I started this blog almost three years ago for so many reasons.
I love to write. I love to talk. I wanted an outlet where I could basically journal and potentially create a “village” of like-minded women who can support and encourage one another. I wanted a concrete way to keep pushing myself as I journey deeper into my Catholic faith and a healthier lifestyle. And eventually parenting.
I had so many expectations.
I wrote a couple of posts a week. I tried my hand at recipe photos (which looking back are hilariously awful in our poorly lit apartment kitchen and our low-tech camera). I thought I was starting out solid. You don’t build a network overnight, I kept telling myself. But I got busy. And apathetic. And I would start a post, get distracted and move on. At one point I had 16 posts in my drafts box – not posts I was working on still, just ideas that went there to die. I was paralyzed by the fear of offending someone. I was terrified I would be wrong about something. And I was struggling to find my voice, to find my place in the world of already accomplished bloggers.
I found some bloggers I really like and admire, who have beautiful families and sizable followings and can bring in at least some sort of income from their side project. And I’m so envious. But I’m also confused. I love their posts – and they make me feel like I have nothing more to say, except “Hear, Hear”. “Oh! I’ll do a post on xyz – but wait, so-and-so already did and I agree with everything she said.” rinse and repeat over and over again. No wonder I rarely publish a post!
I keep reading and rereading these two posts. I need their reminders.
Haley’s opening gets me to a T –
“I used to see a lot of strong opinions and challenging ideas shared online. Now, I see more watered down posts full of caveats as the author apologizes for what they’re about to say. And I get it. Because unless you try to address every possible variation in situation, someone is going to be offended. And you’re going to hear about it. It gets exhausting.”
People take offense at everything. Everything is personal. And if you don’t agree with them, you must be telling them they are a bad person/mom/friend, etc. It’s hard to have an opinion with that pressure. It’s hard to say something that goes against mainstream without fearing the torches. I’ve started many a post about abortion, marriage, NFP, eliminating plastic, breastfeeding, eating organic, etc. etc. etc. and just deleted them because I don’t want to deal with the anxiety of worrying about those who it may offend or who may take it personally. I’m going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt that we are all just trying our best with where we are at in our own life. Because I think organic food is healthier and we shouldn’t be putting toxins and chemicals in our bodies doesn’t mean I think you should have your kids taken away from you for giving them McDonald’s. If my choices were to let my daughter go hungry or give her a McDonald’s hamburger, you best believe I would be giving her that burger. I feel blessed to have the option to choose something else, but I wouldn’t judge a mom for doing what she has to do.
So I am trying to let this blog be a place for me to feel free to write what I think, experience, learn and feel. And while I do believe we should be sensitive and not set out to offend or stir up controversy, I will try not to shy away from expressing an opinion or experience just because someone may be offended or envious or feel guilty.
When I first read Bonnie’s post, it was like she was speaking directly to me. Why did I start this blog in the beginning? While the appeal of potentially bringing in money was nice, wasn’t the entire point just to get it out there. Sure I wanted to build a community – and posts who reach a handful of people and a Facebook page I’ve basically abandoned with two measly likes isn’t really conducive to building community, but that can come with time. I can’t expect to bang out 10 posts and immediately have a flood of women who can relate begging to connect with me.
I love the way Bonnie puts how a true “mommy tribe” blog should feel –
“…the best blogs feel like a living room. I come to your site and there’s a bright, cheery picture of you smiling and welcoming me to your space.”
That’s what I want. So I figure I’ll keep redesigning and imagining this space until it feels like home to me. And maybe then, the words will keep flowing and I’ll just hit publish and keep going on with my life. Blogging will begin to become part of me and part of my day, not a chore and not something I need to add to my to-do list.
I followed Bonnie’s advice. I stopped thinking about the blog. I deleted a bunch of drafts and I waited. So now here I am. I still want to blog. And I still want to find my voice. I’m certainly not there yet, but I know deep down I am still being called to this ministry, and truly, creating a safe community for Catholic women is without doubt a ministry, so I’ll keep trying and trusting I will find my place in the midst of all the wonderful voices out there.