I’m Pam. I’m a professor of English and Women’s Studies, the mother of two adult children, and partner to the finest human being I’ve ever known. I’m a published novelist and writer-at-large–my work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other places. I’m a conflicted traveler, an ardent feminist, a vocal advocate for women of all ages, and a pretty good cook.
What is She Dwells?
My mom had a favorite saying: anytime something went wrong, she’d say “Well, you can’t dwell on it.” She said this to me more times than I can count. She said this to my sister, to her own friends, even to herself. She said it more and more often after my dad passed away in 2011.
On the one hand, this is really good advice: if you focus on the sorrows of your life, you’re going to miss out on many chances to make yourself happy. At the very least, you might miss out on a chance to try something that might nudge out the sorrows and disappointments lodged in your heart.
But on the other hand . . . sometimes, it’s good to dwell. When you’re dealing with disappointment, thinking things over carefully can help you figure out what you need to change the next time you take a shot at your goals. If you don’t, you’re likely to face the same disheartening outcome over and over again. (I’m betting you know at least one person who’s stuck in that pattern. I certainly do.)
In addition to that very productive kind of dwelling, though, I’m a firm believer that it’s always good to consider new possibilities. Explore new hobbies. Take a shot at the things you’ve always wanted to try but never have, for one reason or another. Plan ahead for the changes you want to make. Do that even if you’re not yet ready to make a change.
Considering new possibilities doesn’t always mean moving forward without fear. It means knowing what scares you and doing it anyway–or taking steps toward the day when you will. Sometimes, it means knowing you’re not ready to move forward yet and dwelling a little longer in the moment of preparation. Above all, it means being brave enough to listen to your own voice before all others.
I started this blog to honor my mom, who passed away in 2015 and spent too much of her life afraid of change, worried about what was going to happen next, or what might happen if she dared to try something new. My mission is to use this space to encourage women to consider the full range of possibilities their lives present.
This blog takes its name from the American poet Emily Dickinson, who first wrote the words I dwell in possibility. I’m just trying follow her lead. I hope you will, too.