I’ve toyed with the idea of a blog for 11 years. Buried deep on the internets are my initial iterations, recanting my first ever encounter with boba/bubble tea, the trials of a younger brother addicted to runescape and the musings of being the only woman on the Boy Scouts Venture Crew division. In some ways, I suppose all three observations were precursors to some of my current realities – I love bubble tea, my brother is a software engineer and I work in a male dominated tech world. But I digress.
I’ve dragged the #100daysofgratitude project out about three months more than I needed to because I honestly didn’t want it to end. I’ve waxed poetic about how it’s kept me busy yet fully engaged with my world and how is the first time in many years that I’ve written for fun. The experience of putting my work out in the ether of Instagram, hashtagging the shit out of it , sharing it widely across generations and having it read, even if clandestinely (with no little “read”/ heart to reveal identities) has been oddly liberating. I’ve gotten past the idea of my work as a harbinger of my identity and broken through a debilitating sense of self-doubt.
I’ve had profound conversations with so many people because this has been a creative process involving hours of mindful thought, which turns into great fodder for deep conversation. I’ve also had some of my most vulnerable conversations in the last few months because the incidents or thoughts causing stigma and shame have been thrown out in the open for all to see.I’ve publicly brought up memories and emotions that I had sequestered to the recesses of my mind. Weirdly, instead of causing me more shame, I’ve found the courage to embrace all of these memories as aspects, defining or not, of my current identity.
I’ve cultivated a ritual of gratitude that, while adapted for Instagram, has made me hyperaware of everything around me. I’ve learned to appreciate writing as a process and have learned to love sitting with a piece for a few days, editing obsessively, until it feels right. (I’ve also loved the process of writing something and putting it out there, grammatical mistakes and all, as a piece of expression.) And perhaps most importantly, I’ve found a sense of purpose in my writing because it allows me to process so much that seems to slip away in the blur of the weeks, the months and then the years.
I’ve always struggled with the idea of being a “blogger” because I thought it was predicated on the self confidence of being a “writer”. I always wrote but I never felt ready. I felt like my writing was verbose. I felt like my writing lacked depth. I felt that people would critique it incessantly and in so doing, critique me. Instagram is fillled with the motivational message of if you don’t do it you’ll never feel ready. My friend Kayla was in town a few months ago and she revealed to me that one of her preceptors had given her the tip of leaning into your criticisms.
For example, if someone commented on your long sentences or adjectives, you should keep writing long sentences and using adjectives. If you keep writing, as you are, that underpins your style. Style is constantly in flux and subject to trends. Your truth, however stylized, is your truth. Your experiences and musings are valid. People do not need to like them for you to feel that sense of validation. When you create art for yourself, you give yourself the agency to process and express your emotions. That is valuable, difficult work. It is not created with the intent of altering other’s judgement. It’s removing the layers that prevent your authenticity from shining. It’s the cleaning of the internal mirror, if you will, reckoning with the dirt and seeing yourself, sometimes for the first time in years.
So here my friends, is the beginning of my truth. Off of Instagram, formalized into a blog, archived on the internets for all to see.