Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

A Rebirth.

When I started this blog some time ago (I can’t remember when, and I don’t care enough to pause and look back), I struggled with finding a name for it. I landed on Ma’am and Cheese because of self-deprecation. Being referred to as “ma’am” will forever cause me strife, because on one hand, it’s polite, but on the other, it suggests I’m old. Not that old is bad. Well, no, in that case, old does feel bad. Maybe I need to rethink my relationship with the word “ma’am.” Anyway, there’s that piece.

Cheese came about for two reasons:

  1. I love cheese in most forms. However, bleu cheese and swiss cheese are not on my list. Judge me if you must.
  2. I think I felt that referring to my writing as “cheese” was funny, maybe? Perhaps I thought I was cheesy? Maybe I was just really desperate to play off ham and cheese.

Regardless, that’s where the name came from. I feel like I’ve outgrown it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to create a website under my own name and just tie my blog to it. OKCupid recently decided to let go of usernames for what I see as a legitimate reason, but I can also understand why some users would want to stand behind anonymity for safety reasons.

When I started using the internet in the nineties, NOBODY used their real names. It was a perpetual online Halloween, where you put on a costume and nobody questioned your choice to go by Dopamine or Butterfinger. Fun fact: I was Cider online. For years. Why? I dunno. I recall being in my dorm room at KU, chatting on telnet with two guys from somewhere in Canada, being told that I needed to come up with a name for myself. I think I had a gallon of cider in my mini-fridge or something, and cider made me think of autumn, and sweaters, and fall festivals, and it felt right. It suited me.

Twenty-something years later, I think my actual name suits me better. This is going to be the year I determine whether I want to return to Katherine, in case you were wondering. Most people know me by Kat, which is fine, but it’s a nickname that didn’t show up until my mid-twenties.

The new year consistently makes me look at myself in the mirror and feel the need to better define who I am and who I want to be seen as by others. This year, I want to be seen as a trusted friend. I want to be a better listener. I want to improve upon my ability as a solid storyteller. I will pursue what I want more aggressively, and I will trust my intuition more. With my therapist retiring in a mere three months, it’s definitely time to trust the tools he’s provided me to steer my choices based upon my personal instincts; I know what I’m doing.

I will speak more to living with bipolar, to being a parent, and to taking calculated risks. And dammit, I’m going to learn more about how to use the tools available on the internet. Less social media, more resources. And getting outside. Except not today, because it’s cold. And I’m still getting over a cold. Eh, we’ll see. It’s a new year and there are only possibilities ahead of me.

Here, I Fixed It For You…

Lyle.