“Why I Dare to Blog”
My first creative writing class was in high school, with the Awesome Conrad Vollertsen. He interviewed students before accepting them into his class, and I stuttered and bawled my way through that interview. Super embarrassing. It was just the first of many times that I lost it in that class, standing in front of everyone, reading a poem or vignette. Twenty years later, and I’m still struggling to stand in front of the blogosphere to share my thoughts. Blogging doesn’t come easy for me. I feel like my posts are long and boring, or that I sound like a know-it-all. I never post without second guessing or judging myself, and wondering whether or not I should even share it. Including this one.
But I blog because I have to. I need to. For one thing, having a blog and a strong online presence is a requirement for an author. For another thing, and most importantly, having a blog means I’m showing up, making myself visible, and that’s something I fear.
With all this internet buzz lately about introverts, the power of introverts, the Myers Briggs test that revealed I’m 100% introverted (big surprise,) and an INTJ which revealed I’m also not the friendliest of the introverted (shocker,) I’m honestly just sick of it. I’m sick of the word. The label. The way of life.
Sure, I’d rather be at home than anywhere else. There have been times when my babies were little and I didn’t leave my house for an entire month. I wouldn’t even step onto my front porch. I’d rather chew the grissly fatty parts of leftover chicken than get groceries. Ask me to go for drinks or (gasp!) meet for coffee and my palms start sweating like they do in the check-out line when I can’t find my debit card. It’s not that I don’t want to meet with you, chat with you and connect, it’s that I need to be in the right frame of mind when I meet you.
I’m not criticizing the introverted personality, I’m criticizing what I’ve done with my social aversion. I’ve let it keep me from living. I’ve used it as an excuse to hide. However, as much as I fear getting out and interacting with people, I fear more what will happen if I don’t. What would it teach my children? Will I ever accomplish the big or small things I dream about if I never reach out to the world?
Last year, I came across Brenè Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability and shame. Her latest books, Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection are life changing. She has ten guideposts for Wholehearted Living which I’ve begun to study and write about on my blog. It’s a lot of eye-opening information and I’m still wrapping my mind around it, but my approach to interacting with people has changed already.
You can easily pull a hundred great quotes from her writing, but here are a few I find particularly helpful:
“Authenticity…is about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” From The Gifts of Imperfection
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” –Brenè Brown
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” From Daring Greatly
And here is Teddy Roosevelt’s Daring Greatly quote, chopped up into pieces I can understand:
“It is not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who knows great enthusiasms…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
Finally, make yourself a meme like this. It’s a great way to expose all the ways you think people are judging you, when it truly reveals how you judge yourself.
Blogging is one of my top exercises for Daring Greatly. I have a public record of showing up even though I was scared, even though it makes me feel vulnerable and exposed. It’s an account of courage my children can read. And I can tell them I wasn’t perfect at it, I wasn’t always in the mood for it, but I did it anyway. It may be one of the best things I can teach them.
How are you Daring Greatly in your life? What makes you feel vulnerable?