blogging geek fellowship

Guest Post: Emily Reminds Us to Build Castles

There’s magic in the air! I can tell because Emily from The Waiting blog agreed to guest post for me!

Magic, I say!

Emily not only co-hosts the Remember The Time prompts that I love, but she also finds time to write a witty, insightful, happy blog.  (She’s also a wonderful wife and mommy, as the blog stories will show.)  Pop on over, and send buckets of rawr love her way!

http://notthehardestpart.com/

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When you get an email from Rarasaur asking you to write a guest post for her blog, there are two thoughts that immediately run through your mind. The first is that of absolute glee.

ME? Little old me? I just saved 15 percent by switching to GEICO and now Rara is asking me to write something for her blog? Best day evaaaaar! Eat all the Cheetos!

And as you’re licking the celebratory orange dust off your fingers and feeling pretty self-important, it occurs to you that you’re going to have to actually write something.

Crap.

I used up all my words this morning explaining to my toddler why it’s important not to pour her milk into the accordion file that houses our birth certificates. My well is dry.

And then you open up a bag of Doritos.

The act of sitting down and pounding out words that will have resonance with a diverse audience is scary, and even if you’re not a writer, I am pretty sure you’ve been there before. It’s that feeling of knowing that good stuff is inside of you, that brilliance is rumbling around in your extremities and clamoring to get it out because if you don’t, it might just disappear. (It won’t, by the way, but good luck remembering that when it’s screaming at you to let it free and for whatever reason you can’t.) You know it’s there but you’re just so afraid that you won’t be able to meet that brilliance halfway and coax it out so the world can know how freaking amazing it is.

I often find myself tremendously inspired by the world that surrounds me. My daughter walks into my room earlier and earlier in the morning these days and I am gobsmacked that, one, she exists; two, that she used to be the size of a grain of sand and now she’s a person who walks around and says words for Pete’s sake; and three, that I still adore her beyond comprehension despite the fact that she comes into my room so damn early. The urge to express the unfathomable depth of who she is overwhelms me a lot of the time, so it’s not uncommon for me to psych myself out before I even get started.

But there’s still that nagging to build a castle.

Castles? I thought we were talking about snacks and babies. Where did Rara find this girl?

Some explanation.

Castles are surrounding us. Rara has built one. And guess what? You are building one whether you know it or not. Every single time you feel that gorgeous tempest in your belly – the one that has nothing to do with the bags of Cheetos you ate for breakfast – that castle’s blueprints are unfurling on a big table and you are preparing to pour over them. Those blueprints were made for your eyes; you are the best person to create the castle that they represent.

Castles don’t ask for perfection, and your castle doesn’t have to be flawless. Look at the ones that were built during the Middle Ages. A lot of them are crumbling now, and if you were to spend the night in them, you’d find them to be extremely drafty when you went to go to sleep. But we still love them and are fascinated that they span time and have become more than their turrets and spires. We’re all a little (read: a lot) broken, and that’s what makes our castles worth building. You can’t climb a mountain that doesn’t have imperfections on its facade for you to grab on to.

There are about a bajillion and a half people writing about their kids these days, so it’s easy for me to question what I can say that hasn’t already been said before. But I look at my daughter and I see that she is the only Wee Cee that I will ever have. She will always be the girl who turned the kaleidoscope of my life when she made me a mother. The words I have about her are my castle. That added dimension she gave my life? That’s my castle.

thewaiting

Whatever your castle may be, just build it. Don’t for a second believe that the inspiration you’ve received and the impulse to create and inhale the world is ordinary. You’ve recognized beauty and goodness for what it is, and now it’s time for you to put your own fingerprint on it and pass it on.

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Gah. See? She’s lovely.  Now that you’ve been charmed, too, don’t forget to leave her some comment love here and then run over to check out some of her great writing.  If I were you, I’d start here:

What is your castle made of? Does needless perfectionism ever slow you down?

105 comments

  1. Ah, very inspirational and just what I needed to hear to day – feeling down and looking at my rotting castle, I think I’m going to do some spring cleaning! Thanks Emily.

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    1. Me too, struggling with depression/sadness, which is so unlike me that it’s worrisome. Maybe it’s time to spend some energy laying bricks and crossing moats …

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    2. Thank YOU, Sreejit. A lot of the time I only see the rotting castle too. In fact, it’s a day-to-day struggle to just remember that those bricks are well-intentioned and point to something a lot bigger.

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    3. Sreejit, It’s always interesting to see other’ perspectives of their own castles. For instance, I love the space you’ve created. I don’t even read you via email because I feel like I need to be in your zone to get the full effect, or else I’m missing out on the experience of your words. In other words, dust if you must, but know your castle is loved. 🙂

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    1. Haha! Poor Dave had to hear me run around saying “Eat all the Cheetos” for about an hour after reading the post. I think it makes for a pretty solid mantra.

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  2. Emily, inspiring. I can’t wait to read more of you on your blog.

    As for castles, I’m far too much of a perfectionist and it can eat into my creativity. I’ll keep Emily’s story in mind next time I freak out over imperfection.

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    1. Thanks, Nadia! This is one of those posts that was born out of blogging, as Rara inspires me a lot to just create and be me for the sake of creating. Unconditional love helps me temper my inclinations toward perfectionism.

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  3. I’m constantly building and rebuilding. I may not have found the right materials yet, so to speak, but I learn every time.

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  4. Reblogged this on The Waiting and commented:
    Happy Tuesday! I am thrilled to be talking about the nature of inspiration over at Rara’s place today. I also talk a lot about snacks. She’s just great, and I would love for you to come on over and check it out.

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  5. PHEW…that was a lot to take in so early in the morning. Next time I need another cup of coffee before I read another ‘fast and hilarious” post. You are very entertaining. I love the subject matter.
    Children are endlessly fascinating and I never tire reading about them. The time to build castles and their accompanying forts goes by in the blink of an eye and it was wonderful to be reminded of the days gone by. For now, I will have to be patient and wait for round two. Hopefully I will be filled with imagination and patience. Now…where did I put those Cheetos?

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    1. I wish I could say that I never tire of writing about my daughter, but that would be a huge lie. She leaves me exhausted a lot of the time. Thank God for naps.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Rick!

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  6. Wonderful post! I would also add that the longer we procrastinate about building our castles, the more we expect them to be perfect to justify the fact that it’s taken so long, and the expectation of perfection makes them seem too daunting and so we procrastinate more. Another reason to just get on with it!

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    1. Excellent point and one that didn’t even occur to me when I was writing this! Hitting the ground running to get to work is the hardest thing to do sometimes, but the sooner the better.

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  7. Oh Emily. . . Oh how you fill my heart and warm me up! Thank you to lovely Rarasaur for hosting you and for being someone else to get to know.

    This is all loveliness. ♥

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  8. My grandchildren help me see the world with new eyes, to experience again a new awe for the world around me.
    Delightful post. Doesn’t matter how many words are written about children or by whom, they are delightful little people full of curiosity and wonder and make us appreciate life all over again..

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    1. They really do. One of the most difficult things I have to remind myself of daily is to be truly present for my daughter, to be there for her as she explores this world that is new to her. But when I actually manage to do it, I see the beauty in the world too. The emails can wait because she’s only a little girl once.

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          1. I was just reading about how spit has healing properties from mama to baby in the wild, and probably in humans, too. Which is to say that the best cure for a papercut is probably your mama’s spit. Yay Science Journals!

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  9. Emily, this is so relevant to me right now. Thank you for writing it! I find that I want to build TOO MANY DAMN CASTLES. So many that I’m paralyzed and overwhelmed. I feel like I need to choose just one – the perfect one. You’ve inspired me today, my friend.

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    1. Oh man, I have so been there. (I love how I just used the past tense “been” when in fact I struggle with this daily.) The best way to eat a castle is one bite at a time. Wow, that made so much sense when I thought it. I hope you know what I mean. Thanks for reading, Rachel!

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  10. Love it! Finding the Waiting at Rara? Genius! And what a lovely point of view, too. Thank you, Emily and Rara, for keeping me from unpacking the groceries from the car and getting the kids out the door for a play date for ten more minutes. Whatever your castle… just build it. Yes!

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    1. I only have one kid and I am insanely rigorous and mental about our schedule, so the fact that you made time for my words is an extreme honor. Like, whoa. Thank you for reading! ;D

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  11. I love Emily and so glad to see her in another lovely place! Perfectionism is always eating away at my castle. It’s a hard habit to break so instead, I’m trying to build it it’s own room and make it useful.

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  12. My castle is made from silly. Because silly makes my world go round and round, like a record or something. 😛
    Great post, Emily. Love the concept. Whoever we are, whatever we are passionate about, own it. Don’t worry about what others are doing on the same vein, just keep doing our thing, because it is what makes us tick, it is what takes us through each day, it is what make us smile even on the darkest days. Brilliant.

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          1. A Monty Python introduction to the Muppets sketch? Tell me you’ve seen the Muppets youtube video? If you haven’t stop what you are doing and go find it and watch it right now!!

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  13. Emily, you never fail to impress me. You have such a gift for infusing your thoughtful and inspiring words with just the right amount of humor. The ONLY time in my life I’ve ever felt anything close to being a perfectionist is writing my blog posts, it definitely restrains me. This was wonderful, I seriously am going to print it out and tape it to my bathroom mirror! Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Gretchen! Blogging and writing in general makes me a needless perfectionist too, and I think that it’s because I like doing it so much and I don’t want anything to be throwaway. I want everything to count. But I try to remind myself that ever if *I* don’t particularly like something I write, someone else might. It might be the very thing they need to hear that day. This helps to take the pressure off.

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  14. My castle is a thatch roof bar on the beach, where the breeze is always arm, and there’s always a tall palm tree to jump off of into the water and soft sand. Oh, and hammocks, for naps.
    Your castle is incredible, and I look on in admiring glee as as every new turret goes up!

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  15. I love the castle metaphor; and it’s nice to think that when I am old and done construction I can ramble around in there and rediscover all the secret passages.
    Great post, as always.

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    1. That’s always the best part of castles. When I can fight back the urge to cringe, sometimes I really enjoy reading old stuff I wrote because I can see so clearly where I was at that time, and where I was going.

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  16. Some of my castle is made of failed dreams & the lessons they taught me. Other parts are made of the moments with my kids, both good & bad, because they made me examine the depth of my love. Another part is made from the memories with my hubby, good or bad & sometimes troubled but still precious to me. Yet another part is made from my blogging friends who have often protected me, encouraged me & propped me up when I needed someone so badly. My castle is made of many diverse parts, but somehow they all go together – because they are mine!

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    1. I love that! I have a memory of throwing one of my daughter’s bottles across the room out of frustration when she was only a couple weeks old. I was furious and extremely exhausted at the time, but it’s part of my castle, too.

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  17. Someone pass the Cheetos…I love you both! I’ve been a follower/stalker of the two of you for some time and have never been disappointed. And yet, the two of you together, here in one place, and there’s Cheetos and castles and great writing? I’m overwhelmed. Thank you for making my day. You two are my favorites today! Off to share!

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    1. Cheetos and castles are two of my favorite things of all time, so I’m glad you came to the party, LMW! Thank you for the stalkage! It’s awesome to know you ;D

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  18. I so needed to read this today!! Emily, you know I’m a fan of your writing, and I love this both as a Mom and someone who can’t stop writing now that she has children. But, I sometimes get discouraged that I don’t have anything else to say that hasn’t been said before, but this was just perfect. 🙂

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    1. I get that feeling so often too! And it doesn’t help that there are so many incredible parenting bloggers out there. I often wonder where my place is, and then I remember that my place lies in telling my truths and just loving my girl through every word I write about her.

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  19. Indeed, wise words there, Emily. My castle has undergone a number of transformations, and the older I grow the more it seems to be changing. I used to find it very weird, but now I realise that I am simply only now getting to know myself, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and letting my castle look the way it’s supposed to.

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  20. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you.

    Great castle, btw. I wish I was as talented as that with blocks. 🙂

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  21. Breath.officially,taken.away. Em, if I ever doubt that you’re my spirit blogger, all I will need to do is read this post again. I was reminded of all the awe-inspiring castles and building I saw in Ireland, and how deeply they resonated in my soul…not because they were perfect, but because they held so many secret stories. Not only have you built a beautiful castle for yourself (that happens to also be a lot of fun to hang out in), but you remind me how beautiful my own is. And you’ve basically given me the green the light to keep feeding my DIY home-makeover addiction because, hey, Emily told me to keep building my castle. And eat delicious cheesy snacks while doing so.

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    1. And the best part is that I think Nate Berkus would approve of Cool Ranch and Cheeto fingerprints all over a white sofa ;D He (and I) just want you to be castle proud ;D

      Thanks for your kind words. You are the guru to my spirit blogger.

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      1. Oh heck yeah, Nate would be down with that. I think I once heard that he always demanded Cheetos and Doritos in the green room whenever he was on Oprah. Anticipating Oprah yelling your name, “Nate Berkuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus” is enough for anyone to need to stress-gorge crunchy snacks.

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  22. This reminds me of my own personal tagline, “Every life is a story that needs to be told.” It’s so cool to realize that every time I sit down to tell another chapter of my story, I’m building my castle. Personally, I think my castle looks a great deal like the castle from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, just an eclectic mess, but beautiful in its own weird way.

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    1. I love your tagline! It’s easy to forget that every moment – however mundane or inconsequential – is actually really special and helps build up the fabric of our lives. Messes are wondrous ;D

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  23. “The words I have about her are my castle. That added dimension she gave my life? That’s my castle.”

    I can’t put into words how much I love my son; there, you just did it. And I fell in love. Again.

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  24. (She just had a birthday!)

    Is there some magic about late ’20s, early ’30s? I swear, SO many bloggers seem to me to be in this age range!

    What is your castle made of?

    I prefer to use the term “Sunroom” as sung by Snohomish, Washington state, USA musician Tim Noah. Wish I could find a copy of the song somewhere, but until then, search YouTube for “Daredreamer” to get an idea about this guy.

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  25. Living away from my children and some of my oldest friends means my castle is built from the emails, letters (from friends who don’t do email–yes there are still some), mailed notes with packages, calls and texts from them and me.

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  26. Emily, what a joy your post is. I for one am grateful that Rara, stuck it to you. I will be visiting your blog and sampling your wears myself. Again thanks for openning my eyes to see your view. Take care, BIll

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