I’ve had a post rattling around my head for weeks, but running around the state, cleaning out 47 years of accumulation, having freakin’ Sophie’s choice with every family heirloom, trying to do my job and somebody’s else’s, running around the state partaking in end-of-year activities for seven of my twelve nieces and nephews, and trying to be a good and present wife (among a gazillion other things not even worth mentioning)…well, being a “good blogger” dropped way down on the list.
But the post wouldn’t die, and just kept bouncing around in that scary place called “my brain.”
In rare moments of solitude (like during the quick 5-minute showers I was able to partake in about every 6 days, not kidding–it was gross), I even thought of titles for this elusive post of mine. And I suck at titles, so anything that came to mind was a major victory.
I even remember a few of them.
The cliched, tired, and stupid, “New Beginnings.” (Although, this did give me a grin because it reminded me of one of my favorite SNL skits by Dana Carvey. And smiling is good. Sooooo good.)
The apropos but OMG-its-a-forking-Disney-song, “Let It Go.”
The Billy Joel-inspired, “Moving On.” (Although that was but a brief, cheesy thought.)
The mantra my coworker and I made up in 1994 to keep our spirits up among uncertainty: “Change is Good. We Like Change.”
The rest are probably best left forgotten.
But one came to me tonight. And even though I am still in the middle of 121812892198 deadlines, several of which need to be completed tonight–nonnegotiable–this one resonated with me so much that I had to drop what I was doing and finally get this forking blog post out of my head…
I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I can let the toxic things, the unimportant things, the things that don’t truly matter go.
Jix was a home away from home. The best place on the ‘Net. A place to find kindred spirits. A place I found many kindred spirits.
Until it became toxic. Not just for me, but for a lot of people, as I’ve come to find out.
But it was home and a refuge for so long that I just couldn’t let it go, couldn’t stand to lose what had once been.
But you can only get beat up so many times. And after you’ve taken the high road for so long, and have truly done everything the right way, and tried everything you can to make peace to no avail, you realize that the power-hungry will stop at nothing until they get what they crave. And it’s best to just let them have the imaginary pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Because, truly, the “power” they want so badly? Doesn’t actually exist. What there actually is is a lot of responsibility. And they don’t want that.
Once I realized that, it was a relief. I could walk away and not feel guilty. I was never, ever going to want power, and so I was never going to be thirsty enough to engage in the vicious fight that I was promised by someone who is not even in the Jix community who refused to give up control over Jix’s finances. Nope. Wasn’t going there. Was not, and did not, engage. Not when there were so many more pressing issues to be dealt with in my real life. And I especially was not going to waste my valuable time on detritus when there are so many important things in my life that actually deserve to have my attention. My dad. My husband. My boys. My family. My friends. My writing. My career. My health.
Someone I don’t generally consider as important in my eagerness to please everyone else.
So, after years of much painful deliberation and abuse, it suddenly became easy, and I was able to leave the community in the hands of people whom I trusted to to do the right thing.
And if my trust was misplaced? Well, I learned to let that fear go, too. I’ve had to.
Okay, so what was the next “new beginning” or “let it go” thing or whatever it is that you’re rambling about, Dana?
Being the Municipal Liaison (ML) of the NaNoWriMo region I founded.
Anyone who knows me knows that just as near and dear to my heart as Jix is NaNoWriMo. Some of my favorite memories are when my love of Jix and NaNo collided..introducing word wars to Jix (and I’m so glad that they’ve been carried on by others each year when I was too busy to lead), creating the first and only virtual Jix-NaNo crossover event, inspiring the creation of Jixewrimo…
In October 2018, I decided that I would no longer ML. I announced it to everyone in my region during NaNo 2018, but it didn’t seem real.
Well, right after the whole Jix fiasco, NaNo HQ sent out the email about intent to be an ML in 2019. I had made the decision, but could I follow through? I’d just given up Jix. I was in the process of selling all of my family heirlooms. I was in the process of getting the house I’d grown up in ready for sale. Could I go through with it? Could I give that up too? It was so much change!
Turns out, I did go through with it. I resigned. Which meant not just relinquishing MLship, but also the region I had founded. Double whammy.
Little did I know that when I originally made this decision, this would become a theme of my life.
I didn’t know that letting go of Jix and my childhood house were ahead of me.
I didn’t know that letting go could be so freeing, even as it is bittersweet and sad.
In giving up MLing, I am relinquishing that imaginary “power” some individuals think is so important. I am glad that I am enlightened enough to know that it is not important. At all.
I don’t mind taking on responsibility. I generally thrive on it. But some responsibility is overwhelming and unnecessary. And quite frankly, ungratifying.
In giving up MLing, I am thrusting off a mantle of unrealistic responsibility that has weighed me down for too many years. In 2007, I took on the collective responsibility of growing a NaNo community in three very large, relatively sparsely populated counties. Oh, and did I mention that I don’t even live in any of them (my county is *actually* sparsely populated so would have been DOA) and every event was a 45-minute to 1-hour drive from where I live…one way?
But for years, I planned events, I made goodie bags, I bought prizes, I drove up and down I-75 and M-20 and M-10, and I tried. And for big events, people around the state came (Lansing, Flint, Detroit…) but for the local ones, which I was hosting three times a week (yes, that’s six hours of driving time per week, which is six lost hours per week of writing, which is painful especially for someone who loathes driving), maybe a handful might show up.
And sometimes I was the only one, even if several promised to be there. Sometimes there was one other person (Dan, I love you). And sometimes my two friends would come (Megan and Jess, I miss you). And sometimes, we’d even have eight people in attendance. I’m grateful for all of the Wombats I’ve met over the years. And I am verklempt over the hardcore few who kept showing up, year after year.
But I’ve come to realize that the stress is outweighing any growth. There’s so much to plan. So many people who RSVP and don’t show up, and I am on the hook for a guaranteed reservation. Then it swings the other way. So many people who don’t RSVP and then bitch at you for not having enough swag.
Now that I realize that the core people are the core people…I don’t have to try to grow it anymore. It’s been 14 NaNos. This is the group.
And I don’t need to be an ML to reach them anymore. They’re my crew. We’re going to get together no matter what. We’re going to bond every November no matter what. We’re going to meet at the same coffeehouse in Bay City every Saturday morning no matter what.
So I can let go of being in charge and just enjoy the good parts and not stress about the parts that suck.
And it’s okay.
Then there’s the third topic I’ve wanted to write about. The third portion of the trifecta of saying good-bye (ooh! that was one of the titles I had forgotten about!), my childhood home.
But I’ve rambled on for waaaaaaaaay too long now (and rewritten a lot of stuff to be tactful, because Honey is still my idol, and then thinking, “Fork being tactful! Be Trixie and tell it like it is, foot in mouth and all! Especially since you’ve been censored on Jix and your posts on the subject have been repeatedly deleted!” and writing with that resolution and then deleting and rewriting the frank stuff since the general population is not prepared to really know about the ugliness behind Jix, so this post has taken hours), so how I feel about letting go of my childhood home is a post for another day.
So, my long-winded point?
I am a new person these days. I’ve had to say good-bye to too much recently, most of it not my choice. I am finally able to say no to things that aren’t good for me. I won’t stand for anybody trampling all over me any more. I’m making me and my health and the things that are truly important to me a priority now.
So, in a nutshell, don’t fork with me.