Many Australian bloggers over recent days (Friday & Saturday) have been attending a ProBlogger event in Melbourne. Since I’m now on Twitter, I’ve been reading with interest all their tweets at #pbevent. There were some tweets that really struck a chord with me. Here are just some:
I really needed to hear those messages! Those messages and many others have led me to this honest – baring my soul – post that you are about to read. It is hard to not be paralysed by the fear of who may read this and what they may think. Family may read this, friends who know me, others that know me only through the computer, and complete strangers. However, this is exactly the kind of fear that I am striving to overcome.
One of the main reasons I decided to start a blog was as a vehicle to help me find myself. I know it sounds cliché, but over the passage of time, I have lost myself. Of course, not the entirety of me, but the core of me. I haven’t felt truly happy for quite some time. I am in good health, I have a faithful and loving husband, I have three gorgeous children, I have a home. Why haven’t I felt truly happy? You will find out as you read on. There have been many questions rattling around in my head for quite a while. Why don’t I get excited by anything anymore? There must be more to life? What makes me happy? What do I like to do? What am I good at? What is my passion? What am I meant to do?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it is a reality…many mothers (and indeed some fathers too!) give so much to their family and work that they lose parts of themselves along the way. If I could give only one piece of advice to a new mother it would be to be careful not to lose yourself. Keep connected with what makes you YOU. Make time to do the things that make you happy. You will be a better mother for it.
I was married at the age of 20. I had my twins at 28 and had three children by 30. I’ve been back working since the kids were little in the corporate world, commuting 2 hours per day, climbing the corporate ladder to success whilst juggling the responsibilities of motherhood and running a house. There has been some pride in my achievements, but I wasn’t truly happy. In all honesty, I have been working for money – to pay the school fees and the mortgage – not for the love of it. I was a robot going through the motions required of me. There was no time to think about what made me happy. There was no time to notice all the things I had to be grateful for. I lost the ability to feel joy or excitement.
Of course I’ve done some things for myself along the way – had outings with friends and family, lunch or drinks with work colleagues, some evening Pilates classes, some visits to the movies, some walks along the waterfront, attended some weekend boot camps, and some other things now and then, but I’ve never really stopped the treadmill of life long enough to really reflect and take the time to find the core of me. And now I am.
Many people (work colleagues, friends, family) over the years have told me I’m good with words – a good writer. I’ve not done Journalism, nor have I done any writing courses. Does that matter? I know that I have a creative side. I’ve always been creative at work. I was creative when I was younger (before kids) – painting, drawing, cross-stitch, tapestries, knitting, crocheting, gardening and more. I’ve scraped together little snippets of time (post kids) for creativity at some points on weekends – a little bit of mosaicing, a little bit of painting – but no ability to stick with any craft due to lack of time. I hope to unlock that creative side of me again. It’s a little lost but it is fighting to come out. I’ve recognised a flicker of delight inside me when it comes to taking photographs. I find myself always seeing something and thinking “oh – that would make a beautiful photo” and I get a thrill when I take a good photo. I have a really strong desire to learn more about photography so that I can take truly beautiful photographs. I want to learn macro photography! These two things – writing and photography are my starting point.
I’ve been following and reading a few blogs for quite some time and one day something occurred to me. This is me talking to myself: Positive Me – Why don’t you start a blog? Self Doubt Me – Oh I couldn’t do that!! What would people think?! Oh I’d be too boring! It’s too scary! Blah blah blah! Positive Me – Well you like to write and you want to learn more about photography….maybe you could start a blog. A blog to help you find yourself. Self Doubt Me and Perfectionism Me – Oh well if you’re going to do it you will have to wait until you have a plan. A detailed plan…and graphics…impressive graphics….and a logo….a good logo!…..otherwise you’ll look ridiculous and make a right fool of yourself! Positive Me – If I wait until I do all that it will never happen. Perfectionism will take over.
I chose to listen to Positive Me and just jump in head first and do it and shape it as I go along. So here I am. I’ve started a blog! I’m on the way to finding out who Min truly is. It is scary but exciting. It is scary because it is putting myself out there to be judged. It is revealing the REAL ME to people I know and people I don’t know. It will show my weaknesses and hopefully some strengths. In the past, I have mostly hidden the real me, for fear of rejection or disapproval. I was like a Chameleon – always adapting myself accordingly to fit in. I have always been a people pleaser and been far too concerned about what people think of me. Through my blog – I am STANDING MY GROUND and facing the old me head on. This is the real me! To self-doubt and to giving a toss what people think about me and letting it stop me being me – BE GONE WITH YOU! If I can be accepted for being the real me – how liberating would that be!?
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
I don’t entirely agree. There are some, like me, that have forgotten or lost who are they are or who they were. However, I do agree that we do have the ability to create ourselves by how we think and what we do. So I guess in addition to finding the part of my self which has been lost, I have the opportunity to create myself as well. Well that could be exciting!
As the tweets I quoted earlier point out – you have to be ‘real’ in your blog to engage your readers and that is what I plan to do. There is no point in pretending to be someone who you are not. That would be exhausting and the words would not flow easily. I find that the blogs I connect the most with are the ones where the writer is real. They open up their lives and let you into their thoughts. My blog is actually my personal journey to finding me and creating me, and I plan to be as honest and open about the journey as I can with my readers. I plan to be the real me.
I am not sure how my blog will look in say 12 months time. It most probably will be very different to how it is now…and much, much better. At the moment, I am still reflecting and searching for the lost parts of Min. I am still a little unsure what exactly I want to post about or what the main gist or purpose of my blog is. Does it really matter? I can only start with what I know.
I do look at other bloggers who have a strong purpose and following and fancy graphics (banners/logo’s etc) and shrink a little with embarrassment over my lack lustre look and not too evident purpose, but you know what – they too had to start somewhere and maybe in the beginning they were just like me. And this tweet reminded me of that.
This is what I do know about myself. I know that:
- Personal qualities: I am an emotional, sensitive and sentimental person all wrapped up in one. I am a very giving, faithful, loving and loyal person. I am an introvert who has become expert at appearing extroverted (works a lot of times but not all the time). I am smarter than I give myself credit for. I am a perfectionist (did you not know that already?!). I am always too hard on myself. Sometimes I can be a little bit funny. I am a good person.
- I think I need to unlock my creative self to rediscover the joy and excitement that vanished from my life.
- Though I’m no expert, I have an interest in health: nutrition, fitness (of the sustainable type for non-athletic or exercising loving people like me…being honest here!!) and the mind.
- Some quotes get me thinking and inspire me so I’d like to share some.
- I want to showcase the area in which I live (and beyond) to the world through photographs and snippets of information.
- I want to connect with other mothers through being honest, like I am in this post, and by sharing some stories of daily life in my family and real life struggles and joys that a mother goes through.
- Without a shadow of a doubt part of my ‘core’ adores animals and particularly my pets (currently just Chelsea) and so I want to write about them and share photographs of them. Hopefully there are some other animal lovers out there will connect with me on these posts!
- I think the 365 Grateful Project is a fantastic concept that Hailey Bartholomew started and that through participating in this project it will help me find a deeper awareness of all that I have to be grateful for and in turn help me find myself and be a happier person.
- There are projects I want to get done around the house and that it would be fun to blog about them.
- I love learning more about social media and dabbling in all things computer.
- This blogging world I have stumbled into intrigues me.
- The bloggers I have met (mostly virtually so far) are very giving, generous and fun people!
- I want to be part of the blogosphere (as they call it).
- I want to be at next year’s ProBlogger conference!
I guess you can understand now why I chose to call my blog MinsMash! Because there were so many things that I thought I could blog about – a mish mash of stuff. I couldn’t settle on one purpose or gist for my blog. Perhaps I should have called my blog Finding Min?
So my blog is still a work in progress. It’s far from perfect as it is now. I call myself a fledgling blogger. I have much to learn. There will be post fails and post wins (there have been both so far!) – some will connect with the readers, others may not. I’m still scrabbling with what I want it to be: what kind of posting routine it should have, what look it should have, what purpose or gist it should have etc. It will change as I change and as I learn. It will become better as I come closer to finding all the elements that make up the core of Min and better understand her purpose. I will also let my reader’s guide me. The posts that get the most views and/or comments as opposed to what posts don’t will help me shape my blog to what I want it to be and what readers enjoy the most.
I know one thing for sure – it will be fabulous when I find myself!!
I hope that you, my current readers, and any future readers, can bear with me and stick around as my blog evolves as I travel this intriguing road to finding and creating myself! It’s sure to be an interesting ride and I promise to share my thoughts and discoveries with you as we go along.
If you’ve got to this point……then thank you for reading this epically long post!!