Piece of Fiction

I interrupt this message (and everything else I need to do right now, including finishing other very long, important posts and a book-long reply to an email) to post this.

This is a link to a short story on Glass of Random, written by ME.

This is the first piece of fiction I have written in 7 years. It's not polished or anything, but it's done for now. I wrote it in one night (not that impressive considering it's two pages long).

This is a HUGE DEAL to me. Why? Because I have always loved to write, as soon as I could put pen to paper and form words. I spent much of my childhood writing silly stories, plays, and poems, loving every minute of it. But I have been afraid to write for years, ever since after having a disastrous creative writing class at BYU. Since then I have been so afraid of failure that I haven't even tried to write for a long time, too long.

So this was scary and wonderful and frightening and exhilarating for me to do.

I didn't realize how very much I missed the feeling of writing until I printed it off for Austin to read and I started to cry. Yes, I cried. It's a stupid silly story and I'm sure I'll look back later and laugh hysterically at how crappy it is. But I think the light bulb in the dusty, dark attic of my heart has been turned back on. Everything is right where I left it. So it's time to pick up where I left off.



I went to all of church on Sunday. I had many mixed feelings about being there. Overall though, I think I want to continue to go again more regularly. Though there were some things said that bothered me, I did get one nugget out of the whole thing.

In Sunday School, the teacher mentioned one thing that I thought was a good and helpful analogy. I'll paraphrase because I don't remember exactly what was said:

Going through life you should treat God as your steering wheel and not your spare tire.

They're both pretty important things to have on the journey of life. But one is a constant. Yes, you need that spare tire and it's so helpful to have. And you'd be pretty stuck without it during an emergency. But you only remember it when you need it. And once the emergency has been "fixed," the spare tire isn't relevant anymore. On the other hand, the steering wheel is something you constantly use to get where you need to go.

This is all pretty obvious stuff here, and I'm not being super eloquent. But now I've been thinking about this concept. How often in my life has God been my spare tire and not my steering wheel? Pretty often.

Lately, I haven't been using God as a spare tire or my steering wheel. I haven't blown a tire yet but that doesn't mean it's not going to happen. I haven't even been guiding the steering wheel. I've been on cruise control, meandering this way and that and now I'm at a crossroads. I don't think I've taken a wrong path but the right path is also not clear. So I'm just kinda stuck here for the moment. If I keep continuing on the way I have been, I might just blow a tire or reach a dead end.

Cheesy metaphors aside, I've decided I want God back as my spare tire AND my steering wheel. I'm not happy where I currently am but I also know that I can't be exactly the person I used to be either. But maybe instead of just trying to figure this out and handle it on my own (which has gotten me exactly nowhere), maybe I should have God help me figure out where and how to get where I want to go.

So I'm putting my key in ignition, turning off cruise control, and asking God to be my steering wheel. We'll see where this takes me.


A Letter to my 21-Year-Old Self

Dear 21-year-old Tracie,

In 5 years, so many things will be different that you'll hardly recognize yourself. How could 5 short years change you so much you ask? Well, just wait and see.

You may think you're an adult now. But you're not. You so still have so much to learn. 5 years from now you'll definitely KNOW you're an adult. And guess what? Though you currently feel old to high schoolers, in 5 years you'll feel old even to most people in college. But don't worry. You may be an adult but you're still the same silly, playful Tracie you've always been. No matter how old or responsible you get, you still find the fun in life.

Speaking of fun, you know that guy you're dating right now? The one you told you could never marry? The one you weren't supposed to get serious with so you could go on a mission? The one you weren't sure you could ever love like that? Yeah, you marry him. In about a year. In a summer wedding. In June. Something you said you'd never do. Needless to say, the mission didn't happen. And you have mixed feeling about it. You won't regret not going, but you often wonder what if?

I know your mind is reeling right now. Yep, you marry Austin. But don't worry because you have absolutely no regrets. He is perfect for you in every way, even if you don't know that yet. And don't worry because it is 100% confirmed to you that he is the right one for you. And you get married in the temple. So good job there! Also, you will find a second family. I know your 21-year-old self worries about finding a family to marry in that you'll be able to be yourself. But don't worry. You will be immediately accepted by Austin's family and feel loved by them all. You will, however, feel sad that so much distance separates you.

In the next 5 years you'll accomplish a lot. You'll get married in the temple. You'll graduate from BYU with a BA in English, a minor in editing, and a decent GPA. This is a major accomplishment. You will be the first woman in your family to earn a bachelor's. You'll get your first "real" post-college job as an editor working for a fast-growing online university, which will have you commute 80 miles a day up to SALT LAKE for 9 months. (You get over your fear of driving on the freeway and driving in Salt Lake.) And you'll eventually get to work from home. Awesome, right? Not to mention, you'll also have a baby and buy your first home...in the same year. Craziness!

Speaking of having a baby, it will completely change your life. Being a mom will be harder than you think. You won't love it as much as you think you will. You'll have trouble relating to other moms. You'll have difficulty breastfeeding and go through severe postpartum depression. But don't worry because you'll get through it because you are stronger than you think.

Though you struggle with being a mom, don't worry too much. You love your son, whom you name Morgan Danger. Yes, Danger really is your son's middle name. Austin talked you into it. And you can't imagine a more perfect name for him.  He's the cutest, most adorable, most curious little boy ever. He makes you laugh. He makes you smile. You love him more than anything. Thinking of him makes your heart swell. You never knew you could love another person this much. He is perfect.

By the way, you'll totally reach your goal of a natural birth. Not only that, but you'll learn so much about birth and the state of the maternity care system that you'll become a birth advocate. You will read dozens of books, websites, articles, and blogs. You will subscribe to said blogs. You will create your own birth blog. It will become a passion and an obsession. You will become a verifiable birth junkie and your dreams of becoming a published writer (a dream since you were 8) will become less important to you than your desire to educate women and become a childbirth educator and a doula, a word you currently haven't heard before much less know what it means. More than a dream or goal in life, you will find YOUR MISSION.

But not everything will be peaches and roses. Unfortunately, one of your worst fears will happen. You know how you were never going to reach THAT weight again? Yeah, you pass it. Mostly due to pregnancy. But the baby weight doesn't come all off. So now you're the fattest you've ever been in your life. And you kind of hate yourself. And you miss your 21-year-old self's body A LOT. The good news is your husband will still find you unbelievably sexy. Seriously, you can't keep that man away from you. Even when you don't shower, get dressed, or do your hair or makeup. He's like in love with you or something. And this is very good for your self-esteem.

Speaking of your self-esteem, it's in a tricky place.You are more independent and more sure of who you are and what is important to you than ever before. But at 26 you are currently going through some major struggles. Your 21-year-old self occasionally struggles with making it to church and you find it boring sometimes. But by 26 you are inactive. Yeah, seriously. It doesn't happen all at once, you don't lose your testimony or get offended, but gradually your church attendance drops to practically nil. It happens at first because church is boring and so occasionally you miss a meeting or two but then you get pregnant and you get sick a lot and then church is too early or too late. And then you have a newborn and you hardly sleep and you're dealing with PPD. And then you move. And your new church keeps changing its time and location. And it gets easier and easier and easier to stay home, especially with a very active baby. Now part of you wants to get back to church and part of you is unsure. After having the baby, you change A LOT. There's some things you're just not as sure of as you were earlier in life. And there's a lot of things that don't mesh together. You're not sure how to be true to yourself and reconcile opposing viewpoints. You're still figuring it out.

Your 21-year-old self is a night owl. You love staying up late but it isn't really a big deal because you sleep in on the weekends and you still go to bed earlier when your body really needs you to. But 26-year-old self is participating in some pretty self-destructive habits. You haven't slept a full night in over a year. At first, this isn't your fault. But even after your baby starts going to bed earlier and sleeping through the night, you still can't get to bed. This is seriously problematic especially since you went back to work when your 12 weeks of maternity leave were up. Yes, you are a working mom. And you will probably be a working mom for quite some time as Austin is still in school. But you always knew you would work and be a caregiver. It's one of the reasons you went into editing, as you well know.

Your 21-year-old self loves living in Utah and can't even fathom the possibility of leaving. But, 5 years later, you'll find Utah stifling and you'll feel like a fish out of water. Yet you still won't want to leave because you love living close to your family, despite the fact that it's never been more apparent than now how different you are from them.

One of those things happens to be your political beliefs. Yes, you are interested in and follow politics now. You no longer call yourself a Republican, but neither are you a Democrat. You find both parties pretty ridiculous and divisive. You are, however, a liberal. And to you it isn't a dirty word. Though you prefer the term progressive. You have become a lot more open-minded over the last year. You have truly learned how to let people have their own beliefs, even when they differ from yours. Unfortunately, you have noticed that other people aren't so inclined.

Five years from now you will declare yourself passionate about feminism. You have always considered yourself a feminist. Even as a 11-year-old who declared, "Where in the Constitution does it say I have to wear a bra?" But only now do you truly know what it means to be a feminist. You have noticed how the patriarchal society is degrading and unfair to women (and to men). You don't believe gender essentialism, a concept you hadn't heard of at 21, to be anything more than a social theory. You are opposed to discrimination, prejudice, racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and homophobia in any form. You also have a dream that one day people will not be judged by the color of their skin (or their gender or their orientation or their political beliefs or their age or their appearance) but by the content of their character.

Your 21-year-old self doesn't have many friends. But you do have one best friend. A friend you've been friends with for years and have shared pretty much all of your life with, all the way through elementary school to college graduation. But in the next year things will slowly start to change after you both get married. Then she'll move away and you'll cry and things will change even more drastically. And by 26 you won't even know where things are with this person anymore. You will cry more about this than any other single thing in your life. And you'll feel completely helpless to do anything about it.

On a more positive note, you'll become closer friends with Brittnee and get to know Matt, who will eventually become her husband. You'll rekindle friendships with Amanda and Lechelle. You'll get to know and love Brett and Charlotte. And you'll make new friends. You'll meet Charity and James, who will eventually introduce you to Brad and Shelly and Wendy and Jake. You'll also get closer to your younger sister again, who you now talk to every few days. These will all be answers to a prayer.

So in summation, the next 5 years will be mostly good for you. You will learn a lot, accomplish a lot, and change a lot. Life won't be perfect. There will be hard times. Unfortunately your 26-year-old self doesn't have everything figured out just yet. But don't worry. I will someday.

Yours always,

26-year-old Tracie

*Got the idea for this from The Feminist Breeder, one of my favorite blogs.


Birth Blog

As I mentioned before, I'm starting new blogs. The one I most want to start working on is a birth blog. But I still can't think of a title. So help me come up with a title! I need to start working on this before I drive everyone crazy talking about birth. Once I can start blogging about it, I can finally let my mind clear.

Here are some that I've thought up:

A Womb with a View (there's an ultrasound .com site with this title)
A Pregnant Pause (I really like this one but looks like there's already a .net site with this title)
Not Another Birth Blog
Mind over Labor (no blogs with this title, though there is a book with this title)
Unadventures in Laborland or Adventures in Laborland (I think I'm leaning toward one of these two.)

HayLee suggested Out of the Womb, which I like but I'm not sure quite fits.

I want this to be a blog about pregnancy, fertility, trying to conceive, labor, delivery, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and taking care of a baby. So I need something that could fit in all of these topics. It also needs to be something I'll be able to use when I finally become a doula and childbirth educator.

So what do you think?

Oh, and hey, I'm working on several posts right now. They're long and complicated so they're taking me awhile.