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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Success Went to My Head (Ask My Niece)

Sorry I've taken so long to post a new post. My head--see, my head--it got all swolled up and I had trouble fitting it in the overhead bin, so my return to Normal, Suburbia, got delayed. I'm better now (steroids), and I'm here to tell you that Success with a capital-S, hasn't changed me a bit.
Portrait of Me by my niece--note large head

Okay, there is a bit of truth up in that paragraph. For one, I did have an actual success, as I mentioned, my guest post in the New York Times (online). It was a thrill. Indeed, it was. At least from the moment I learned my writing would appear before the public until the moment that it did, I was thrilled. After that, the mix of emotions was, well, a mix. Try as I might to avoid reading the comments, I failed. Even though I was prepared ahead of time for a range of reactions, some of them got to me.  Some were supportive, some were abusive. Some were plain silly--like the accusation that I was denigrating an entire metropolis (Boston), by accusing women there of not wearing make-up.

Parse that one, my scores of readers, and your heads might pop off and roll under the seats in front of you. I mean, really, is it an insult to "accuse" someone of not wearing make-up? I mean, is there something wrong with not wearing make-up? And if a whole city (Boston) chooses not to wear make-up, is there something wrong with that?

I rest my case.

Anyway, the other bit of truth in that first paragraph is that I was out of town at my high school reunion and that something in my possession did not fit in the overhead bin  (my carry-on suitcase) on my return.

In the event that any of my readers are under the age of 30 and might, therefore, be alarmed by the knowledge, I will refrain from stating which year reunion it was. But it was a biggie.

I must also point out the fortuitous timing of the publication of my Motherlode piece in the week before my big high school reunion. Not that I'd have had any trouble going without that publication credit in my pocket--I'd already booked the dinner and the flight, I swear--but it was a nice little feather to have along with me. And a few people did mention reading it, and several others also mentioned it, and it was fun to be recognized and have people relate to my written words and find they'd been meaningful to people. Sure, they were mostly other women of exactly my age and background, which is what happens when you go to a girls' prep school in Washington, DC; but we're important. Yes we are.

So my head swelled a little (apparently--ask my niece), even though I'm not exactly on the short list for Secretary of State or anything, like one of my classmates. It was just a little piece in the paper. Nevertheless, I signed a contract with the New York Times Company, and I'm getting paid for it, which means I'm a bona fide published writer.

Now that the excitement has died down, and I've re-established myself to myself as a decent mother and person and human being following all those nutso comments in the NYTimes, I find myself back exactly where I started, writing a new blog post for my scores of readers. I do, however, have a small lesson or two about success to impart.

1. Achievement does feel good. However, the feeling is fleeting.
2. What's most important about this achievement is it makes me feel that since I did it once, I can do it again, and it helps me feel justified in pursuing the thing I love to do.

So that's success. And it did change me a little bit. Just a little bit, though. A slightly larger head suits my frame better, anyway. Just ask my niece.


  1. Well that explains it. I was wondering why you snubbed me at the class reunion dinner (ha- just kidding!)

    1. I aspire to snubbing, truly. I probably had something in my eye. Or was worried you were snubbing me.

  2. I don't mind how big your head gets as long as you remember the little people.
    She got your hair coloring right. You look great as a goth-y anorexic! Sort of Marilyn Manson.

    Let's savor this one some more: " I signed a contract with the New York Times Company, and I'm getting paid for it, which means I'm a bona fide published writer." OMG!!! Confetti! Congratulations!

    The two lessons are SO spot-on.

    1. Yes, I was pretty interested in the proportions of that drawing. She definitely got my crazy hair right.

      Thanks for the moment of savoring!