Renee TarantowskiFeb 7, 2018

The Price of Wisdom

Today this very vulnerable story was published on Writer Mom.  I am ready to be the person I've been growing into.  This is going to be fun!

The Price of Wisdom

And how I paid for it

This ebook. This cookbook. This nemesis that hangs around my neck weighing me down at each step. I’ve started and stopped writing it more times than I can remember. Why?

The Why question is my constant companion since menopause. It isn’t the accusatory why but instead a compassionate curiosity. Why am I doing what I do? Why am I where I am? Each day a never-ending stream of “whys”. Rarely do I find a satisfactory answer.

This time, an answer did come to me and it was about value, wisdom, worthiness.

The Final Draft

As I wrote the final draft of the mini “test” cookbook, I could not help but feel ill. I had my proofreaders lined up, I had begun the Amazon publishing process, I downloaded the software to help me publish a book with beautiful photos that I proudly took myself and now I sat with my words, a red pen, and a bucket in case I threw up.


Why is this so hard?

Is this worth $2.99? Am I ripping people off? Is this thing that I made worthy?


Is this “thing” worthy?


I could not even call it by its name.

It began with a sniffle

Adding to my need to puke, I now felt like someone was sitting on my chest. Then the grip on my throat made it even harder to breath. All of this tightness broke the levee to a flood of tears. Followed my memories, followed by feelings, . . . until everything was a jumble.

This wasn’t a test cookbook this was another way for me to fail and support the idea that I am not worthy. It was another opportunity for those around me to mock my efforts or ignore me.

My head began to fill with all the times that I had failed. Every single failure lived out in slow motion. I’m not sure how long I sat holding my throbbing head crying and gasping for air.

It’s not about a cookbook

I took a shower. A long hot shower and cried more, I cried until the water ran cold. Freezing, I wrapped myself in a towel and laid in my bed under an electric blanket. Water therapy followed by being wrapped naked in warmth. As I write about it vs living it, it makes me think of a womb. Protective, warm, watery, salty and safe.

This sequence of showering and swaddling myself in my bed was not new. Since I was a very little girl I’ve been performing this same ritual.

I circle back to my questions of why?

Before I was even born, I was an accident. My mother reminded me of this often. I lived with being unwanted. I learned early on to follow the directions, no matter how horribly wrong, and become invisible. To not matter. To pretend life was different. To fly under the radar.

Occasionally I foolishly tried to prove I wasn’t an accident, quickly I am reminded that being invisible was more tolerable for everyone. Except me.

I’m almost ready to go back and proof the final draft of my cookbook. I’m almost ready to have my words be worthy. I’m almost ready to not be invisible. I’m almost ready to step into being a writer. I almost believe I’m not a mistake.

Almost. I think I may need another shower . . .

As I stand in this truth and see all of these things at my feet: waiting to be honored, respected, healed, forgiven, I realize that this is not about writing a cookbook. It is about writing from a place of curiosity and compassion for all the women who share this experience.

I am the voice, the writer, the guide for those walking the journey with me. I am no longer invisible, instead, I am worthy.

In the end, I think the cookbook is easily worth $2.99 on Amazon but the wisdom of the journey to 2.99 is priceless.

Renee TarantowskiJan 2, 2018

The Planner

I am a planner.

I am a list maker and checker off-er.

I get shit done.  Slow and steady.

This year I have the same planner I have (not) used the last several years.  I start out just fine and then . . . I stop.  Why would that be?

I gave it some time in meditation and long cold walks with Dexter and I had a glint of insight.

The planner ends up being for everyone else's plans.  The kids' schedules, Eric's schedule, even the frigging vet appointments make MY planner.  But not my own plans, my hopes, my deep desires and passionate longings. Somehow along the way, I stopped planning my life despite getting the planner.  

A disconnect.

This is how I know this year will be different for me.  I'm taking back planning my life.  I'm putting myself into my own planner.  My hopes, desires, wants, needs, passions.

How am I doing?

2 days in and I feel like I can live out the desires of my heart and the practice that makes my soul sing.  My planner is divided with family stuff and my stuff with a strong balance.  Some days will be kid heavy and some days will be Renee heavy with every day filled with love--and so it is.

Renee TarantowskiDec 30, 2017

The Hardest Job

Making the baby was easy.

Growing the baby was easy.

Giving birth . . . that was tricky for a few of the kids.

The early years of cloth diapers, homemade baby food, educational toys, endless time outside was easy, tiring, but easy.

Tweens, teenagers, young adults--that's frigging hard.  Every day is a mix of loving too much, not enough, setting boundaries, crossing boundaries.  

I am a gentle, loving, kind, respectful, compassionate and curious mother.  Some days are harder than others and some days I'm a Rock Star and others not so much.  

Parenting is cumulative.

Parenting is unconditional love.

Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done and the most rewarding.

I was born to be a mom.

Renee TarantowskiDec 20, 2017

How is it 5:36 am and I'm just getting up?

Last night . . . at some point, I shut my phone off.  I have no memory of doing that.

I woke up at 5:36 with a dog and cat staring me down.  Why didn't they wake me up?  They always wake me up . . . 

My discovery was they get me up when the first alarm goes off.  They hear the little vibrating buzz and nuzzle and meow.  When they don't get that cue, they won't.  I found that to be kind of interesting.

Waking up late put me into a bit of a frazzle.  I felt discombobulated, it took me way to long to figure out who needed a lunch packed, who needed what for breakfast, I didn't get my outfit ready for the day . . . what just happened last night that all of these things didn't get done and has left me scrambling?

Then, we had the time wrong on when to drive to the final exam.  Luckily we did not miss it.  Drop off then a quick pick up.

I made coffee without putting the carafe back . . . the day after I mop the floor I have a coffee river flowing through my kitchen. 

Meanwhile, I nearly missed all of the Skyped in music lesson.  What else could go wrong?

I've checked and double checked where I need to be for the rest of the day and made a very short list of things that I must get done:  fold the clothes, walk the dog, make dinner, and write for 30 minutes without interuption, and helping my kid study for a Honors World History final.  

Life is busy, period.  I meet each moment, knowing it will be my last--of that moment.  I will never help him study for World History again, I will never make this particular dinner again, I will never fold this combination of clothes again, when I walk the dog--each step will be completely different than the previous step.  My writing may or may not be inspired. This is what it means to be mindful.

Renee TarantowskiNov 29, 2017

Zen Mommy

"I'm a Zen Mommy right now."

My kids translate that as --I can only do one thing at a time and if I add one more thing my head may explode!  Or I'll forget something or someone.  Or I will just end up doing a job that is not my best.  My practice is to give 100% in everything I do.

When I am a Zen Mommy I am much better to meet the needs of my kids and the never-ending demands of the day.

Honestly, it doesn't come as first nature.  I need to be intentional and work at doing just one thing at a time.  I grew up multitasking.  Now that I'm "mature" I understand that it is best if I do just one thing.

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