Nuts and Bolts. Also, Unrelated, I’m Nuts, and I Bolted.

It’s been a conundrum, these past few years, trying to figure out how to allot writing time between a blog, a manuscript, a book proposal, and the socials. The socials are, of course, the most immediate and the easiest. Great marketing on Meta’s part. And, frankly, the socials provide the best access and communication with you, my friends. We can see each other’s lives, shout together on Thursdays, and comment/respond quickly (and with notifications). But not everyone is on the socials for myriad reasons: time, self-esteem, mental load. And the other real drawback for a writer is the fact that, while I do “own” my content, I don’t own my accounts or pages, so Meta controls my access and can lock, suspend, or eliminate my accounts whenever they like. It doesn’t happen often, but I do have writer friends who, through absolutely no fault of their own (and usually because someone who doesn’t like them has falsely reported them), have been censored, suspended, removed from feeds, or blocked entirely from their platforms. So throwing all your community eggs, if you will, into the socials baskets seems unwise. I’ll continue to be present there, of course, but HERE? In this blog space? I OWN this. This is mine. It’s backed up and archived, and I have perpetual access to all my own content.

However! However. However. A blog isn’t really a place for all the mini-updates the socials see. It’s not a great place for a tiny snippet. A food pic. A multiple-chins contest. A sentimental sentence without any real writer-craft. Misspellings that are easy to forgive because everyone knows auto-incorrect is involved. I just don’t think y’all want to see all that dumped here. But I also know I’ve put a lot–a LOT, a lot–of content on the socials that could’ve been good here, too. And, realistically, some of that is lost forever because “seek and ye shall find” is not a strongsuit of Meta’s searchability. 

So I’ve sporadically posted bits and pieces from the socials here. And I’ve sometimes written stuff just for you. But I’ve done neither consistently enough to serve you well. Not since the Plague anyway. And, while the Plague still feels like yesterday, it’s been almost four years since it began. And two+ since we entered the After Times. The New Normal. The OK, I Guess This is Life Now? 

I don’t say any of this to berate myself. I don’t think I need to apologize for Doing What I Could or for Trying to Figure Stuff Out. But I do think I can say “this isn’t working well” while also saying “c’est la vie” and I am made out of human. 

All of which to say (and my father always says “why use a few words when all the words will do”…or something like that), I’m going to try a new thing, and it’s this:

I will continue to publish worthy posts from the socials here. “Worthy” meaning anything weird, wonky, authentic, joyful, sincere, etc. But I will likely do these in bulk. Instead of trying to keep up with one-offs (publishing here every single time I do on the socials), I’ll periodically gather posts-of-interest and put them in this space. That will take self-imposed pressure off of me to DO MORE and DO IT BETTER, which are the antithesis of how I’m trying to live my life, while giving me the freedom to share with you the words I think may resonate or amuse or connect. 

Will I still write separate blog pieces? Yes. But I’ll put a similar amount of pressure on myself to do that. Which means a little. Some. But hopefully less of the pressure and more of the joy of normalizing this weird, wild life.

In conclusion (ha! we’re not even close), my hope is that I will be more consistent. You know, inconsistently so. But more than before. We’re talking improvement rather than unlikely perfection.

This blog will become an amalgamation of sorts. A bringing-together. A newsletter-style periodic publication of the ongoing pursuit for magic in the mess and wonder in the wild of a life lived off-course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan. 

K? K. That’s what I’ve got.

ALSO, this seems like an excellent time to tell you that ALL the prevaling wisdom of the day–every algorithm, every article, every SEOsomethingsomethingsomething–says your blog articles should be short. Super short. Shorty McShortface short. But this is definitely not that, so I guess I’m going down with the Shorty McShortface ship. We are way, WAY too far under the water to try to change our trajectory now. (And now that I’m writing this paragraph, I’m realizing I want to KEEP writing this paragraph forEVER, because people telling me what to do makes me stubbornly want to do the exact opposite. I am a warrior. Fighting unseen forces. In a battle that has nothing to do with me and no possible way to “win” against my foe. This is basically my entire personality in a nutshell, bless my heart.)

ANYWAY, IF YOU HAVE ARRIVED THIS FAR, I AM AWARDING YOU THREE GOLD STARS. You, my friend, are a master of determination, and I love you for JOINING THE REBELLION.

So! In that vein, here are a few recent posts from the Book of Faces and the Instant Grams. [Note: If you want to see all the minutae over there and not just the pieces I cherry-pick, feel free to go to my page on the Book of Faces and hit the “follow” button under my bio; now, if you ACTUALLY want to see all the minutae, hit the follow button a second time (after it says “following” which you would *think* would mean you’re following, but really just means Meta will leave me out of your feed) and change it to “favorites” when that option appears. Listen, Meta does a lot of things well, but it’s a little ridiculous about keeping folks you think you’re following away from you in favor of its own algorithm which shows you random things it hopes you’ll like (aka, paid content) which makes them more ad revenue. Same procedure for the Instant Grams: click follow under my bio, but then click it again and choose “add to favorites.” What can I say? It’s owned by Meta, too.]

 

January 10.

Oh, lord. One of my teeny, tiny goals in the next season is to open our online community to pursue deeper authenticity, more profound connection, and joy amidst the madness. There are two major parts to that:

1. Nuts and bolts. All the practical work behind the scenes. It’s time for me to create a more intentional content strategy to improve the quality and consistency of what I’m putting into the world. You matter. You deserve my time and attention.
2. The “oh, lord” part. Cracking open the areas where I’ve felt inadequate and unprepared and refusing to use those as excuses to hide. Hide myself. Hide my voice. Hide my face. I had to do some real soul-searching to determine whether I hide because a) I’m an introvert who really can’t (and shouldn’t) send more of myself into the world lest I lose my energy and the spark that keeps me on the sane side of chronic depression, or b) I’m just afraid. Afraid to tackle new mediums and new methods. Afraid to broaden my comfortable circle. Afraid to see and love myself in more photos and *ugh* video. Obviously, my answer was b. And I don’t want to live in fear, friends.

So here we are, making a brand change away from the cartoon hand and facing (get it?) toward a more authentic me. I DESPERATELY want to make a joke here about being sorry you’re getting my face. But I won’t. Because part of this is learning to be kind and gentle, even to Me.

Love to you, friends. Let’s see where this takes us!

{For those of you reading this on the blog, I can’t post the videos I’m making here because the files are just too, TOO large to upload and I haven’t figured out yet how to change that. I’m 1000% positive there’s a simple solution, but it’s a bridge to far for me at the moment. To see those, visit the socials. Please and gracias.}

 

January 14. 

POV: When you’ve been happily married for 20 years but are celebrating 29 years of marriage. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Listen; it took us a while to figure some of our shit out and to really, truly, deeply consider whether we were better together or not. Not every marriage is worth saving. Not every marriage is safe or healthy or contains partners who are both willing to do the forking impossible work of being better and doing better and learning to treat each other and ourselves with gentleness. But ours was. So we did. And those unhappy years informed us about the importance of taking fearless and regular inventories of our marriage, never faking perfection, and always involving trusted advocates and friends because the two of us trying to figure everything out alone was a recipe for disaster. There’s a reason our way of saying “Happy Anniversary” is “HOT DAMN! ANOTHER YEAR NOT SMOTHERING YOU WITH A PILLOW!” 😂 Here’s to another 20 of the happy ones, and to being our fallible, flawed, fabulous selves.

 

January 18.

Shared little “This Is Who I Am” snippets, but I just realized I parlayed this into a more thorough, better written version as the new “About” page on this blog. So, you know, you can go there to see it. 😉 

 

January 19

Our 2025 Cruise Retreat to the Magical Mediterranean is NOW BOOKING! You can find the link and more on the Relaxing Retreats for Authentic People page. I hope you’ll join me!

 

January 21.

So, friends. Here’s the deal with this pic. 

1. I tried to use a dermaplane face razor/exfoliator, and I now know that learning to use these is exactly like learning to use a razor-razor when you’re 12, because even though I’m 50 whole years old, I 100% took chunks off of myself with this thing. Like I don’t understand how razors work. I think I was too… enthusiastic, maybe? Regardless, I have these two VERY LOVELY scabs on my nose now. So beauty goals = achieved.

2. If any of y’all have any tips for how to use a face-taker-offer without, you know, TAKING OFF YOUR FACE, lmk. I realize I could watch YouTube or TikTok or something and do my own work, but I’d rather ask the hive mind and see what you’ve got for Olds tryina learn new things. 

3. I do really love the lack of peach fuzz. That’s cool. Not worth carving up my face. But, you know, cool.

4. None of that is the point. The POINT is, I’m at the airport, leaving for a few days solo to Mexico on an entirely unplanned trip because my brain really, really, really needs the sun. 

5. I decided to take this trip exactly 2hrs and 37min before the plane took off. We live 1hr from the airport. I packed in 20 minutes. I know I have my passport, my wallet, and my swimsuit. It will be a surprise to see what else I shoved in my bag. Even to me. It’s OK, though. I’m wearing my St. Jude medallion, and he’s the patron saint of chaos and impossible causes. So Jude and I? We’ve got this.

 

January 22.

Made it on the plane to Puerto Vallarta!

How can I travel so last minute, you ask? It’s actually the way I most often travel. Because my dad was a career pilot and flew for multiple airlines, he has standby flight benefits he can bequeath upon family, so I use those whenever and wherever possible. Does it mean flying is free? No. But the discount is substantial. It does, however, mean you only get to board the plane if there are seats available which means waiting until the last minute to see if there’s room and, even then, requires extreme flexibility in the rapidly-changing environment of air travel. Mostly, it all works out. But sometimes I get stuck in, say, Munich for 4 days due to weather disruptions and reaccommodation of passengers. Standby folks are the last accommodated. But for those of us who love to travel but don’t have the funds to do it too often the regular way? It’s a worthy trade.

But, BETH, doesn’t this all make you anxious, you say? Well, let’s discuss anxiety and travel, shall we? Because the surface level answer is no; standby travel, with all its wonkiness, doesn’t make me anxious. If 5 kids taught me anything, it was how to be super flexible and roll with the unexpected. But if I’m going to go deeper? To the heart level? Travel in general does hit my anxiety bone. Hard. Despite growing up traveling the world and continuing that passion in adulthood, the truth is that I always haul Anxiety along. A niggling voice at the base of my skull. A whisper of dread. A cold feeling seeping into my skin. It’s always there on some level. So I’ve learned to bring it along for the ride.

Over the next few months, for reasons I’ll get into soon, I plan to do a ridiculous amount of travel. A truly obscene amount. A obnoxious, glorious amount. And I’m bringing, as always, Anxiety along. So I’ll be writing about that. Starting a new series, if you will. A Traveling with Anxiety series. To give you an inside view of what it’s like, how I plan and prepare, what little tips and tricks I’ve learned, in case it’s helpful to any of you, my friends.

 

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