Blog Block and thank you Fr’Oprah

Once my fingers reach the keys and begin tapping away, I seem to be fine. Getting myself to my laptop, well, that is a whole different story. I can always think of anything thing to do besides write. Today I had the intention of writing once the boys were out the door. Instead,  I did the dishes, stripped the sheets, made beds, made Kyle and I a yummy strawberry banana and coconut smoothy, tried to sign the boys up for summer camps, took a shower,  dried my hair, folded some clothes, cleaned two bathroom mirrors, washed more clothes, folded even more clothes, organized some bills, wrote a birthday card, vacuumed the floor and flossed the carrot out of my teeth. Even now I keep straying from this post. At this very moment I am tempted by the little red number I see at the side of my computer screen. This little red number tells me I have new email. I cannot resist.  It is an email from Dave detailing a possible upcoming business trip to Ecuador. He tells me how awesome the trip will be and that I may be able to tag along.  I do, however, resist the urge to Google everything Ecuador. Baby steps.

Every time I walk into the office, which is the current home of my laptop, I seem to gasp, think of something else I need to do, turn, and walk away. Oddly enough, one of my very favorite things to do is write.   I love to write! Hey, just a minute, I need to go grab my tea from the kitchen. See, it is hard for me to stay focused and stay put, especially here. Be right back.

On my way to retrieve my cup of Raspberry Tea, I decide to check and see if the laundry is ready to put in the dryer. It is. On my way to the laundry room I see the kitchen phone sitting on the bedroom bench. I pick it up after putting the wash into the dryer, return the phone to its proper spot, grab my cup of tea and march myself back up the stairs, only to notice the gray sky and new snow falling “It is the middle of May for crying out loud!” At the sight of the snow I want to crawl back into bed or at least sit myself in front of the television. Alas, I will myself back into the office and yes, I am back and yes, I was not kidding. (1). I am easily distracted. (2.) It is hard for me to sit down and write.

Two nights ago, the kids were in bed. I walked into our t.v. room, Dave had a show all cued up and as I sat down, he pushed, “play.” I immediately blurted out, “Dave, Dave, can you push pause?” As he pushed pause, he simultaneously reached for his iPhone. “Get ready. This is going to be a long one,” I am sure he thought. I did not mind him typing away and moving his finger across the screen. Only occasionally did I ask him to look me in the eye. “Ok Dave, look up. Look at me. I want to make sure you hear this part. Ok?” Directly and square in the eye he met my gaze. Secretly I was grateful to see his kind and beautiful baby blues facing my direction. Somehow when Dave looks at me, I feel ok. I feel like I can conquer anything. I may even be able to conquer this whole Blogging Block. When he looks at me, I know I have his support. He loves me no matter how snow-hating-crazy I really am. He loves me even at times when he is driving down the highway and I do things like pluck his occasional stray nose hair because I cannot imagine it peeking out of his nose for just one more second. True love.

“Dave. Dave. Dave. So I was watching Oprah. You know it is her last few shows — ever.” (Truth be told, it has been a while since I have watched Oprah. Now that she is near the end of her run, I am guessing that I am not the only one taking all of her Oprah-ness in, every last second of her.)

I continue, ” I have to watch these last six shows. Well, I was watching Oprah today and she had James Frey on. Remember James Frey? He was the guy who wrote A Million Little Pieces and then there was all the mess about him lying and misrepresenting himself? Remember? First she had him on in 2005 as her book club choice. Then in 2006, Oprah had him on so she could take him to task for things like calling his book a memoir when it really wasn’t.”

“I remember.” Dave responded.

“Ok, so as I watched, I was mesmerized. James Frey owned it. Not only did James Frey own his whole book mess, but he said as bad as it was that he was also grateful. Oprah also owned her part. She still thinks she needed to take him to task, however, she was sorry that she did not show James Frey any compassion.  And as I watched them talk, as awkward as it was, I was completely moved. In some way I could totally relate to their experience.  Good television!”

“Cool.” I think Dave said or he said something to let me know he was still listening.

“I cried as I watched. I am not sure I even like how James Frey came across or Oprah, for that matter. Yet, they both completely made sense. And then somewhere in the back and forth of  their explanations and event replays, Oprah said she had been embarrassed.  Because she had taken a risk for him, she felt responsible for the outcome or for how he had misrepresented himself os something.  When he screwed up, she was embarrassed.”

[a light bulb goes on]

“See Dave, I totally get it. 2006 was the year I took a blogging break. Since then I have spent thousands of dollars on therapy. I have tried to be present for you and the boys. We built this house. We have traveled. I have grown up. Well, I hope I have grown up. You and I both know that I have really worked to move forward with my life. Blogging was not my issue. My issues came from a much more distant place. Once I started dealing with the deeper layers of my life, I was able to let go and move forward.”

(Beth Note: What I know is this. Life is a process. Before I ever started blogging and until the day I die,  I expect I will be peeling away the layers, trying to better myself. Sometimes, however, you are given a huge opportunity to peel away a bunch of layers all at once. 2006 was the year I received that gift.)

Dave looked up and smiled, “Yes.”

“Somehow, however, even though I feel like I have made peace with me and that life is a happy balance, every time I really get my blog ball rolling, I have this whole James-Frey-Oprah-in-2006 type of experience play out in my psyche.  In those times when I try to blog consistently, I start to feel like a deer in headlights filled with the crazy and turbulent feelings I felt the day I shut down my blog. In the past, when I feel those uncomfortable feelings, I knew I was not quite ready to do this full time and then I would think of something better to do, like the dishes. In this weird way, I think listening to and watching Oprah and James Frey has helped me move forward. I think I am ready to push past those uncomfortable triggers. All alone and with no one watching over me, I think I am finally ready.  I have nothing to lose.  That’s what he said. He didn’t think it could get any worse and the things that mattered were his family. I saw his eyes well up when Oprah mentioned his dying eleven day old son. I thought of Kyle. Kyle’s illness has been so much bigger. I get it.”

Dave was still with me, “Absolutely.”

“As I listened to Oprah explain herself I thought about what someone said to me when I left blogging, “Beth, you are embarrassing! You are an embarrassment!” As I listened to Oprah explain why she treated James the way she did, I remembered and felt those words, “I was an embarrassment, a huge embarrassment.” Oprah told James Frey that she was embarrassed and because she was embarrassed she had no compassion. Her Ego had been hurt. I get it. Even if it doesn’t really apply to me. I see what I did wrong, where I went wrong, and how I could have been better. I see where it started and I see that I have no control over anyone or anything besides myself.  Being called an embarrassment was the very least of my worries. Watching James Frey and Oprah work through it reminded me that I too accept that I was where I was back then and all I could do is move forward.  You and I know, that is what I did.  That is what we all did. Get it?”

“And?”

“You know what? Among many other blogging faux pas, I actually think I did do something pretty embarrassing. I also did not handle myself well when confronted. Sure, when confronted, I used the excuse that I was processing my very recent second trimester miscarriage (fair excuse, by the way), that you were not home and that I was not myself. Sure, I should have walked away before opening my mouth. And even though my emotions were in the toilet, I did not handle myself well. It really did not matter.  The damage and trail of choices had been made so long before I was confronted by anyone. And when I finally was confronted, it was pointless and unrecoverable.  As awful as that moment was, almost immediately I saw that I was being given a huge gift.  As sad as I was to shut down my blog, to walk away from friendships,  as sad as I was to lose one friend in particular, someone who had meant so much to me — someone who was so brilliant,  I was free. I was free to be myself. I was free to think of the good times.  I was free to laugh. I was free. And like James Frey, when the world explodes in front of you,  you are free to sit alone and write whatever the hell you want. I was free to move forward. I was free to focus on you, Kyle and Eli. And sometimes to be free, you just have to walk away. Sure, the broken record is that yes, I have missed blogging. I have missed all the things I lost as a result. Collateral Damage, right? Hey, I would be wiling to cut my arm off with a dull blade if it meant freedom.”

“Obviously.”

” Ok. Ok, you know that something I have been very quiet about and really do not talk about is how grateful I am for that one friend. I am grateful for this experience.  As painful as life can be, I am grateful for all the steps I have taken.”

“Yes you have.”  Dave said. Ok, Dave probably did not say that, but I want you to know that Dave stayed with me during this entire long conversation. Remember he had a show cued up. Instead, he sat there, patiently listening, waiting for me to finish.

I took a breath and continued my proclamation,  “Thank God for therapy and thank God for healing. I did move forward and I love where I am at now. Thank God I really get that it does not matter if the other people or person see or even forgive.  And as I have said many times before, I not only love, but feel blessed that I went through this crazy time and all the crazy times of my life, as uncomfortable as they were. I am always grateful for the crazy. James Frey was right. He made a mistake, faced his mistake, tried to make amends and moved forward. That is all we can do. Thank goodness I took the time to watch the show. Thank goodness for someone like Oprah. As big and powerful as she is, she also shows us that she is willing to peel the layers too.”

I finished up my long speech, and we watched our show. Today, after writing more than 2,100 words,  I feel that much closer to getting it. Thank you crazy James Frey for reminding me to believe in myself and not to be afraid to be who you are. You are so self help and I love it!

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