October Blogger Spotlight

Welcome to my series in which I spotlight one of my followers. I’ve always had a deep fascination with people: how they became who they are, the struggles they won, and the hard lessons they learned over time. All of these scars and stories make up a person’s life. While I think it’s important to reflect on your own journey, it is also equally important to hear other voices and see diverse perspectives. In this series, the spotlighted blogger will be able to tell their story through curated questions I’ve asked of them.

October’s blogger feature is someone I greatly admire for her insight and candor. I love how she unabashedly expresses herself through her unique perspective. She is a prolific writer whose work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now (Black Women Share their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope), The South Florida Times, The Pulp, and For Harriet. Her writing touches on a range of topics including mental health, marriage, aging, self-worth, social justice, familial connections, and writing advice (to just name a few). 

Without further ado, I introduce you to Kathy Garland from the blog “Kwoted.”

A Little About Kathy…

What do people tell you about yourself regularly that annoys you? Explain.
People say, “everyone’s not like you,” and that really gets under my skin. They usually say this in response to my telling them to do something, like go to the gym or put yourself on a schedule or be accountable…to yourself! Then, I get the “everyone’s not like you” comment.

What’s the lyric to the chorus of your favourite song of all time?
Fun fact: Kanye West (Ye) is my favorite rapper, still. He’s not my favorite person, but he is one of my favorite artists. Anywho, he has a song called “Stronger,” which is on the Graduation album. This isn’t the hook, but it’s one of my favorite lines:

Bow in the presence of greatness
‘Cause right now thou hast forsaken us
You should be honored by my lateness
That I would even show up to this fake shit
So go ahead, go nuts, go apeshit

I like it because it used to be how I felt entering some spaces, particularly at work. It’s like everyone wants to pretend that what we’re doing is so important, that how we engage is so important in workspaces, and a lot of times, it’s just going through the motions of a thing. That line “you should be honored by my lateness” resonates so hard with me. It’s like…you should be happy I’m even here participating in this BS with you. You know it’s BS. I know it’s BS. So, let’s cut it out. I know it sounds super bravado-ish, but that’s also the appeal of rap. They can say anything and get away with it, and I wish we all could be like that. Hopefully, this wasn’t a ramble.

On Life So Far…

When you were a preteen and someone asked you what you wanted to be, how did you answer that and why?
Funny story…when I was younger, I’d decided I wanted to be a doctor, but in my family, I knew I couldn’t just say, “doctor,” because folks always ask a lot of follow-up questions. So, I decided I’d tell people I wanted to be an orthopedist. People were so impressed that I even knew how to say orthopedist, and prouder that I knew what one was lol, I never wanted to be a doctor at all.

Has a stranger ever changed your life?
A stranger actually saved my marriage, so I’d say yes. My husband and I were sitting at a restaurant, contemplating divorce, and the waiter, out of nowhere, asked “how do you stay with someone?” It was the weirdest thing. We went back and forth giving him advice, and by the end of it, we’d decided to follow our own advice and stay together.

Is there a feeling you miss?
Right now, I miss the feeling of liberation. I used to be a lot freer in thought and movement. Age, experiences, and wisdom kind of take some of that away. I can’t do anything without thinking about the five billion possible consequences that may occur. Before, I would just kind of act and think later. Now, there’s more thinking. Is that good? I don’t know. Quincy Jones calls it “analysis paralysis,” and I think there’s something to that. Just do it! was a popular Nike phrase for a reason.

What have you spent the majority of your life trying to get over?
I’ve spent quite a bit of time getting over the death of my mother or trying to convince people that my mother’s death deeply impacted me in ways they could never imagine. I didn’t fully begin working on this until I was 42, but I’m glad I did. Once I unpacked what happened, how it happened, and how it affected me, then I was able to live as a healthier version of myself.

Thoughts/Advice On…

Soulmates: Do you believe in them and if so, did you find yours? Do tell.
I do believe in soulmates. My husband and I met when I was 19 and he was 22. We’ve been together ever since. It was like one of those cheesy, rom-coms, with a meet-cute. I literally asked him “Do I know you from somewhere?” because our connection felt so familiar. We read each other’s thoughts. For example, I might be thinking about going somewhere, and he’ll come upstairs and ask me if I want to go to that place. That happens frequently. I honestly believe the stars aligned to bring us to each other.

Lessons: What lesson took you the longest to unlearn?
To not be myself…put more clearly, I had to learn to be myself. I’d learned early on that I had to please all the adults around me (I was raised as an only child) to receive love (cue the orthopedist dream), which I’ve since learned wasn’t love at all. That turned me into an adult who people pleased with friends, coworkers, etc. I had to learn who I was, and then learn that it was okay to be who I was and not in some cliché Dr. Seuss quote kind of way, either. I’ve had to do the hard work of separating myself from my soulmate and family to understand who I was/am and how I can and should proceed. Being yourself is one of the hardest things to do in a world that values conformity.

Career: Do you believe it’s important to work at a job you love or is it just a means to an end?
I’m on the fence about this one. I’m GenX and we firmly believe in work-life balance; part of that means working a job you like going to. Recently, I’ve learned that I can simply go to a job to fund my lifestyle. It’s not always pleasant, but it is possible. I’d say if you can work a job you love, then, by all means, do that. But in this capitalistic society, I understand sometimes it’s not always an option, or it’s an option, but it may not pay as well. But don’t beat yourself up about it. We all have to make money in some kind of way. You can do a job you dislike until you find one you do like.

Confidence: Where did you get your confidence from? Were you always this way?
My confidence comes from inside of me. Just like my motivation, it’s intrinsic. I can’t explain it, but I’ve always believed I could do whatever I can conceive. People argue with me about this all the time, and I have to explain. I think you can do whatever you dream of, not one someone else dreams of. I know I can’t be an WNBA player, because I’ve never dreamed of being one. A writer? An author? A speaker? I can do those things because I can envision myself doing them.

On Writing…

Do you consider yourself a writer?
I absolutely do.

Do you have to have natural talent to be a writer or do you think all it takes is good practice?
It’s a little bit of both. You have to have a knack for putting words/thoughts/stories together, and then you have to actually put words/thoughts/stories together consistently. I write a lot. Even for a blogger, I think I blog quite a bit, but it’s consistent. In addition to Kwoted, I have two other blogs: a seasonal one about traveling and a community one about aging and menopause. Beyond blogging, I have two works in progress that I’m always revising. I also have five billion journals for different purposes (relationships, spirituality, etc.). I also have a notes section on my phone. I also write in my profession. That’s a lot of writing, and I think it all helps me to become better at arranging and rearranging thoughts either for consumption or for myself, which is what writing is.

What three things do you think help you become a better writer?
Reading (in the genre you write).
Writing constantly.
Reading your writing out loud.

On Blogging…

What was your first post about?
Why I Refuse to Judge any Mother” was my first published post. Although it says 2016, I think I published this in either 2014 or 2015. It was my first foray into talking about my family publicly, but in a way that was supposed to be universal. Since then, I’ve learned much better how to do this (due to practicing writing all the time lol).

Who was the first blogger that followed you and still posts/follows you today?
I wanted to answer this because I’ve noticed that bloggers come in waves or cohorts. I’m not entirely sure that someone who followed me years ago, still follows me today or continues to blog. But I’ve made some really great friends through blogging, people I talk to offline all the time. For example, I have an Australian friend, who I swear is my long-lost sister. She doesn’t comment much anymore, and she’s shifted directions. Now, she is a certified editor, and her blog serves that purpose. 

What was one of your most recent posts about?
I write a series called Monday Notes. The latest one (as of this interview) was about using emotion words. Like I said, I’ve been practicing how to weave stories about my family into universal concepts, and this one is a great example of that. I learned that my grandmother taught me to suppress emotions, and as I heal and she ages, this has become even more evident.

What keeps you blogging after all this time?
This is such an interesting question. It’s the connection I have with the community. I love talking to people and getting to know them. I was just telling my husband that I feel closer to some bloggers than I do to some people I see every day or who’ve known me my entire life. The main reason is because bloggers share so much of their lives that you end up feeling as if you know them, their children, their work woes, etc. Plus, we actually listen to each other. Anyone who logs on and reads 500-1500 words a week from someone is committed to that person or their life in one way or another lol.

Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy!

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55 thoughts on “October Blogger Spotlight

  1. I love this series, BB! You have the coolest blogging friends. I identified with many of Kathy’s responses, but two stuck out the most: (1) “I can’t do anything without thinking about the five billion possible consequences that may occur.” There is a picture of me in the dictionary under “overthink.” (2) “I love talking to people and getting to know them. I was just telling my husband that I feel closer to some bloggers than I do to some people I see every day or who’ve known me my entire life.” I’m not sure that’s entirely true (for me), but I get the feeling. People are fascinating, and seeing how each individual thinks and acts are interesting.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Another great interview with a new-to-me blogger. I agree with much of what Kathy has to say especially that blogging, and writing, is about being consistent. So many great bloggers come and go, unable to show up. I look forward to checking out her blog.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thanks for this interview of Kathy. I learned new things about her from your questions. I understand liking the artist’s work, but not the artist’s views or personality (Picasso for example). Great writing advice; read, write and read your own work aloud. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Kathy is a talented and gifted writer. She has a dynamic presence that practically jumps off the page, but I admire her forthright, honest approach to every topic she tackles, especially aging! Excellent interview, BB. Kathy is a blogger everyone should check out. Congratulations, Kathy, well deserved. Hugs, C

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I always love hearing about you Kathy! You’re so multi-faceted and honest and I feel like I’m always learning something new and beautiful about you and your life every time I read about you. I’ve been so MIA from the blogging world bc my life has been so busy, but you’re still one of my favorites and it’s nice to read about your life in this way 💖💖

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love this BB and thanks for featuring Kathy. It’s great to meet you.
    Kathy is inspirational, honest and always has a treasure troves of truth. Not to mention funny. Seriously impressive, orthopedist and never wanting to be neither?!❣️ Gotta love❣️

    Loved her advice on marriage “We went back and forth giving him advice, and by the end of it, we’d decided to follow our own advice and stay together. 🤣💗

    I’m going to follow you.. love your pick and style.
    Come on by sometime and visit.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for introducing us to Kathy, someone whom I’ve not yet come across in blogging circles – so many bloggers and so little time. How on earth do you juggle having all the blogs? I feel overwhelmed by blogging sometimes and I have just one and only post twice a week (one post is only photos for Wordless Wednesday) … right now, for example, I am six days behind in Reader. My blog is about walking, so there are walks, taking pics, picking out pics and writing … it wears me out, but you say you are GenX so you’re at least a decade younger than me. 🙂 I also have a blogging friend that we often say we were separated at birth – we’re the same age, both Canadian, both single-never married, our moms even had us at age 30 and both our moms were born in 1926. Her mom is still living; my mom passed away in 2010. But other than that – we are definitely on the same wave length, sisters separated at birth. I thought it was interesting about the stranger at your table who ultimately saved your marriage. Nice meeting you Kathy!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes it has been fun getting to know Joni (as well as others). She went to school in Toronto to get her pharmacist degree, but she is now retired. I’ve made some great friendships here on WP which has been good for me since I have no family members, friends are scattered to the wind and I’ve worked from home since 2011. I’m a bit of an oddity Jen!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a kind comment, Linda! I’m a recovering Type A, so I have a system to have multiple blogs. It helps that the one on menopause and aging is primarily written by others lol

      And to be honest, I’m a bit behind in blogging (reading and writing) right now, but I give myself a lot of grace 😉

      It’s good to meet you here, too, and thank you again for this comment ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well you are a marvel to me Kathy. I hope to catch up over the Winter but that means I am not walking so it’s a real Catch-22 for me.

        We have to give ourselves some grace if we’re working and blogging. Other bloggers are okay with my tardiness and understand … I don’t know where the evenings and weekends go sometimes.

        Take care – again, nice meeting you Kathy.

        Liked by 2 people

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