Self-Indulgent Musings

This whole upcoming BlogHer conference thing is turning into a big ol’ learning experience for me, and I haven’t even gotten there yet. For whatever reason, it has served as a litmus test of sorts for the current state of my… well, everything. I have been getting in touch with all kinds of feelings that I haven’t really examined in a while, and I’m finding myself surprised by a lot of them. And if that last paragraph doesn’t scream “SOMEBODY’S CERTAINLY HAD A LOT OF THERAPY!!”, I don’t know what does.

See, the thing is, these last few years I haven’t really put myself out there very much. I have launched a new venture or two, like the Music City Moms thing and uh, this blog, but I haven’t really gone after things very aggressively or jumped in the deep water with it all. Granted I have been a little sidetracked with that whole pesky raising a family thing– you know, they can be so demanding with their insistence on eating meals every day and going to school and such. (“Would you kids go away and quit interrupting me so I can write this blog about the joys of parenting??? Sheesh.”) And also, at the risk of over-sharing (WHAT, ME????), these last couple of years haven’t exactly been drama-free in many areas. As in, “I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-life-just-kill-me-now,-no-wait,-better-yet-let-me-kill-someone-else,-ok,-not-really-but-seriously-God,-get-me-outta-here-my-life-suuuuuuucks”. Not to put too fine a point on it. Let’s just leave it at “There have been some distractions that have kept me from fully realizing the endless potential that lives deep within all of us.”

At any rate, I am finding myself in some kind of… well, it’s not a mid-life crisis really, because A) I’m not actually in a crisis of any kind and B) I don’t really plan on living to be 104, so ‘mid-life’ might be stretching it a little. I guess it’s more like an Awakening of some sort– like that movie with DeNiro and Robin Williams, except without the dopamine. I am realizing that I want to take what I’m doing, like this little thing you are currently reading, and approach it seriously enough that I push my limits with it. I want to see just what it (read: “I”) am capable of, and how far it/I can go. Also, I want to make a million dollars with it and buy a unicorn. Nah. What I really want, and what the upcoming conference is stirring up in me, is to actually compete in this arena. And I’m not really good at competition. I’m always the one that doesn’t want to keep score at pingpong or Nertz because it’s more fun for me if we just play, without all that winning and losing stuff… Which honestly may point more towards the fact that I AM actually pretty competitive– otherwise, why would I care about the scorekeeping at all?! Maybe it’s that whole Girls Raised In The South thing, and I secretly think wanting to win is somehow un-ladylike. Or un-Christian. I don’t know. (Note to self– MORE therapy.) Or maybe I think that if I don’t really run with it, if I don’t actually go after what I want, then I won’t be disappointed.

Bingo!!! (points to nose) We have a winner!

I really don’t want to be disappointed.
Especially in myself.
I HATE disappointment with the white-hot hatred of a thousand suns. It is my least favorite of all of my un-favorite emotions. Also disillusionment– which I guess is actually disappointment’s equally evil twin. HATE THEM, I say! They don’t teach me anything, or draw me closer to God, or make me a better person or serve any useful purpose. They just suck the life and hope out of my soul and effectively knee-cap me from trying again. (Yeah, I know– apparently, even MORE therapy might be required here.)

See, I don’t want to find out that I’m ‘pretty good’, but not ‘really good’. I’d rather faux-humbly decline to throw down with the Real Live Bloggers and just keep turning out my little posts for my small (yet select! and fabulous!) coterie of readers. I am afraid to push my boundaries in terms of content because I don’t want to be too transparent, or too edgy or too… honest. Yet the blogs I return to day after day, the ones that have moved me and inspired me to want to do exactly what they do are ALL of those things. On any given day those blogs are gut-wrenchingly vulnerable, laugh-out-loud ridiculously funny and often brimming with political incorrectness and profanity. And on any given day, I am capable of all of those things. Yet I temper myself, I censor myself, I pull back so that I won’t be too…. anything. Not that I’m dying to start blogging about my sex life, or let loose with a big ol’ string of f-bombs– hello, MY PARENTS ARE STILL LIVING. But there is a fearlessness in those kind of blogs that I really respond to, there is a courageousness in their honesty. It’s not about just vomiting out all of their private feelings about private matters all over the page, it’s about speaking their truth in their own authentic voice. (WITH some discretion and sensitivity and decorum, blah blah blah.)

I want to do that. I want to learn HOW to do that in a way that feels right to me and would maybe be something that you and others would want to read. A lot.

And that’s why I’m going to BlogHer.

22 Responses

  1. belinda

    Well girlfriend, you know I am here for you and I think you do a wonderful job now. You go to BlogHer and have a great time (you are going to love it) and learn all kinds of stuff and continue to write from your heart and we will continue to come day after day and enjoy every minute of it. (Hey sometimes when I take a break from work and come here to read, it helps me get through my day, they have been a little rough lately) I have always told you I love anything you write. You pull us in from the very first word and we feel like we are right there with you. You are doing a great job and I know the more you learn and the more you blog the more great reading and replying we wil be in for.
    You are doing a great job and I know you will continue to. I have laughed and cried while reading your blog! Hold that head up high Tori Taff you are one great blogger!

  2. auburn60

    Briefly–because I am on my way to the grocery store,we are down to frozen green beans and ice cubes–I SOOOO wish I had the courage to do all the things that cross my mind that I want to do for the next 50 years. (Tori, I DO plan to live to be 100–I will just now admit to middle age.)I want to go back to school and teach, I want to climb Mt. LeConte,I want to WRITE…so many things. But I am fearful of failure and fearful of being a failure in the eyes of my children. So far, I have succeeded in most things they have seen me attempt.And I would not only be a failure but an OLD failure–even worse and more pathetic in my book.
    How’s that for honesty? Even if it wasn’t brief.
    You gave me something to think about in the frozen food aisle.

  3. belinda

    Hey, can I go to the Macie’s party with you? That will be so much fun! Enjoy it ALL and have fun while you learn!

  4. LindaB

    And so,……….how did that make you feel? LOL

    Tori, I like your writing because you ARE honest! And a little edgy! And a little irreverant! And, most of all, HILARIOUS! And Belinda is right on—-your first few words draw me in and I can’t quit until I read them all! (And that’s saying something for an adult ADD who finds it hard to finish anyone’s sentence!) I’ve read some of those bloggers you admire, and I think, for what that’s worth, that YOU CAN DO THAT! With one hand tied behind your back! I hope this conference in S.F. is just what you need to inspire and give you confidence! Every woman needs to find some area in her life that she excells in that gives her confidence, enjoyment, and fulfilment—–and writing just may be yours! (Songwriting is good too, ya know!) This small “coterie” of readers/fans are cheering for ya! (See, I also learn a lot of new words from you—–like that Reader’s Digest department “WORD POWER”! My favorite so far is “ephiphany”! That’s a cool word! The first time I used it here at home, I told my hubby I’d had an ephiphany today, he advised me to see a doctor about it! )

    Alyson, I think you should go to this conference too!!! You’re good at this writing thing also! Of course, after you peruse the frozen food isle. Remember, it is written, man/woman shall not live by frozen food alone.

    Gee, I talk too much……….sorry.

  5. gracelynn

    Tori, I have to give you credit – you gave the perfect quote for me to scream daily: “I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-life-just-kill-me-now,-no-wait,-better-yet-let-me-kill-someone-else,-ok,-not-really-but-seriously-God,-get-me-outta-here-my-life-suuuuuuucks”. ROTFLMBO That sounds EXACTLY like how I feel at least 85% of the time. You do a wonderful job Tori on your blog and I absolutely love to come and read what you write. It helps me make it through some of the VERY rough days I have here with the three I live with. (It’s like Days of our Lives here at times. Maybe I should write a soap opera this summer LOL) I hope you enjoy your conference – I’m sure you will have a better time at yours than I will my CTE one next week. The only good thing about our summer conference is I get to go shopping at that great mall in Greensboro. (Maybe I’ll sneak in there when I’m supposed to be attending one of those goofy sessions about learning styles that I’ve heard 1,001 times already.)

    BTW Alyson, if you are thinking about teaching, you might want to just keep thinking! Take it from someone who is doing it – GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! Esp. if you are considering middle school – these kids are demonic at times. And as far as failing goes, I can write a book on it. Heck, it would be my autobiography. So don’t feel bad by any means Alyson. I know the feeling all too well. And I’m only 33 so how’s that?

  6. auburn60

    Well,thanks,Linda. I would love to hone my writing skills,somehow. I am planning to write a book about my husband’s crazy family and the town he grew up in someday–I’m only waiting for everyone to die off so no one can sue me.
    Lynn–I was a social worker for 20 years. I worked with foster kids and juvenile offenders. I currently live with a middle-schooler. I know they are demonic.I was never interested in teaching until recently. I was a TA in a Kindergarten class and LOVED it–especially when they first started to ‘get’ reading. The school system frequently failed my ‘falling-through-the-cracks’ social service kids. Lord knows, the SS system failed them,too. I guess I just want to back up and try again to work with kids and MAYBE both of us experience some success this time around.

  7. nancy

    Tori – I have been reading your blogs since you did the Nashville mom’s thingy but never got registered to leave a comment until now. I actually met you at a Praise Gathering with Gaithers a few years back….and I have to say I love you for the same reason I love the Gaithers – you are authentic! I love your writing and how honestly you express yourself. Knowing that you are married to an artist and the circles you have traveled in it would be very easy for you to try and impress your audience with who you are or where you’ve been but instead you keep it real and take us along on the journey as if we’re a friend – walking alongside. See most of us will never marry an award winning gospel singer or get to travel the world – or get to know the Gaithers on a first name basis! But that doesn’t seem to affect who you are or how you relate to your world and that’s what is so refreshing! I check your site every day to see what you’ve posted and it ALWAYS brings a smile and then I always have to see if LindaB has written a response because she could be your assistant I do believe! Thanks for opening yourself up – I honestly believe that you are doing what we are all called to do as a Christian – reflect Christ back in a real and honest way. Keep writing – we are lurking out here in cyberland waiting for you.


  8. tori

    Nancy, you de-lurked and made my whole day!
    Thank you.

  9. gracelynn

    Alyson-I know what you mean about the system failing the kids. I see it so much, esp. since I live in an area that is known for being poor. Most of the kids I teach come from very poor families and I know exactly what you mean. Have you ever thought about going into counseling with the schools? Heaven knows we could use a good one at ours! The one we have is NOT a good counselor. I had seriously considered going into that area if I do remain in the school system because I have so many students that confide in me on a daily basis during the school year and will not open up to the school counselor about things. They tell me they feel they can trust me and cannot trust her. Just a thought.

  10. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Apparently, your therapy you talk about paid off, Tori. From the comments of your readers, you minister to everyone in a variety of ways. And just think: you are going to go off and learn how to do it even better. Better? Perhaps in a couple of new ways, but never better.
    I’m glad you took off a few years from developing Tori to raise those beautiful girls because it sure paid off. And it will keep on paying the rest of your life.
    At some point in time, most people look back and see a tough period they have just come through. The nicest thing about that is the fact that they are looking back.
    The other thing nice about being half of 104 when you are starting out on an exciting rest of your life is that it’s before you have become up to your ears in pills for your legs aching, pills for your back aching, and pills for just-in-case-anything-else-is-aching. That’s when you can’t leave home because your pills would cost that $15 for the extra luggage.
    Go on your trip, Sweet Pea, and have the time of your life. We all will be right here waiting for your return.

  11. themema

    And you are how old, Tori? Dig out your well worn copy of Passages. We, who are older, have been there. Those your age are there. Those younger, will get there.

    Next you will be telling us how you fear the empty nest syndrome. I was sure my children would walk out the door, and I would cease to have a cause or purpose ~~~ and maybe never have them in my life again. I wished(prayed) to stay connected. Now, I wish(pray) that I had not wished(prayed) so hard.

    Now I wish I knew how to do that mark out thingie that is so cute…. and descriptive.

    Remember you are no more screwed up than any of the rest of us or “”THEM””. Be thankful for, not fearful of, an exciting new goal, and enjoy Blog Her. If you are not the most charming, good looking and together gal there, no one will realize it. And we send you off believing that you will be.

  12. LindaB

    Ya know, Tori, you got me thinking……….about dreams. Dreams that got laid aside when family and home took up so much time and emotional energy. I started thinking about MY dream. I still ponder it and wonder what my life would have been like had I pursued it.

    Then today as I was driving home from my daughter’s, I passed a bunch of sheep grazing in a field, and my dream of becoming a shepherd rushed over me. (You might say, I had an ephiphany.) I said to myself, “Self, sometime I’m gonna stop and ask those people who live there if I could shepherd their sheep……just for a little while. Maybe lead them in a chorus of “Gentle Shepherd”. But, I suppose it’s too late for that. The dye is cast, my life is here with my family, who are sheepless. Oh, sigh. This life is so short.

  13. belinda

    I would say we all think your blog is already wonderful and know you are a great writer! Keep up the good work! We love you and are behind you 100%.

  14. belinda

    You know when you are in church…..singing one of those great songs you have sang for so many years…..those sweet thoughts come into your mind as you are singing? Do you know what I am going to be thinking next time we sing Gentle Shepherd? lol

  15. rockin robyn

    Blogging – The frequent, chronological publication on the Web of personal thoughts and opinions for other Internet users to read. The name, coined in the late 1990s, derives from “Web logging.”

    O.K. I have to say that one of the first things I ever read-that this – “Tori Taff” wrote was the letter after Anthony Burgers death and the experience you all had and felt on that day and with that event… that was truly some heart felt and spiritual writing and I the reader (while tears welded up in my eyes) then wanted to know more about this wife of my hero and Jesus chearleader – Russ Taff.

    His music has always ministered to me (still does) and put my heart back in love with my Lord and Savior when as a human I stray. But that letter nudged me to check out this blogging thing and get to know who Mr. Taff’s wife is… this women who “co-penned” songs of his… Curiosity ya know!!

    From your writings here I can now picture who you are – Tori, and you are front and center, there is no phony-ness about you. In my head you knocked your family down a few pegs from this hierarchy (famous family) to a special women just raising a family and loving a husband and all the normal and problematic “stuff” that comes with that. And you are not so self obsorbed in fame and that you even have fears just like us…

    You have doubts and fears about stepping out of your comfort zone but you are doing something about that and I admire you for that… go to this Bloghers conference and have a great time and learn alot…

    (but hey this blogging thing about your sex life – naw that wouldn’t be a good thing… I said your husband was a hero and a preacher to me – that would just be like learning about… — well that would just do weird things to me!!) LOL!!

  16. themema

    Linda, you said a whole mouthful for a lot of us. Your dream is to be a shepherd. Can you not see that you are a shepherd extraordinary. A shepherd tends his sheep, protecting them from themselves and the outside dangers. He cares for them when they are hurt, and searches for them when they are lost.

    You are the epitome of the kind of shepherd Jesus was. And he, also was a shepherd to two legged sheep, not four legged ones.

  17. karen48

    Hi Tori….I agree with so much of what everyone else has said. I just now registered too. I usually read this at work and finally took the time to register. And how easy was that? lol
    I check everyday to see if/what you’ve posted. I love reading your blogs. As someone else said, even though you are married to an award winning gospel artist, you keep it all down to earth. You don’t flaunt that you are married to someone famous and can associate with the Gaither Homecoming Friends. I feel like I am right there with you a lot of times just by how you express yourself in your writing.

    I love reading about your family, and how you deal with everyday situations. I feel like I could come visit you and your family and feel right at home.

    I think that the BlogHer will be a great experience for you, and that you will only walk away with a renewed energy to write your blogs and keep us glued to our seats reading them.


  18. emilythemom

    Um, did you break into my head and write down exactly what I was thinking? I feel many of these same feelings. I really want to get in this game, and I want to do it NOW, but everyday it seems like I have a new excuse….and I think – am I really ready for this? can i do this? do i really want this? But I think I do. I don’t want to look back and wish that I had done it.

    I am so excited that you are going to Blogher – I know this is going to be awesome for you!!!

    Also do you read ? She has done a great series lately on blog tips for improving your own blog, I think it has seven parts so far here’s the latest:

  19. BrownEyedGirl

    Tori, This is the most refreshing Blog! Thank you for your honesty – saying things that I think. Yes, there are times that I think my life sucks too. – Even though I know God has blessed me, it feels great in a way to feel sorry for myself :o) Just for a little while….Thank you for making me feel that it’s okay. You seem like person who could make anyone feel like a lifelong friend.

    You definitely have a gift for this.


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  21. Leisa Hammett

    Tori…your writing is lush. Fluid. Laced with humor. As a writer…I lust. Really. That was point one in this reply. Point two: you wrote — “There have been some distractions that have kept me from fully realizing the endless potential that lives deep within all of us.” My reply — AMEN, sista! Thank u for preachin’ tha Gospel. Point three: therapy was the best thing I ever did in my life. And I racked up two decades worth. And it’s always in my handy tool kit if I need it. Namaste.

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