When I started this project, the #365dayblogchallenge, I went into it blind, a bit naïve maybe, uncertain as to where it would go, what would happen…. But that added to the excitement.
The idea originated from a friend saying how well I was coping given the turmoil going on around me – my Mum having been sectioned that day, my husband living in London, my son starting a new school, my other son in a separate school struggling with the isolation and at the same time as I was creating a new career and a new personal and professional identity.
I explained that various techniques had been helping me, journaling one of them. Thus the blog… as she felt that my ideas, attitudes and thought processes would help, inspire, provide support to others going through similar, or some or all of the life challenges I was going through or about to go through.
The commitment I made to the project, myself and the blog, was that it would be daily. Honest. Authentic. The only way to do that was by not thinking about who was reading it and what they would think of it. Or me.
And having just had 2 of my darkest days of the 304 days to date, that was hard… but I have learnt a couple of things.
Firstly, I am not alone. Maybe there was a full moon or something this weekend! I wasn’t the only person to totally freak out! Throw a complete wobble, challenge the status quo, want to ‘stab someone with a spoon’ as they put it so aptly….
Secondly, I am not alone. I am not the only person to struggle with grief, to have bottled it up, shoved it down, put on a brave face, carried on as normal only to have it come back with a vengeance.
Thirdly, I am not alone. I am not the only woman brought up in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s to have been told I can have and do everything that a man can do…. Only to find a man who loves his high flying, successful, independent partner, but also on becoming a father and / or with a serious, demanding career, wants his mother at home – the perfect cook, homemaker, housewife and host. The ensuing situation is confusion, frustration and burn out by all parties.
Fourthly, I am not alone. My going dark and removing my links to facebook was less of the Greta Garbo ‘I want to be alone’, but more Audrey Hepburn ‘I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone’. However, on re-entering the technology and i-world, my phone was awash with concerned friends. I am definitely not alone in this journey and I am so grateful and lucky to have so many good, kind people in my life.
However, interestingly… as many kind people there are, there are some pretty unsavoury ones.
And that leads me to another lesson from #365blogchallenge. By baring your inner thoughts, personal feelings and publicising it through a public blog, leaves you wide open to criticism, comment, opinion.
Some of the earlier comments, whether public or said in private (and if they are said outloud, even in private, they do have a way of getting back to you…) really hurt, made me question what I was doing…. But I am no stranger to obstacles! They are just a lesson in themselves – they teach you how bad you want something, how committed you are, how dedicated you are, if you are person of your word… or not. (Just like the bacon sandwich, or the big juicy burger when you are meant to be on a healthy eating plan…. )
And the more recent, harsh, heart stabbing comments… well, they are just water off my back. I thank them for their time to read my words. I thank them for their time to comment. I thank them for making me question what I am doing… and then I refer to the dozens, almost hundreds of texts, messages and conversations I have had where people have said my words, my blog, my experiences are helping them through some of their own very personal and private issues…. They thank me for my bravery for baring my soul so that others can learn from my mistakes, my experiences… Or just thank me as they enjoy what I have to say as it reflects exactly what they are thinking….
So perhaps my biggest lesson, is that by sharing vulnerability and by being open to being vulnerable, you actually make yourself stronger. Not only through the experience itself but by the support and strength you receive from others.
As Brene Brown says ‘We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known’.