Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me

Tap, tap, is this thing on?  Right now it feels like I'm on a big stage all alone with a bright spotlight shining on me.  This space feels so big.  It seems so empty, and it's absolutely silent.

It's pretty strange being here, but it's oddly comforting too.  It's been six weeks since I've sat in this chair, in front of this computer, typing on this keyboard.  I'm not sure exactly where to begin and as per usual my mind has a million different thoughts running through it. 

I guess we'll go back to August 4th.

August 4th was my one year blog anniversary.  I let it slip by without even a mention.  I didn't celebrate it or honor it like I should have.  Instead I felt jaded about blogging.  I felt burnt out in general.  I didn't plan on taking a break but looking back now it's very clear that things were not moving in a positive direction.

I've thought about this space a lot since my last post on August 7th.  Here's what I know.

I'm not done blogging.  I've gone back and forth a least a dozen times.  Should I stay or should I go?  Initially I didn't want to quit because a year is a long time to dedicate to something and then just stop.  That's not a good reason to keep going though and that won't sustain me long term. 

From there I thought f*ck it.  Towards the end this place felt like a noose around my neck.  It was one more thing to be responsible for.  One more deadline to meet.  The thought of letting this self-induced, self-created stress go felt amazing. 

It took a while but I eventually came to find myself thinking about the beginning.  Why did I start blogging in the first place? 

I started blogging because I needed to meet new people and to build new relationships.  In the beginning that happened very slowly, but organically.  Someone would reach out via email because they'd read something I wrote and they felt a connection (or vice-verse).  We'd write back and forth, privately.  We’d get to know each other outside of blog post comments.  Those relationships are the relationships that have continued in spite of the fact that this space has been quiet for 6 weeks.  There's substance there.  That's what I came for.  

There's always a flip side though.  For every 1 quality relationship there were 20 built on the "comment for a comment system".  Nobody talks about it, but it's no coincidence that on days I didn't leave comments, I didn't get any either.  And the comments themselves, they felt so lame.  One liners like "oh my gosh your purple shoes are so cute".  I'm not saying that every comment needs to be deep and profound because not every post is deep or profound.  What I am saying is that without the real connection (the getting to know you behind the scenes) it's just not enough.   

I will not allow myself to entertain "comment for a comment" relationships again.  That is not a productive use of my time.  I will spend time really getting to know the bloggers behind the blogs that I still love and read every day (even if I've been silent lately).

Aside from building relationships, I also started blogging because I wanted to write about life in your thirties without children.  I still believe my demographic is greatly underrepresented and while I haven't done much to change that, I plan on it. 

I wanted a hobby.  Hobby Shannon, not another full time job.  I need to learn the difference!  I'm going to work on that one :)

I wanted to explore and get to know myself better.  Expressing myself here has without question helped me to see myself more clearly.  I'm funny (sometimes), I'm loving, I'm smart, I have something to share.  In my day to day life I feel like I'm very aware of all of my behaviors.  I'm always the first to point out when I've done something wrong or when I've behaved poorly.  It's important to me that I never stop learning and growing as a person.  This space has shown me all the different sides of myself.

For all the good I've seen, it's terrifying to see just how moody I am.  I was raised by a mother who suffers from mental illness so I'm constantly accessing myself looking for signs that I too might be plagued.  I spent a day rereading every post I'd ever written (143).  Then I reread them all again.  From happy, joyous and grateful, to overwhelmed, angry and sad.  Seeing the good sides of yourself is amazing, but seeing the ugly.  YIKES!  Worse though is knowing that you've shared those parts of yourself with the internet.  What was I thinking???  Why can't I be more censored? 

After feeling completely horrified I again started to think about why I was here to begin with.  Sharing the ugly parts of yourself on the internet for all to see is absolutely crazy, but it's also incredibly rewarding.  I’ve found a community of people who read this shit and still think I'm an amazing person.  I mean talk about complete acceptance.    

I wish I could hide the not so pretty sides and show you all only the beautiful parts of myself, but that’s just not in my makeup.  My hope is that this crystal clear picture of myself will help me make some necessary changes.  Without this space, I wouldn’t have that opportunity.

I wanted to be creative and to challenge myself.  Done and done.  I love being held accountable by this space.  I love the 101 in 1001 challenge. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here in a very long winded and roundabout way is that my absence here has given me time to think about whether or not I've gotten enough from this space in the last year to make it a part of my life for another.  After a lot of back and forth my answer is yes.  For all the bad, there is twice as much good and with a few tweaks I think year two will be even better. 
I've missed you and I'm coming back for more.  Hope you're all well.  Lots of love.  XO Shannon


  1. Yay!!! I'm so happy you are back and you are not giving up your space!! I miss seeing your posts, the good or the "ugly";I like that you keep it so real. I don't think you would make the same connections if it was only the facade :) We will talk more, but I'm SO SO happy to see you back!!

  2. I was glad to see this pop up in my feed.

    I think introspection is good. As is questioning why we are doing something - when anything becomes a burden or unenjoyable, it needs to be stopped or adjustments must be made. It sounds like you're thinking about what those adjustments might be to continue doing something you had good reasons and intentions with.

  3. If this isn't a great perspective on blogging, i don't know what is. this is 100% true and i like that you are going to hold yourself accountable for what you came here in the first place for! i agree with the comment-for-comment thought. i've fallen into that sometimes (did i really admit that?) but i also know that i do geniunely like to read the blogs i comment on, even if they are vague comments. if that makes sense? sometimes I (or people) don't get around to reading posts every single day and kind of follow up on blogs all at once. that happens to me very often.

  4. I totally feel you and I get caught in the why bothers all the time. I read (on GOMI, of course) that lifestyle blogging was nothing but a "circle jer" of comments for comments and it pissed me off because it was true. My life lately has been busy and I too have been reading but posting a commenting less. Whatever you share - good, bad, or ugly - should be because you want to share it, not bc you need an audience to consume it. That's what builds relationships and makes people love a blog. I think I'm going to like your new outlook :)

  5. Glad to see you back! Here's to the 30something women without kids! ;)


  6. Welcome back!! I squealed with delight when I saw your post pop up on my feed!
    Rules, schmules, I LOVE your new perspective on blogging. Comment for comment can be pretty shallow, especially when you don't really have anything to say. It's those numbers that mess is all up, everybody is obsessed with the numbers - how many comments, how many followers, the whole shebang.
    You are so right, screw it all! Write what's on your mind and in your heart, and please stay as real and YOU as you have been! It's what makes this place so great.
    Oh, and Happy Blogiversary!

  7. Glad you are back Shannon. It seemed like a lot of people took a break from blogging. Myself included. I think burnout can happen to anyone. I agree with you on the comment for a comment. Now, I will respond to my e-mails and really only stick to commenting on blogs that I enjoy and have been reading for a while. I think it can be scary to show the good and bad sides but it can also be very therapeutic and it is real life. I think people who put on a masquerade people can eventually see through that and can tell the person is not being authentic. We all have good and bad days. It's apart of being human and being alive. I'm glad you are back and I can't wait to read more of your blogs.

  8. I have missed your funny posts!! I have fallen in and out of love with blogging more times then I can count but something always brings me back. It's that whole why you started doing it in the first place thing. Why is it so easy to lose track of that? I totally agree that married/30's with no children is basically uncharted territory!! It's nice to have a fellow blogger out there in the same boat.

  9. Life in your thirties without children- definitely a small club especially in the blogging world. Glad you are back!

  10. Glad you're back!! And I hope you enjoyed your trip to San Francisco. It looks like you hit up some great spots. Fall is here and I hope to see some posts of you in your gold boots! Maybe there is less pressure if we think of a blog like a personal scrapbook, to collect and remember how you were feeling, what you were wearing, or pretty things you saw along the way...

  11. I was visiting Food, Booze and Baggage and came across childfree stuff and I wondered what it meant. Then I just realized it is people who do not have children, which I don't and I found your blog linked.

    I can genuinely relate to all you wrote here. It is very difficult to treat blogging like a hobby rather than a job. Especially when I already have one as well as a million and one other commitments.

    A couple months ago I hit a giant wall and it hasn't really been the same since. I have discovered that I cannot have my cake and eat it too. Meaning I cannot work, blog, practice fitness AND have a personal life. I am willing to make sacrifices but I still want a life. So I had to cut back a lot.

    I noticed that this post is dated in Sept- over a month ago- so I don't know if you will be back or not but I hope you do and I hope we can become friends!

  12. I know I already commented on this blog before. But, I had blogger burnout myself and haven't blogged since December. I know you haven't written in a few months but I was going back to all my favorite blogs that I haven't been checking up on lately to see how everyone is doing. I hope you are well.

  13. miss your posts...