You may have noticed that things look a little different around here.
Namely, what used to be a brochure-style website all about ME — my writing, my performances, my bio, and, yes, my blog — is now JUST a blog. And instead of a blog about whatever strikes my fancy…it’s a blog about having it all.
I’m growing up, you guys.
As many of you know, I’ve been blogging since 2006, when I launched a site called Creative DC to help showcase and inspire creative living in the sleepy hamlet that is our nation’s capital. When I moved to NYC in 2009, I closed up shop, and began a good, old-fashioned mish-mash of a blog here at amandahirsch.com. I help people and organizations tell their stories for a living, and my blog was my space to just let it all hang out: No agenda, just a sandbox where I could write about whatever I felt like, from being an artist to becoming a mother.
Along the way, I was inspired to start a separate blogging project. I was a new mom, and as my identity bucked and bridled at this enormous change — and as I confronted what it meant to be the mother of a daughter in a culture that is so often toxic for women — I became increasingly obsessed with the age-old question of what it meant to have it all. I started the original Having a Ball Having it All blog over on Tumblr, and even created a comedy show of the same name.
I invented my alterego, Melody Bell, a caricature of the perfect woman. Melody offered up tips for crystallizing your breast milk, color coding your filing system and, of course, keeping your sex life freaky. The comedy show showcased perspectives on having it all from some hilarious women like Aparna Nancherla, Caitlin Brodnick and Meghan O’Keefe. I hosted the show in-character, as Melody, and she took over the blog, too, sharing lifestyle tips and a window into her perfect existence (“Squeezed in a Zumba class between yoga and jogging to work this morning. Then it was off to accept a leadership award before serving homemade quinoa patties at the homeless shelter.”)
People loved Melody — but I grew tired of her. She ran her course. In the meantime, I still grappled with my wonderful, stressful, very much non-perfect existence.
Finally, it hit me: Almost everything on my amandahirsch.com blog was actually in one way or another an exploration (serious or funny) of what it meant, to me, to have it all… and as someone wired deep in my bones to seek joy, to “choose the fun script,” as we say in improv… there was a through-line of trying to have a good time while grappling with issues of identity, culture and figuring out how to lose the goddamn baby weight.
Sure, as you browse my archive, you’ll find some posts that don’t fit perfectly with this theme — thoughts about public media and independent film, for example. Moving forward I’ll save those topics for the Good Things newsletter that I offer via my company, Good Things Consulting…if those topics interest you, I hope you’ll subscribe.
A quick armchair psychology session will tell you that Melody was my way of processing the pressure I felt as I tried to balance so many different aspects of my life as a new mother. I was mocking a certain type of woman, and trying to give women everywhere permission to ease up on themselves, but I was also insanely jealous of the skinny-minny women with endless energy who practiced yoga, maintained beautiful homes, and kicked ass at work while cultivating self-actualized, lovely, HAPPY children and reveling in sexy marriages that oozed with romance. Or at least, I was slightly tortured by the myth that such women existed.
Luckily, I’m completely, 100% over all that.
…Clearly, I jest. I’m not over it, but I’m ready to tackle it in a new way, one that lets me come out from Melody’s shadow. Check out my vision for this site, and tell me what you think.
“WOW” photo by Laurie Chipps