Parenting While Genderqueer

purchase the entire extremely great issue here

purchase the entire extremely great issue here

This article first appeared in HOAX zine #7: Feminisms and Change.

Parenthood has fundamentally and radically changed the way I relate to my body and what my body means to me. The process of becoming a parent made me engage with my body on its terms for the first time in years. It made me think about what my body and what my biological sex means to me, and it led me to question my gender identity. I chose to get pregnant, I wanted to do it. I had a pregnancy free of medical issues and a birth that went well. My kid is awesome. I found pregnancy and I am finding parenthood to be a very affirming Now, at 271, I’ve finally reclaimed my body. It is more than mine again; it’s me. I’m it. We’re the same entity. It’s a respite now, and a comfort. It’s like it was in the good parts of my childhood. I’m glad for the reunion. I feel more whole now, and more connected to the world. The reunion was hard-earned, though, and came unexpected. I am more comfortable now in my body than I have been since the age of twelve because I got pregnant and had a kid.
When I was young, before I hit puberty, I ran wild. I climbed trees. I climbed onto the roofs of houses and jumped off, fearless. I wrestled with boys on my street and beat them because I was strong and wiry. My memory of my childhood is strange – mostly a handful of memories so vivid they feel like flashbacks, seemingly disconnected from each other. There is no clear narrative, but there is a physicality to them that still remains. I feel my childhood more than I remember it: sweat, strain, euphoric bursts of energy. The rush of wind squealing past my ears as I sprinted impossibly fast down the street. The harsh quiet sound of skin on asphalt when I fell off a bike. My childhood, both the best and the worst of it, was lived through my body. I was my body, then.
Puberty changed everything. Breasts and hips came. Suddenly I was chubby and round instead of whip-thin. I moved differently, couldn’t run the same way. And I was looked at. Wrestling with the boys on my street turned tentative and threatening in ways I didn’t fully understand. My parents started monitoring what I did, what I wore. I hadn’t realized until they started discouraging me from cutting my hair short and wearing boy’s clothes that my rowdy rugged tomboyishness from the year or two before had been merely tolerated. It was a profoundly confusing and troubling thing to me. My memories of adolescence are clearer than of childhood, but mostly because they are more cerebral, and they are more cerebral because puberty made my body a site of conflict, and confusion, and danger. There was a lot of not-so-great stuff going on at home, too. I didn’t have the resources or support to grapple with the newfound strangeness of my body, so I retreated from it. I pushed it aside. I made it not really me. I trained myself not to pay attention to what my body wanted. I stopped running wild and grew mouthy and sharp-tongued instead.
For years my body has been an inconvenience more than anything else. I kept thinking of it as this grossly inefficient mechanism. Like, really, I have to eat four times a day? It struck me as a design flaw. I avoided mirrors; all I saw when I looked in them were expectations I knew I wasn’t living up to. Sometimes when I saw a picture of myself I found the contours of my body and face surprising. In a very real sense I had forgotten what I looked like. I barely explored my sexuality. I kept everyone at arm’s length in high school out of fear of a life-derailing pregnancy (they were common where I grew up and I really, really, had to get out of there). But in college it wasn’t all that different. I had tried so hard not to pay attention to my physical wants and preferences that I have spent most of my adult life going through the motions in sex rather than actually enjoying it. I fell into sex and relationships without much thought about what I wanted from them. Mostly I just wanted to impress my partner by making them feel good.
Before I got pregnant, I’d never had much contact with pregnant people or babies. I had gotten to a place where I felt mentally and emotionally ready to be a parent, but I grossly underestimated the physical toll pregnancy takes on you. I spent my adult life working too hard, exhausting myself and depleting myself to the point where I would get one nasty cold after another. I sometimes went twelve hours working straight in grad school without even stopping to eat. I wasn’t denying myself, I was just so disconnected from my bodily needs that I didn’t actually realize I was hungry until I was done with just this one last set of analyses. Getting pregnant threw me for a loop because pregnancy has a physical urgency to it that demands that you listen to your body. The first trimester fatigue was brutal. I missed deadline after deadline. Somewhere around the third or fourth important deadline, the importance of the deadlines lost their sting. For the first time in my life, my body was in charge and I was along for the ride. Everything else had to wait. Pregnancy was absolutely fascinating to me. It was incredibly anxiety producing too, what with the specter of all the thing that could possibly go wrong, but mostly I sat on my couch just feeling it. Feeling tired for no reason, or hungry again, or having to pee but not wanting to haul myself upright. I would count the fetus kicking when they got big enough to feel.

Pregnancy was all-consuming, and it felt like a very private thing: not even my partner knew what it felt like because it wasn’t his body doing all this work. It was mine. It was me.
But the thing about female bodies is they’re never private. There were constant well-meaning but intrusive questions: morning sickness? Weight gain? Can I touch your belly? I hated that everyone loved that I was pregnant. I hated how visible it made me, and I hate the visibility because it was so gendered. The constant chatter of mommyhood viscerally rubbed me the wrong way, and it got worse when we found out I was carrying a female fetus. The moment someone referred to my unborn child as a princess I regretted having told anyone I was even pregnant. Like puberty, it was a moment in life where all I anyone saw of me was the changes my body went through, changes that signaled gendered expectations and roles. It was a strange time, because I was enthralled with myself and the pregnancy but at the same time I was deeply unsettled by how people reacted to my body. The thing is, my old strategy of just pretending my body didn’t exist wasn’t an option. Pregnancy is too demanding. It’s not the sort of thing you can ignore. And beyond that, this time around I really wanted to take of my body. I wanted to indulge it and revel in it and treat it well.
The link between the way my body was objectified and the way that objectification gendered it is incredibly obvious in hindsight, but when you’ve spent your entire adult life ignoring something it takes awhile to learn to pay attention to it. It is clear to me now that the reason it felt profoundly violating when people touched me and cooed and talked about mothers and daughters and the special connections they have was because society inevitably reads a pregnant body as a woman’s body. And the reason that is violating to me is because I am not a woman. When you are that viscerally uncomfortable with the assumptions society makes about you, you have two choices: find a way to convince yourself nothing is going on or tell society to go fuck itself. Being misgendered was ubiquitous. It was so entrenched and so unrelenting that I did not for years realize that it was even happening. In some dark little corner of my mind I convinced myself that if I didn’t have a notable body to gender that I wouldn’t be gendered as a person, so if I ignored my body maybe everyone else would too and I could just be me. But being pregnant made my body inherently important to me. My relationship to my body was no longer something I was willing to sacrifice.
The change wasn’t that I became genderqueer. The change was that the immediacy of my connection to my body made it possible for me to reconsider what gender meant to me. It was important for me to find a way to be visibly pregnant and feel masculine at the same time. These days, now that my kid is out and about in the world, it’s sometimes important for me to be visibly masculine and feel like a particularly tender and feminine parent at the same time. Realizing that my body doesn’t determine my gender has liberated me to like my body. Now that one doesn’t determine the other they’re no longer at war. I am just me.
What’s especially peculiar about all this is that pregnancy does indeed change your body. I have stretch marks now. I went up a whole cup size, and my hips broadened. My waist shrank. I am curvier, more conventionally womanly in appearance than I ever was before. But the comfort in my own skin is paradoxically unshakeable now.

1I’m turning 31 this week, FYI, but on re-reading this every word still rings true.

My Mercurial Brain

guess which is the good side and which is the bad

(not actually my brain)

My brain is mercurial. It marvels and terrifies me in turn: sometimes it works so gloriously well, and sometimes it turns on itself with such viciousness. The same brain that writes all these novels and solves all these problems and is so taken with the world around me also saddles me with anxiety and depression and crippling migraines. I have a love/hate relationship with my brain. It is fickle and tricky.

Everything about my brain—the brilliance and the pitfalls—is inherited. I come from a long line of very smart, very tortured people on both sides of my family. Big thinkers who succumbed to alcoholism thanks to recurrent depressive episodes. Curious people trapped by bipolar disorder. Creative people who stumbled under the weight of chronic headaches. All of my immediate family members—my mother, father and sister—have or had serious mental health issues just like me. My mother and sister also get migraines. The brains in my family are for all of us a curse and a blessing. Jon, too, has his own mercurial brain. He’s brilliant and funny and insightful, but he is constantly grappling with anxiety. His anxiety, like mine, seems to stem in part from genetic influence.

I think a lot about my mercurial brain and his these days as I watch my kid develop. I get a migraine and I wonder whether twenty years from now she’ll be lying in the dark whimpering in pain herself. I get an anxiety attack or spend months surviving a fresh bout of depression, and I wonder if the same thing lies in store for her.

Recently, Jon began dating a woman who suffers truly vicious migraines—ones worse than mine by a wide margin. She told him she didn’t want kids and one reason was she didn’t want to curse them with her migraines. And I understood. When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about this, about how there was little possibility of my kid skating through life with a brain that always happened to work the right way, one which was always a friend and never a foe. Did I want to subject her to this?

Internalized ableism is sneaky like that. No one wants their kid to suffer more than they have to. No one wants their kid to suffer in the ways they themselves have suffered. Noble goals, both. I still worry for her, and I still wonder whether I was right to saddle her with my kind of mercurial brain, and at the same time I marvel at just how much ableist Kool-aid I’ve drunk in my life. The truth is that no matter what the migraines would be debilitating and the mental health issues would suck when they are at their worst. But they are made so much worse by living in an ableist society.

If everyone had free access to quality health care (mental and physical) without stigma and shame attached, if space and care were given to those suffering without judgment—if, put plainly, the world wasn’t ableist—then the disabilities I live with would be infinitely more tolerable. When we blame the brains and bodies of those who suffer instead of the society that piles on the suffering, when we say that maybe those facing life as people with disabilities shouldn’t be born, that’s a hair’s breadth away from eugenics.

This is not to say that I think Jon’s lady friend is in any way wrong in her personal decision. And, honestly, given that society is so deeply ableist I still worry. But it is to say that people with disabilities will always exist. And it is to say that I had Zadie, that she exists with her ticking-time-bomb brain, and that while I worry I don’t think I have cursed her.

I can teach her all the things I learned the hard was as a person with disabilities. I can teach her the strength to survive. I can teach her how to have spine enough to advocate for herself. I can teach her to be kind enough to herself to make space to cope. I can bring her up in a household where these things are not shameful, and hopefully that foundation will be something she carries with her. I can teach her to make peace with a mercurial brain.

Dear Medical Establishment, Please Stop Fat-Shaming My Toddler

this is my baby giant next to her totally normal sized grandmother

this is my baby giant next to her totally normal sized grandmother

There is an ongoing discussion in my household: is my kid a giant baby or a baby giant?

Zadie was born three weeks early and was on the small side at the start of her life, but she grew like a weed. Her growth curve is abnormal, exponential. A pediatrician once described her growth rate as “explosive.”

She started small, but by one she’d crept up into the 90th percentile for her age group’s height, weight and head circumference. By two, she was already three feet tall and over fifty pounds. She turned three recently, and at her annual well-baby check-up we learned that she’d shot up another six inches and gained another ten pounds. She’s in the 100th percentile for everything. I am a statistician by trade and training (when I’m not, you know, writing about elves and whatever), and she is literally off the charts—like, several standard deviations above normal. As in HOLY SHIT MONSTER BABY big. Just a really, really big kid, this one. It makes sense—her dad is a big bear of a man, and my sister is a broad-shouldered wide-hipped tall drink of water.

She runs all the time. She plays constantly. It is hard for me to keep up with her, but I try, and when I run out of energy I let her push me (5 feet tall, 160 pounds) around in a wheelie chair that desperately needs to be oiled. I have seen my toddler shove our couch across the room, and it was not on casters. She is a big, meaty linebacker of a three year old, and she’s tall enough to pull dirty dishes out of the sink and drop them on the floor if left unattended for a split second.

But her pediatrician wants to refer us to a nutritionist. Even though I cook vegan dinners twice a week and she eats the leftovers for days after, even though she loves vegetables and fresh fruits and is (mercifully) the least picky eater I’ve ever seen, he thinks she should see a nutritionist. Even though we rarely ever give her sugar because HOLY SHIT WE ALREADY CANNOT KEEP UP WITH HER she should see a nutritionist. Because, you know, she’s kind of…chubby.

The thing is my kid is a toddler beefcake with a sleek layer of baby blubber. She’s physically in great shape. The doctors are just concerned you know because of obesity but the thing is that there’s a lot of obese people who are perfectly healthy. My beefcake toddler with the insane energy who runs for literal hours every day? She will probably be one of those perfectly healthy obese people. And her doctors will probably tell her year after year that she should just lose some weight. Not because it’s actually detrimental to her but because, you know, being fat is bad.

My kid was assigned female at birth. Her gender is an open question , but I know firsthand that growing up FAAB in this society leaves you scarred with body issues even if you stop identifying as a woman. And I refuse to tell her she’s not good enough, that her body isn’t good enough, that she needs to be smaller and smaller and smaller still just because. Unless there is a direct medical reason to lose weight I am not allowing anyone to tell her to do it. What’s the nutritionist going to say? To keep feeding her kale?

I don’t want her to hate herself growing up. I want her to revel in her body. It’s going to hard for her to be “the big girl”, and she’s going to be that kid that dwarfs all the other kids in her class at school. Her pediatrician thinks she looks great, just great. There’s no medical reason to suggest that her weight is a problem now or that it will be a problem except for social bias. So, let’s just check that one at the door.

Transistor Radio #2: The Myth of the “Correct Gender”

you don't need to know your gender to know you love cherry tomatoes

you don’t need to know your gender to know you love cherry tomatoes

Last month, my kid turned three years old. There was a cake, and a brand new pop up tent to play with, and a couple of weeks later there was an annual check up with the pediatrician. I didn’t go, but I got the full debrief from her mom and dad who took her. Zadie’s great! Healthy as a horse*! Hitting all those milestones! Well, except for this one thing.

“There was a question on the survey they give you,” said Jon. “It was something like ‘how often does your child correctly identify his/her gender?’ The options were ‘always’, ‘sometimes’ and ‘not yet.’ I put ‘not yet’ for Zadie.”

And I went on a tirade. Bless his heart, he listened. He always does.

As a trans person, this question ruffles the shit out of my feathers because it presumes that someone other than the child themself decides what is correct. When I was Zadie’s age I could correctly identify the gender that had been assigned to me, but to call that my correct gender would have been presumptuous at best (given how I turned out) and full-on erasing at worst. Some of us know what gender we are by the time we’re three. Sometimes that matches what everyone’s expecting of us (cisgender kid) and sometimes that doesn’t (transgender kid). For a lot of us, though, gender is a slippery thing. It took me over twenty years to correctly identify my gender—if by correctly we mean identify gender in a way that makes sense and is comfortable for me. To put it another way, it took me over twenty years to reject what I was told, over and over again, is my correct gender. The constant stream of “You’re a girl, you’re a girl, you’re a girl” the whole time I was growing up confused the shit out of me.

As a trans person, this question is bullshit because it conflates sex and gender, which are separate constructs for a reason. Sex describes biological aspects of a person**; gender is an identity that people express through presentation and enactment. Gender is as psychological and sociological as it is biological, and an important part of that means that it is learned, and a thing which is learned requires time to learn it. By the time kids are three certainly they have received a shocking amount of gender-based and gender-focused socialization. But they don’t yet have the cognitive development needed to interrogate and articulate all of this. Gender is brewing at age three, but it is not done yet. For most people, how a person identifies gender-wise at three is consistent at age thirty, but the whys and hows and meanings are different. And some of us change! Some of us are different at thirty than we were at three.

As a nonbinary genderqueer trans person, this question gets under my skin because it presents the gender binary as fixed, immutable and true. Can I correctly identify my gender? Maybe—it depends on if the person asking accepts the categories I put forth. Is there a write-in category? Why does my kid have to choose between girl and boy? What if she’s somewhere in the middle? The phrasing and intent of this question reifies the gender binary, and in the doing, treats me as something that cannot exist.

And as a parent, this question rankles me because it is insensitive. My kid has a trans parent, and (not so shocking) I have trans friends. My kid interacts with a wonderfully gender-diverse group of people. And she’s at the age where she is learning to read and name social categories. That’s really what this question is getting at—whether or not she understands and can place herself in relevant social categories. But she doesn’t have the same exposure or environment that other kids her age do. She sees a lot of femme women and butch women, big burly dudes and fey elfin men. She sees others, like me, who are in a third category. Watching her interact with the world, it’s become apparent that she maps other people onto her family, categorizing strangers as Daddy-like (typically cis men), Mama-like (high femme people of any gender) and Baba-like (usually short-ish glasses-wearing people who are not so easily gendered). I have heard her call people “girls”, “boys” and “babas”. So she knows. She gets gender. She just gets more of it than most people.

And she is exploring her own gender organically. Over the course of the same week, when I’ve asked her if she’s a girl or a boy in the name of SCIENCE, she’s given the following answers:

“I’m a boy!”

“I’m a boy. I’m a girl. Baba!”


She’s all over the map, and that’s ok. We let her pick out her own clothes, and she tends to gravitate towards t shirts with dinosaurs and pants. She likes her hair kept short because it’s thick and hot and it tangles and gets in her eyes. She violently resists whenever we’ve tried to do anything at all with her hair except let it just lie there. She is almost always assumed to be a boy outside our house. AND she’s curious about her mama’s make up and will paint her cheeks purple with eye shadow. She loves to dance. She wants to cook and plays in her toy kitchen all the time. She loves trucks and baby dolls. She’s just who she is right now, and there’s no pressure on her to even be a ‘she’ for any longer than she wants to be. Honestly, she seems not to care much about gender. She loves Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and sometimes she tells us she’s Aang and sometimes she tells us she’s Korra.

The problem with this question is that there’s a chance that my kid, like me, is trans. Who knows? I certainly don’t, and she doesn’t either. And this question is telling me, a parent of a toddler, that it is a developmental milestone for her to have internalized the gender binary and the conflation of sex and gender so well (reinforced, of course, by my parenting choices) that she already knows how she’s supposed to identify and that ‘correct’=‘cisgender’.

How can it be a developmental milestone to rip that choice away from her, to silence her, before she even knows what she has to say about it?

*There was, apparently, talk of putting my three year old on a diet, but that’s getting its very own post, so stay tuned.

**Conversation for another day: I believe in a binary of biological sex as much as I believe in a binary of gender—that is, not in the least.

I Would Never Hurt You, or Parenting as a Survivor of Childhood Abuse

me not hurting my kid

me not hurting my kid

“Don’t hurt me.”

The first time my child said this to me, we were at Target. I’d just told her to put a box of something or other back, and she stared up at me with these huge, innocent blue eyes and whispered it in a low, sad voice. It shattered me. I swept her up into my arms and hugged her tight. “I would never,” I said. “I would never hurt you.”

The thing is that my kid is a liar. She’s two and a half, and she’s clever, and like all kids that age she is old enough to manipulate the people around her but she’s not old enough to have developed a sense of morality yet. I don’t know where she picked up this particular phrase. Adventure Time, maybe. Or Babar. Or from some other kid at play group. It doesn’t really matter where she learned it; what matters is she doesn’t really know what it means. When my kid says not to hurt her, what she’s really saying is I don’t like this, why are you taking that dangerous thing away from me, don’t turn off my tv show! It’s not about physical injury. She’s not scared of me. It’s a prelude to a tantrum; a baby’s feint. I know this, I do.

My reaction to her words has less to do with her and more to do with how I, at nearly thirty years old, am still making peace with how I grew up. My kid is experiencing a very different kind of childhood than I did. “Don’t hurt me,” she says, and specters of my childhood creep up: I’m twelve, and my drunk mother is throwing plates at me. I’m ten, and my mother is driving drunk with me in the car. I’m sixteen, and my father slaps me hard across the face—not once, but four times in quick succession. I’m thirteen, and my mother paws at me like a sedated bear in a drunken stupor while I try to pull her out of the bathroom during yet another botched suicide attempt. My kid tells me not to hurt her, and all I can think about is the sad resignation I lived with for so long, that knowledge that the people you should be able to trust can and will hurt you. That your place is to bear it, to live through it, until you can finally get away.

My child doesn’t know about terror. She has not two, but three adoring and doting parents. She is protected and loved and cherished, and our home is safe and stable and decidedly non-violent. Her father, who himself had a wonderful and loving childhood, sometimes has to translate our daughter’s words for me. “Don’t hurt me,” she says, and he watches my face fall. “No, no,” he says, “she’s not scared of you! She’s not! I promise!”

But how could he know? I am a psychologist by training. I know the literature; I know that abuse is cyclical, that abused kids often turn into abusive parents. It feels so fatalistic sometimes. I also know I’m not my parents—I am not an alcoholic, I work intentionally and authentically on my mental health. In the parlance of the small, poor Texas town in which I grew up, I have my shit together. Or, at least I think I do. I am perpetually afraid to let my guard down. I am afraid that if I don’t watch myself like a hawk I will turn into my parents, and I will hurt her—on purpose, with full knowledge of what I’m doing, in some kind of sick power-play. I love her so much that I’m scared to trust myself. It’s unreasonable, this lack of trust. It’s a scar from my own childhood, where I spent so much time apologizing for my parents’ behavior. It’s their mistakes I bear like a cross, now, and not my own. But these scars run deep, and they are hard to eradicate.

“Try not to take it personally,” her dad says. “She says it to me, too.” But hearing those words from her mouth dredge up in me a visceral, PTSD-like physical memory of the abuse I survived. I wonder, sometimes, how she and I will talk about her childhood when she’s grown. Her experience—solidly middle-class in a nurturing and attentive family—is so different from mine. I know, logically, that she’s telling me not to hurt her precisely because she doesn’t really know what being hurt by her parents means. I also know that it’s hard for survivors to articulate our pasts to those who haven’t lived through similar ones.

“Don’t hurt me,” she says, like my own personal nightmare.

“I would never. I would never hurt you,” I tell her, holding her close. And it’s a promise to her, and it’s a promise to myself. A way to reassure her and to keep myself sane. She is safe with me, not safe from me.

When and Where I Write

spoiler: it's on the bus (image courtesy of RTD; click through for source)

spoiler: it’s on the bus
(image courtesy of RTD; click through for source)

I am pretty prolific writer, the kind that finishes multiple novel-length projects per year, but I can only write under certain conditions. Mostly, I just need to focus. I have an extraordinary ability to focus–it doesn’t need to be quiet, I don’t need an empty room, I just need people not to be actively demanding my attention. That’s it. And that’s pretty simple, but the thing is, it’s basically impossible for me to write at home.

I have an hour long commute into and out of work, and I work all day at my day job. I love my family, and I want to see them. They’re my family! They’re great. And they want my attention the second I walk through the door, and I want to give it to them. I’ve tried to write at home, but it’s just not going to happen when my two year old pats the back of my laptop and says, “close it, close it!” She’s only going to be two once; I can’t spend her childhood trapped behind a screen.

I was writing at work, but work has been hectic lately. It’s been like a sprint to quitting time every day the last month or so, which means there hasn’t been any extra downtime to write. Now, I don’t go out much. I don’t do much aside from a) hang with the family, b) go to work and then do work there or c) travel to and from work. My commute to work involves a 45 minute bus ride each way, which means:

I have been writing mostly on the bus. I write hunched up in uncomfortable seats with my too-big government issue work laptop. I write in the stop-start-stop-start lurch that makes a bus ride a bus ride, and I type away while tired, dusty construction workers glance at what I’m working on from the corner of his eye. The bus ride is a twice-daily period where I am crammed in close proximity to 50 strangers, and it’s also paradoxically the twice-daily period that counts as my alone time. It is loud, and it is hot, and it is smelly and I have no elbow room, but the bus is where I get my writing done. I am able to tune the bus and the people on it out and hack away at my fiction. When you’ve got a day job and two partners and a toddler, 45 solid minutes with only the most minimal obligations to those around you is a gift.

Striking a Balance


balance is a tricky business
(image courtesy of wikimedia commons, click through for source)

I didn’t do any writing or writing-related stuff this weekend. Not a bit. Not one iota.

I had plans  — finish a short story, format a manuscript to send to a gracious and patient beta reader, do some worldbuilding, maybe query some agents. But nothing happened. I had an anxiety flareup, my kid caught a cold. Life happened.

I, like a lot of people who live through an anxiety disorder, need self-care strategies to keep me on an even keel. Writing is one of my strategies. I derive a lot of comfort from writing; I do it because it is easy for me, and I feel accomplished, and it lets me engage a different, calmer part of my brain. And, like a lot of other people who are doing their best to live through waves of anxiety, sometimes I skip the self-care or don’t have the time and energy to do it, and sometimes I beat myself up for it.

This weekend I didn’t have the wherewithal to do much beyond feed my kid fruit and watch Dr. Who, and today I am actively fighting this feeling that I’ve shot myself somehow in the foot for taking space.

I am a huge proponent of discipline and routine in my writing, but missing a couple of days does not mean any of the following:

  • I have lost my Writing Mojo and will never find it again
  • I am terrible to my beta readers
  • I have lost momentum on…something?

I go back and forth a lot between wanting writing to be my livelihood and job and wanting to keep it separate. I would LOVE to have more time to write, and I would LOVE to make money off of it, but it is enormously useful for me to be writing in a self-directed way without the imposition of deadlines, without the stress of depending on it financially. It takes active work on my part to establish any sense of balance between the things I do and the life I live. This weekend the pendulum swung toward tissues and TV. Maybe tonight it will swing back to enough privacy to get some writing in.