My Best Decision
2017 was a year of discovery and information gathering for me. I attended networking events, showed up at a variety of Meet Ups, and went to dozens of book readings. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, but I knew I felt a void in me. I felt so silly telling people, “I want something different, but I don’t know what that is!” But I am so glad I had the courage to say those words because so many women smiled back at me and said, “I know exactly how you feel!”
It wasn’t until the end of the year that the idea of writing a blog started to make its way into my brain. I have written in a journal my whole life. I used to write poetry and short stories, and on and off throughout my life I tried to get them published. But I would always give up, or lose my confidence. I never stayed with it. When I would look for ways to improve my writing, it seemed the only real option was to be in a writing group, and I never could bring myself to do that. It made me cringe at the thought. So, I was stuck.
But everything changed for me when I went to Albert Flynn DeSilver’s ‘Writing as a Path to Awakening’ book reading at Powell’s Books in Portland. He talked for over an hour, but the one sentence that changed my life was when he said, “If you write every day, and you have written your whole life then you are a writer!” Period! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t need to take a class, or sit in a writing group, or wait for anyone’s approval. I can just write!
That was when I decided to start a blog. I didn’t even know what it was going to be about, but I knew I had something to say. I told anyone who would listen that on January 1st 2018 I was starting my blog. ‘Nice!’ was the common response, ‘What is it going to be about?’ My reply; ‘I don’t know!’
I decided to get readers by linking my blog to my Instagram account. At first I didn’t include my location or any facts about me. I was scared of social media. I posted mostly pictures of Buddha’s with a link to my blog. Every once in a while I would post a photo of me, but it would be when I was on vacation so no one could really figure out where I lived, or what I was all about. I was terrified of anyone at my finance job finding my Instagram and reading my blog. I wanted to write and have people read my writing, but I didn’t want anyone to know about me, which now looking back seems really silly.
That was how it started, but even given all that, women started signing up for my email list to read my blog. Every time I saw a new person sign up I would be partly happy and partly scared. They signed up because they are expecting me to write and keep them interested, what if I can’t do that? I would feel pressure to perform. When someone would unsubscribe, I would feel so bad. I was so tied to what others thought, I was so tied to other people approving of what I had to say. But I forged ahead anyway, as I had made the commitment to write every single weekend no matter what. No matter how unconfident I felt, so matter how tired I was, no matter my mood, I got up every Saturday morning and started writing.
As my words filled the page every weekend, I gained confidence. Not from the praise I got from others but from the practice of writing. I got more bold in my writing, I took more chances, and started to reveal more about myself. My favorite type of book to read are personal memoirs of regular people, so that is the direction that my writing started to take.
Did I think that starting this blog in January 2018 would change everything about my life? No! I was looking for a creative outlet to fill a void I felt in my life. I was looking for connection and understanding. I got all that and more. Through the conversations I had with the women that read my blog, I started to realize that I wasn’t alone in the void that I felt. That other women felt the same and were looking for creative expression too. I realized that there was a whole population of women in midlife who were at a crossroads, and had so much to give but no where to give it.
Through this blog I have been able to tell my truth and let go of my past. In speaking my truth about growing up in an abusive household, I was able to let go of so much of my shame about it. I was able to realize that what other people did to me, was not my burden to bear. I walked through the pain of realizing that they never really knew me, or even more hurtful, cared enough to get to know me. So, why was I letting their words and actions keep me in darkness? They had no idea even who I was!
Blindly searching for more has been hard, but I am so glad that I started and stayed with the journey. It has led me to rediscover my love for art, open my store, and sell my art. It has led me to move to my dream city of Redondo Beach California. Three months ago, it led me to leave my marriage. My relationship with my husband ended 5 years ago, but I didn’t have the courage until now to leave the marriage.
I have changed every thing about my life, and it all started with listening to that little voice inside me that wanted to be heard so badly. It is not a journey for the faint of heart. It is painful, it is lonely, and it is heartbreaking. But it is reality. I believe this journey is the acceptance of what already was. I could live daily in the pain of loss, or I could admit the loss and start to heal. I chose the latter, and it was the best decision I ever made.