I don’t have pictures to share from the weekend (sorry mom and dad… go ahead and click out- wink). I don’t think I took even one, as it was pretty low key. A couple fun play dates with friends, a family walk, some solo time with the girls since David was working and church on Sunday.
That’s a relatively new thing for me to say- church. We’ve tried several, but have finally found one that seems like a good fit. It’s a little crazy and a little loud, but the music is incredible and the message quite often leaves me feeling uplifted. I figure a weekly dose of personal growth, encouragement and inspiration can’t be a bad thing. I promise I have a point to this…
I’m a note taker in general and this carries over to the sermons. I often jot down little tidbits that stand out to me. Two weeks ago the sermon focused on hidden issues (Jacob). The message drew me in and I must have been so absorbed that I found I only had one note jotted down by the end of it–
What you get them with is what you will have to keep them with.
I’m certainly not here to preach to you (thank goodness, right?) but for some reason this note has been stuck in my head since then. I’ve thought about it a lot in many different contexts, one of them most notably being social media today and this blog. Was that the powerful implication he was going for? Probably not, but it fit, so just roll with me here.
It had me thinking about how this space has changed over the years. It started out largely as a food diary and life casting because the first blog I loved was Kath’s, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do, so I just followed suit except with terrible pictures. I added in product reviews because I saw other bloggers sharing their favorite bars (I guess I should note that I also started eating bars). I would work all week long trying to create a recipe to share to try and keep up with my favorite recipe bloggers because that seemed to be working for them.
However, slowly, I’d guess over the past 2ish years, I began to strip away all the “should do” items and blog only what really feels true to my personal interests. Largely I’ve done this because it makes blogging so much more fun on my side to write about what I want to. I was a little worried though– would people still read if I changed my topics from sleep facts to motherhood? Would they leave if I wrote long, wordy, introspective posts (cough cough) instead of recipes for gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free, dairy-free muffins?
The short answer– YES. Some people would definitely leave. If people were drawn to my blog because I was busting my butt trying to churn out a specific type of content that wasn’t a natural fit for me, then when I switched to more authentically-aligned content, they would probably lose interest and leave. BUT, if I started writing what I wanted to (motherhood, real recipes I eat, meal planning, life posts), I would draw in people that wanted to connect on those levels. It may take a period of transition, but writing more authentically and being who I am would ultimately be more joy-filled for me and connect me with people that I relate with on a real level.
You can see how this could translate to so many other aspects of life.
As I’ve done this on the blog, I’ve also been doing it in real life. I’ve slowly stopped trying to be who I feel like I should be and gotten more comfortable with being who I am. Maybe it comes with age or exhaustion (kids will do it to you!), but I am finally at a place where I’m good with just being me: the me that geeks out over good food, the me that’s a little goofy, that is obsessed with my family, that enjoys deep conversations over small talk, the me that is an odd combination of extrovert and introvert and is forever trying to learn which clothes work best for my body. I feel I am fairly self-aware with what I excel in and where I lack, and though I want to continue striving for self-improvement, I’m really at peace with who I am and more importantly, owning who I am to the outside world.
I think this is what makes so many people quit facebook or get frustrated with social media. The famous comparison trap. We see what is working for other people (in online or real life success- followers, shares, pins, friendships, marriages, parenting) and figure we need to do those things to be successful ourselves.
I finally realized I don’t want to be successful in any part of life by following someone else’s path or definition. It takes stepping away from the clutter, finding what makes us happy and inspired, then doing it. It’s embracing that it may mean leaving some things/relationships/comforts behind, but only in exchange for a deeper, more fulfilled level of happiness because it aligns with our true selves.
So though somewhere inside of me is shouting do not hit post on this random mumbo jumbo, the larger part of me is saying do it. If people think I’m a weirdo for getting this inside my own head on a Monday morning, well, they’re probably right. But I want to hang out with the other weirdos that dig this stuff. Life’s too short to worry about what other people think anyway.
Do you struggle with being the real you, online or in real life?
What had helped or hindered your journey to authenticity?