Category Archives: identity

do what it takes


It has been a long time since I’ve sat here, staring at a blank screen. I’ve started a dozen posts in my head since I last wrote and mentally bookmarked just as many topics to address. I even have a small arsenal of posts that I wrote before my daughter was born  so that I could continue to publish regularly throughout “the hard weeks right after,” but somehow using those now seems false, not true to where (or even who?) I am now.

And the hard weeks…hahaha! If only just a few weeks had been hard.

Far from it.

DSC_0039She’s five months old now, with a smile that charms even the hardest of hearts, but every day remains a challenge. And the reality of transferring any of those thoughts to paper or completing any of those posts feels staggeringly difficult.  Continue reading


Filed under blogging, career, children, contentment, depression, family, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, running, writing

Food for Thought Fridays: True Words

fancy food

Today I am sharing not an entire article or blog post, but simply a quote that I stumbled across a few weeks ago. The words are searing and true, and too good not to share. (Debra Ginsberg is an American author with four published books, one of which is a memoir about raising her autistic son.) The only response that I had after first reading this was Yes. Oh, yes. 

Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.

— Debra Ginsberg


Filed under Food for Thought Fridays, identity, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized, writing

on blogging and mothering

writing deskLately I’ve noticed a striking similarity between learning to blog and learning to parent. Most notably, both require exceptional amounts of self-grace because both seem to result in exceptional amounts of expectation adjustments.

(And I’m pretty sure that I just made up the term “self-grace,” so if you’ve never heard it before, don’t feel like you are out of the loop. The idea is that both require me to have a lot of grace for myself. Radical.)

As some of you may remember, I had high hopes when I started this blog. I thought long and hard about why I wanted to write and figured that by the fall I’d be writing at least twice a week, if not more often. I’d have guest bloggers and would be writing at other blogs and on my way to a book deal.  Continue reading


Filed under blogging, career, identity, motherhood, parenting, writing

one step at a time

I’m a runner. Although these days I often feel like an imposter when I say that – so maybe I should instead say, “I was a runner.” Or, “I used to be a runner.” Because, honestly, I don’t run that much anymore. And not only do I not run all that much, but I also unsubscribed to Runner’s World (okay, that happened a few years back), have stopped reading running blogs, and have no idea how many miles I’ve logged in my current pair of running shoes. IMG_3258

Clearly, not a runner.

But I’ve just started to run again after my daughter was born (which you can read about here and here), and I am reminded of the tremendous humility it takes to do something that was once easy. Not only was I a runner, once, but I was a good runner. Not an Olympian, not competitive on an elite team, but good for an average person.

I started running in middle school and haven’t really stopped since. There have been injuries and long, icy winters and months when I was bored or uninspired or too busy – but for the most part, I’ve been running for about two decades. So it’s never been that hard for me to go for a short run, or a quick run, or a short, quick run.

And then I had two kids. In less than two years. And let me tell you, that does a number on your body.

And now it IS that hard to go for a short run, or a quick run. And my short, quick runs are shorter and much less quick than before.  Continue reading


Filed under body image, god & faith, identity, motherhood, prayer, running

community dreams

winniequoteSo I’ve been thinking a lot lately about community. The community that I long to have is starkly different from the community that I currently have. I dream about a community that starts with friends and grows to include spouses and children. I dream about our kids growing up together, seeing each other often and spontaneously, playing in the streets and running back and forth between houses, sharing snacks and swimsuits, sharing Thanksgiving and New Years Eve and the Fourth of July.

I dream of close friends who have “been there through thick and thin,” who show up at each other’s homes with meals and Kleenex and go out for girls’ nights and pedicures. I imagine my children growing up with a small circle of other adult figures around them, friends and mentors of mine who pray for them and help parent them, who fill in where I lack (anyone want to sew a Halloween costumes?) and who attend my kids’ weddings while recalling their first birthdays.

I am often frustrated, here in New York City, because my community doesn’t look like this. Continue reading


Filed under community, friends, identity, motherhood, music, parenting

God in the stubborn darkness (part 1 of 4)

When I first started calling the Christian faith my own, I had a long list of objections, questions, and doubts. One of these was how to reconcile my understanding and personal experience of depression with what I was learning about Christianity. I (mistakenly) believed that if my faith was strong enough, or my “quiet times with God” profound enough, or my sense of identity secure enough, I wouldn’t struggle with depression.

I thought that Christians equated depression with weakness – or, even worse, with sin.

But I have known depression for years – decades. I have struggled with volatile emotions and hopelessness, fought the demons that insisted life wasn’t worth living and tempted me to cut into my own skin. I wrote in sixth-grade handwriting in a spiral-bound notebook, This can’t be normal. What I’m feeling is too much. I don’t know how to live like this.

I know depression. I know its ugliness, its self-centeredness, its reality of hopelessness and despair. I know emotions that are explosive and debilitating.

I first hurt myself when I was thirteen.  Continue reading


Filed under depression, god & faith, identity

living as a prisoner

Last time, I wrote about motherhood as a “career,” as an identity. But there’s an important second chapter to that discussion.

I am a Christian.

How does my faith come into this? What does identifying as a Christian mean for my struggle to feel worthy, to find value in what I do and who I am? How should my beliefs affect my identity?

I remember when, as a teenager, I first really started learning about the Christian faith – as something other than going to church with my mom and sister on Christmas and Easter. There was a lot of talk in my friends’ Presbyterian youth group about “their identity in Christ” and “finding their worth in Christ.”

These were mysterious ideas to me. My identity was in being a high school senior, a varsity cross-country runner, a violist. My worth resided in my hard and consistent work at everything I tackled, my good grades, and how I was hopefully headed towards an Ivy League school for college.  Continue reading


Filed under god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting

motherhood = career?

Is motherhood a career? An identity? An escape? A calling?

Your identity is in this constant state of chaos and change and influenced sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. What this leads to is a very inconsistent emotional and spiritual life. These are the things that may explain you, but they do not define you.

Mark Driscoll[1]

I have long struggled with the idea of motherhood as a “career,” and spent many difficult hours in prayer and conversation about my own journey towards motherhood. My eventual decision to leave my full-time job at Carnegie Hall in pursuit of a combination of freelance opportunities in performing, writing, and consulting that would also allow (“allow”) me to serve as the primary caretaker of my first child and our home was . . . far from easy.  Continue reading


Filed under identity, motherhood, parenting

tough week

This has been a tough week. The last several weeks have been tough weeks. Clearly, an ideal time to start a blog – to share the dirt and drama in a public space, for all to see. Luckily, I’ve generally been one to do things that make sense – so this falls right in line. (That last bit was a joke. It’s hard for a depressed person to be funny, so bear with me. And I’m not terribly funny even on a good day.)

My mom used to call me her “long-shot daughter” because I always went after things that she deemed long-shots…you know, the usual sorts of things, like applying to spend a summer studying monkeys in Bali when I had no background in behavioral science or field research; getting into a college that my college counselor told me was a waste of application fee; convincing a publishing house to hire me when I had never edited anyone’s words other than my own; etc.

I won’t bore you with my mottled resume, but wanted to say that doing this – starting a blog at a time when I can barely get dressed in the morning – seems appropriately “long-shot” and therefore, very me.  Continue reading


Filed under depression, god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting