Sunday, 26 February 2012

Confessions of an Inconstant Blogger by Amy Palko

"Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, Grow, grow…"
The Talmud
When I read that quote last night, it just about near broke my heart. If even the blades of grass have angels encouraging their growth, then where was my angel? Why was I not growing?

Sometimes it's easy to feel like we've become stuck. Jammed into an in-between space where its uncomfortable, we don't really fit, but we're not altogether sure how to get out of our stuckness. Or, and this is somehow even worse, that we can see so many ways to get out of our stuckness, and the sheer number of directions is so bewildering, that we just stay where we are.

This is where I've been, and, if I'm being completely honest with myself and with you, dear reader, in many ways, I probably still am.

In August I finished teaching at Stirling University. I arrived at this university when I was 17 and completed my undergraduate degree there in 5 years - slightly longer than it should have taken, but I did get married and have three children in-between matriculating and graduating.

After graduation, I took 2 years out to raise my 3 tiny children, before returning to the same university to do my masters degree in Gothic Studies. I followed this up with a 4 year PhD, during which I started teaching for the English Studies department.

When I finished my doctoral studies, I carried on teaching as a post-doctoral teaching assistant, which I've now been doing for the last 2 years, teaching the first 3 semesters of undergraduate English, twice convening and lecturing on Digital Media and creating and delivering my own summer course on contemporary Gothic.

And now, due to budget cuts, it's over.

I'm 32 and my whole life since I was 17 has been structured by the university system, those 2 years out notwithstanding. I feel disorientated, lost and, yes, I'm grieving a little as my former colleagues prepare for the start of the new semester in just a few weeks time.

But then I think, you know, this is such an amazing opportunity. I can really focus on my business. I can experiment with my writing. I can give the proper level of attention to my kids that they deserve.
Yet, I find myself stuck in this uncomfortable, squashy in-between space, unable to grow, unable to make decisions. Well, that's not strictly true, I make decisions, and then I make new decisions the following day. I am resisting setting my sights on anything, preferring to leap lightly from one big idea to the next, embarrassed by my own inconstancy.

And I think, my lovely, that this is why I've not been blogging so much. I keep reading all of these posts advising on how to blog, how to run an online business etc. and they all talk about consistency and focus and drive. They talk about niche and target markets and coherent brands.

So I shy away from posting. After all, what if you discovered all the seemingly mismatched aspects of myself? What if you realised how difficult I find it to remain focused and driven, always moving in the one direction? What if I gave way just how impossible I find it to make any kind of decision at the moment?

Do you know, sweet reader, that I cannot think of anyone I would inflict this kind of hateful inner monologue on. If one of my friends came and told me she was having the same issues, I would be infinitely more compassionate with her than I am with myself.

I would tell her that we are necessarily complex beings and the drive to neatly package ourselves in a consistent and appealing personal brand is ultimately an effort in futility.

I would tell her that people need to grow beyond the boundaries of the pigeonholes they find themselves placed in.

I would tell her that whatever she chooses to share will be fine. Whatever she chooses to keep to herself will be fine. Because in the end, all that matters is that what you do choose to share, rises up from that wellspring of truth flowing from your heart.

So here I am. Inconstant and inconsistent. Multifaceted and mystifying (especially to myself). Free floating and on the fence.

And with this admission, I look above my head and see that there is an angel whispering, "Grow, Amy. Grow." I think, perhaps, she's been there all along.
* Both of these beautiful images come from Deborah Koff-Chapin's SoulCards 1 set - my absolutely favourite oracle deck. Do check out her gorgeous website on touchdrawing, the technique she's creating to produce these gorgeous images.

A true lover of stories, Amy Palko spends her days reading, writing, knitting and dreaming… well, that is when she's not being kept busy home-educating her three kids! She is the creatrix of Virgins & Lovers: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Goddess, exploring goddess myths and moon cycles through story, journalling, visualisation and creative exercise.


  1. I love everything you write, Amy. It's always so beautiful and so relevant. I've learned that I can often have long periods of downtime when I don't blog and, equally, periods of mad activity. I've learned that I am often growing the most when I don't think I'm growing at all.

    I think, too, that a lot of this online blogging and online business that we're doing is about our own growth and sometimes it takes on a life of its own, full of inconstancy and inconsistency and I'm learning to trust that as well!

  2. Thank you so much for this Amy, perfect timing once again. I've changed so much I'm starting to wonder if I might just be a butterfly in waiting ;-)

  3. I can so relate to what you have written here - within my own story of course. And, it's funny, a beautiful angel arrived for me yesterday, and she is saying Grow, Lisa, Grow! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Listen to what you tell your friend!

  4. You're only 32 and you have a PhD and 3 children? And you homeschool them?
    When I first started reading your post, the quote from The Talmud caught my eye. See, I was searching for some inspiration to send to a friend who has just told me that she would rather be diagnosed with a terminal illness than endure the daily suffering she finds her pitiful life to be. She's 45, has 2 children and is on disabilty leave (for over 2 years)from a factory job. She only has a high school education. I feel bad for her and have tried to help however I can. After our most recent conversation though, I sure felt thankful for all that I have, especially a joy for life (even when I'm feeling stuck) that I sort of took for granted.

    I'm not telling you this to make you feel bad. I know that we all can suffer from indecision and being stuck. Just remember to count your blessings. I sure hope my friend hears her angel whispering, but I have my doubts she ever will.