Writing about my life used to be what I do best…but for some reason, I’m having difficulty writing about this blog. I used to have a long about page here, but I’ll try to be more succinct.
DukkhaGirl: The History
In 2009 (I think), my oldest daughter got invited on a friend’s move-cross-country RV trip, leaving me with some extra time. I’d been messing around with WordPress for a while, already, at that point, and thought, “well, I’ll make a blog.” So I set out to write about some of my opinions about Buddhism, meditation, and my life in general, and DukkhaGirl was born. I felt like it was a moniker that fit me. I wasn’t really a “girl,” then, and am certainly not now. And my dukkha remains, paradoxically, much the same, and different at the same time.
I went to work writing posts about things like the Buddhist precept of gossip looking at the “desperate housewives”((as my sister-in-law called them)) in my neighborhood. About my aggravation at reading travel memoirs like “Eat, Pray, Love” at a time when traveling, for me, meant an in-state road trip with two food-fighting kids, and trying to “Find Everything Here and Now and In My Own Backyard” — a restatement of the aforementioned book’s subtitle and what eventually became the subtitle for this website.
Along the way, I found to my both joy and horror, that people were actually reading what I was writing. Mostly, it was a group of people whose blogs I also read, but I found that I had an enjoyable little community that would read and comment on my new post. I liked the feedback and I was often astonished at what people considered my “best.” “A Few Things About Death on Halloween,” seemed to, interestingly, be a favorite, where I ruminated that my spouse probably wouldn’t like me asking for my preferential burial plot as a Christmas gift and jumped to all sorts of different topics from burial customs to quotes on death to alternate “after-death” options. Hmmm…
However, a few things happened that derailed the blogging train. If you might remember, around 2008 we had a big recession. By 2009, this necessitated my return to work as a therapist1. This didn’t leave much time for the blogging — still, I persisted. Then, my Twitter account got hacked. Then, my blog got hacked and started spewing weird scripts and ads instead of my ideas about dharma.
I didn’t have the time and emotional energy to think about continuing to fix a broken website and decided to just quit. DukkhaGirl was toast. I kept the Twitter account, though, but quit posting there.
While I often regretted just quitting — I wish I’d fixed the site, kept the content, and just stopped writing so I could return to it later — life gave me a bunch of other things to derail my blogging endeavors from a parent with ALS to a daughter’s autism diagnosis.
So, why start DukkhaGirl again?
Since then, many of the obstacles to my blogging have changed and I have more time on my hands. What to do with it?
When I was a college student, the one thing I could do well consistently was write. For many reasons, however, which I will not go into here, I went into a completely non-writing profession that absolutely didn’t suit me. And found myself feeling stuck there2.
Since then, I went through “I’m going to write!” phases where I’d publish something.
Doing so, however, made me realize that “getting published” wouldn’t really bring me the satisfaction I thought it would.
Still, when I again quit my job and people said “what will you do?” I said WRITE! Only to find that I didn’t like trying to write in publications for profit or to create a book I though might be “marketable.” So I gave blogging a go, only to 1) find that I didn’t like constantly writing about my blog topic and 2) having the pandemic poop on it as it did to so many things.
But do I still like to write? Sure! I can’t not write. The writing landscape has changed drastically since I was a smart and sometimes satirical 19-year-old. I can never be the writer that she might have been if she’d been more daring and less eager to please the parental pursestrings. And I’m not sure if I’m even a good writer anymore.
But I’ve found that my wanting to “be a writer” was mixed up with wanting to be a “somebody.” I’d spent a lifetime telling myself I could have been a writer, wanted to be a writer….but do I now?
To misquote Dickinson:
How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog To tell one's name – the livelong June To an admiring Blog!"
I don’t really want to be public. But I do want to write. And I like the feedback I get by writing online. And I write anonymously to protect the innocent and the guilty more than to protect myself. So I’m writing this blog again and spending my days relearning musical instruments that I abandoned years ago, making crafty things to sell on Etsy, dismantling some other blogs, and starting to write a novel for fun when that’s done3.
What is DukkhaGirl About? Is this a Buddhist Blog?
DukkhaGirl v1 was in the category one might consider “Buddhist Blog.” Mostly I tried to tie in everything with Buddhism in one way or another.
When I brought this blog back, my intention was to try recovering some of what I wrote before — and I’ve done a bit of that.
But over 10 years is a lot of time. I’d probably cringe at some of the stuff I wrote back then.
My intention is to use this space as a personal blog. I am still meditating (though I’m having more mental obstacles to getting my butt on that cushion right now than I did back then — but resistance comes and goes) and am interested in Buddhism. But I’m finding that I want to review some related books. Write some personal-memoir-type essays. So you might find one post about the Xin Xin Ming here, and another post about the neighbor lady that “introduced” me to religion. You might find a couple of the cartoon doodles from v1 of this blog that I dredged up off the internet where someone found a reason to save and repost them. Or a haiku. Or you might read about the time I threw a gay parakeet wedding when I was 9. I might write something every week. Or I might not write anything here for months.
Why write with a pseudonym? When I first started, I started writing as Perplexity for a couple of reasons: my daughter was already cranky that I’d written about her (nothing bad) in an article. And, then, I was starting a new job again. While I’d never write about my patients, I was concerned my employer would look down on my blogging endeavors.
Now, planning to possibly write some memoirs…that will entail writing about people. So, there you go. If I do write my personal memoir posts, the names will be changed to protect the innocent and the guilty alike!
I’ve already written a bunch about myself, but I’ll say that “DukkhaGirl” is a middle-aged white lady with a long-time affinity for Zen Buddhism who has sat with a group, sat retreats, etc, but has no “credentials.” The things she writes here are solely her opinion. She loves to travel alone but is choosing not to do it much due to reasons both environmental and family-related. She spends much of her time taking care of the house, walking in the woods near her home, doing assorted craft projects for fun and maybe profit, writing, and badly strumming various stringed instruments. She will not, hereafter, write of herself in third person.
- I had been staying home with the kids for a while
- Of course often stuckness is a result of staying stuck seeming easier and safer than making the difficult choices it would mean making to get onesself unstuck.
- Do NOT ask me where the novel is or what it’s about!!!