I used to have a recurring fantasy: My girlfriends and I would be at the movies, hooridin’ and crackin’ up until the previews hit. We would shush each other as usual, “OK, everyone needs to shuddup now. We tryna watch this, and that means you, Jihee! Don’t be talking during the movie PLEASE and no asking questions ’til the end…JIHEE!”
The movie would start and BAM, right out the gate, zoom into a close-up shot of Yours Truly. My girls’ jaws would drop, speechless for once. They would finally look down the row at me in the pitch black theater and seethe, “What the HELL!? How you gonna STAR in a freaking movie and keep it a secret?” I would just grin. Real cool-like.
The most savory moment is when I am still seated, gazing at the screen instead of at my flabbergasted friends, like it was just another night at the movies at The Beverly Center. I would simply smile and say, “Just watch the movie, heffas,” as I reached for more popcorn. Gangsta.
I was hoping to have a sliver of this fantasy come true on 10.10. I have date fetish.
I like cute dates and I cannot lie.
After getting married on 07.07.07, I was blessed with a baby shower on 10.10.10. On 10.10.11, our little family went to the beach, remembering how Micah was in my belly the year before, being showered with love. Naturally, I was beyond tickled when I found out that my second baby was due on the catchy date of 10.11.12.
So, for 10.10.13, I had something up my sleeve.
Back in August, I ended up casually emailing a very popular blogger, telling her that I don’t get to read as many blogs as I would like, but that I read hers and oh, here is my tiny little blog, with a link to one of my posts. I didn’t expect a reply since she big time, but she replied promptly saying it made her laugh but that she wasn’t accepting “story” type submissions at the moment.
I hadn’t realized that I was actually submitting anything for publication, more like a, “Hey there, please take a peek at me if you have a moment.” But once she said that, I responded with another post that was less story-like. She responded promptly again, saying she’d love to publish it.
Wait, what? It was just THAT easy to have a NY Times bestselling author run my piece on her blog?
It happened so fast and was way too easy. She gets millions of views on her very popular blog and I couldn’t believe that my first and only email to a REAL blogger yielded such an opportunity to be viewed by so many at once.
I wanted to surprise everyone (see fantasy sequence above). I only told two people: I enlisted the help of Kevin and one of my dearest friends to make some edits before I unveiled it (thanks again, guys). It was thrilling to talk about myself in the third person when I sent in a small “bio”(!) to run with the piece. She asked me to choose a publication date among three options.
When I saw that 10.10 was an option, it was a no brainer. It also worked out because Ellis’ doljanchi (big Korean 1st Birthday Party) was going to be done by then and we would be able to schedule our vacation during Ellis’ and my actual birthdays, then come home to my big guest post debut. The blogger told me it would be a good idea to be around for comments.
Everything was finalized late August.
Kevin helped me fix up my very bare bones blog and after some deliberating (“oh, but it’s so cheesy, it’s so self-promoting, I don’t want haters…”), I created a Facebook page for Ajummama. Nights were devoted to reading up on blog stuff: hosting, domains, design, categorizing all my old posts, and more. My blog is still very bare bones but at least I was going forward with this.
While on vacation in Punta Cana with my boys and my mama, I needed to be disconnected from the Internet. Be truly present. Practice mindfulness for once instead of scoffing at it. But I was awaiting a couple important emails so we purchased just one hour of Internet usage for the entire week, just to be able to flag important emails without getting sucked in.
On my actual birthday (10.04, less than a week away from the perfect 10.10 publication date), I see an email from the blogger, starting with, ““I feel awful doing this, and have already been sending these out for an hour… but…”
Basically, she stated that after a bit of soul-searching, she decided to make some big changes on her site, scaling it down from what it has become. It had become too big and too overwhelming so she decided to return to writing more herself and involving only her staff instead of so many guest posts.
Kevin was more disappointed than I was. I wasn’t as down as he was perhaps because I always wait for the other shoe to drop or because I had obtained it too easily.
I did kick myself for choosing 10.10 instead of the two earlier dates that would have allowed my piece to run right BEFORE her epiphany post she ran on my birthday prior to her email to me. Did my date fetish do me in?
Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to be “seen” by so many strangers. Maybe it meant too much to me in my recent struggling state to carve out something just for myself while I am burnt out, losing perspective as parenting regularly kicks my ass.
What was I doing anyways? Why such a compulsion to keep up with my tiny blog? Why is it so important to me when I ain’t even getting paid?
But I know the answer. Telling stories is all I’ve ever wanted to do (when not starring in a movie, of course). If I don’t write, I am not fully ME. Even if it don’t translate into scrill, I need to do this. Especially now after motherhood claimed so much of me.
I have always struggled with not feeling good enough. And lemme tell you, it is a tough tough way to be. Not quite sure why but I rationalize away affirmations and compliments. I never knew that being funny or telling a good story could be considered “talent.” Don’t get me wrong; when people tell me I’m funny, I absolutely agree, not because I’ve been affirmed by others, but because at my core, I always knew that about myself and was secure about that ONE trait.
But to be called “talented” makes me have a reflex response of, “Yeah right.” And for some reason, I can’t believe it when it’s from a loved one. “Well, it’s ‘cause you know me and care for me so of course you have to think well of me.” Or as I tell my husband who has seen me at my worst, “You have to say that. You don’t want to confess to having buyer’s remorse about your wifey.”
So when a legit “celeb” blogger, A PERFECT STRANGER who has no obligation or incentive to affirm me, picked up my piece so easily, I took a risk and allowed myself to START believing in myself for once. She thought I was good enough and she is a bonafide writer.
But you know what? Even without my fantasy scene coming true on this 10.10, I WILL write more.
And, F*CK YOU, FEARS! I am so tired of y’all.
By not getting published on this fwine date of 10.10, it has lead me to do a bit of soul-searching, too. To pray that I may truly KNOW my value simply by being a human being, whether my blog is enjoyed by my loyal tens of readers or whether I go viral. And believe me, I don’t expect to go viral as I am still sifting through how much I want to share, what I would like my blog identity to be and what my true voice is.
Going further, I yearn to know my worth as a beloved child of God, whether I am a stay-at-home mama and nothing more, a practicing or lapsed lawyer, a wildly successful or wildly unsuccessful writer, the heaviest I’ve ever weighed without having a baby inside of me, an imperfect parent, or a raging, wounded little girl in a quite mature body.
Sure, I will fail time and time again as I am my own worst critic and I often compare myself to more successful peers and that damn Bethenny Frankel, who cranked out a best-selling book as she walked down the aisle, birthed a baby and also made hundreds of millions of dollars off a smart mouth and a cocktail.
So 10.10, you done flipped the script on me this year by being less-than-perfect, but maybe that was the point all along.