Hitting Pause.

180605 Cahaba River NWR Trail Piper Interpretive Trail IMG_8693 small

I’ve been struggling through my relationship with this blog for the last three years, for a myriad of reasons.

…Writing is so much harder for me than it used to be (I’ll get back to that.)
…Blogging is a “dead art.”
…My kids are growing up and not as entertaining/deserve their privacy.
…School and life take more time than they used to. When I started this blog, I was blogging during naptimes. Naptimes haven’t happened in years.
…Thankfully, we seem to be on a drought of misadventures, which were oddly always the easiest thing to write about.

But I have trouble quitting anything – even when quitting might be in order.

Every summer I get really close to writing a post similar to this (I probably have half a dozen in my drafts folder) but I always talk myself out of it. But the time has come.

The bottom line is, I need an indefinite break. The thought processes that have gone into this decision are far too vast and agonizing for something as silly as writing a personal blog (I’ve been mulling over it this time for at least 5 months), but I’ve been writing here for over a decade – it’s been a part of my life for nearly my entire career as a mother. So it feels as if it is a big part of who I am, even though I don’t give it nearly the time I used to. The idea of stopping has always felt like peeling off a part of my identity, which seems as painful as peeling off a layer of skin.

But taking a break doesn’t mean I love it any less.

I love what I’ve accomplished here. Over 2,300 posts documenting pieces of life that I certainly would have forgotten if I hadn’t written them down (I know this because I can read old posts and have no recollection of having written them or of them happening.) So many of those posts were my own personal therapy, helping me recount my days in a way that was entertaining enough to make whatever pain was involved feel inconsequential. I loved the way I was able to document Noah as a toddler. There were bats in my baby’s room. There were multiple house floods. There were crazy medical tests and procedures. There was Dysautonomia. And ultimately, it is that last one that brings me to my need for a break.

I’ve become pretty adept at fighting my symptoms of Dysautonomia – I get bi-weekly IVs to combat dehydration, I run and hike several times a week to keep blood flowing up to my brain, I drink powders that keep me going and guzzle crazy amounts of water. I (try to) hardly eat sugar and watch my caffeine intake. But the one symptom that I have found nothing that helps it is the effect Dysautonomia has taken on my brain function. I cannot think, write, or analyze creatively like I used to do on a daily basis. My brain feels sluggish and thick, and it’s not easy to sit down at a keyboard and come up with ridiculous analogies or observations on life. I mourned this loss for the first three years after my diagnosis. I pointedly avoided reading old blog posts because it made me so sad to remember what I used to be able to produce with such ease.

Every now and then, my brain will click on and it’ll work nearly how it used to. I’ve produced a blog post here and there that I have been proud of. But before 2013 I was producing 4 or 5 of those a week – and with hardly any effort. It’s not been the same.  I’ve tried to push through and make myself write anyway – and I’m glad I have – but writing has become much more of a burden than the life-giving therapy that it used to be.

But I want to write so badly.

Or rather, I want to want to write. And I want to be able to write.

To do that, I need a break, so that the negative feelings associated with writing (anxiety, guilt, mourning) can fade and I can start fresh and hopefully one day rediscover my ability to put words on a page.

If, however, I have a fantastic story I must tell, I will certainly tell it here. This blog isn’t going anywhere. I can’t imagine taking it down, and I can’t imagine saying with finality that I’m done. It will wait here, and I will write when I have something bursting to get out. But I need to remove myself from any sort of schedule or expectations of journalling my life.

Thankfully, at the same time I began the process of Dysautonomia and grappling with what it took from me, God gave me the gift of photography so that I could use it to help The WellHouse. That creative outlet has been my saving grace while I’ve been working through the frustration over my disability to write. It’s something I can do – something that isn’t affected by my brain limitations. It’s been a gift that I’ve been able to lean on. I never wanted photography to take the place of my writing, and it hasn’t – but as I face the inevitable fact that writing needs to pause for a bit, it gives me the creative space to feel like I’m not giving up. And, sometimes, I’ve been able to tell short and silly stories with my photos, and that kinda nearly feels like writing.

So for the next little while, Instagram (I’m @ObjectivityRach) is going to be my main internet nesting place. I’ve enjoyed posting Instagram stories (those little circles at the top of the home page) as we go throughout our day, and I very much enjoy posting photos. I hope to continue writing snippets and short stories as I post (like this one from Sunday), and I hope that you will follow me there for a time. I’ll be on Facebook too, but Instagram is my happy place, and it’s where I end up spending most of my online energy.

Thank you all for being a part of my life, for being my friends and my encouragers over the past decade. It has meant so much to me, and I have loved meeting you – both on the internet and many of you in real life. I don’t want to lose these friendships, and that has been a huge reason that I’ve pushed through to this point. Our relationships are a big part of that identity that pains me to think about giving up. So I hope we don’t have to do that. Please stay connected. Email me. Let me know how to follow you on Instagram (or other channels.) Friend me on Facebook. Text me. Stay my friend.

Thank you for living life with me.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. Stacey J says:

    I had a feeling that this post was coming but I didn’t know had sad it would make me. I pray that you will be able to write again some day and will happily follow you on Instagram and Facebook..

  2. Kathy C. says:

    Best wishes on your choice to take a break. We all need that sometimes, regardless of why. Thank you for sharing parts of your life with the world!

  3. I have loved your blog! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Hope the break is a blessing to you!!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  4. I’ve been a long time reader! I will miss your blog, but I follow your gorgeous photography on Instagram, and I completely get the reasons for taking a blogging break. Good for you for taking care of yourself!

  5. Kristine says:

    Have loved your blog! I am sure it is hard, but it sounds like it’s the right time. See you on the trails or at Art Walk and on Instagram!!!

  6. Susan Williamson says:

    ☹️. Guess I have to learn Instagram now. ❤️

  7. Jen at Between the Bees Farm says:

    I will really miss hearing your voice, but I completely understand the need to reduce the number of “have tos” on your list to feel guilty about. It takes more wisdom and self-confidence to say no then most people imagine. Take care and God bless.

  8. There’s no greater gift you can give yourself (and your family!) than grace and some time for self-care. Your words are a gift, whether in long-form or in snippets, to so many of us. Your words you’ve written and shared remain, and your words will again return. Rest in this new season and keep sharing your amazing photos in the meantime!

  9. Your blog has been a bright spot in my days for a long time, much longer than when I started commenting. I completely support your decision, although I am sorry to see you (sort of) go. I wish you only the very best. Thanks for the many smiles and laughs over the years!

  10. Linh Chin-Lai says:

    Thanks for leaving the blog up. I love re-reading old posts because they make me laugh.
    Please take care of yourself. and I will “see” you via Instagram

  11. Kitty Engle says:

    Dang, I am going to have to figure out how to use Instagram. You know technically challenged me. I understand but now your job is to get me on Instagram.

  12. Megan from Cape Town says:

    I’ll miss you, Rachel!! I have really enjoyed the lighthearted, not-serious humor you’ve brought to my life, and I’m going to miss hearing stories from your perspective!
    But this 100% sounds like the right decision for you. So I’m so glad you’re doing this, even though I’m sad to hear less from you.
    Thanks for bringing joy even through very often not-joyful things.
    Sending love from South Africa! (I had to take Squishy’s postcard down from my refrigerator because guests didn’t understand him )
    Xx Megan

  13. Lauren Kelley says:

    Will miss you, friend. But I admire your choice to listen to what you need right now!!

  14. Qoumidan says:

    It’s been fun! Thanks for all the years of entertainment!

  15. I’ve had to cut back on parts of my life to aid my personal health. It is annoying and I fought a lot of things. But health has to come first. Cutting back will make you stronger and then you can be happier.
    I’ve loved reading your blog over the years. You are an amazing woman and absolutely hilarious! Seeing your photos on Instagram bring me joy and I’m happy you’ll continue chasing sunsets. ❤️

  16. Lora Greene says:

    You’ll be the one who finally drags me over to instagram. Hugs. It’s been a pleasure sharing your life these last 10 years in this space. I think you were the first blog I ever read, back in the days when my first baby was just a tiny baby (and yours was almost as tiny), and I’ve loved every single post you’ve ever written.

    • Aww Thank you! I think sharing raising babies with people was definitely the most precious time of blogging. And not in a “they’re so precious how can you stand it?” way but in a “Oh my GAH POO IS COMING OUT OF EVERYWHERE Thank GOD someone else understands!!” way.

  17. I think you are absolutely doing the right thing. We can all take a lesson from you and teach ourselves that it is very much okay to let go of things that no longer bring us the joy they once did. I have read every single one of your blog posts, including “B sides” from back in the day, hehehe. Thank you for all the laughs!

  18. I only found you a couple of years ago , but I’ve enjoyed reading your stories and watching your children grow. Don’t think or feel that you owe us anything. You’ve been very generous to share your life with us. Whenever you feel like telling a story I will be here to read and enjoy it. Do it on your terms. No guilt please. I’m happy your not saying good bye.

  19. I’ve been following along w/ your blog since the jeans posts (and still avidly avoid Gap denim to this day, lol), and I just want you to know that if you decide to come back, I’ll be here to read. I think that you’re a talented writer and I wish you the best in your future! :)

  20. Rachel, this is word-for-word my feelings toward my blog right now. You have nailed exactly what I’ve been feeling for a long while now.

    I chose to take a different path and went back to work full-time.

    I’m working as a Designer for a local home builder drafting new house plans all day long and I frigging love it. The new schedule (and daycare for Caroline) has been a huge adjustment for all of us, but wow is it giving me the creative outlet that I desperately needed but could not fill with my own projects anymore.

    After Caroline was born I totally lost my ability to be witty on demand. Blame it on post-partum or sleeplessness or turning 40 with a toddler, but my brain is fried and I just cannot anymore. Being isolated at home didn’t help my mental state, either, so I had to make a change.

    I have been avoiding my old posts as well because I used to be hilarious. It makes me sad to see how funny I was then compared to the depressing drone that I am now. Now every post reads like a generic script lifted from the pages of “Blogging for Dummies”. It’s not fun to feel so stunted and frustrated every time I sit down to write. Add to that my mounting hatred of fake excitement over products to earn money for sponsored posts, and I’m done. I quit.

    It’s been fun, but I need a break. I will not shut it down because it’s still bringing in decent money every month, but I’m focusing on a new path for now.

    I have been composing a post in my head for a few weeks that would sound almost exactly like the one you wrote here, so maybe I’ll just link to yours instead when I try to explain it to my readers. ;)

    I hope eventually we find our grooves again. Tell me if you figure out the secret please.

  21. Liz McGinnis says:

    I understand and I support your decision. I will miss your blog posts but, of course, I’ll be dragging out Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker anytime it snows.

  22. I hope that this break is a (physically, mentally) restful one for you. We’ll all be here when you get back :)

  23. I have tried to respond to all of you, but in case I missed one, here’s an update, a couple days in…

    It’s already been quite magical – right after I hit publish, I kinda freaked out and felt super sad and upset for the rest of the day.

    Then the next day, I actually *wanted* to write. I sat down and wrote 1,500 words in no time. Today, I felt the same, and wrote another 700 words.

    My theory is that the pressure of editing, publishing, sharing, worrying about offending people, worrying that no one will “get” me, worrying that I’m not as entertaining as I used to be, had all gotten to me and crushed my creativity underneath it. I hope this feeling lasts, but at the moment I feel super free and excited and creative.

    My current plan is (and I’ll probably write a blog post next week to this effect) to take a couple of months and keep an offline journal. Find my creativity again. Get in the groove of writing regularly again. Then start posting some of those, and hopefully get back to blogging having thrown off the tyranny of pressure. We’ll see how it goes.

    But I feel much more positive about it than I did a week ago for sure!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I will definitely miss reading your posts, but a break isn’t a failure…everyone needs room to breathe once in a while. I’ve been following you on Instagram for quite a while–if you want to follow back, I’m @absepa. If you do, be prepared for pictures of my dog and the weird things I find when I walk in the park near my house. :)

  25. Gina F. says:

    I wish you the very best. I’ve enjoyed your writing and watching the children grow up. You will continue to reside in my RSS/Feedly account, so I won’t miss a post when you’re up to writing again. My very best to you.

  26. Kate Jaco says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for 6-7 years now and I feel like we’re old friends :) I’ve read or relayed many posts to my husband over the years – he knows you as “Objectivity Rach” in casual conversation. Your posts have gotten me through many life stages, from back in my pre-kid days when I worked and needed a break from that, to my hazy first time mom newborn days (that kid is now 5!!), and beyond. I appreciate all of your posts – from the funny (I think we have similar senses of humor although I’ve never posed roadkill) to sweet (kid posts) to serious (health issues) and more. I completely understand your need to step away from the blog and I hope that you don’t feel guilty about it. You need to take care of yourself. I will miss reading but look forward to the day you show up in my Bloglovin’ feed again – if you feel up to it, no pressure! And I hope that one day my family can vacation to the beautiful city of Birmingham, AL and I can meet you in person!! Thanks to your photos and stories about your state over the years, I have a huge desire to visit and feel confident that I can plan an awesome trip. God bless you, friend, and I hope that you continue to find ways to fight your dysautonomia like the superhero you are.

  27. Hi, Rachel! I have been reading your blog for about 6 years, and it has been such a blessing to me. Your unique perspective and sense of humor have gotten me through difficult days. I will miss seeing your posts, but I hope that this break is the reset that you are looking for. Your family and your health always come first. Thank you for sharing your life with us..

Speak Your Mind

*