This past year, although not rife with tangible metamorphosis, has been one of great internal change. Almost two years ago, we moved out of state and I began my journey into stay at home motherhood. That was a year of transition and acclimation. This year has been about personal exploration. It began with feelings of self-assurance that slowly devolved into self-doubt and insecurity.
The inception of Mindful + Mama started on a higher note, with support from friends in the form of verbal positive reinforcement. That eventually waned even though readership did not. If I were advising anyone else sharing my thoughts and insecurities, I’d tell them that this is of no consequence. Fanfare for a blog is destined to become old news. That’s a natural phenomenon for anything. It doesn’t relate to whether or not it’s successful, being read, or appreciated. After one year of writing, we’re a fixture, expected.
I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t writing for accolades, but it turns out that was a bit of a lie. Endeavor as I may to separate from ego, I was failing. Not knowing how people felt about each blog was riddling me with doubt and insecurity. When I took my month of “soul-solitude,” I found massive relief in not being up on the chopping block I imagined myself. I’m incredibly vulnerable and personal in my writing because it’s so important to me that we remember we aren’t ever alone, a feeling I’d wrongly clung to in earlier years. We all struggle with different versions of the same challenges. But that level of vulnerability, without any feedback, was eating away at belief in myself. The little girl in me was questioning if she was good enough.
I decided to give up.
I conjured lots of personally acceptable reasons to do so, things that didn’t leave me questioning my insecurity surrounding the decision. It was effective enough to remove my desire to put pen to paper.
Simultaneous to all of this unfolding, I was having personal struggle with friendships, feeling in subtle ways as though I wasn’t important to or understood by people I cared for, women I thought I was close to who had been in my life for years. It seemed as though all but a few friendships crumbled away in the span of months, for reasons unbeknownst to me and in a variety of manners- a situation I was unfamiliar with. Already a relative newbie to town, I couldn’t emotionally afford those losses. The deluge of self-doubt I incurred, experiencing the onslaught at once, really shook me. I’m a giver by nature, it’s how I show my love and appreciation, and I innately close in on myself when things aren’t reciprocated or I'm misunderstood. More questioning, more looming inadequacy. The desire to protect my heart via inaction was greater than ever. Sharing myself with others wasn't an option.
Feeling alone, judged, hurt, unworthy, and insecure does not a confident writer make.
But I don’t have to be perfect to share my feelings, my lessons, my strife. Today, I opened “Light is the New Black” by Rebecca Campbell, to the chapter entitled “Show Up and Shine.” All of this blog business had been heavy on my mind and this book has been a special gift lately, an oracle of sorts. I only pick it up when compelled and the words that pour forth are exactly what I need in the moment, every time. The Universe shows up for you when you promise to have faith, when you vow to look for the lesson, when you choose progress and responsibility in the midst of pain. Here’s what it said:
“The thing with you is that you are waiting for some kind of permission to share your message. You’re waiting to be invited to some invisible table, to some imaginary club. There is no table, there is no club. The only approval you need to seek is your own. Don’t assume your message isn’t relevant until someone else says it is. Don’t assume your message isn’t relevant until someone else deems it to be. It is relevant. It needs to be told. Stop holding yourself back.”
“Tears began streaming down my face as I realized that I had been holding myself back, waiting for some kind of external p permission before I shared my gifts. I was seeking approval from an external force that didn’t even exist… I made a pact with myself. I would stop focusing on getting published and instead focus on showing up to my writing every day.”
“After all, I love writing; it’s what lights me up – why would I wait to do what lights me up? I vowed not to give a f**k what other people thought of my creations. If they didn’t like it, well, I’m not for them and they’re not for me. So I committed to allowing my message to flow through me as it always had without knowing where it would lead. Regardless of the fear. Especially because of the fear.”
“So I’ve decided that it’s none of my business who reads my writing, only that I show up and write… All I know is that if I don’t show up and write, I will feel uncomfortable in my skin, and the niggling feeling and the ache will never let up.”
“Writing is how I unravel my thoughts. It’s none of my business if it’s a bestseller, or if only one person reads it. Only that I show up and shine my light. And so, now my affirmation… has changed to ‘I show up and shine my light as far as God sees fit.”
“This small shift has changed everything. Since then the writing process has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. I cannot wait to wake up every day, fire up my Mac, and let my soul sing.”
“It doesn’t matter how far our light shines, only that we shine it.”
-Excerpt from “Light is the New Black,” Rebecca Campbell
You can show up and shine at whatever makes your heart sing.
And so, here I am, showing up. For myself. For my love of words and the growth they gift me, whether read or not.
As far as bygone friendships go, it's still a bit of a mystery, but I recognize that I’m leveling up and making space for women who can show up from the place that I do, with offerings that will feed my soul. I open my arms to the pain of loss and the glory of possibility, because I know each closed door beckons another to open.