Warning: I’m about to get all kinds of mushy.
I don’t think any of us are fully aware how much potential we have to influence people. I do think that a lot of people who don’t blog or tweet or use social media very much at all, think that the idea of blogging is a tad narcissistic. I remember telling a friend of mine last summer that I was considering starting a blog and his reaction was a hefty eye roll followed by accusing me of believing that I’m important enough that random people on the internet will want to read about my every waking move. I assured him my blog wouldn’t be a daily collection of Facebook statuses, just a way for me to filter my overloaded brain, process and create and connect with myself and others. To talk about my FEELINGS. He rolled his eyes again.
How exactly can I make someone understand what sparked my love affair with the internet and why almost one year later my life direction and choices are often inspired, reaffirmed and/or influenced by women I’ve never met? How strangers can help give me guts? How a post or a comment or debate can make me want to hug my computer because for all that’s scary in this world, there are not only people who get IT but are able to articulate it better than I ever could. Why my bulletin board is hoarded with print outs and hand written scribbles of quotes I’ve stumbled upon?
Ever wonder why so many bloggers write about their addiction to cheese or cake or champagne? It isn’t because they (we) believe that liking all things gouda, death by chocolate or fizzy makes you some kind of original, it’s because bloggers seize every opportunity to ACTUALLY LIVE THEIR LIVES. They tweet their brunches and weekend plans, links to recipes and motivational essays. They post the things most people are too afraid to admit. They set goals and hold themselves accountable, they take chances and sign up for BiSC and VEDA. They don’t let things just pass them by or life simply happen to them because they know to be young in 2011 means the possibilities are nothing short of endless, that life is too short to wait for “worthy” occasions, that cheese and cupcakes are fucking delicious and champagne makes everything better, so yes please and thank you I will have some. They live examined lives and they live them NOW, inspiring others to do the same.
So, why the love fest? Why the fuck NOT.
This blogger I’ve never met, who lives an easy 3000 miles away from me, commented on my anxiety ridden post saying we as humans are very adaptable. Some of us may fear change, but we survive by adapting to it. This girl, who posted this comment which probably didn’t feel like rocket science to her, upon reading it sobered me the hell up. I felt as if she tossed cool water on my fevered face. Her two sentences helped start a shift in how I perceived my current situation.
And then, same said lovely girl posts her To-Don’t List and talks about never letting yourself be bored, how lucky we are to have the freedom to go out and LIVE, how we have the ability to change and create our own lives as we see fit. So, for the past two days, her words have been swirling in my head, popping up every time I think about my beautiful, sweet little life and am about to complain about it, making me ask myself tough questions about whether I’m doing justice to the symbol I had tattooed on the back of my neck. I brought up her words over Blue Moons with my sister which prompted a conversation about life changes and fear and taking direction. And if I never typed this post on my lunch break, she might never know how much her words impacted me and that is simply not ok.
The blogging world thrives on reaching out and forming connections and I’m hella happy I’ve found my way here. For all of the times I want to throw up my hands and be done with it all, you brilliant, gorgeous women remind me exactly why I keep logging on.
Lately, I’m scaring myself. Lately, the corners of me that saw only the good in people, my optimistic lens is fading fast. My positivity, the inner tidbits that used to make people roll their eyes at what they called naïve now feel foreign to me, as if I can identify with my criticizers quicker than I can identify with myself. A thousand tiny little hurts that I’ve for some reason decided are worthy of space in my heart are starting to take their toll. As much as I love my internship, working with this population is harder than I imagined. People I trusted keep letting me down. I’m impossibly hard on myself. I want to believe in love and commitment, in kindness and humanity, but it’s hard. I’m afraid, lonely, tired and I miss my best friend. I’m jealous, insecure and vulnerable. And I’m admitting all of these things out loud on the internet.
A lot of the people in my real life don’t understand blogging (well let’s say they don’t understand PERSONAL blogging) and a few have even called it quite narcissistic. They don’t understand why I feel the need to post my inner feelings for strangers to read. But for me, blogging isn’t just about me sharing my thoughts, it’s about reading the thoughts from others that make me feel a lot less alone. I’m in a sad place today- shit, I cried before I had my morning coffee. And all these thoughts keep running through my head- “Happiness is a choice!” “Snap out of it!” “Think about Japan right now, you selfish bitch” “I think it’s time to go back to therapy”. And these thoughts and this sadness could have (normally WOULD have) easily taken over my day had it not been for blogging. Had it not been for turning on my computer and finding inspiration from the likes of amazing, strong, awe-worthy women. Words that make it easier to smile and motivate me to genuinely be better.
I have all sorts of pretty pictures of drunken times in Chicago I could post here today. I could gush about macaroni and cheese pizza, my new obsession with Goose Island 312 or how wonderful it was to spend time with MC’s brother and his fiancé. And all of those things truly are gush-worthy, but they aren’t who I am today. So I’ll save that for tomorrow and today just focus on taking each hour at a time, finally bucking up and emailing Molly already, and being thankful for little things, like you know, THE INTERNET.
Yes, with a capital F.
I’m afraid of lots of things. There’s the ones I’ll say out loud- snakes, heights, death, milk that’s been in the fridge more than a day- and then the ones I’m less proud to claim, the nagging fears that exist mostly just in my head because I’m afraid admitting them makes me weak or alien. The kinds of fears like rejection or being not-good-enough. Aren’t those the ones that are more daunting? The ones we try to deny and make excuses for?
If you are reading this, you may have noticed, I’m back here writing again. (You’re so smart) But wait! Didn’t she write this fluffy post about not having the time, will or drive to blog anymore? I did, and at the time I wrote it, my words were about 60% truthful, but mostly, I was speaking from a place of Fear.
I love writing, I love that it’s a healthy outlet where I can release what I’m feeling and the heavy weight that those feelings can often bear. Unlike exercise and/or sex and/or cocktails, which help me let go and unwind, writing helps me process. It’s therapeutic. It’s why I wanted to start blogging, to have a little space where I am free to get Excited! Or Angry! Or Sentimental! A place where I am free to think and say what I please and maybe find a soul sister or two who understand how I feel and know what the fuck is up. And I can write page after page after page in my Nancy Drew notebook (thanks, Mom) without re-reading or even really stopping and feel proud of it. So how hard could blogging be, right?
Except, wrong. Every time I wrote one single sentence, I turned into this critical demon and gave everything I wrote the stink eye. Instead of my writing helping me to be more self accepting, it was helping me be more self loathing. Why do I continually compare myself to everyone else and decide I’m not good enough? Why is everything pass/fail, win/lose? I’m not trying to be this Great Writer. I’m trying to be a Great Girlfriend, Great Friend, Great Social Worker and if writing will help me become those things, maybe it’s time I work on letting go of my fear.
I am just Garnet and I write run on sentences sometimes and I have no idea how to tweet or take pretty pictures. I’m usually the last person to find out about a new wave of technology and I haven’t seen the majority of movies, classic or brand new. I fall down a lot and tend to leave my laundry on the bedroom floor. I don’t have amazing stories of traveling the world or a baby or a business. What I do have is a heart the size of Texas and I’m not afraid (anymore) to use it.
So, I’m giving this another stab, I’m going to try to tackle this a different way, and not let go even if I’m feeling particularly ugly at some points. Do I feel a little foolish? Hell yes, but I’d rather be an idiot than a coward.
Here I am (again), nice to (re)meet you. Wouldn’t you know? I’ve missed this.
This is my final blog post.
I knew I wouldn’t blog forever, I just didn’t know I would only blog for four months. I don’t view it as quitting, but rather I feel I gave something I wanted to do a stab, grew some and did the whole learning thing and at least for now, I am hanging up the towel. I have reconnected with people I haven’t talked to in years, first time connected with some fabulous minds and even guided myself and others a few times.
I don’t feel motivated to blog hop or comment or enter contests. Rather, I feel motivated to reach out to people that are near, tangible to me…the people I often forget to jot down a hello note on pretty stationery to…the people I forget to call or purposely neglect to for fear of awkwardness. I’m not finishing my 30 Days of Truth. Why? I don’t make a habit of doing things my heart isn’t in to. I am a firm believer in intention and purpose, deliberately choosing my actions. I refuse to force something, to do something just to be able to say I did it. And upon re-reading some of the prompts, I realized I would be writing just to write. There would be no spark beneath my words, no true passion or desire. So, I’m not finishing it.
I have learned invaluable things in the past few months, both from blogging and living, and I have found that the blogging community and the writing process has shed light on things I was uncertain of and reaffirmed things I always knew.
I believe people, deep down, mean well. I believe people are inherently good and that right and wrong can live simultaneously within a person, expressing themselves in the form of choices and mistakes. There are many gray areas and things get cloudy, but above everything, I believe in the human spirit in its full capacity, full resiliency.
I believe sometimes we influence people, HELP people, without even noticing or realizing it. Sometimes our strength provides courage for others, our mistakes provide steering guides for people facing dilemma.
I believe that the little things are undoubtedly the biggest things. It’s the small acts of kindness or intolerance that fill or break my heart. I believe that love can grow or be depleted by the sum of the little things.
I believe that if you love someone, they are gunna hurt you from time to time. Be kind, act gracefully and do your best to float on, because (probably) sooner than later it will be you doing the hurting.
I believe it’s ok to really not like yourself sometimes, just as long as you’re willing to commit to changing and growing.
I believe that just because someone treats you well does not excuse their behavior and actions towards others.
I believe that just because it aint broke and you don’t need to fix it doesn’t mean that you don’t still need to work your ass off to keep it in good condition.
I believe I don’t have to write down things about myself to make them true, but if I need to, the send button on an email to a friend will be just as helpful as the publish one on this blog. And if at times my thoughts seem too scary to admit out loud, the soft sound of a pen scribbling on paper will do just fine.
I believe you are not alone. No seriously, you aren’t. I have found that regardless of the cattiness girls often throw at each other, the true level of camaraderie is overwhelming in a fantastic way. Feelings of doubt, inadequacy, anxiety and too many body image issues to list link us to one another. There are so many other women, most women in fact, who are in midst the same struggles as I am. We are more similar than different, FACT. Whether it’s the person you kiss hello when you walk through the front door, the best friend you cry over glasses of cabernet sauvignon with or a blogger across the country you exchange emails with, there are people ready and WILLING to support you, remind you of how incredible you are and what you are capable of. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I believe you need to allow yourself to be vulnerable and exposed, because at the heart of it those are just forms of honesty.
I believe judgments are human, they are natural. If you say you don’t judge others, you are full of shit and I am judging you. It is almost instinctual to make snap judgments about people, especially if you don’t know them. However, it is what you do with those opinions that makes you a judgmental person or not. You can use them to grow, learn more about yourself and the values of others, gain a better understanding of how and why, or you can let them become fuel for ignorance.
I believe in universal human rights and that there are things, many of them in fact, that every single person is WORTHY of, simply just because they exist.
I believe in fairness and most of all LOVE.
I’ve thought a lot about the pros and cons of being an anonymous blogger. I love the idea of having the freedom to say the things I want to say without worrying if it would affect my relationships or job status. However, after anxiety fueled nail-biting careful consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to put my name and face out there. Why? I find it scary and at the same time exciting to have to be held accountable for every word I put on this blog. For everyone to know that these thoughts, ideas, jokes, stories, all came from me. Yes, it might get a tad uncomfortable if my dad reads about my sexing and I can’t exactly talk shit about Bob from accounting (don’t worry Apexicans, there is no Bob from accounting), but overall its important for me. For me, being anonymous would be cowardly, a way to hide behind my thoughts instead of owning them. It would be succumbing to my fear of rejection or getting my feelings hurt when someone disagrees or just straight up hates what I have to say.
A few years ago I registered for an online class at the community college I then attended. The class was Psychology of Religion and I was down right stoked. I love psychology! I love learning about religions! This is going to be great! Yeah, no. The first week we had to respond to an article discussing freedom of religion and freedom and speech. The article had a lot to do about hate and although I don’t remember the specifics, I remember my response (a measly paragraph) centering on my idea that if as long as violence and threats are left out, free speech is free speech and people should be allowed to say how they feel, despite whether or not it’s unpleasant to hear. Classmate Ben did not agree. He laid into me hard about how ignorant I was, how I knew nothing about the law and essentially I should be ashamed. Ben was in a word, cruel. I looked back at what I wrote and could honestly find nothing mean or negative about it. I wasn’t calling people out or preaching from my soapbox. I didn’t understand. I cried. I dropped the class. That’s right kids, I ran far, far away from that discussion board and never looked back. I acted like a pussy. Instead of standing up for myself, defending my words, choosing to fight fairly, I ran.
I am not a person who is comfortable with confrontation. I tend to avoid it at all costs. Because I am often far too emotional, I find it hard to sort my thoughts and explain how I am feeling in an articulate manner without letting my emotions get the best of me. I think that opening my blog not only just to the internet, but also to people I know in real life will be a challenge and source of growth for me.
Maybe no one will read my blog, maybe there will be mixed feelings of hatred and love, maybe people will agree with Ben and think I’m a stupid, ignorant bitch, maybe everyone who reads it won’t give a shit big enough either way to care about what I have to say. But whoever does read it, will know these words are mine. And I think that’s important, regardless how difficult it might get for me sometimes. So, in a way, thank you Ben.
Six months ago, if you asked me anything about a blog or the blog world, I would have stared at you blankly as if you had just spoken French. Even though I started following a few blogs and visiting tons of others back in May, I’m still pretty much flying blind here with the whole actual designing/writing/commenting thing. I was introduced to blogs when a friend moved down to St. Maarten for medical school, and his girlfriend decided to document their adventures down there. I thought the idea was fantastic and I found myself looking forward to her stories and posts. It seemed like such a fabulous way to live vicariously through other people. So I read her blog and found some others and those led me to some others, and before I knew it, I was looking forward to new posts more than my weekly TV shows (except you, True Blood, you’re still my #1!).
I honestly never even considered starting my own little blogspace. I like to write, but I’m not exceptionally good at it by any means. I was perfectly content just reading other people’s blogs and enjoyed agreeing with, praying for and just plain hating some of the things that people said. I find they help me immensely at times, especially when I don’t know how to put the way I am feeling into words. Reading other people’s views and opinions is fascinating and helps me really identify how I truly feel on issues. Essentially, other people help me know myself better.
But after one particularly long, kind of shitty and super eventful day, I found myself wanting to blog. Wanting to say my piece and put it out there. Use writing as a therapeutic tool and not just something reserved for research papers. This one day was packed with announcements of pregnancies, fights with my best friend, finding out a girl whose been like a sister to me for 12 years is moving 3,000 miles away, work meetings and school payment plans, feelings of failure and a ten minute phone call with my love, MC, that made me remember it was all going to be ok. I felt myself yearning for a better way to process my thoughts. I wanted to express how sad, let down, excited, motivated, tired, anxious, blessed I felt. So, I chose action over contemplation and here we are.
Hello Internet : )