Category: Life online
I sometimes forget how vulnerable blogging can make us feel; I’ve been doing it for so long it’s become a muscle I guess I take for granted. As I watch my current Blogging from the Heart group take flight with their own blogs and sharings, I’m reminded that it can be scary to put our thoughts and feelings into words for others to read. That we get choked up with perfectionism and wonder who we think we are to do something so daring. We want others to like our words and for connections to grow. We’re hungry to be seen just as we’re shy when people see us.
I still get nervous about certain posts. This post I wrote earlier in the year was raw and straight out of my disappointed heart, and it took a lot of courage to leave it online when all i wanted to do was take it down the next morning. I still remember the posts from the past that were turning points in my healing. And there are plenty of others that no longer exist on this blog, deigned not good enough and deleted out of space and time.
I tell my BFTH peeps that a blog is a constant work-in-progress, a space that’s never finished. How often do we get to create a place that’s just for us, an online home we can change and evolve as we ourselves change and evolve. Last week I showed them screengrabs* of older versions of my blog so they could see how it has developed over the years — and, frankly, to reassure them that we all start somewhere. I’ve loved every incarnation of this space, and if i’m honest I sometimes miss the simplicity of my first Blogger blog. Blogging felt simpler back then — I had absolutely no expectations for it. I wrote my feelings out onto my computer and put them online. It was such a release, such a joy to be able to get it out while I was still reeling from my bereavement. And then people came and said hello – the community feel was like it is today but on a much smaller scale. There were no ecourses, no advertising, no Facebook, no Twitter. Flickr was the new kid on the block and figuring out how to upload a new banner onto my blog remains one of my greatest tech achievements :)
So as I looked at my old blog designs last week I felt such tenderness for the beginning blogger I was. The links in the sidebars reminded me of the blogs I used to visit (some of them I still do; others no longer exist) and the people who have come in and out of my online world. But most of all, I remembered what it felt like to be sitting at my desk with a cigarette in my hand and those first blog posts pouring out of me. It feels like a lifetime ago, and yet, as I make my plans to move back to London nearly eight years after I left, it could have been yesterday.
Time doesn’t really have any meaning any more. I think when we write a blog we’re really making a time machine for ourselves.
Ink on my fingers, April 2006 – view full sized here
Ink on my fingers, August 2006 – view full sized here
Ink on my fingers, November 2009 – view full sized here
*hat tip to Kelly Rae for finding this fantastic site
My friend Andrea launched her gorgeous new site, Superhero Life, today and to celebrate she put the call out asking us a question:
What’s your superpower?
There are many things I feel i’m pretty good at, but the one trait that seems to be infused through everything I do is… truth-telling.
I had a few moments when I was writing the book when I worried that I was sharing too much. When I wrote about the stuff I wasn’t proud of — failed friendships, family difficulties — or embarassed by — anecdotes about my body were particularly hard to share — I wondered if I was going to regret being so open, laying it all out for public consumption. I have absolutely no idea why I share the way i do — it just feels very natural to do it. As I wrote about recently, i don’t share everything, but truthfulness comes up in my work again and again.
You want to talk about grief? I’ll tell you everything I felt and experienced. PMS? Easy peasy. Why being single for eight years is actually rather hard? Bring it on. That I rarely shave my legs? Done.
One of the most challenging side-effects of our 24/7 access to others on the internet is how easy it is to think that “everyone else” has a perfect life. We can curate our lives in social media, showing the bestest shiny parts and editing out all the less-than-stellar moments. Who hasn’t scrolled through their Facebook feed and thought shit, everyone else’s lives are so awesome and mine is so boring. I only have to glance at my Twitter feed on the wrong day to feel like an absolute failure. <—- truth.
Sometimes I have to unfollow people on Instagram because their photos/lives are so photogenic and fabulous I end up feeling crap about my little single existence. <—- more truth.
But then I also know that others may look at my Instagram feed and think it’s all rainbows and unicorns over here in Conwayland. It’s not. Some days are really great. Some days just plain suck. You know — a normal life :) On the sucky days I tend not to post any images to Instagram, or post anything to social media at all. Maybe that’s letting the side down, somehow, I don’t know. I just try to get the balance right between being truthful and moaning.
So yeah… truth-telling. Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to do even more of it here on this blog.
But I won’t be posting photos of my unshaved legs on Instagram. <—- the truth to end all truths.
What’s your superpower?
On this day, six years ago, I sat at my computer and wrote my very first blog post. I remember doing it so clearly. It was a time in my life when I was still smoking, still drinking too much wine, still grieving. It’s one of the best things I have ever done for myself. It started all of this…
For the last six weeks I’ve been teaching Blogging from the Heart, and as I’ve encouraged my wonderful students to share more and more of themselves on their blogs, I’ve been feeling the urge to do the same. That was how I started on April 12th 2006 with a basic Blogger blog and the desire to share. So much of my healing work has happened in this space, sharing my thoughts and feelings as I figured out how to navigate a world that had changed beyond all recognition. And i remember thinking how much “easier” life would be once I’d “moved through” my grief, not knowing that that was just the beginning. That’s why I bang on about unravelling being a lifelong thing we do — peeling back the layers, growing new ones, enriching our understanding of ourselves and our lives. There is always more to learn and experience. New loves to find, old loves to kiss goodbye. Discoveries to be made alone and in relationship with others. The past to excavate. The future to manifest.
It’s the fourth month of the year and I’m discovering if you put a request out to the universe you will get opportunities to test exactly how brave you really are. Things will happen to prepare you for what’s coming down the line. There’s some strange kind of magic happening that first started back when Noah was born. I can feel it around me and it’s uncomfortable at times, but I also know I asked for this. For growth and change. For forward movement. For more.
I’ve been released from my cocoon and now I’m ready for the next adventure. I’m going out every morning to walk round the park, coming home sweaty to lift weights and do stretches. I’m driving better and more confidently with every lesson — I don’t even recogise myself these days. I feel like a tween, stuck in that in-between stage of the before and after, knowing I am about to fly and impatient for my wings to dry.
I keep telling myself it’s all to play for, and then I look for where I left my invisible crown. Damn thing keeps falling off.
Thank you for accompanying me on this ride for the last six years. This space means more to me than I can put into words.
2011 has been a year of two obsessions: my nephew, Noah, and my book. Not a single day went by when I wasn’t thinking about one, if not both, of them. My relationship with both grew throughout the year, and both are now bigger, braver and bolder than they were just 12 months ago. There are a lot of similarities between being an auntie and an author — both roles stretch your heart wide open and help you see you are capable of so much more than you ever realised. Both require you to be skilled in nurturing and patience. Both ask you to play your best game, even when you’re tired or hormonal (or both).
I’m sitting here trying to remember what else went on in 2011…
… I started the year in full-on book writing mode, so shared some guest posts here from friends, including Fabeku, Jo and Megg
… there were lots of firsts for Noah: his first shoes :: his first birthday :: first time on a swing! :: first steps :: first time painting together :: first words :: first cuddle
… Marisa and I launched our Aquarian twins podcast
… Jen, Amanda and I completed our Polaroid book and our Pretty Polaroid Notecards arrived
… I wrote a whole honest-to-goodness book all on my own :) I wrote it, edited it, edited it some more, proof read it, prepared the Polaroids for it, consulted in the design of it, shared the cover of it, felt really effing nervous about it.
… I saw my name on Amazon for the first time!
… in January I’ll be celebrating three years of the Unravelling e-course, something I never thought could be possible
… I attended the Wedding of the Year
… we all took a second August Break and it was awesome
… I wrote about wisdom for Amy, intuition for Louise, recorded an a-ha moment for Jenn and talked transcendent sales with Fabeku, Chris and Alexandra
… I didn’t make it San Francisco :(
… so instead I launched a brand new course!
… this month I celebrate THREE years as an ex-smoker
… and I shared my Photography Manifesto
Favourite moment of the year: it’s a tie, between Noah giving me a cuddle and the magical spontaneous disco on Christmas Eve, when Noah got his mummy, daddy, auntie, nana and granddad all dancing around him — he’d pulled each of us by hand to the living room then stood in the middle and shook his tiny toddler booty to the music. The laughter and elation swirling around that room was the happiest I have ever seen my family.
Favourite sound: hands down, it’s the way Noah says my name: “Shoo-she”
Favourite taste sensation: all meals shared with family and friends at Jamie’s this year
Favourite email: the one my mum sent me telling me she’d just pre-ordered my book on Amazon and was so proud of me. I kept that one :)
Favourite phone call: it’s a tie between calling Jo in tears of laughter and calling Sas in tears of empathy
Favourite TV show: True Blood
Favourite tipple: champagne quoffed at Sas’s wedding
Proudest moment: helping my sister at her very first craft fair — and watching her sell loads!
Favourite blog readers: all of YOU! Thank you so much for visiting me here this year, and for all your love and support. It means so much to me — thank you xxxx
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Other years in review: 2010 :: 2009