Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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I moved here for a simpler life.  I envisioned my children and I eschewing the television and pointing our feet out the door for a stroll through the countryside.  The number of days I have actually done those things is embarrassingly few. 

I am doing it wrong.

Just because you say goodbye to a cubicle and leave the "corporate world" behind doesn't mean you're stepping away from the rat race.  In fact, if you aren't careful you might just be stepping into it.  Especially if you work online.

I read too much stuff on the internet and it affects me or influences me or crowds my brain and it just feels wrong.  Serge has it right.  He doesn't read blogs.  Not a one.  He reads articles and researches crap and yeah, probably spends too much time on Ebay but we all have our weaknesses.  Sometimes I feel like I wrote better when banging out a post between working at a news station and being a mom.  It was just honest stuff, the first thoughts that came to mind in the twenty minutes I had to write something.  Now I frequent the web too much.  Click a link here, another one there and before you know it I've fallen down the rabbit hole.  The noise, it's so loud.

I just want to write what I want to write without it being influenced by someone else's thoughts or drama or styIe and when I'm all up in other blogs all the time that ain't gonna happen.  Sometimes I am inspired by someone but most of the time it's just noise.  More noise up in my head competing with precious brain cells that are already filled up with the latest drama on The Real Housewives and a bunch of other nonsense I shouldn't know about.

Today I want to disappear from the internet.  PING!  Gone.  No blog, no Facebook, no Twitter.  Just stuff I'm paid to write on Babble.  Could I survive as a writer on Babble without all of you generously clicking my links?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Probably not.  It would be a lot harder, that's for sure.  So no, the internet is a part of my life but I have to cut the crap and use it wisely.  Which, I'm still struggling over at Famecrawler because, man, I do not want to write any stuff about celeb kids and I don't want to be a snarky asswipe but that seems to be what nails the page views and I just don't have it in me, you guys.  I just don't.  It's a fine line.  One minute you're writing as best you can about what a great mom Jennifer Garner is and two weeks later you find yourself pontificating about the bad behavior of the Jolie-Pitt children or verbally shaking your fist over Suri Cruise's latest outfit:  should she be wearing white shoes before Memorial Day?!  Can't do it.  So yeah.  Thanks for clicking my stuff over there in March because I wouldn't have made it without you all, that's for sure. 

I guess what I'm saying is I need to pull my head out of my ass and start living my life with purpose but I'm having a hard time doing that.  The older I get the less I feel like I know.  What I mean is, when you're younger you're kind of an asshole because you think you know everything and then you get older and realize that you didn't know jack.  And yes, realizing you didn't know jack is a sign of growing up but it also serves to make you unsure of what you think you know right now.  Am I going to age five years and look back on myself now and roll my eyes?  You dig?  Oh my God, are you even following any of this?

There are so many posts on this blog that I go back and read and, man, I am telling you what.  My butthole puckers so intensely I nearly choke on it.  I can be an epic dumbass.  But that's all part of the journey, right?  Being an epic dumbass, realizing it, learning from it and moving on.  The internet is written in ink, man, and all my stuff is here for the reading.  I'm okay with that.  Yeah, it's definitely weird to see people who don't like me use the stuff I've written about as ammunition against me - and there is plenty of ammo in these here pages...  I've done a lot of stuff I'm not proud of.  Stuff that happened before this blog that I've written about and stuff that happened that I chronicled in real-time here (*cough* Serge's ex-girlfriend drama *cough cough*) and I'm not even a little bit embarrassed about it.  Okay, I'm totally embarrassed about it but I'm supposed to be.  Being embarrassed by stuff I've done and written about means I realize what a dumbass I was and it's the realizing part that's key in life, yeah?  So I guess you could say I'm not embarrassed about being embarrassed because I'm supposed to be embarrassed.  Wait, what?

I know I'm rambling but what I'm trying to say is that I feel like I'm at a crossroads.  I am struggling.  I am cartwheeling down a mountainside and cannot get a hold of anything to break the fall.  I've been able to grab onto some scraggly bushes a time or two and then I hold on so hard I pull them out by the root and continue my free fall. 

I've been dwelling in negativity and I've got to reverse it.  Even if it involves getting all meditative and Buddha on your ass.  Even if it involves long, rambling posts detailing how Serge and I got up early to see the sun rise or whatever.  I am drowning in yuck and I need to flip it, big time and I've got to do whatever it takes. 

Thanks, whoever you are for reading this.  Even if you don't like me it is comforting to know someone is out there.

Reader Comments (28)

I like you! And we couldn't be more different. I'm a 50 year old mother of two sons; one who is in college and one about to finish middle school and start high school (God help me!). I'm part of the sandwich generation taking care of aging parents while still busy with my own family. I enjoy your blog and think your kids are adorable. So, just know there are people out here who look forward to reading what you have to say. I don't facebook, twitter or any thing else so please keep blogging!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I'm also married, 26 years in October, and we're still rocking it! My husband and I enjoy your videos.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Keep writing. We're reading. :)

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSlove

You are one of the most intriguing and fascinating bloggers (hell, writers) I've stumbled upon. We're about the same age, but when I started reading, you were a newlywed and I'd already been married 7 years. Now you have two kids, I have none but I still come back. Why? Because you speak a great many truths without the bullshit platitudes or manufactured drama that others turn to. While most voices on the internet could fade away, yours is one I'd truly miss (and have missed when you've taken hiatuses in the past).

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

Buddha buddha buddha budda bing! There are crossroads... and there are CROSSROADS! These are the moments which serve to direct us off the same old crap mon stank and challenge us to think outside the choose brighter paths which feel safer and happier. okay that's all I''ve got.

I met a woman the other day who told me about a friend of hers who'se husband fixed up an old Fiat. They would dirve it around and suddenly. usually while entering a circle, the wheel would suddenly pop off. Its was hair-raising event and each time, the wife would call her husband who would make them sit there in traffic until he could get there to put the wheel back on. Can you imagine a wheel coming off your car while you are driving? Okay so this happened over and over and it's amazing that the wife would always believe him when he said it would NEVER come off again. Anyway, the dear man finally broke down and took the car to a Fiat dealer only to learn that Fiat wheels have to be put on the right way. Soooo, they put the wheel on the right way and it never happened again. The point of the story? Well, no sooner did they solve this mystery that the couple decided to sell everything and learn how to sail. The man BUILT a saliboat and she sewed up the sails out of parachute she bought. He quit his job and took a job at a TYCO toys who sent him to Taiwan...they made a fortune and had a yacht built and sailed around the world. One day,they were out at sea when they ran into a perfect storm which nearly sunk them. She swore to him that if they ever got out of that one alive ( which they did) they would sell the boat and get a house. They moved into a fancy house in Rome New York, and as it goes, the hoidy life became dull. What did this couple do? The dear man and his wife decided to join the PEACE CORPS. True story. In preparation for the Peace Corps, the man and his wife would have to pass medical exams. The man was found to have blood in his urine. He was scheduled for a CT SCAN. They brought him in for a simple test, and he was given IV dye from which he had an allergic reaction and died on the table. My point: Whatever you do, Monican, enjoy your life. Don't drink the millk and take the dye. Be happy.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergina

I meant DON"T take the dye!

No I am not embarrassed either.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergina

I hear you about drowning in the noise of the internet. (Great way to put it!) Sometimes I just need my brain to quiet down. Close the laptop, turn off the TV, and just sit with the quiet.

I only read a few blogs. Those are upbeat and they make me think, maybe change my mind and my way of thinking about the world. I come here because your blog does that for me.

Maybe Famecrawler isn't for you. Continue to write in your own style and write about things you care about. That's why I read your blog. You're original and you write from your heart. That's a winning combination.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

I love your insightful posts, and your videos with Serge crack me up because my hubby and I so relate. I don't blame you on the celebrity snark job. That stuff is really negative and sucks the creative zen out of you. Don't scrap everything though. I've turned the internet off for a week to "clease" and when I come back I usually feel better and spend less wasteful time online. Another trick I use is to time myself online. I keep a notepad next to the computer and when i think of something i want to read or look up online i just write it down and tell myself to wait for the internet hour. It really makes you prioritize.

Anyway, it's funny you say that about living in the country. I live in the middle of urban New Orleans with 2 preschoolers and I'm always dreaming about living in the woods. I have this Thoreau quote on my desk...

"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”

Yeah, well, Thoreau didn't have to endure satellite, iPhones, and Internet. I often wonder if he could've done it during the 21st century.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPistolette

I find creativity is cyclical. Sounds like you are in a down trough right now. If I could I'd give you a "Hang in there" kitten poster. I find what recharges my juices is something completely different. Get out of your rut somehow by driving different roads. Taking different trails. Cooking different meals. Simple things break me out of my ruts. Good luck.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Gogetter

well, i will tell you one thing, lady friend, i totally feel that post. i think thats honest as shit! i wish i could write more freely, as well. but usually i'm thinking, my mother in law will read this or... someone else. it's so hard. push on through. write what you can without hurting people. know that people will relate to you because of your honesty. that's why youre one of my faves and one of the few blogs i still read (trying to detox from the internet myself). <3 to you

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah

I've been reading (and lurking) for awhile, but I thought I would come out to say hello because, dude, you're awesome, and I'm sure so many women out there will relate to this, myself included. When you've been swimming in a pool of negativity it can be hard to climb your way out of it, but your doing a great job and I'm store you'll find your way.

Anyway, this is all to say, you're doing it just fine :)

As a side note, breaking the blog addiction is HARD! While I spend my Saturday trying not to let my hangover kill me, I compare myself to someone who spent their Saturday making a yarn jungle in the park, and then fighting child trafficking. Sure makes me feel like a winner!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSerena

The blog addiction is hard, and that celeb stuff can be downright toxic. Or any Internet drama can be toxic, really.
It occurs to me that you guys had this plan and goal in UT--save $, work hard, get to live out of the rat race. But now you are there, and what are your goals? If you've always had a purpose and a vision, then it is hard to not have one.
I'm struggling with that. My husband and I had a goal for him career wise, and I had a Plan for what I'd do. Then he skipped a few years and hit that goal, and I had a kid and am at home. I'm not sure what I want to do next (and having more kids complicates that) and I'm not sure if he wants to stay where he is or to move on someday. Maybe time to reevaluate.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhancy

I've been a loyal reader for years now, since November 2009. I know that because I just looked up the email I sent you when I spent HOURS (days, really) catching myself up on your life. You're the only blogger I have ever emailed, much less sent fan mail, and just so you know, I still totally have a girl crush on you.
I think you're awesome. And when I fall down the interweb's rabbit hole, you're one of my favorite places to visit.
So, you know, be brave, carry on. Sally forth, sister.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCAM/Gush

Monica – you are your own worst enemy. I don't know this to be true but I feel it in your words. You don't need to be, friend. You are an amazing human being. I know this without knowing you. So often, my own self awareness brings me to my knees. As does yours. I think? I feel like I know you and Serge.... and I don't and probably never will. But I am telling you this so you will know that your words matter. That Serge's words matter. That there are people out there who find your words salve for the soul. Don't stop writing. Either of you.

And please, listen to this:

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersmm

I've been reading your blog for a few months, since I saw you on babble and found our similarities (2 toddlers, husbands that are 40, love for beer, etc). My husband and I are both in the rat race with seemingly no escape and I think sometimes what is this all for? What value am I adding to my family? But since this is our current reality, I've/we've chosen to live our lives to the absolute fullest. Play outside every night after work, hit up the park every weekend, and really just have a blast with our family. Since we've made this a priority, I feel like I am really living life again. Sometimes laundry isn't done but fuck it, life's short and I want to enjoy these moments I have. If I had advice, treat your web career as a office gig, set aside your hours, do your work, and then enjoy your family. This has resonated with me - and I only work extra in the late PM or early AM when my kids are still sleeping. You're a super smart chick and you'll find your balance. And thank you - THANK YOU - for an awesome blog that cuts the bull that I can relate to. Love your awesome family!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Monica - like Serena, I've been lurking for a while, and your post led me to comment. To me, a really quality blog isn't about living up to the competition. A really quality blog is a snapshot of one crystalline moment only with good writing and some cuss words instead of film. Like riding home at night and peeking in someone's living room window (in the not creepy way) and wondering what their family is like and where they got that really cool lamp. You give us a beautiful and honest and true picture of your life and family and you make us want to be a part of it.

PS Are you sleep deprived? Having little bitty kids can make anyone a little down. Hang in there.

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMama O.

Always here, and always reading, and clicking, and liking you. You've been through a lot, lately, you just need time to readjust to your new life. I already told you this, but I think that moving, leaving a job and starting a new one, working from home, 2 kids under 4, getting to know a new place and neighbourhood, a fire, moving again are enough to make ANYONE feel depressed... it's so normal that you feel like you feel, I hope you won't ask too much to yourself... Take some time for yourself, don't forget the NY experience and your need to be a woman again... you're surviving so many stressful events, you're brave and you're doing it well. You'll find your balance between work and family and your personal life, it's only a matter of time. Time to get over all the stress, and fatigue, and loss (of your home). You're doing a great job, don't underestimate what you're up to.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSerena from Italy

Monica, I noticed you categorized this post under "depression" but I totally feel a way different vibe then that. Being at a crossroads means you can go down one path or the other. You would be amazed at the number of folks who never even realize that they have a choice. The folks who never move forward because they are not sure which path to take or too afraid of taking the wrong path. Myself, at age 53 am just beginning to recognize that the point is not to take the right path but to make a stand and take a path, the path that feels right to you, and walk it well and don't look back and keep going. So make yourself a new category to put this post in that connotes optimism, positivity and growth. You are amazing.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralicia

I hear you, lady. I read blog after blog after blog.......and realize, I have nothing to write on mine. Inundated by all the words, pictures, ideas, opinions of everyone else. It feels like a big drain. Once upon a day - when I was younger - I wrote all the time. Now I can't find the quiet within all that occupies my head to come up with my own words.
You know it's a problem when you're sitting in therapy and you make a blanket statement about how "other people" are doing it and when your therapist questions how you came up with that belief, you say, "Well, I read a lot of blogs...."
Oof. Yeah, I just admitted that. It doesn't help when all of those blogs somehow end up being mommy blogs and usually some sort of Mormon. Interesting........given I have no kids, no long standing relationship and am certainly not religious.
And yet...........I found myself up against this special little internet world that takes over my mind and my ideas and my understanding of "the world".

Now, I'm rambling.

You're still the only one I actually like coming to read. The only one who feels like they speak to me in a way I can truly understand and to which I can relate. You never crowd me, overwhelm me or make me feel shitty about my life. I would miss you so if you were ever gone from the internet world.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermr

Recent lurker here. Last night I read this post and I felt like you were an old lost friend writing to me. I connected with so many of your statements. And the noise, OH THE NOISE. Thank you for being honest. In all this noise on the internet machine, it is so very refreshing. do your thang. ;)

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

Monica, I really look forward to reading your blog posts because of the honesty and authenticity that shines through. You don't have all the answers, you don't pretend to. You're just trying to figure it out, like we all are. I feel like you and Serge are a haven of real in all of the "net noise". So thank you. Be as patient with yourself as you can and know that you are appreciated.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarti

I agree with Jane above -- maybe Famecrawler isn't for you. Maybe Real Housewives of...well, anywhere...isn't for you either. I don't watch any of those shows because the few snippets that I have seen show a really crappy side of humanity. I have to shut it out otherwise it would shut me down. We can all get down and feel like we're at a crossroads and it is important to minimize the negativity at such times. You can resign from Famecrawler and you can trade in Real Housewives for Mad Men and the Walking Dead (crazy addictive -- and total fantasy!) and any number of other shows that won't make you wonder what the hell hope there is for the human race!

And your voice is fantastic. Your posts are amazing. Keep writing!!

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I'm reading! Keep writing! I agree with another commenter about having a purpose and plan for life- definitely hard with small kids and work, but that lifts my spirits every time. Go ahead, get meditative, I can't wait to hear what your take is on all of that. The little I know about Buddhism has always comforted me and helped me sort our what's important. Best of all it calms me down. Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali is a great book. After reading (I think it was Serge's) post referencing transcendental meditation I was so curious! I want to learn more. Let me add my voice to the others urging you to keep on, because I relate to your life, your story, and I enjoy your writing so much words can't convey. We're rooting for you and your family.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Hey, Monica -- we're here, we're reading. Do whatcha gotta do, ok? You have to be able to sleep at night, right? And btw, I don't always agree with you, but I like you. ;)

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

i normally don't like to throw out there my subjective perspective on a topic... i usually like to think about it, analyze all of its facets as well as i can, and then expose the most objective opinion that i can offer...
this time, i decided it will be different...

the way i see it, you are forcing contradictions in your life... i know you want the best of both worlds, but you need a lot of luck (and/or patience and/or sacrifice) in order for that to happen... you and serge are both addicted to the waves; hence the need for the internet... furthermore, you decided to also make the internet a constraint for your living... that is a contradiction with the bucolic life - at least for now...

two, you and serge both have the writing talent... but right now you don't fully write what you want to write, because you are doing it for money... you need the readers, you need the clicks... yet, you still remember that you created your reading posse when you were writing freely - before the money factor became so important...

you have options... but i will list only 2 below...

one - you keep doing what you are doing and in addition you focus on writing THE HIT BOOK. i am sure between you and serge you have plenty of ideas, but, honestly, your life story so far, your autobiography - marketed the right way - could easily be a hit... beyond that, assuming success would follow, you could enjoy the nature/life as you would like to imagine it...

two - you open your own site/magazine... you add a couple of unusual writers to the staff of two you already have (and get a lawyer, too, just in case - for legal advice), and gradually leave behind the current writing arrangements. with a little luck, you could even get a financier simply based on your past and current writings... beyond that, assuming success would follow, you could enjoy the nature/life as you would like to imagine it...

i can see you succeed... you (used to?) have the drive and you definitely have the talent. stop worrying about commercialism... it's the opposite of that that people are willing to explore...

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfahrenheit

If more people recognized the celebrity snark virus for what it is and walked away from contributing to it, as you seem to be doing, we'd be on our way to a healthier, happier more meaningfully connected world.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterE.

Maybe you need more structure. I get loopy when I work from home too much. Violet goes to daycare now, why not get a part time job? Something to get you out of the house a few days a week. Or volunteer. A great way to clear your mind and interact with other people. I find it difficult sometimes to get motivated until I've accomplished something outside the house, and I find it hard to get motivated to leave the house, and it's an endless loop....

I like this post. I like that you admit you felt your writing was more honest before. That is honest. And to BE honest, I agree - since you started writing for babble and doing more sponsored posts, the feeling and tone isn't the Monica I loved when I started reading. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, or that I have lost interest....but it sounds like it bothers you, too. I agree with the person above, who says you could focus on your writing in other ways. Maybe the blog can go back to being a hobby, a release, and the paid writing can happen somewhere else.

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuzy

I am totally addicted to blogs. I can stay up past 2 a.m. reading them, and then not have the energy to clean my dirty house the next day. I spend so much time reading blogs, that I often don't get around to going on Facebook for a week or more. But in all my reading, I have discovered a few writers that I like enough to read their blogs regularly; you and Serge are among the best! I've been following you guys ever since right after the fire, Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan posted a link to your blog. Hang in there, people are reading your words with interest.

April 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanis

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