January 10, 2009

My Virtual 95 Theses. Or perhaps only 5.

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:32 pm by the Green-Eyed Siren

So here I am, a newbie blogger. What was I thinking? Why contribute to the ever-increasing quantity of internet flotsam by starting a blog? I’ve successfully hidden from the internet for all this time—whatever could possess me to emerge now?

I’m a person for whom the act of writing is truly laborious and painful; the words do not flow fluidly from my fingers due to the constant, nagging interference of the editor in my mind. So I’ve resisted the allure of blogging until now—but, alas, I failed to heed the lesson of the Borg: Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Your life as it has been is over.

So why have I succumbed?

1. Everybody was doing it. Well, maybe not everybody…but lots of cool people, anyway. Like my husband, Unfocused Me. And my most excellent friend Harriet. And, you know, lots of other people, most of whom I’ve never met before but I can tell are way cooler than I am. Peer pressure is a powerful motivator. Plus I never get to talk to my husband anymore because he’s always typing away; perhaps we can have an online affair together.

2. I was ready to de-lurk. I read so many blogs, and I frequently want to comment on them, but it felt like the only people who really were welcome to the party were other bloggers. Everyone else had a great handle; everyone else had an url of their own. With my (very few) comments I felt like I was hiding behind a fence and throwing random things over the top.

People who know me are well aware that I am not someone who is afraid to speak my mind, and it felt unnatural to speak so invisibly. By putting this out there I am freeing myself to comment at will, and when the blog’s author says, “Who the hell is this person?” there will be some kind of answer out there.

3. I finally came up with a handle. I’ve struggled with this for an entire year. When my husband started his blog, he began referring to me as Mrs. Unfocused. Now, in real life I am not actually Mrs. Unfocused; I stubbornly refused to change my name when we married 13 years ago, because my name was MY name, dammit, and I thought it was ridiculous for me to change it. I’m not obnoxious about it; I will respond to people who refer to me as Mrs. Unfocused without quibbling, and I’m certainly not the type to get all insulted over it.

Still, there was something fundamentally disturbing to me about the notion that in cyberspace of all places, where you can choose whatever persona you wish, live an idealized version of yourself that completely transcends the limitations of your reality, I would accept being defined entirely by my relationship to my husband. As it is, despite my contrarian stand against taking a new last name 13 years ago, my day-to-day life is now all about being a wife and a stay-at-home mom; I may have refused the old-fashioned title, but I sure as hell have the job. I thought it would be truly pathetic, a sign that I had entirely given up, to choose to be Mrs. Unfocused on the internet.

Unfortunately, I am sufficiently creatively challenged that I had not the foggiest idea what to call myself. To be fair, I think my lack of imagination on this front was a symptom of slipping so far into that wife/mother identity. If I’m not Mrs. Unfocused, then who am I? I know who I once was, but that was a long time ago. Now I spend my day driving my two kids around (3 1/2 hours in the car to drop them off at their two different schools, go home, go back to pick them up and come home again), picking up after everyone in our too-large house, buying groceries, preparing food for a family that has conflicting dietary needs/issues/preferences, volunteering at the schools. It’s been tough to stomach, and hard to see past. So for a year I’ve considered and rejected name after name.

This morning as I shoveled snow in silence for over an hour I turned the problem around in my head some more. I had made up my mind that I really needed to do this, and I was just on the verge of saying, “Screw it, I can’t fight it, I’m Mrs. Unfocused” when I finally hit on it. I am the Green Eyed Siren–both because I actually am the Green Eyed Siren, and, more importantly, because I choose to be.

4. My mother-in-law wants to keep tabs on me. I am truly blessed with my mother-in-law; my parents are outstanding, but my MIL is, I think, my biggest fan (she benefits from having missed out on the excruciating experience of me as a teenager that my parents had to suffer). She lives in another state, and she likes to hear my perspective on what’s happening here in the Unfocused household (I don’t mind defining the family by our collective Unfocusedness, just me as an individual). Plus she thinks my life choices are crazy (although I think she appreciates them on behalf of her grandchildren) so I think there is an element of macabre fascination with how the details unfold. We were laughing the other day when she said she sometimes wonders where I am at any given moment in my hellish commute, and I told her I should attach some kind of GPS tracking device that would allow her to follow me online. Kind of like NORAD Tracks Santa. So I’ll do this instead.

5. I got an iPhone for Christmas. Or my birthday, depending on how you look at it. I am now fully equipped to post and Facebook and Twitter (yes, I’m probably going to break down and do those too) at every red light I encounter on my daily drive of misery with my two precious children in tow. I’m actually looking forward to getting stuck waiting at the train tracks now–bonus!

Enough navel-gazing for the moment. Frozen children will soon be coming in from their snowman building efforts, needing to be fed (homemade chicken stew for Unfocused Girl, Tyson’s finest chicken nuggets for Unfocused Junior) and defrosted with hot cocoa. Ah, here they come…



  1. Pickle Horwitz said,

    It amazes me that you have negative feelings about writing. You are a natural. I have a feeling that you will have quite a fan base. And given the trappings that your current life has on you (I’m speaking more about the commute than anything), you will have plenty of time to jot down your feelings and perspective. Here’s hoping this turns out to be the light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Unfocused Me said,

    Welcome to the blogosphere! And now that we can communicate by blog comment and Facebook chat, you won’t be able to say that I never talk to you since I started blogging.

  3. Beta Reader said,

    An excellent debut, Siren! I look forward to following the blog.

    As you know, Mr. Unfocused and I were typical sci-fi high school geeks together. Now, of course, he is a published (wish there were italics for that) sci-fi geek. Until reading your Borg reference, I had thought that you either looked past his geeky aspect or that he had kept it hidden. Now I see that it is a common bond between you. I will keep the secret.

  4. Harriet said,

    Hooray! Welcome to the cathedral door blogosphere at last! I hope you’ll save some words for AJ’s Clubhouse too!

  5. LSM said,

    I stopped over via Harriet’s blog. Welcome, and I look forward to hearing more about the Unfocused life. :)

  6. congratulations to a mixed blessing- I love blogging, but it is a time-suck as well as a gateway drug to worse time-sucks. Glad to hear that you’ve focused, however!

    (friend of Harriet’s)

  7. Jenn said,

    Welcome to the blogosphere . . .our husbands frequently comment on each other’s blogs, and I’ve been visiting Unfocused Life as part of my regular blog check in lately. So in a weird blogging kind of way, I feel like we sorta kinda almost know each other! Enjoy the blog . . . and sorry about that hellish commute!

  8. Unfocused Me said,

    Beta – we weren’t *that* typical.

  9. The Lass said,

    Welcome to the dark side.

  10. Jeanne said,

    I came over from Spynotes, too. Glad to hear why you’ve joined the retro-cool world of telling everything you know to everyone you don’t.

  11. Lauren said,

    you are inspiring to start another blog that isn’t focused on cancer. just what I need….

  12. Miss T. said,

    I´m not sure wether you´re still blogging or not, but I´d like to tell you that you´re a good writer.
    Greetings from Austria

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