I’m not miserable. I promise.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting an increasing number of the same type of comment/question, to the point that it’s now happening on a daily basis: “Are you absolutely miserable?”

“I bet you want that kid out of there!”

“Are you hanging in there?”

Guys. I’m fine. Yes, I’m 38 weeks pregnant. I’m carrying significant evidence of that fact around with me between my hips and my ribcage. But I don’t know how to credibly explain to anyone that other than the fact that cartwheels aren’t on my agenda, I feel remarkably normal.

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This is why we tell stories.

I don’t know about you, but I woke up with an emotional hangover yesterday morning. If you can relate, you were probably also following The Firecracker Foundation‘s #WhyItold online storytelling event on Monday (or you were doing something else emotionally overwhelming. I don’t know your life). Throughout the day, Madam Firecracker herself, Tashmica Torok, led sexual assault […]

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The Real and True Me

I’m changing my name back. I know. After all the the serious thought, hemming and hawing I put into the decision to become Natalie Burg Vial, I picked the wrong choice. I was just wrong. I tried it on, and it didn’t fit.

I have been annoyed at every piece of mail that has come addressed to Natalie Vial. I roll my eyes at the people in my doctor’s office who look up my file and say, “Oh, Natalie Burg Vial?” Which is insane, because the only reason they have me filed that way is because I told them that was my name. But it feels wrong. It feels like a lie. It’s not romantic or sweet. Every time I hear myself referred too by the (actually rather cool) last name of my (wonderful and loving) husband, I feel the crushing weight of thousands of years of patriarchy grind on my bones.

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Something New

It’s not that I’m surprised at being the youngest person in my water aerobics class. I was taken aback, however, when I realized on my first day there, that had she come with me, my mother would have been the youngest one there. The fact that I had somehow signed up for an exercise class that was clearly for elderly women was so absurd to me that during the first twenty minutes of that initial session, it was all I could do to resist bursting into giggles. I bit the inside of my lips. I closed my eyes and did yoga breathing. And I made it. I did not collapse into laughter. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could go back a second time though. What were the odds that I could keep it together twice?

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Is freelancing a real career? Here’s 1,423 square feet and a half acre of “yes.”

We are buying a house today. My freelance writer self and independent musician husband have an appointment to close at 10am, after which we will move into our adorable 1938, 4-bedroom Cape Cod with detached two-car garage and a half-acre of land.

When I quit my job, back in 2010, I was working for a board, and therefore had to go around to ten different people, all of them at least 20 years my senior, to tell them I was not only leaving my position as their director, but I was doing so to work for myself, as a writer. They were all very kind and supportive, and, I could also tell, quietly concerned. I was trading a secure, public sector job with great benefits for what appeared to be essentially a non-job – in a terrible economy. They all liked me and wanted me to succeed, but I could see that they couldn’t visualize how “freelance writer” and “success” had any potential to overlap. When my then-fiancé followed suit the next year, leaving his high school teaching job after eight years, we only seemed crazier.

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Pulling back and stepping back up

I just checked my book sales for the first time in two months. This is the first time I’ve logged into my own website in nearly three. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably forgotten that you follow me on Twitter. If you’ve worked with me at all for the last few months, you might have noticed that instead of being prompt, responsive and committed to meeting my own high standards, I’ve been juuuuuuust squeaking by.

Sorry, world. It was unavoidable. Something has been sucking the life out of me in a greedy quest to feed its own existence. It’s a baby. And I am, of course, more than willing to let it do so for the next 19 to 25 years. Though I was fully unprepared for how difficult the first trimester would be (the fatigue! the evil, stifling blanket of fatigue!), everything that I am and all that I believe preclude me from blaming my need to temporarily recede from reality on a pregnancy. Oh no. If only that was the only thing.

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Stop trying to be me, Amy (Just kidding, I love you. Please be my best friend.)

Someone has made an NBC television show about an American moving to Sweden.

It wasn’t me. It was Amy Poehler. Of course. Because, just six years after launching an NBC television show about the hilarity of working for local government, Amy is continuing her quest to tell my life story in reverse for the American viewing public. I assume, a few years from now, we’ll get to indulge in her comedic rendition of a small town girl having a mediocre college experience at a Big Ten university. Be prepared, there will be no discernible plot or meaningful takeaways.

So there’s this show. It’s a comedy called Welcome to Sweden and it starts in July. What does this mean for someone who recently released a book on nearly the same topic, plus some weird cults and indentured servitude? I don’t know. It seems like an opportunity, but I’m not sure what that opportunity is. Will people accidentally buy my book, thinking it’s associated with the show? Should I send the book to Amy so she can write a desperate American house servant into the second season? It certainly means, as this show is based on the real life experiences of Amy’s brother, that if my sibling was famous, the Swedish Lessons version of Welcome to Sweden would have already happened. Come on, Brianna. Get with it.
While I mull over how Swedish Lessons can hop on Welcome to Sweden’s coattails, you may enjoy the trailer. It looks amazing.

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