Being Afraid.

Being AfraidI felt so nervous about sharing last week’s post. What if my clients thought I was too busy to help them? What if people starting thinking Matthew and I were “having problems?” There were 1 million ways that my words could have been misconstrued, and I had considered them all. Somehow, I still felt compelled to hit that scary publish button.

Here’s what I learned though. The scariest posts to share are often the ones that I get the greatest, most heartfelt feedback from.  I almost immediately began receiving messages and emails from readers who felt things were swirling crazily around them too. I felt very nervous about sharing my struggles with the online world, yet there was such a positive response from it. People understand. People related to those feelings of craziness that I was experiencing.

That’s what this online space is about after all…a place to inspire, share struggles, and encourage. Even if that shared feeling is just a simple nod as someone scrolls, my mission is still accomplished.

I’ve been asked 1,000 times why I blog. This is usually from people who don’t truly understand the concept. Sometimes the question is asked with a genuine desire to understand and sometimes it’s asked in a condescending way that leaves me with hurt feelings. (That’s a post for another day.) My answer is always the same though:

I am a writer and a storyteller, and I want to inspire others.

First of all, it took me a long time to be able to say “I am a writer” with confidence. Writers write books. Writers get paid to write. Writers write fiction. Writers have English degrees and jot things down in fancy notebooks while overlooking hazy mountains on a vacation seeking creative exploration. I usually write blog posts with the notes app on my iPhone. Most of the time these are written from bed, first thing in the morning. Sometimes they’re written from the table or my favorite spot on the sofa while I sip my coffee. Sometimes, I stop in the middle of Target and begin a post (or email or newsletter text) because the inspiration hit. It’s also my story…not a fictitious one. My version of writing is much less glamorous than what I described above. However, the ultimate truth still prevails – I am a writer.

While it took me a very long time to say this out loud (and now to publish it here on the Internet), I came to this realization almost two years after creating this blog. The fact of the matter is, I had really, really wanted this online space for a long time. I just felt scared to go for it. I wasn’t sure if what I had to say was actually something people wanted to hear. The motivation was always there though – I wanted to write.

As I looked back on my life, I realized I had always been a writer. I wrote poems about fish as early as I could use a pen. When I faced four years of repeated heartbreak, I wrote poems about the people I had loved and lost. In high school English, I looked forward to the one million writing assignments that our top-of-the-line English teacher required. When Matthew and I fought when we were first married, I wrote long emails to him explaining my frustration or point of view (and often apologizing for getting angry). Since the very beginning, I’ve used writing to process my emotions, communicate hurt and disappointment, as well as to share my thoughts, joy, and excitement. I don’t have a book that you can purchase from your local book store. Nonetheless, I’m a writer.

Sometimes people ask why I don’t just write in a journal. That’s a great question, and I’m not sure that I even know the answer to it. I’ve never enjoyed writing in a journal. As a young girl, I remember deciding to journal on multiple occasions. I’d write about my day for a few weeks and then never pick it back up again. For someone who loves to write, journaling makes total sense. I think this is where the story-telling portion of my personality comes in. I have always loved to tell a good story. There’s something about regurgitating exciting details that gets me excited.

Since having the blog, I approach every experience as a potential blog post. When driving to a new location or event, I’m already drafting a blog post about it in my head. I’m coming up with catchy titles or flowery introductions. I did the same thing before having the blog…I just envisioned myself telling someone about the experience instead of writing about it. Since I can remember, I’ve always loved to tell stories. (The funnier, the better, by the way.)

My combined love of writing and story-telling is why I blog. This place is the perfect outlet for me. It’s where I tell my story, whether it be exciting, boring, average, heartbreaking, or insightful, to the world. It’s my primary venue for attempting to encourage and inspire the world around me. It’s where I provide a new prospective, both for myself and for others. Honestly, this is where I’ll look back to see how far I’ve come. This blog will be my journal and my scrapbook. Hopefully, it will be a chronicle of the ups and downs and progression of what I hope will be a beautiful life. Rather than keeping this experience and record of my life to myself, I’ve chosen to share it with the world. In all honesty, this space is just as much (if not more) for me as it is for other people. It’s my outlet. It’s my release. It’s my journal and sometimes my therapy. I write here because I am a writer. I write here because I need this outlet. And I write here because sometimes other people can learn from or take comfort in my experiences. Sometimes it makes us all feel less alone.

I say all of this to say that’s sometimes hitting that publish button is immensely frightening. Sometimes I’m literally afraid of what someone might think about something I share. The more personal posts are the scariest because sometimes I’m sharing very vulnerable feelings. I’ve learned that that’s ok though. Most likely, the more nervous I am about hitting the publish button, the more likely it is that someone will relate to what I’m feeling. Even starting this blog was scary. Committing to posting twice a week was scary. And sharing several of these posts have been scary. The end result is always worth it though. I push myself and test my strength with every post that’s shared. I learn to overcome something with every new story. I grow as a writer and a story teller and even more importantly, as a person, with every paragraph that’s shared here. on My Neck of the Woods. Even though it’s very scary sometimes, I know that it’s worth it.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading along here. Thank you for the encouragement and kind words. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope that we’re both equally surprised and pleased with the outcome. I hope we can all look back and revel in how far we’ve come. I’m going to keep hitting that share button, even when I’m plagued with fear, and I hope you’ll do something scary too. From what I’ve learned, those are the most rewarding tasks…the ones that sometimes scare the hell out of you. Someone once told me, if you’re not scared to death, then your dreams aren’t big enough.

What should you do today that’s a little bit (or a lot) scary? Is there something that you’ve been avoiding because you’re afraid? Take a step today. Hit that publish button even though you’re scared. Today is the perfect day to take that first step towards a big goal or to push yourself a bit away from what’s comfortable. What will you do today that’s scary? You’ll never know the end result without first giving it a shot. Do something brave today and then come back and tell me about it! I’d love to hear your story and to cheer you on.

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