working hard

52/52.

All year, I fantasized about writing this post.

The last post.
I thought about which direction I’d take it, the options being quite endless.
For a while, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to reveal a brand new project, something exciting. Alas, no project has been underway that is ready for reveal this week.
It took until this week, the actual completion of the 52 posts, to realize exactly what I want to say.
In honor of the last 52 posts, I’d like to take a few steps back, back to the very beginning of this blog.
The truth is, it began as a Tumblr account back when I was in 10th grade.
I came upon the name ThisPublicDiary rather accidentally. I had been wracking my head for an idea, something creative, something that represented me and my words.
I chose HerPublicDiary. That was already taken as a Tumblr username.
I wrote at first anonymously, but then, always a sharer at heart, the identity behind the account was revealed slowly but surely.
In twelfth grade, my brother asked me why I don’t just start a real blog.
Thus – ThisPublicDiary.com was born.
When I chose the name, I didn’t quite know how accurate the title of my blog would be. But when I read back into my old writing, my newer writing, I’m amazed at how much of a public diary it is.
From those very first posts up until the post last week, I have bared my heart and my soul on this platform, leaving a trail of markable growth behind me.
The last 52 posts have been a journey all of their own.
When I embarked on my year of writing, I was about to step into a classroom as a teacher for the very first time, and I was 100% terrified.
I needed to prove to myself that I could work hard at something I committed to. I had to prove to myself that I could write even when I didn’t feel like it. I had to prove to myself that I could be absolutely and completely vulnerable and let the world take me as I am.
I did it, folks, I did it.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I stepped into a classroom again, for my second year as a teacher, and I felt the strength of my 50 posts behind me, my incredible year of proving myself wrong, and I did it. The nerves were there – change is always scary, but the nerves were completely different. I had proven I could do this. It was a whole different story from the year before.
This past year, so, so much has happened, so many milestones met, milestones that had weighed on me for so long.
I also traveled to Europe for the first time.
I’m also back in school now, having finally focused what exactly I want to do, and finally being ready to do what it takes to get there.
I’m a passionate person, you know this. I have ideas and plans and all kinds of opinions, and at times I’ve feared I’m all talk, and no do.
This year, I discovered I can also be a do-er. It doesn’t always come easily, but I can do it, and knowing that only propels me further into my future.
This past year, I did some really scary things.
I learned that in a million ways, I’d rather wear my heart on my sleeve than keep it locked up.
And that I sincerely hope I can help others trust this world enough to wear it on their sleeves too.
And I still dream of a world that is trustworthy enough for them to do so.
I’ve had some really, really good days.
And some really, really, really bad ones.
I’ve always known life could hurt, but man, have I learned that life hurts.
But on the flip side, man, have I learned about joy, about goodness, about true, raw kindness and connection.
So, what’s next?
What’s next for me, what’s next for ThisPublicDiary?
I don’t know what comes next for me, that’s hardly in my control.
And what comes next for this blog is largely in your hands, dear readers.
For the past year, I’ve selfishly handed you whatever I wanted. There were a couple times that my posts were so bad I found myself really, really close to just deleting it.
The entire year, the whole project was almost entirely selfish – I made a commitment, I wanted to keep it, I needed to keep it, and so I gave.
The weeks you read, my writing had so much purpose.
The weeks you didn’t, less so.
But the year is over.
This past year, I put myself first in a lot of ways.
I needed to. The things I got done, the things I accomplished, they required my full focus and selfishness.
And now…I want this blog to be less about me, and more about you.
Don’t worry – I’ll never stop being ridiculously vulnerable.
But I want to give you better quality content.
I don’t want to write for the sake of writing, not here. I’ll do that on my own personal time.
I want to know what you want to see from me.
It’ll mean probably no weekly posts. I hope to upkeep a certain sense of consistency, but my priority will be quality.
Like I tell my creative writing students – first you have to wring yourself out, get to know the real, raw parts of yourself. Then, you can think about your audience.
This past year, I turned myself inside out, I analyzed the depths of me.
This past year I’ve written short stories, poetry, vignettes and endless ramblings.
What do you like best?
I’m ready to focus on my audience.
At the risk of sounding completely ego-centric (although I hope you know confidently that I don’t mean it that way,) I have a request: If you have ever considered reaching out to me for any reason, please do.
If you liked what I wrote, if you didn’t, if you related, if you found it ludicrous, I want to hear from you. If you wished I wrote more about a certain topic or in a specific style, please tell me. If nothing else, I want this blog to foster human connection, and inspire honesty and vulnerability in all of us.
Here’s to a new year.
Here’s to a year of new connections, new friends and new experiences.
Here’s to a year of quality content, honest writing, and new stories being written.
Here’s to a year of ThisPublicDiary being not only mine, but yours too.
Here’s to a year of maintaining the balance of inward and outward.
 Here’s to a year of ThisPublicDiary: Scene 2.
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Blog Post: 52/52!


Featured Photo via Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Hardly Working

In my entire life, I have never prioritized school over family, or pretty much anything else in my life.

Is that bad?

It sounds bad.

It sounds bad to me because it sounds kind of irresponsible.

But that’s the way it always was.

I didn’t flunk my classes. I didn’t get all A’s either.

But it didn’t really matter.

If there was something happening in the family, or I just needed to be home, it was never a question if I could get out of school, that’s just what I did. I was never afraid to show my parents my report card because I knew they didn’t really care if it said A or B on it. They would raise their eyebrows if there was a C, but that’s only because they knew I was capable of more. That I was bordering on laziness.

This attitude towards school has carried me through to my adult work life. I tried once explaining to someone that I am not capable of becoming a workaholic, of putting work before life.

She stared at me, puzzled.

“Without work, what is life?”

I don’t care for jobs that stretch into the evening hours. I don’t care for jobs that only have me on the subway at 6:00, collapsing at the end of every day.

See the thing is, as I write this, my heart is pounding. I can’t write these things. I can’t share these things. Because in essence, I feel like I am only justifying my laziness. My inability to work hard could not be yelling louder in this post.

And it makes me cringe.

I am privileged. I am so lucky. I am lucky to not have to work 12 hour work days to make ends meet. I am lucky that I am able to put almost all my earnings into savings. I am lucky that I can live this way, choosing my hours.

Because I don’t want to have to compromise. I don’t want to have to give up time spent with my nephew’s for keyboard tapping and a weary head.

I don’t want to have to say goodbye to dinners with my friends in exchange for dark hours spent in an office.

I work. Don’t worry. I spend my days at my computer, typing, typing, clicking. Some days I am so busy, I don’t have time to write a blog post (like this week. I almost didn’t make it.) Some days I lay down in my bed and I think to myself “There is not enough time in the day”

Except that there’s always enough time in the day.

Until I have children, and then there literally won’t be enough time in the day, there’s always enough time.

It’s only a matter of how I use it.

Right now, this minute, as I write this, I am choosing to write this during a time that if I was working, I’d be being paid. And checking things off on a very long to-do list.

But right now, I am doing something that I promised myself I’d do.

I promised myself I’d write a blog post every week. To show myself that I could work hard. Because as you can see, it’s a major insecurity for me. Because it seems like everyone knows how to work hard.

And sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and I wonder. I wonder if I’ll ever learn how to work hard, really hard.

But then sometimes, I realize that I do work hard. I work hard at things I love. I work hard at the relationships in my life, to try to keep them alive and thriving.

I work hard to write a blog post every week, even though sometimes it hurts to share, sometimes it’s easier to write something I know won’t touch anyone, something that won’t rip open my vulnerabilities again and again.

I work hard on my connection to G-d, to my Judaism. I do.

I demand much of myself on a daily basis.

Would my friends describe me as hard-working?

Probably not. Honestly, I don’t know.

Would I describe myself as hard-working?

No.

But I would describe myself as passionate. I would describe myself as someone who cares so much, it genuinely hurts. To me, these are qualities I am grateful G-d has given me. I am so, so aware of the weaknesses He gave me, but I am eternally grateful that these are my strengths.

Because when push comes to shove, I know that when something I care about requires hard work, I am able to conquer it, I am able to work hard.

I hope to one day be able to work hard even when I don’t care. Even when something is not my passion, my top priority, or someone I love, I would like to be able to put by best self forward and give it my all.

I’m working on it. It’s a painful process, learning how to work hard. It is filled with self-beratement, guilt and being unsure of what working hard really is.

And most of all, I cannot, for a moment, stop thanking G-d for giving me a life in which I never had to learn how to work hard. I feel extremely privileged. And I know it’s coming, the days in which I will have to 100% put myself aside for something else. But I continue to pray to G-d that I will be given the privilege of being allowed to work as hard as I can on my marriage and work as hard as I can in raising my children.

Because as difficult and undesirable hard work is for me, I recognize that hard work is a privilege all of its own. It means you have something to work for.

And while I still don’t concern myself with the worry that I’ll become a workaholic, perhaps I’ll one day discover that work is not all bad. That hard work is often a reward all on its own.

 

Blog Post: 21/52


Featured Photo by Joshua Davis on Unsplash