When I started blogging a little over a year ago it was after MUCH reading of other blogs and saying to myself "I could do THAT". I saw this community of people (mostly women) who seemed so together and so talented and I wanted so desperately to join in. So after a few years of thinking about it, I did.
A few weekends ago as part of my choosing the word Happiness as my word for 2012, I was thinking about why I'm blogging, what I want to get out of it and why I bother when it seems like no one is reading it but me most days (weeks, months) - is it really bringing me happiness? Then by chance I came across this class on building a blog you love, serendipitous to say the least. So I signed up, nervous but also excited.
Right from the first minute I was hooked. The teacher Liv Lane spoke with a voice that was authentic and powerful, honest but also uplifting. The lessons and questions excited and terrified me. WHY am I blogging, what AM I getting out of it and what does my blog give back? Instantly I'm at the brick wall..what does my blog give back? How could my blog, my plain-jane little blog without much focus or pizazz possibly give anyone anything?
I instantly started comparing my blog to others that I read daily and love: my blog isn't full of brilliant completed projects that inspire, my blog isn't full of gorgeous well-shot photography, my blog isn't telling the story of a particularly unusual or accomplished life...I was finding myself and my blog coming up lacking in every possible way. And I don't want to say I was having anxiety over finding my blogging purpose but I was waking up in the night thinking about it - why am I doing this? Why? WHY? Oh and I also felt like my blog needed about a million changes and improvements, immediately of course. Good times.
But as is often the case if we're willing to be open and honest and continue to show up and try to do the work even when we're unsure things started to fall in place. One lesson held an eye-opening TED talk by Brene Brown. I watched it and cried. I realized I'd had her book The Gifts of Imperfection on my nightstand pile (literally) for months. I went and got it and stayed up late reading it and cried some more. These tears were the tears of recognition - seeing myself in her stories and hearing that I was far from alone. These words in particular resonated with me: Life-paralysis refers to all the opportunities we miss because we're too afraid to put anything out into the world that could be imperfect. It's also all the dreams we don't follow because of our deep fear of failing; making mistakes and disappointing others. It's terrifying to risk when you're a perfectionist; your self worth is on the line. I could instantly see all the fear that has been holding me back. The thought that I don't want to do something that isn't the quality I want it to be has kept me paralyzed for so long. Too long. Perfectionism is such a losing game. Fear of making things that are not good enough means mostly what I make are plans. I'd like to get busy actually making things (blog included) and start to learn that: Good enough is GOOD ENOUGH. Good enough might actually be great if means more things getting done!
So today I'm trying to have the courage to say that I am good enough. The things I write, photograph, bake, sew and make are good enough. My life is worthy of being put out into the world. I often think does the world really need another mom writing about the stuff she making, baking and her kid? In the past few weeks I've realized the answer is YES. I love reading about all those things, finding connections with other moms and makers and I would be truly sad if any of the women I follow and admire decided to stop blogging. I realized there is a place for us ALL and I am included. I don't totally know my purpose or how my blog is going to give and inspire but I also know that's okay. I am going to keep showing up, keep doing the work of learning and growing and sharing and I'll figure it out. I am going to keep telling myself that I am already enough until it sinks in. I have no doubt more things will be falling into place if I let them and I'm excited to see where this path will lead me!
Progress not perfection, right? Thanks for hanging with me through my wordiest post yet and if you're so inclined I'd love to hear how you deal with feelings of insecurity.
Thanks to Liv Lane for all the great lessons so far and for hosting this blog party on courage, a great kick in the mental pants :-)