I have a lot of noise in my life.

The kids are loud. They interrupt me when I’m thinking. They make it hard to have a conversation. They bang on pots and scream like maniacs, running through the house waving their arms overhead.

They make slides out of sleeping bags and forts out of pillows, and it always results in screaming. Their projects never end well.

20150119_155246The world is a loud place. All the advice and opinions — some sought after, and some not — clash together in a inharmonious way that I find stressful. I felt this way when I first became a mother, like there were too many voices telling me what I should be doing. Telling me how to do this thing that I was meant to do.

I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

Noise makes it hard to hear. I lose my bearings when it’s loud. I forget which way is up. I lose my sense of purpose. Much like how I had trouble finding my footing as a new mother, I now struggle to hear the inner voice that guides me as a writer because of all the damn noise that gets in my way. I have a strong gut that has never failed me, but sometimes it’s hard to hear what it’s saying BECAUSE NO ONE WILL SHUT UP.

Lately, I’ve struggled to find my bearings. A year ago, if someone would have told me of all the opportunities that were going to come my way I would have laughed until my eyes watered. But now those opportunities are here. They’re happening.

It’s so disorienting to make a goal for yourself and then actually reach it. I can’t say I’m entirely familiar with that phenomenon. Usually I think, “Yeah, I’ll do that,” knowing full well I won’t really, because I either lack the capacity or the motivation. Most often the latter.

I want to savor my achievements, instead of rushing to the next thing. I want the noise to stop so I can quietly say to myself, good job. You busted your ass for that.

I quit my career in insurance because I was terrible at what they refer to as “work/life balance.” Apparently I’m not great at writing/life balance, either. On the surface, it appears I have it all together … but on the inside, I’m angsty. I often feel like I’m stuck in a purgatory of feeding children, cleaning children, sweeping up children’s messes and keeping children from hurting themselves, when I would much rather be sitting somewhere quiet so I could get all these ideas out of my head and into a Word document. And then I think about how feeling that way must mean I’m a terrible mother.

Sometimes I resent my family for getting in the way of my writing. But if I’m honest with myself, I know that without them in my life I would have very little to say. And then there would be no noise at all.

Not even in my head.