The other day I clicked through to the blog of someone that had commented and read their latest post. It was interesting and well-written but I wasn’t sure how to take it. Was it intended to be a little humorous or totally serious? It reminded me of the importance of the about me section of blogs and how we can maybe do better job of filling them out so that readers can more easily sense of who we are.
Here’s what I usually include as a bio. “Wynne Leon is an optimist, an enthusiast of endurance sports and a woman intent in charting her own path. Which is a combination that has led to an unconventional life. When she was younger a life of adventure meant climbing mountains, traveling the world and being an entrepreneur. More recently, it’s been starting a family as a single parent at age 46, having another child at age 50 and adopting a highly-strung kitten, even though she really is a dog person. Her writing projects include technical computer manuals, articles about meditation and parenting, and Finding My Father’s Faith, a memoir about spirituality, solace and her relationship with her beloved father.”
I wrote it and then a friend of mine in marketing edited it. It’s more cutesy after that (the bit about the cat while I’m really a dog person) and less factual (who needed to know I have a degree in electrical engineering). It’s okay for when I need a short bio.
But I think we can do a better job of grounding people in our work. So for whoever wants to play along, here’s my suggestion. I’m going to try to write my story and do it in 1,000 words or less but with links to posts I’ve already written.
For anyone else that wants to do or has already done the same on their “about me” page or post, please link that page in the comments here. I’ll try to read and comment on as many as I can. If everyone who participates reads and comments on at least one other person’s link and references this W&S post so people know where you are coming from, I think we could have a fun project.
If I was a dog, I’d be a golden retriever: exuberantly joyful, family-friendly and always up for a walk. But I’ve done a lot of training so I don’t bowl people over with my enthusiasm and optimism. Especially myself. And that’s the key part of my story – that through meditation I’ve learned not to believe everything I think and I return to that every morning when I get up and meditate and then I do it all again.
I write about my kids a lot because I choose to become a single-parent and age 46 and again at 50, but I’m not a writer about parenting. Instead I’m aiming to capture the depth and meaning of life that I get to experience because my kids show me what it is like to be so Close the Source and unapologetically human. I write about what I learn when I look closely and see how they develop as people, as siblings, as my children and as a family. Wrapped in all of that is a core of pure love that I want to enjoy more deeply by sharing.
Spending the last seven years raising kids without a significant other has taught me self-compassion in a way that no relationship or practice ever has. It has also made me so appreciative of the blogging community because this exchange of creativity and companionship is so rich. Especially through the isolation of Covid, I am so grateful for the deep and abiding relationships that I’ve been able to make on this journey of self-discovery.
I’ve listened to my inner God voice for three significant decisions. First to start climbing mountains when I was in my late 20’s. Second to interview and record my dad’s stories which eventually became a book I wrote after he died suddenly in a bike accident and to figure out what made him such a joyful person. And third to have kids as a single person in my mid-forties instead of rushing into a relationship that wasn’t right. In all three, that deep conviction that I was doing what I was meant to do has carried me through the tough moments.
I am an endurance person. I can dig deep to take small steps with heavy loads on a regular basis. I’ve accepted that I’m not a high-speed athlete. But I have learned that I don’t always have to carry everything with me but instead lean in to what is weighing me down to unpack it and lighten the load.
The Back Story
I’m the youngest of three kids in a family with a dad who was a Presbyterian pastor and a mom who was incredibly smart and might be a CIA spy (now retired). Would there be a better cover for a spy than a pastor’s wife?
My brother is oldest. I adored him growing up and still do. My older sister hated me growing up –resented might be a better word. The lessons I learned from that adverse relationship are so powerful, especially as I parent my children to care for each other. In many ways, my sister was my first teacher about how instructive our wounds can be when we do the work to heal from them. When my dad suddenly died in a bike accident in 2014, it felt like all her complaints over all the years growing up, bubbled out. We’ve never managed to put it back together.
I’ve been divorced longer (10 years) than I was married (8 years) so it doesn’t feel like much of my story any longer except for two things for which I am so thankful:
- Going through divorce, or maybe more specifically the unhappy years of my marriage, drove me to meditation
- When I decided that I wanted to have kids post-divorce and I was in my mid-40’s, I didn’t want to rush into a relationship in order to have them. So I choose to have them as a single person instead. I still enthusiastically believe in love and that I’ll one day find the perfectly imperfect man when the time is right.
But because I don’t think often about my marriage, divorce and coming to choose single parenthood, I’ve gathered from some common questions that I get from people I’ve met later in life that I fail to give some proper background. So here are the answers to the questions I get:
- I got divorced when my husband’s best friend told me about his infidelities. In the aftermath, all my husband wanted to talk about was how his friend betrayed him. And I couldn’t sustain enough outrage to insist we talk about how my husband betrayed me because he could always outdo any dramatic fervor.
- That was the story I believed until I started meditating. Then in emptying the pockets of grief I realized that I needed to own how badly I wanted out of that marriage that both starved and suffocated me. Starved because my husband needed all the attention and suffocated because he needed all my attention. But in meditation, I discovered how freeing it was to own my part in the end of the marriage – and also a way to practice focusing my mind on the right stories and questions.
- I had my kids at age 46 and again at age 50 through invitro fertilization. I choose the sperm donor from a bank that provided more complete information that I’ve ever had for anyone that I have dated. Maybe even more than I know for my lifelong friends.
So, that’s my stab at About Me. What do you think? If you want to link to your about page or post, I’ll try to read and comment on as many as I can. But I think if everyone who participates reads and comments on at least one other and references this W&S post so people know where you are coming from.
For more posts like this – a little story-telling mixed with philosophy, please visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com or follow me on Instagram @wynneleon
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(featured photo from Pexels)