When you have a new baby, you simultaneously want to show the world and also want them to keep their damn hands off of it.

I feel the same way as a writer whenever I publish something. I want the world to love it as much as I do, and I also want them to appreciate it, without judgment, from a distance.

I write for myself. I write for an audience – all 10 of you – but mostly, I write for Reagan. She probably just pretends to understand some of my musings, but they sound good to her anyway. 

I like the idea of leaving something tangible behind besides my jewelry and some life insurance money, so I write. I hope that one day, when she’s older, she can look back on some of my words and really know her mom in ways that she’ll finally understand as an adult and maybe a mom herself.

Since August 2016, my life has been on par with one of the 7 levels of Hell. And by Hell, I mean Junior High School.

Middle school, Jr. High, whatever you want to call it: it’s where the girls get bitchier, the teachers get harder, the rules get stricter, and the boys get more conceited and stuck on themselves. 

I didn’t go to a traditional school, but I was around enough of my peers who did that I knew I wasn’t missing anything fun. In fact, looking back on it, I really feel like I dodged a major bullet by not having experienced this most awkward of ages in a brick and mortar school. But as it turns out, I didn’t have to experience it first hand when I was 12 going on 13, because I’m getting to do it now, with my daughter.

In many ways, I parent my child differently than I was raised. I do this because I think good parents take what worked from their childhood and implement it, and try and improve on the things that maybe they wished had been a little different when they were a kid. It’s called evolution and, apparently, I’m somewhat alone in this philosophy. 

I’m finding, more and more, that I’m alone in a lot of my philosophies. On parenting  On politics. On religion. On social issues.

At least, on this little parcel of the planet, I’m alone. Or feel alone a lot of times. 

It’s one of the reasons I became Episcopalian. I need to be in an environment where I can ask questions, have doubts, consider other points of view without being the topic of gossip or socially reprimanded. 

But guess what? I don’t know if it’s the therapy, the aging and maturing process, or if it’s just the sheer exhaustion at having been through these last 6 months with my child in her 1st year of Jr. High, but I’m at the point that I no longer care about being singled out, by anyone, for any reason.

I have reached a point in my life where I will listen to your opinion, I will consider it’s merits, and then I will proceed to do whatever I please without apology.

A lot of it, I think, has been this experience of Jr. high with my daughter. There, in the 7th grade, or around that age, we learn things and behavior patterns that can stick with us for life. It’s a very pivotal point of our adolescence. And I’m doing everything I can to make sure Reagan gets the most long term, beneficial life lessons that she can from this experience. But for a while now, I think I might have been failing her on a couple of things. But that’s about to change.

It took me 34 years to start learning autonomy and to begin learning how to stop worrying about what other people thought of my actions, beliefs, or decisions. But with each passing day, I feel a little braver. 

Part of this is learned behavior. I’m not going to say where I learned it or why, but I learned it at a young age: to be afraid of other people’s opinions of me.

I want to have a good reputation professionally and personally, and, I think, for the most part that I do. But I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I am a flawed human being who makes mistakes every single day. And I will not censor my opinion anymore when I know I’m right about something. And when I know I’m right, I know. I will always err on the side of my gut instinct over somebody else’s opinion, even if it sounds good or looks good on paper. I rarely regret gut decisions.  

I had to make one of those calls this week, and the more I sit with the decision, the better I feel about it. And the more I realized just how alone I felt in making it, the more angry I became. 

As I said, I fully recognize and admit to my faults: I am not perfect nor have I ever claimed to be. But there are a lot of adults out there with their head stuck up their proverbial ass and I’m just kinda fed up with it. I am fed up with people who care more about appearances or the surface level of something than they do the actual heart of any matter.

I posted a picture on facebook the other day about being a writer meaning that I’m not better or wiser than anyone else but that I’m just watching life and taking copious notes. This is true. I’m taking a LOT of notes. About a LOT of people. And one day, I’m going to write a book about all of them.

There’s a book of essays I read one time entitled, “People I’d Like to Punch in the Throat”. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that that title is already taken

I have decided that life is simply too short to live in fear of other people and their opinions. 

So, that being said, I’m giving you the opportunity right now to stop reading my blog, to unfriend me on social media, or to call me a name to my face, but I’m done being overly sensitive to the opinions of other people. I’m not going to be rude about it, unless somebody pushes an issue. I’m just saying, I’m almost 35 years old. My life is possibly half over or more. I’m done walking on eggshells around 99% of people. So there it is. Call me out on anything you want. But I’m warning you, I’m in Junior High for the first time, and you might have just met your match.