(Gussy, Melissa, Me, Maegan)
On Sunday, my sister and I attended Blog Sugar, a faith-based blogging conference. My sister had talked me into going months ago, even though I was a little hesitant. I'm really glad I went though. I got to hear really amazing speakers like Laura, Heather, and Julie and Jeannette. It really opened my eyes to a lot of things. This conference wasn't about how to increase your readership, or gain sponsors or monetize your blog. It was about how to give your blog it's full potential, and using it for good. One thing I kept hearing a lot during the course of the conference was "your story." How to write "your story" and how to share "your story." My sister and I were talking on the way home and I told her, "You know, I kept hearing people talking about writing 'your story' on your blog, but I feel like I've already done that. I've already written about my anxiety and I've written about my skin cancer. I don't know what else I'd have to share." and then my sister said, "but that's still your story. You're still living with that." and it made me think-- because she's right.
I wrote a post about how I had skin cancer, but it doesn't go away just because I wrote about it. I still put on sun screen every day, I still get body exams every six months, and I still deal with the self-consciousness of the scar on my leg. I wrote a post about dealing with generalized anxiety disorder, but that also didn't make it go away either. I shared it because it's apart of who I am, and it was extremely therapeutic to write about, especially from the out pour of positive and supportive comments and emails I received from it.
I guess I feel like I don't want to keep bringing it up because I don't want to be seen as the girl who's always talking about how she's nervous all the time. But the truth is, even though I feel like I have my anxiety a lot more under control than I did a couple years ago (heck, a couple years ago there would be no way I'd even be at a blog conference), I still have those days where I just want to curl up in a ball and not leave my room, or those days where I hide in the bathroom at work and cry because I forgot to take my medication. I'm not crying about not taking the medication, I'm crying because I don't have the medication telling my brain not to cry. I still deal with that.
Maybe I should start sharing more about, not necessarily my story, but my journey. Because it isn't a story, it doesn't have an ending. And I know there are some of you out there that are probably going through similar things as well, and if I can make even one of you feel that you aren't alone on your journey, and that there is someone out there that knows how you feel and what you're going through, then why wouldn't I share that?
Listening to Heather's seminar about "writing your story with dignity" she shared her own story about the loss of her son. It was heartbreaking, but inspiring that she had the courage to share it. I couldn't help but think, 'how can my struggle with anxiety even compare to the struggle of losing a child?' but then I thought about a quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower,
"I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have."
We are all dealt different things, and we could always have it so much worse, but it doesn't mean we don't have reasons for being upset. We all struggle with different things, and we shouldn't look to others and feel our struggles are invalidated. Just because someone has it worse, doesn't change the fact that you have what you have. (But if I can also help those people starving in China, I'd like to do that too.)
I want my blog to be fun and inspiring and a happy place, but I also want to be real. Like Walt Whitman wanted his poems "to exalt the present and the real, to teach the average man the glory of his daily walk and trade." I want my blog to be about me and my struggles and my triumphs over those struggles. I want to write about the glory in my daily walk. ...And then I want to talk about clothes and books, because I'm still human, dang-it.