Today, that is who you are. Not unknown faces. Not a target demographic. Not long-lost acquaintances. A real, true-blue friend.
Sometimes it feels like just when I have a grasp on an idea, it starts to slip away. Similar to waking from a dream and willing the memory of it to stay with you. This blog has been that for me. I’ve had, at times, visions of becoming a staple for encouragement in your daily life, hiring a staff, designing delightful little items that you’d keep in your kitchen or at your desk. I would drift out of the spotlight and let others share their own thoughts and epiphanies.
And then there are times when I need this space for my own. To write my own stories, share moments of frustrations and enlightenment alike.
I’ve set goals with both sides in mind. I’ve reached some of those goals and others I’ve let drift off, stealing a bit of my own self-confidence as they sneak away. But recently, I’ve found ways to give myself more grace and admit that yesterday’s standard can change if today’s passion wills it so.
That grace has been fueled by a simple thought, making me look at all of my creative ventures up to this point with a new outlook: what if, this whole time, I’ve been on the runway?
I knew when I started ATD it was going to lead me to something. I didn’t know if that would be a career, a business, an awakening in my spirit, or something else entirely. I’ve hoped for all of those things at one time or another. So, it’s funny that while I knew it would lead to something, I also assumed that ATD WAS the Thing. The final Thing.
I forgot that the runway is the precursor to the flight.
Maybe it’s becoming clear to you that I’m not quite sure what I’m getting at yet. And that’s why you’re my friend today. I needed to write to you to hash some things out. I need a full-on 13-year-old-girl diary moment right now. You may not be surprised. After all, some of my more recent blogs have been about sadness, finding inspiration, or nostalgia. Matty and I have recently moved across the country and that forces questions, along with revelations. What do I really want to do? How important to me are relationships and community? Is traffic going to turn me into a monstrous person? How patient am I, really, especially when I want. so. much. right. now?
In the midst of all this, I’ve become overwhelmed with information and grown tired of how we share and market ourselves. Every time I look at Instagram I see someone who is trying to sell themselves to me. A person = a brand. You know that I’ve always been outspoken about authenticity and so this is something I’ve been grappling with. Who do people think I am - is certainly a question I’ve asked, but the most recent thing that’s been troubling me is this: why should they even care?
Why do you care what I write? What I post? What I sing? Who am I to tell you what I wore today and expect you to find it at all interesting? Why do you want to know what I did this weekend, who I was with, what I bought, or what recipe I tried? What authority do I have over any of these things? I’m not trying to be rude and I’m certainly not trying to be humble. I just wonder if we’ve become so focused on being known, that we assert ourselves onto this platform of “expert” without really earning it. We seek a following to make us look important and credible. And then what?
I haven’t come to a solid conclusion, but there is...something. It’s like that dream that keeps escaping me. I’ll try to explain.
First, I do think there is something sour in this way of thinking. Weaved within it are thoughts of, “Why her and not me?” and, “I must not be good enough,” and “Pay attention to me and not them.” It’s ugly. Which is why I mentioned this way of thinking is not humble. Those questions are jealousy, spritzed with perfume and caked in make-up.
Second, there is nothing in this world that makes us important. The truth is, we simply are important. You, me, the girls on YouTube doing tutorials, the intelligent reporters, the fashion bloggers, the recipe developers...are important. Simply because we exist and we have a heart and a soul. It is people that make life interesting. The unique way we think and look, how we are all different yet alike, how we create and how we divide. It’s not always right, none of us are truly experts, and we all want to achieve something. Perhaps there is malicious intent sometimes, but the beauty (and fragility) of life is that it always changes. We are never the same and somehow that unites us.
So, I’ve been reminding myself lately that I am important. I don’t need an audience or a marketing plan or even a clear goal to be important and gain a platform. I think of so many people who have inspired me, people who didn’t make me feel less-than because of something they’ve achieved. Our voices matter and you don’t have to care about mine, because even though I think the world of you, dear friend, it isn’t your opinion that makes me important. It isn’t your “like” or your compliment. You are more than a follower and you’re not just a number to me. I hope that’s okay.
I also hope it’s okay that ATD has looked less like a lifestyle blog this summer and more like a Xanga diary. I’ve always had you in mind, from the very beginning, so it feels a little odd to unload these thoughts with so much vulnerability on a platform where I’ve also shared my favorite kale salad.
Which leads me to another thought: my new goal for ATD is to simply let it evolve and not attempt to put it in a box. I don’t need it to reach thousands of page views a day to fulfill a purpose. I just need it to be real, and hopefully, that appeals to you. Whether it’s a kale salad or 1200 words attempting to decipher my most recent lot in life.
One final thing and this is a scary one to admit, but after all this time on the runway, I’m beginning to feel those wheels lift. The plane is shaking, I’m gripping the armrests a bit tighter, and all the random thoughts bouncing around like rain on the pavement have focused in on one very fervent prayer: “God, please bring your protection and peace for this journey.”
I started writing a book. It’s one reason you haven’t seen me here that often. I’ve been researching, reading, keeping notes, taking inspiration walks, and getting a little out of my element to discover new things. I’ve wanted to write a book for going on ten years and I knew that one day that time would come and about a year ago, an idea came to me. I’ve kept in my pocket with no real haste, but recently, and then suddenly, I knew that I must write it.
It will be years before the thing appears in your hands, but now you know. I suspect that ATD will continue to evolve as I explore this new side of writing (fiction!), and I won’t be sad about it. Because evolution is not failure, it’s creativity at it’s finest: ever-exploring, ever-changing.
Love to you, my friend.