. And when in doubt, seriously, dye your hair pink.

To the next year!

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