Confessions & Scary Truths, Self-Reflection

Confession: Why I killed The Dynamom

I have a confession: I killed The Dynamom.

Who’s The Dynamom? Well, she’s a writer. She’s blogged for years about parenthood – primarily opinion pieces – and doled out some decent-ass practical advice.

So what’s my beef? Well, there’s no beef.

The Dynamom is me. She WAS me, I suppose. I wrote as The Dynamom, stoked to have bylines in MSN, HuffPo, POPSUGAR, Woman’s Day and more, and a CRAZY thing happened: a few of my blogs went viral on Scary Mommy — maybe you read this one about why Elf on the Shelf isn’t gonna happen in my house. Or this one, about what we parents need to stop doing in order to not screw up our kids for life.

All good, right? Super proud of those blogs.

But here’s the thing: I wrote under a moniker. I hid behind Dynamom in a slightly unhealthy Wind Beneath My Wings kinda way. Once, I was interviewed on HuffPo Live – on camera! – and I made them refer to me as The Dynamom, I didn’t even want them to use my first name! Not weird at all right, perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

That’s me on the right, not looking awkward at all holding a phone up to my head on Live TV. Also, isn’t it weird that the host and I look kinda similar? The funny story here is that I couldn’t actually SEE her, this was taking place on Google Hangouts and the camera wasn’t working, so I had no idea she and I were twins or that I should have been using headphones

Listen, my intent was pure – I wanted to ensure my kids’ privacy, and my own – and it had the added benefit of keeping me at arm’s length from criticism (it’s not ME you hate, it’s THE DYNAMOM!).

Being an Opinion Writer is Fun and Terrible
‘Cause here’s the thing: when you write an opinion piece on the internet, you open yourself up to a ton of criticism from emboldened keyboard crusaders who are judging the very core of your being and they are NOT fans and they MUST provide you this information in a fashion that is generally SUPER NOT NICE. It’s great for them, because they get to pen their little diatribe, hit Enter, feel amazing about themselves, and then never think about it again while YOU spiral into an existential crisis.

{Side note: I’m way better at letting the negativity roll off my back these days, but admittedly, it’s not my super-best quality. I mean, is anyone GREAT at that, is that something people brag about on their online dating profiles, they’re a great cook, they love hiking, and they’re AMAZING at being told how much they suck? NO, NOBODY IS THAT PERSON.}

So, there’s some innate ‘shielding’ from backlash when you write under a moniker. It keeps your actual name from being attached to anything that generates a bunch of potential negativism.

Are You There, Universe? It’s Me, Gina
That said, I’m big on universal signs and I try to pay attention when life lessons keep smacking me in the face. Over the past year, I seemed to be bombarded with these life themes: ‘Be your authentic self. Be bolder, braver. Take risks.’ Huh. So like, try a new flavor of oatmeal? Baby steps to big-girl pants.

But, here’s a non-pretty truth about where I was at in life, during that time: I wasn’t so happy. I painted on a smile for my friends and family but I was in my forties, not sure where my career was headed, not partnered up, basically BORED with my life, feeling more isolated than I’d like, and I wanted more for myself. I decided that choosing Cinnamon Spice rather than Maple Brown Sugar wasn’t really what the universe had in mind as far as bravery and boldness. I had to go bigger with that whole risk thing.

SIDE NOTE – in case the oatmeal example wasn’t clear, I do not enjoy taking risks. I don’t even like roller coasters. I forced myself onto Space Mountain this year ONLY because my 11-year old son desperately wanted to ride it and my friends were with me and kept telling me I could do it and there was a little girl seated behind me who said it was really fun and that I’d love it. I did do it! I hated it! I screamed *literally* the whole time and the mid-ride pic featured a whole car of adorably exhilarated smiling people and one tortured soul with her eyes pressed closed, ugly-shrieking, looking – as my son puts it – like she had exploded. BUT I DID IT and I was so proud of myself, and I tell everyone I know that I did it, case in point, me right now, telling you I did it. Also, I DID IT.

(I did not purchase the pic though.)

Allow Me To Expose Myself
SO, as a newbie to risk-taking, I decided to tackle some topics that were floating around in my brain that didn’t relate to parenting, and wrote a few *VERY PERSONAL* blogs under my actual name: Gina Cohen. I was excited…and absolutely TERRIFIED. What if nobody read them? Or what if they did, and they hated it? What if I exposed something about myself that I’ll never be able to un-expose? The internet never forgets.

One of those blogs, about why you should stop asking me if my hot blonde friend is single when you know that *I* am single, landed in a dream pub of mine, The Washington Post. Believe me when I say that although I’m really proud of what I wrote, and I stand by it 100%, there was significant fallout from writing that piece – right or not, I lost a friend over it (no, not the hot one!). But I’m glad I wrote that blog, because it unearthed a real inner truth that needed a voice. I had shared what I really thought, I felt good about doing it, and my inbox filled up with ‘thank you’s’ from fellow singletons.

The other blog – about accepting my size 18 body and getting to the root of my negative self-image – ended up being one of the most satisfying pieces I’ve ever written, but it was THE MOST difficult to write, just due to the sheer amount of vulnerability and introspection it required. I still can’t read it without crying.

Something Kind of Amazing Happened
But here’s the big a-ha: the response to that blog gave me a feeling unlike any other – because guess what – it made others feel better about their own bodies, too. People RELATED. What I wrote HELPED people. It CONNECTED us, because we were fully honest with one another, and dammit, that felt WONDERFUL. Maybe this is what my life was missing. I wanted more.

So, I took an even bigger risk and began telling some of my ugly truths – the really humiliating ones that you tend to keep to yourself – to close friends, too. A funny thing happened: I felt lighter. I loved those friends even harder than I had, because they were safe spaces for me; they saw my biggest flaws in the light of day, and they STILL loved me! And another big, beautiful thing happened: they opened up more with me, too, and the bigger-love cycle just kept a-growin’. So much so that it inspired me to share more of those big, scary real-bombs here with you – stay tuned.

What I learned about myself – and about life – by stripping away the safety of my moniker: you can’t get to that place where your deepest, truest sense of pride/exhilaration/highest joy exists, without taking a big-ass risk.

You can't get to that place where your highest joy exists, without taking a big-ass risk. Click To Tweet

And with that, here I am. I’ve got a lot more I want to share with you – yes, there will still be parenting content, because, well, I’m a mom – but now, so much more, because, well, I’m also a human. I’ve closed down my old blog (but if you’re curious, you can find my best stuff right here within this new space) and am re-inventing myself at 44.

*And so can you, if you feel like it, I’m gonna help you. We’ll do this together.*

I’ve got a whole new mission: to connect even more closely with you, through humor and the sharing of my ugliest truths, confessions, and lightbulb moments. And, above all, to inspire – you AND myself – along the way.

Stick around, and connect with me on social, too – I’m on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Snapchat. I’d love to hear from you. Go take a risk today, and come tell me all about it.



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