Once upon a time, in the dark ages of blogging, I was completely convinced that my parents would never, ever understand my career as a blogger. If the job didn't come with a 401(K) (which it didn't at the time) and involved lots of highly academic pontificating and snark about Britney Spears (which it did at the time), then they just shook their heads as if they were trying desperately to come out of some bewildered haze to support their curiously employed daughter.
And now, here we are, more than five years later -- FIVE YEARS?! Good God, I am a dinosaur! I am the triceratops of the Real Housewives-and-periods period of digital content! I have a bony frill constructed entirely out of high-fructose corn syrup rants! I was trained on CMS tools that are now fossilized! My first blogging uniform was made out of sabertooth skins! I paid the sitter the same number of bones I earned for railing on plant-eater mommies! I am the cockroach of polls on boob topics! I survived mobile posting on a Motorola Razr and raw meat! (OK, I've officially exhausted the theme, I know.) -- and my parents get it. I mean, they can't figure out how turn on the sound on their computer, but dammit, they can talk the talk. My dad can discuss traffic with the best of them. My mom tutors her retired friends on how to Google my ass (oh please, Goddess of All Rolls of Film Drunkenly Taken After Old English Power Hours, please let those bare ass college pictures be hundreds of pages into a search on my name). Sure, they think I am famous on par with Bethenny Frankel, but we will just let them run with that in lieu of the retirement savings and gold watch path to fame and fortune.
They've come a long way, and they've come a long way with me, especially in these last few months.
I've been working at Shine for three years, momentous because I was there when it launched and it because it is the longest I've ever been at one job in my whole professional life. That includes many freelance stops along the inter-highway, academia, the special hell of nonprofit fundraising, the stint as a personal biographer, the very long summer teaching small children art, lifeguarding, nannying, and being a receptionist at an engineering firm. No job has lasted like this one.
No job has made me more furious, more excited, more honest about what I can offer and where I want my life to go. It sounds crazy, but in the deepest and darkest and most horribly stressful moments at Shine, I learned a lot about how much professional endurance I have. I also learned what I am really good at, what I am not so hot at, what I don't have patience for, what I am too old or experienced or wise to do, what I can buck up and get humble and do anyway, what I have to learn and what I want to learn. I've stretched.
While all that happened, there were tons of changes on the site and staff and hard just sometimes got harder. Then something divine happened -- I got happy. Really, really happy.
So when I shared with my parents in December how my job was evolving in the New Year, I cried. They were tears of joy, and my parents got it. Today, I am working my ass off as a senior editor, overseeing our Parenting and Healthy Living channels and tasked with pushing our Community & Social Outreach forward. Really, that all means I get to focus on every little thing I love to write about and interact with all the people -- bloggers, PR folk, brands -- I want to work with most, not only on Shine but at conferences, events, on Facebook and Twitter. It's completely thrilling.
Perhaps most importantly, I am really proud of what I do, of what we're doing on this site. The staff is so talented and every day, I really do feel pushed to do more and be more. Smarter. Funnier. More efficient. Better. That pressure, I am reminded by a sticky note attached to the Not Boyfriend's tidy little Mac, is a privilege.
What I do there, spills over here. I am crafting big plans for Sassafrass that will hold tightly to the spirit I put in the very first post a million years ago. It also means that I am really going to try to make time, to make a commitment to be here more often, to put some of that ambition and endurance and hard effing work into making this site more than it has been. And I am also, in increments of time and cash exactly equivalent to enough co-pays to send my therapist on one more Mediterranean Carnival cruise, working to reframe that as a gift rather than one more utterly exhausting to-do.
To help us all keep the faith, here are a few of the conversations I've lit up on Shine lately:
- What are the best and worst gifts you've ever gotten (or given) for Mother's Day? You know you have a doozy to share.
- I got this Demi Lovato exclusive. Without, of course, talking to her myself as one might expect.
- You know that whole J. Crew controversy about a boy-child wearing pink nail polish? No one is shocked I spoke about that shit.
- This one's just an excuse to gawk at teensy onesies with appliqued ties. Oh, and collect all-caps yelling comments from WalMart moms.
- Diaper rash advice round-up. Also known as parent blogging oil drilling.
Click. Read. Comment. And do tell me here what you'd like to see change. Be honest, I can take it. I'm all about the evolution.