Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Worthiness Wednesday #57 Things I'm afraid to tell you
I can't quite remember the trail that led me to this post, but I can clearly recall the relief I felt when I read it.
It's so easy, isn't it, to edit what we share of ourselves in the blog world? Often there are good reasons for this, like privacy, security, sensitivity. I'm all for boundaries. Also, I recognise how important it is for many people to have clear and focused online identities, particularly if they are relying on their blogs to build a market presence and generate income.
But how easy is it, to read other people's blogs and look at their photos, and compare ourselves unfavourably to what we see?
In her marvellous Body Restoration e-course, Melody Ross points out that not only do we compare, we hold up our worst against their best. How unfair is that? And how unrealistic?
The flip-side of this is the breathtaking beauty that comes from connecting to bloggers who are prepared to push themselves and put themselves out there. I know I am not the only one who has a lot of love and respect for bloggers such as Andrea Scher and Liz Lamoreux and Ali Edwards and Kate Swoboda for this reason. They feel real. They seem like someone I would know. In some ways, they remind me of me.
So, this week, I invite you to push yourself a little to think of the ways in which people might witness your presence online and assume, "It's so easy for her!". It can be an odd thing to do, in a way. I mean, it can feel like you're blowing your own trumpet in a way that isn't exactly encouraged in our culture.
For example, a friend once described in an email how readers of my blog might make assumptions about my own life and creativity in same the way I envy others: She does so many creative things. She has a great job, a beautiful daughter, a loving husband. She reads so much and always seems to be finding interesting things.
My first instinct was to shy away, embarrassed. Then point out all the things I know that prove to the contrary. Then admit that I could see the truth in what she was saying.
So, I'm with you, my friends. This is not easy stuff.
And the next step is even harder: put it out there. Reading how other people have done this might make the challenge a little easier.
Right now, I am going to take a deep breath and share five things I desperately hope you never find out about me.
1. My three year old daughter watches a lot of television. Like, right now, in order to "bribe her" so I could have some time to write this post, I have set her up in front of her favourite Pingu DVD with a big bowl of grapes. Yes, I know this scenario could be a lot worse. No, it doesn't happen all day every day. Yes, she has a lot of variety and creativity and healthy play in her life and I do spend a lot of time with her. It still makes me feel ashamed. It's not what good mums do, right?
2. I wish more people read this blog. Somehow it feels embarrassing to admit that. As if I think I'm "all that" and more people should know it. Or that I don't appreciate the people who already do read this blog. Or that I want it to become some kind of commercial success and that would be bad. Or that I'm not prepared to do the work to get my name out there, I'm just going to sit here and whinge that I don't have a broad readership. (Which, as I write this, sounds more logical than ever...!)
3. I am not sure I fully understand what "abundance" means. Perhaps because I have never been all that sensible with money. Perhaps because I have always magically had enough but never too much. Perhaps because I still haven't fully wrapped my head around what it really means to be working part time and otherwise supported by my husband (and perhaps also because he works in his family business). Perhaps because I never feel happier than when I am giving but I have some trouble receiving. But then again, if I sense that I am being taken advantage of, or that people are making assumptions about my financial status, or if I notice that I am always the one who pays for coffee... then I start to get spiky and resentful. It feels messy.
4. As I approach the big four-oh milestone, I am often puzzled as to why: I'm in therapy sorting out stuff that happened in my childhood; I still get zits; I often seek my parents' validation; I am not really standing behind my creative dreams; I still tolerate unsatisfactory friendships and situations, often out of obligation; I think of myself as incompetent in certain areas where I am actually performing quite adequately (e.g. cooking, driving, housekeeping, budgeting); I still work in the same place as I did when I was 21 and don't see myself leaving.
5. I am almost pathologically jealous of the success that some people appear to have achieved in their lives. In their creativity, in their careers, in their relationships, within their families, online, in their communities, in their appearance, with their health etc etc etc. Up until now, I was cripplingly ashamed of this. Not so long ago, I read the words of a very wise woman, who pointed out that jealousy can act as a very powerful signpost to the things that our heart truly desires. Most recently, I realised the reason why I feared the force of my jealousy was because of the ways in which I'd been using other people's success to beat myself up with. Comparing my worst to their best.
Which kinda brings me full-circle and reminds me why I am writing this in the first place.
Will you join me in keeping it real this week?
Seems to me that it's time to encourage the kindred spirits who commune with us online to see us a little more clearly. But it's also time to put away our measuring sticks and start appreciating what it is that we do contribute (even the icky bits).
And that is to say: their best mightn't be what it seems but our worst isn't all exactly unloveable either. And we are worthy of more than that.