On Being The Hero Of My Own Story

1 Oct

Or: The Blog Is Back

True Story sign

Photo credit to NCinDC.

In the last few months, this blog has taken a bit of a hiatus.  True, it’s because I’ve been lazy, but it’s also because I’ve been busy.  I got a new job and move to Chicago!  (Yeah, I know, way to bury the lead…)

So, what’s the new job?  It’s digital marketing for Baxter Credit UnionSo, basically, now I get paid to do what I love – and what this blog is about.  And it’s fantastic.  I’m part of a great team of people who are smart and funny and passionate about what they do.  I couldn’t ask for better co-workers.  But, man were they intimidating the first week.  (“I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared.”)

Editing

Photo credit to Nick’s events.

Getting paid to think and talk about digital culture means that I haven’t had so many thoughts on the topic buzzing through my head looking for an escape.  And that’s what this blog always was – an escape valve for my thoughts.  I thought that, with the new job and all the new people, I’d found a new way to release the crazy.  But, here I am, writing again.

Earlier this week, a friend asked me to help her with her grad school application essays.  And, almost to an embarrassing extent, I threw myself into the project.

It was a bit like that scene from Clueless:

Josh    I’m amazed.

Cher    That I’m devoting myself so generously to someone else?

Josh    No, that you’ve found someone ever more clueless than you are to worship you.

Cher    I am rescuing her from teenage hell. Do you know the wounds from adolescence can take years to heal?

Josh    Yeah, and you’ve never had a mother so you’re acting out on that poor girl as if she were your Barbie doll.

Planet of the Ant

Photo credit to Bergius.

Okay, so no one was worshiping me, but my level of enthusiasm for writing and editing definitely fell into the “acting out” category.  I needed to write.  To clear my head.  And even this little bit here – it helps so much.

There have been a lot of things, digital culture and otherwise, that I’ve been wanting to write about recently, but they’ve never totally gelled into posts.  Part of the problem is that I’m feeling like a bit of a nomad recently.  Picking up and moving has lead me to feel like I’m wandering through other people’s stories instead of writing my own.  And, so I’ve felt like I haven’t had the right or the perspective to be the one telling the story – that I’m the side-kick, not the hero, so who wants to hear it from my voice anyway?

My hero

Photo credit to Gene Wilburn.

For someone who’s fully on board with death of the author in terms of fiction, I certainly think a lot about ownership of personal narratives.  I’ve been kicking around thoughts about personal stories, ownership, and authorship for a while now.  Partially fueled by Laurie Penny’s great article about feminism, identity, and self-determination, I Was A Manic Pixie Dream Girl (seriously, go read it now!), and also by my recent visits to The Moth, a story telling stand-up show (seriously, go see it now!), I’ve thought a lot about who owns the anecdotes of my adventures.

Anyway, I’ve come to the realization that my story is mine.  If you’re reading this, odds are that at least part of it is yours, too.  But, that’s okay.  I am the hero of my own story – or at least I hope to be – so I’m going to be the one writing it.

Tl:dr?  The blog is back.  Thanks for visiting my escape valve.

Questions of the day: Are you the hero of your own story?  Ever thought like maybe you weren’t?  If so, who is?

5 Responses to “On Being The Hero Of My Own Story”

  1. hswinson October 2, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Congrats on the new job! I totally relate to the “who’d want to hear my story” feeling. Going through something similar myself. Keep writing!

    • Maggie O'Toole October 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Thanks! Sorry to hear you’re in the same place. But seriously, read the manic pixie dream girl article. It will help.

  2. Bobob October 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Maggie, welcome back. I was concerned that you had forgotten all your old friends. Look forward to the next chapter in this story. Oh yeah, I can’t imagine you being intimidated by anything :-)

    • Maggie O'Toole October 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks Bobob! It’s good to be back. Glad I come off as confident, but really, I’ve got a major case of fake-it-’til-you-make-it.

  3. pdagioPedro Dagio October 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Congrats Maggie! Have a start in this new proyect!!!

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