How did we meet?
We met... ON THE INTERNET! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN! Ok but seriously, we met the same place I met my husband: www.livejournal.com! And we've never met in person! That is, you and I. I've met my husband in person. Several times. Enough that I went and married the guy! For real though, you are one of a handful of people I met on Livejournal and never lost touch with despite never meeting in the flesh. I think that says something about us. I'm just not entirely sure what...
Wow, we've been spewing our lives on the internet for over ten years! What is the most important thing we should know about you?
That I love to laugh, but more importantly I love to make others laugh. There is nothing like the feeling of bringing laughter to my loved ones.
Speaking of your loved ones, who do you share your life with?
My husband. My friends. My brother (who is also one of my closest friends). I also share my life with the Internet, by which I mean mostly Facebook. A lot of people would roll their eyes at that, but I think that's a sign that we're taking it for granted. It makes me feel so connected to people I otherwise would have lost track of ages ago. It allows me to promote my blog, my podcast, and my singing gigs, and it's what helps me follow the same kind of creative efforts from others. Hell, my Facebook friends share more of my life than my own parents do. I am close emotionally with my mom and dad, but I'm not sure I'd say that I "share my life" with them. They are religious and I'm very much not, so I feel like keeping my online "persona" from them is a way for me to protect them from feeling hurt by my agnostic/atheist ideas. Could that backfire? Absolutely. All they'd have to do is Google me. I suppose I'm alright with that if it happens, but I'm not going out of my way to push my online presence in their faces.
So, that took a weird turn, huh?
That was a perfect turn, because when the idea for this feature came to me, I was hoping to be able to highlight the common threads that draw us to other women and then the differences between us that teach us. You mentioned a few things we have in common there (I also share a lot on the internet. I second guess how much I should be sharing at times, wondering if other people think I have internet diarrhea (Can't. Stop. Posting!) but ultimately, it just feels right to be able to put my thoughts and beliefs out there. You and I also have a lot in common politically and religiously (or lack thereof). One of our differences, though, is that I'm a mother and you've chosen not to have kids. Can you talk a bit about that?
When I was a young girl, I had what I presume to be typical views on being a mom. I planned to grow up, marry a nice man, and have babies. I actually wanted twins. TWINS! Perhaps that should've been the first sign that I wasn't fit for motherhood, because I wanted a perfectly identical "set" of children I could cleverly name and parade around in matching outfits. And that's not motherhood, that's a circus side show. Luckily for my theoretical babies, I've shifted my focus to cleverly naming and parading around wiener dogs. Some day. Maybe.
High school might've been when the idea first entered my mind that I didn't have to have kids. Working with children throughout college (and ultimately nannying, which I briefly discuss on episode 9 of my podcast) only furthered my feelings that I didn't want that responsibility. It was exhausting taking care of small human beings for just part of the day. How could anyone do it 24/7, and with infinitely more investment, emotional, financial, and otherwise? I find the very thought daunting and completely off-putting. That's oversimplifying it, but it's probably the biggest reason. I love my life very much so just the way it is, thankyouverymuch!
You inspire me because not only do you blog, but you host a podcast. Can you tell us about Add It Up?
Can I just say first and foremost I am having a BLAST doing it? And I think that's why people enjoy listening, because they can tell my guests and I are having fun. I felt inspired by my friend Robin (another fabulous lady blogger!) who started podcasting to keep her friends and family in the loop after she and her husband moved to Cape Town, South Africa. It just seemed like such a fun way to have entertaining conversations, whether it was about a serious topic or silly things. Either way, something about the medium really spoke to me (pun intended). I basically just pick a topic and a guest or two, and we shoot the shit for an hour. I just made it sound boring. I promise it's not!
The blog started about a year before the podcast, and it was mostly just a way for me to share funny family stories, fashion, and opinion pieces. It also gave me a place to house the information for all my various musical projects. A year later, I was inspired by Robin (as mentioned above) to dabble in podcasting. It fit really naturally into my blog format, as I would publish a post with each episode. At this point, it's kind of taken over. I rarely write actual posts anymore, and when I do, they don't get nearly the attention that my podcast does.
What are your other passions?
Gosh... music, comedy, fashion, and honestly, as of late? Body acceptance and changing the conversation from weight to health. I'm really, really tired of hearing people talk about being fat or losing weight. Can't we just talk about having healthy habits, accept our bodies for what and how they are, and move on with our lives? Seriously.
What are your challenges? How are you tackling them?
My health is the biggest one. I have PCOS, which comes with a happy little truckload of symptoms. In fact, I'd have to say that's the one thing that is a consistent struggle. I have days where I'm unhappy with my job or I fight with my husband, but those moments are fleeting and I feel satisfied and happy with my life overall. PCOS, on the other hand, is an ongoing challenge because obesity is both a cause and an effect of the condition, so it's a vicious cycle. I don't know if I will ever feel like I'm fully managing it, but it takes meds, a healthy diet, and exercise. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Who are some women that you admire and why?
It's not lip service when I say that I admire you, and I think that comes mostly from the fact that in a sea of people my age who are raising kids, you are one mother who is proactive with her children. You actually, you know, mother them. Granted I judge this mostly from Facebook, but I will say this: you are not an annoying mom on Facebook. I look forward to your posts. I laugh at them, I cry at them. Not to mention the incredible way you've openly mourned the loss of Violet. You are an amazing woman, Devany. Truly.
Thank you so much. Another part of how this feature came to mind was when you spoke about Violet's story in your podcast episode about death. It was so clear to me through your words [one of them explicit, but so right! on! Readers, PLEASE listen (I get tears in my eyes every time I do), but make sure the kids aren't in the room when Addi describes PERFECTLY my reaction to people who think that I shouldn't be grieving so publicly] that you truly understood me and my grieving process so far, which is something that I think most other people struggle with, other parents included. And here you were, someone who has chosen not to have kids for sound reasons, yet you were walking this road with me, witnessing my pain over losing my daughter and not shying away from it. I can't ever thank you enough for that.
Other than that, I don't really imagine celebrities or historical figures when I'm asked this question. I think of my mom, who is a feminist at least as much as her generation/upbringing will allow, and who helped make me the kick-ass woman I am now. I admire my female friends and how strong, smart, funny, creative, and outright fearless they are. After all, I get so much of my inspiration from them. Who could I possibly admire more?
What advice can you give our readers in the fields of your many creative outlets?
The best advice I can give is to be honest. Don't be something you're not. I'm not saying you shouldn't try new things -- au contraire! Experiment away, my friends! But you have to be real. Be true to YOU, follow your creative intuition, and people will appreciate it even if only subconsciously.
That's why I admire women like you and my friend Robin who inspired me -- you are real. You are honest. No pretense.
Where can readers find you to learn more?
In real life, I can often be found on the weekends at Pittsburgh's new Arcade Comedy Theater. And late Friday nights you can sometimes catch me at Del's in Bloomfield for karaoke. It's my weakness!
Online, the best place to find me is on additwigg.com! Otherwise, I'm @addiful on Twitter (though I use it sparingly these days) and I love Instagram, where my username is @additwigg. Let's be friends!