When I made the decision to start blogging, a friend of mine who works in social media management asked me, “what’s your brand?” My brand? Uh…..sober alcoholic finally scrapes it together enough to allow for all her dreams to come true and then spends her days in cheap yoga clothes attempting not to royally fuck it all up. And also sometimes makes smoothies. How's that?
Wasn’t web logging once just a way people kept journals? Like a public diary? I wonder where the line is between keeping Aunt Shelley in Rhode Island up to speed on our potty training endeavors and influencing what BPA-free, earth-friendly, domestically hand-crafted toys strangers choose to purchase for their children. I’ve decided to walk this path, but it feels rife with switchbacks and signs written in Portuguese and the odd pregnant rattlesnake (with a perfectly oiled belly studio-shot with a Nikon). I don’t know about other mommy bloggers, but motherhood is forming my identity in a way nothing else ever really has. I’m not sure my “point-of-view” is solidified enough for packaging, and to be honest, that’s likely a large part of my motivation to write in the first place. I’m decidedly without schtick and I’m certainly without polish, but I’m not without something to say.
What I have to say exactly is yet to be determined. How I intend to say it is how I attempt to walk through my life: honestly, thoughtfully, and without taking myself too seriously. I’m also hoping that having the anonymity of this particular medium will allow me to be vulnerable in ways I don’t seem to be able to in polite society. I’m not in the habit of walking up to strangers at cocktails parties and saying “Lindsey Magner, how’s it going? I used to work with detoxing heroin addicts 60 hours a week but I find that raising small children is exponentially more difficult. I’m afraid everyone in this room is staring at me, I’m deeply regretting wearing make-up tonight because I already have anxiety about how long it will take me to remove it, and no, I will not be having a glass of wine because I would like not to end this evening by peeing in the coat-check.”
Yes, I know nobody actually talks like that. But because I always feel so awkward trying to marry how I think I’m supposed to behave with how I feel inside, I don’t do people well. I typically fall silent around new folks, or shout out deeply inappropriate things like, “oh yeah? You keep kosher? Did you know that Bruce Jenner is a woman now?” and then run away. Or, more often than not, I avoid socializing with people I don’t feel totally comfortable with. Which is pretty much everyone. It’s a strange dance, trying to flesh out and sink into one’s authentic self in a culture that puts an exceedingly high price tag on having one’s shit together. I avoided social media for a long time for just that reason. I recently saw a feed with a “no mommy has it all together” post directly following one featuring a flawlessly swaddled infant on starched-white bed linens flanked by a sprinkle-covered donut and a pot of succulents. The whole situation was deeply confusing.
That sounded judgy. I’m sorry. I understand that we’re all just looking for our pockets of joy and beauty in this world. I’m here attempting to do the same thing. All this fear gets lonely. I’m thinking that maybe if I give myself permission to be witnessed in this forum, I’ll be brave enough to seek more intimacy in my face-to-face relationships. I resisted the whole “blogosphere” for a long time because I didn’t understand it. I’m still learning. But it’s kind of awesome, I think, having this space to be witnessed. To bear witness to others. To show up and reach out and risk rejection or backlash or, worst of all maybe, total radio silence. Here’s to taking that risk.
Why Jauntymommy? Webster’s defines “jaunty” as “having or expressing a lively, cheerful, and self-confident manner.” I spent a great deal of my life expressing self-confidence and cheer that was a big fat fucking lie. I’ve spent the past several years cultivating the spiritual tools and appropriate action to actually be what I was play-acting at before. Plus, “jaunty” is a word, not unlike “pony” or “didgeridoo,” that makes me chuckle every time I say it. So I say it a lot. Because I’m in the trenches with tiny people here, y’all. Without laughter, I would surely perish.
Let’s revisit this whole “branding” idea once I’ve gotten my sea-legs a bit. For now, suffice it to say that I’m a wife and mother of two toddlers who likes to write, teeters between mental instability and full-on crazy from moment to moment, and cannot get by without daily giggle fits. I’m an introvert by nature but fiercely love the people who energize me. I tend to think in contradictions and spend a fair amount of brain-power attempting to shift the pendulum of my polarized thinking into a more reasonable grey area. I cannot long for universal tolerance and kindness and cower in disgusted horror when approached by a stranger in the supermarket. I cannot think that my children are better than everyone else’s children and also worse than everyone else’s children. I cannot eat a bowl of dry kale and then an entire pint of ice cream and call it a balanced lunch. But I do these things. I’m a work-in-progress to be certain. But at least I’m jaunty, y’all.