Oh my goodness.
I have been blown away by the response to yesterday’s blog post.
I made a promise to someone yesterday that I would write something every day for a week. Just to get me out of my hole, and back on that horse. So I sat down, and I just wrote that post in the 20 minutes I had before I left to pick the kids up from school.
I thought that I had lost you all. I thought no-one was reading anymore. I thought I didn’t have anything to say that anyone would be interested in reading.
Turns out I was wrong.
What was possibly the shortest blog post I have ever written, has had the most engagement I have had for ages.
So many lovely comments here on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.
I am genuinely moved that so many of you took the time not only to read it, but also to leave a comment, or even just to hit the ‘like’ button on Facebook. It means so much to know that not only have people read what I’ve written, but that they can relate to it. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know that I am not the only one with ‘scrunched up insides’.
Perhaps somewhat predictably, I now feel under pressure to replicate it. To write another post that resonates. I feel the pressure and start to try and guess what you all want to read more of. But I don’t know what you all want to read more of.
I just know that this week, for now, I need to write. About anything, about whatever is on my mind.
As it happens, almost inevitably, what is on my mind is still me trying to figure stuff out. So there may well be a few more posts like this. I worry that you will get bored, and stop reading. But this is what’s on my mind, this is where the journey is taking me, and I am forcing myself to stop pre-judging, to stop guessing, and to just go with the flow. My flow. And keep writing.
I’m doing a course at the moment with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (if you have even the merest spark of an idea for a social enterprise, do check it out-it’s been amazing) and one of my cohort is a brilliant woman called Katherine Baldwin. Katherine writes and speaks about living an ‘authentic’ life, and how important it is to be our true selves. We’ve been talking about it a lot during our time together, and we had a conversation yesterday (after I sent her a very teary e-mail) about whether it is possible to be authentic, to be truly open about how you are feeling, to admit to your flaws and your fears, and still run a successful business, or be taken seriously.
There is a part of me that says “Yes, of course it is. Being real and authentic, and open and honest about the struggles and the hard times is what people relate to” and that has been borne out for me by the response to yesterday’s blog post. Nearly every single comment was thanking me for being honest, for admitting to struggling because some of you are struggling too, and relating to my scrunched up insides.
But then there’s a part of me that say’s “NO. People don’t want to hear it. People have their own struggles and their own demons to fight. They want to be inspired and uplifted, they don’t want to be pulled down by your tales of woe and worry.”
And yet another part that thinks if I want to get published, or run workshops, or sell e-books, then I have to be ‘the expert’. I have to be flawless and strong, and impenetrable. Not weeping into my tea because my Instagram pictures aren’t pretty enough.
But do you know what?
I don’t think I care anymore. I need to start accepting myself for what I am, for who I am. I need to stop aspiring to be someone else. Someone prettier, clever-er, wittier, more eloquent.
And I need to stop trying to guess what people might want to read, and write about the things that matter to me.
I do not have a house full of tastefully arranged vintage kitchenalia. I do not have kids who run through meadows in mini-Boden just as the evening sun catches the blonde highlights in their hair. And even if I did I couldn’t take a good picture of them.
But I do think I have something to say. I do think that my Make Do and Mend message is a powerful one, and one that the world needs to hear (there is part of me that is cringing writing that. Who am I to tell the world what it needs to hear?). And I do struggle.
Everyday I battle my demons. Some days they are beaten down more easily than others. Some days they win.
That’s ok I think.
I am not perfect.
None of us is perfect.
It is our imperfections that make us human.
Maybe it is time to embrace those imperfections, those quirks and foibles, and to make peace with them.
I am tired of pretending that I have all the answers. That I know what I’m doing (blogwise or otherwise). Or even that I know where I’m going.
I’m making it up as I go along. Some things I get right (and tend to dismiss and forget about), and some things I f*ck up (those are the things I remember and focus on. What’s all that about?). It’s all a journey. It’s all a learning curve. I need to stop beating myself up for my perceived failings and start learning to treat them as the life lessons they are.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that.
So it’s over to you guys. I want to hear from you what you struggle with, and possibly more importantly, any tips you have for embracing your imperfections, and fronting up to the world authentically, warts and all. Maybe we can all help each other out, remind each other that we all struggle, and help each other to overcome them. Or even if we can’t help overcome them, we can just be here, holding virtual hands, and doling out virtual cuppas.