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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

Mental hodgepodge

You know how Jeopardy! has a “Hodgepodge” category? This post might be similar. Blogpodge?

Sometimes I sit down to write with a specific idea in mind, and other times I figure it out as I go. Today there are several things bouncing around in my head, so I’m just gonna say ‘em.

I have a no-frills attitude at the moment.

First topic: The Gray Area of Grief

I had a piece published this week! If someone told me long ago that I’d celebrate being in Grief Digest, I’m not sure how I’d feel. But right here, right now, I am jazzed to have written The Gray Area of Grief.

My goal was to articulate that, despite humanity’s love for certainty, grief will always be vague. Check it out, share it, print and frame it — whatever you desire.

I’m just glad it’s out in the universe!

Next topic: Creativity March

In mid-February, a friend and I birthed the love child we dubbed Creativity March. I didn’t expect it to be earth-shattering or anything, but my personal goal was to change things up a bit — to boost my mood by making more room for creativity.

Today marks ten consecutive days of doing something creative just for fun, and the results are in:

Creativity March has helped lift my spirits!

I’m fully aware it’s been a less-than-perfect experiment. I’ve also enjoyed more sunshine, had fewer obligations, and eaten more cheese. But, as my latest hero, Chase Jarvis, wrote in Creative Calling:

It's only by creating in small ways every day that we come to understand that we can create big changes in our lives when we desire or need them most.

It feels good to take charge — to decide you’re going to do something and actually do it.

It’s not too late to Join the Inspiration Parade!

Final topic: Happiness, courtesy of Laura Munson

This week I started reading a memoir (Surprise, surprise!) by Laura Munson, This is Not the Story You Think It Is. One part of it stopped me in my tracks* yesterday.

*made me re-read it during a bubble bath

After spending a year in Italy as a young adult, Munson dreams of going back to visit. But for some reason, she constantly talks herself out of it.

Italy, then, had become a symbol of arm’s-length-kept happiness. A practice, if you will, of self-deprivation. I didn’t see it this way, of course. There are times when we’ll do most everything we can think of to keep our carrots out in front of us and not in our bellies. But with the help of a good therapist, I began to see how I’d chosen to suffer as a practice that had its payoff: I got to feel like shit. Moreover, I got to feel sorry for myself. And victimized by forces outside myself. In other words, I didn’t have to take responsibility for my happiness.

I love how Munson straight-up admits she made her own life harder than necessary. She doesn’t use flowery language or put a bow on it. She tells it like it is: I didn’t have to take responsibility for my happiness.

I’ve put that gem in my pocket for safekeeping.

Summing it up

Each new day is full of possibility.

We can choose to write it our way, or we can helplessly watch as it’s written for us.

There are plenty of circumstances we can’t control, but there are so many we can.

I vote that we focus on those.

A long postscript about purple hair and being laid off

P.S. Wednesday was International Women's Day, aka Day Without A Woman. In 2017, I was laid off from my male-dominated company on International Women's Day. Earlier that week, and again that morning, we'd received cheesy internal emails about Day Without A Woman.

Then, that afternoon, I got the phone call and was locked out of my computer before I could even forward that feel-good-women-empowerment-hooray email to myself to laugh about forever.

Anyway, I've been self-employed ever since. That's why I can do things like give my hair a purple makeover on International Women's Day — because I'm not in a role at a company that thinks my hair color will somehow inhibit my ability to market professional services.

P.P.S. Did my little tangent end up being longer than any of the topics I actually planned to write about in this post? Almost. But that's what happens when you Blogpodge™.

A widowed woman with cystic fibrosis and purple hair
Creativity March Day 8: Purple mane. Purple mane.

1 Comment

Mar 10, 2023

Right on time. For me. The gray area. Munson. And your purple hair. Thank you Drew.

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