“You haven’t posted anything on your blog in a long time. Why?”
I was out for dinner a few weeks ago with two dear friends who love me and call me out on my crap.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I guess I don’t have that much to write about these days.”
“That’s not true,” one of them gently fired back.
She was right. A lot has happened since my last post.
The one-year anniversary of Sejal’s death passed with lots of reflection.
My dad had emergency life-saving heart surgery.
I spoke at a national conference.
I travelled through Europe.
I’ve exercised consistently for nearly 18 months and feel stronger than I ever have.
I discovered I’m an Enneagram 9 and won’t stop talking about it.
I’ve listened to a few podcasts that have shook me…I also won’t stop talking about these.
“So really. Why haven’t you posted anything? What’s stopping you?” They asked again.
I was quiet. A lot of thoughts were stopping me.
What right do I have to share what I write? Who really cares what I have to say about anything?
What if I offend or embarrass someone by something I write?
What if someone criticizes me?
What if what I write is too dramatic? What if it’s too vague?
What actually motivates me to share? To get attention? Approval? Probably…so I shouldn’t share.
Putting anything out there feels incredibly vulnerable.
In other words, I haven’t posted anything because I’m scared. Fear is loud these days and I’m intentionally not choosing butterflies. I’m distracting myself, numbing myself, coasting along trying not to make a single ripple in my relatively calm-at-the-moment life (did I mention I’m an Enneagram 9?).
We talked about this for awhile. All of a sudden, this casual (not my) birthday dinner turned into Lindsay’s Friday Night Therapy Session.
“It wasn’t always this way,” they pointed out. “What changed?”
I was quiet again. I didn’t want to answer that. Could we go back to talking about citrus squeezers and dark chocolate and anything but this? They were patient while I hoped the moment would pass. It didn’t. So I tried to describe what changed:
Any semblance of confidence I had was gone.
And really, it’s amazing how seemingly little things can throw our confidence onto the floor and stomp all over it.
A passing comment.
A small shift in a relational dynamic.
A meeting that just doesn’t sit right.
A missed opportunity.
An unresponded-to email.
Each of these alone is not a big deal. But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Especially when you’re a chronic overthinker who is in the habit of making up stories from innocent facts.
And that’s when fear sees your defences are down, marches right in and tells you not to bother writing or doing anything creative. Instead, fear tells you it’s fine to watch one more episode and play one more game of solitaire on your phone, and just pass the hours until it’s time to go to bed.
It’s crazy that fear can speak this loudly, even when really great things are happening too. When you are surrounded by supportive and creative people. When you’re given positive affirmation that feels like it’s being spoken right to your soul. When you know you’re part of bigger stories.
Even when all of these uplifting and meaningful things are happening, fear hovers and tells you that the good parts are just illusions.
Fear is a jerk.
“You know what? I’m kind of mad at you,” one of my friends said.
“Where are you going with this?” I asked wearily.
“Because you have a gift and you’re keeping it to yourself,” she said.
I’m not sure she’s right. But I do know that I spent that night writing out this post in my head instead of sleeping.
And I do know that I’m fighting tears in a coffee shop as I write this, and it feels important and good and familiar. Like a friend I haven’t spent time with in awhile.
So I’ll try to keep doing it. I’ll try not to let fear have a vote. I’ll be easy on myself if I don’t post regularly or if I post too much.
And I’ll keep hanging around people who love me and call me out and help me find the truest version of myself.
I was so excited to see “choosing butterflies” in my inbox this morning. Thank you for posting. I agree with your friends and I’m glad they gave you the nudge you needed. Keep writing!! You do have a gift, and an audience!!
Thank you my sweet friend!
I think you really have to decide to write for yourself in order to get past the fear. I was nervous when I decided to even start a blog because in my head I kept thinking “who cares,” who cares enough to read about what I have to say or what I did or what I am doing. But in the end, I started to just write posts I wanted and stopped worrying about if anyone read it or anyone cared or commented. It’s been kind of therapeutic in a way. I hope you continue writing and having adventures to write about!
I think you’re totally right! I’ve shifted my focus and am just focusing on writing for myself.
Thank you for publishing this, Lindsay. Once again, I recognize what you write about and realize that you’ve articulated with uncanny clarity exactly what I’m experiencing. Once again, I am inspired by your writing. Thank you!
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