I've been a bad blogger, I know. I've been curiously absent from the great w.w.w. over the past few weeks, and with no warning. To be honest, I didn't realize I needed a break from blogging until I abruptly lost the motivation to do so. I didn't blog. I didn't tweet. Even Facebook felt overwhelming (though I couldn't resist updating my status to support Ashley Judd's amazing response to media nastiness!). So I checked out for a while. And you know what? It felt great.
Don't get me wrong... writing this blog over the past year has helped me feel incredibly, blissfully, and gratefully connected to a larger community. I've felt inspired, motivated, and supported. I've made new friends, and found new ways to laugh at myself and our crazy world. On more than one occasion, blogging has helped me feel outrageously empowered, bold, and sometimes even witty.
But in the weeks after my "big reveal," I suddenly, urgently, needed to cocoon myself into a smaller world for a bit. In this smaller world, my husband, family, and closest friends were once again privy to news about my life and emotions before anyone else. I re-connected with my reflection without concern for how I would explain myself to a broad audience (or anyone, for that matter!). I returned to Los Angeles on Mondays to begin teaching my favorite seminar at UCLA, and reconnected with my academic work and community.
I was surprised - and initially worried - by how blissfully "normal" and calm that I felt during this time. Had my no-mirrors project really been so stressful? What did it say about the success of my experience if I didn't feel like thinking about it - much less writing about it? Why didn't I miss blogging?
After two weeks "off" I had a change of heart. After time away, I feel rejuvenated, and ready to share. Importantly, I have answers to the questions I'd been asking myself. First, the no-mirrors project wasn't, itself, stressful, but finding myself at the center of attention (in the midst of an anti-vanity project!) was very stressful. In particular, being interviewed by the folks at ABC's 20/20 was exciting and flattering, but overwhelmingly draining, both emotionally and physically (I had cameras following me around on 5 separate days, while I tried to "act natural"!). Finally, planning for my "first look" was stressful and time-consuming, even though the first look, itself, went really well.
As for the overall success of my no-mirrors project, I realized that my willingness to constantly blog/tweet/post is ultimately unrelated to my stated goals. Rather, I've asked myself whether or not I've been (1) feeling more positively about my body, (2) spending less time and energy obsessing about my looks, and (3) situating my "body esteem" as only one portion of my overall "self esteem". These are my criteria for success, and (happily) I've met them! Indeed, the fact that I haven't felt like over-analyzing my body image is strong evidence of success; my other interests and responsibilities have felt more enticing and fun than navel-gazing (both literal and figurative!). This feels healthy! As for not missing blogging... it turns out that the feeling was temporary. I'm psyched to reconnect.
"THE FUTURE OF THIS BLOG"
Of course, the format and focus will necessarily evolve a bit, with a slight shift away from personal narrative. (I still plan to write and rant in first person, but I'm looking forward to more frequently putting the spotlight on topics other than "me.") Expect to see more guest posts. I'm also hoping to provide timely analyses of thematically relevant current events, and - as always - Fun Facts on Fridays (well, starting next Friday, anyway!). Just an FYI, over the next few months I'll likely be unable to post more than once or twice each week, thanks to having a book manuscript due in June (!) and a time-consuming seminar to teach. It'll all get done (it always does), but I can't do it all at the same time.
Whew! So that's my update for now. Thank you all for your patience during my unexplained absence. Please let me know if you have any preferences or suggestions for how this blog ought to evolve, now that the no-mirrors project is wrapping up. :)