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