Happy Friday, everyone! There’s nothing like knowing I don’t have any real responsibilities for two days to get me through the last day of the work week. This Friday I would like to share something a bit more personal than my usual blog topics. I apologize in advance for the length of this particular post, but I feel like I owe you all an explanation for a lot of things that have been happening in my life and on this blog.
For the past few weeks I have been questioning a lot in my life, including how I can balance blogging, races, school, internship, and my other job. Things have been overlooked (like meetings and deadlines) more than once and that just isn’t like me. It has been overwhelming and stressful, which has led to even more indecision about what I’m doing.
When I started this blog I had no idea what it would be like in just a few short months. My first post didn’t even really offer an explanation about who I was or what I was doing. At that time I was using Tumblr and just posting little snippets when I thought of it. It didn’t take me long to realize how passionate I was about fitness, nutrition, and mental health and that I really wanted to make a career out of it. That’s when I made the transition to WordPress and very quickly to self-hosting. One thing you probably know about me by now is that I never do anything half way. When I decide on something, I jump in feet first.
The more I blogged (and the more blogs I read), the more I felt like I had found a niche. I was super nervous to attend the Healthy Living Summit because I felt inexperienced and like I wouldn’t fit in. What I learned at the Healthy Living Summit is that we all feel a little insecure and inexperienced sometimes, but we all have something to offer our readers.
That weekend I feel like I finally found my voice. I kept being asked what my blog was about and I found myself getting very excited to share my mission with people. I realized too that as I spoke, my mission was evolving. More of a focus on getting information to people (whether in the form of recipes, product reviews, training tips, whatever) became a priority. I wanted to help the people who were confused about how to be healthy and happy because of all of the conflicting information out there. I wanted to give people what I wish I could have had when I was struggling. To do that, I wanted to be able to share more of myself–both my accomplishments and my defeats.
Then I got all wrapped up in my own head again. I started to worry about whether that was possible as a counselor in training. I questioned how much self-disclosure would be appropriate just in case any of my clients ever found my website. I had a meeting with a professor that left me feeling like there was no way I would ever be able to do what I felt a calling to do. This wasn’t the professor’s intention, but I felt defeated. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I could share this with all of you. I bottled it up and tried to put as little of myself as possible into the blog without sacrificing genuineness.
When I hurt my knee at the half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t say anything at first. I didn’t say anything because I frankly felt stupid for getting injured. Why didn’t I stretch better beforehand? Why didn’t I prepare harder? I was a mess. I was incredibly proud of myself for running the half marathon and determined to run the next one, but I felt like a fraud for not talking about the injury sooner.
The more I felt like a fraud, the more I behaved like one. Not being able to workout in my traditional way (running) left me feeling very down. So down, in fact, I was doing virtually nothing else for exercise. Despite not getting the usual calorie burn, I kept eating like I was. You know what that means. Take in more calories than you put out, you’re going to start gaining weight.
It has only been about a week, so it isn’t like I’ve put on the entire 90 pounds I lost (or even close), but it sort of feels that way. I will probably always struggle with my self-image, at least a little bit, and worry that I’ll go back to the person I used to be. I know that isn’t going to happen, but I get very down on myself when my pants don’t fit quite right or when I feel like I’m not living the message I’m sending.
I was in a bad place yesterday when I started trying to catch up on reading blogs. As I worked my way through my Google Reader, I unsuspectingly started reading Meg’s WIAW post. After all, who doesn’t like gratuitous pictures of food? Once I got past the recipe she posted, I kept going (and I’m so grateful I did).
To give you a little back story, Meg is probably the sweetest person I’ve ever met. I was so lucky to meet her at the Healthy Living Summit and feel like I’m better for it. She is caring, funny, and incredibly supportive.
Given how amazing this girl is, I couldn’t believe when I read that she had been getting really hurtful comments from other people–other bloggers no less!–on one of her recent posts. What Meg said about the experience really hit home with me.
“I contemplated never blogging again, but that made me cry even more. So, I took a breath and thought about the situation logically before making any decisions I would regret.”
I knew right then that Meg was going to be able to put words to what I had been feeling, even though her situation was very different from mine.
Meg went on, “I realize that when I blog, I put myself out there for the entire world to see. And you know what? Not everyone in this world is full of sunshine and rainbows. There are always going to be people in our lives that say negative things and betray us. It’s unfortunate, yes, but it is also very true.”
At this point I was starting to get choked up and just wanted to fly to Canada and give Meg a huge hug. What surprised me most was how strong she continued to be. She acknowledged that she had been putting a great deal of pressure on herself to blog and that the nasty comments had helped her to reevaluate why she is doing it. She could have easily just felt sorry for herself and stopped doing what she loves, but she had the inner strength to turn a negative into a positive. She allowed herself to take a step back and breathe.
The six words that were the most powerful in her post (you guys really should check it out) were “I know what my heart wants.” Of course that was the final straw that reduced me to tears.
I emailed Meg as soon as I finished her post because I had to share with her how inspired I felt and how amazed I was by her. For those of you who don’t know, Meg hosts High Five Friday every week to celebrate the weekly successes of her readers, big or small. I told her how proud I was of her and that she deserved an extra huge high five this week.
Thank you for sharing your strength with all of us, Meg. You’ve helped me to take my own step back and really think about what blogging means to me, and what it means for my career. Not everyone is going to understand why I do what I do and I can’t expect to be perfect all the time. I’ve always wanted my blog to be about sharing my successes and failures and it’s time I start doing that without worrying about what other people think. What I do on this blog and with my career is not conventional by any means, but it is what I feel I have been called to do. I feel like I would be doing a disservice to myself and my future clients if I didn’t give them all of my passion for health and wellness (physical and mental). I know I have to do what’s right for me. I have to do know I know I want deep in my heart.
For anyone who has ever struggled with anything, by which I mean everyone, take a moment to high five yourself for getting through it. You may be struggling right now with self-doubt and insecurity, but I offer you a high five for getting through all of your past struggles and an advance high five for getting through this one (because I know you will). Today, as I high five myself and offer my thanks to Meg, I offer high fives all around.
We’re all worth way more than some people may realize, but as long as we all know our own worth, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. Go toward your weekend knowing that and celebrating all of your victories, successes, and accomplishments. As for your struggles? Embrace them as opportunities for learning and change.