In an effort to be more intentional about my writing and to really work on strengthening my skills, I'm participating in Blogher's NaBloPoMo for July.
The theme is CONNECT.
Everyday, I'm going to write based on the prompts and share it here and on Blogher.
I would love to hear any and all feedback from you.
I wrote my very first blog post on my 28th birthday.
I make it a habit of celebrating my birthday every year doing exactly what I want to do- which means a day off work and activities I actually like. That year, I decided to start a blog.
I'm not even sure how I started reading blogs. I think someone either sent me something or I happened upon one on Facebook. I had started reading some health and fitness blogs and through those blogs found other bloggers.
I became quite smitten with a few of them considering all the things we had in common: most likely fitness and food. I love the way people connect through blogging, identifying shared interests and learning from each other.
I had toyed around with starting one of my own but wasn't sure what I'd write about or what I'd call it or, quite frankly, how to even set up a blog.
Sidenote: I'm still using Blogger because its easy (I've fiddled with wordpress but have yet to take the plunge) and used Paint to create my banner so obviously I have a ways to go on the techy front. Don't worry, it's on my 'to do' list.
My infatuation with writing began at a young age.
In elementary school, I remember writing stories so long they required page upon page taped together just so they could be complete. I had also learned to read very young and remember devouring short chapter books as early as first grade. I remember my mom teaching me spelling words before I was old enough to be assigned them in school. I loved writing the words over and over. My steady penmanship filling up pages of 25 cent notebooks. I kept those cheap notebooks around to fill full of words and lists of numbers. I liked writing numbers to see how high I could get because I just couldn't understand the idea of infinity. Somehow, writing those words and lists of numbers felt grown up and different from other kids.
I wrote my first diary at age 7. Mostly I wrote about foods that I hated (tacos and spaghetti...two foods I love now) and who all my friends were (see post #5 in this series). I also wrote about my outfits and hanging out with my sisters. I received my first grown up diary, complete with a lock and key, as a gift around age 9; my entries then shifting to more interesting topics like elementary school boys and girl drama.
My aunt bought me a 'grown-up' journal shortly after that. It was hard covered with a flower pattern and a quote on the outside. I filled it full of my favorite quotes and original poems.
I've kept a paper journal ever since.
There have been some gaps. Defined spaces where life was too weird or hard or overwhelming and I knew if I actually wrote it down, on paper, I'd have to admit it. It was those real times that I wish I had written the most.
The year before I started this blog I had been seeing a therapist.
He was actually the chaplain at the local Y and a member of my church congregation.
I was having this weird emotional crisis...an overwhelming sense that I was about to break.
I had a lot on my proverbial plate- complicated relationship, family issues and a seemingly large amount of pressure.
I told him I felt like I didn't know who I was.
I had spent a lot of years doing what I thought I was supposed to do and all of a sudden I was having an awakening. I was having a realization the person I used to be was good and kind and unique. She did nerdy things like write stories and read books and wasn't afraid of not fitting in. She didn't even care if people thought those things were nerdy! She was confident and smart and had big dreams.
He asked me to go back to my old journals and read through them. Could I identify where the shift happened? Could I find the point where I stopped being me and started being a version of myself I thought everyone else wanted?
It was hard.
To read about times I stuck up for my values and then just mere weeks later crumpled under peer pressure. To read about enjoying a family dinner at my grandparents one year to counting my calories and testing to see if my thighs touched and my ribs showed the next. To read about being confident in my future- dreams of college and travel and amazing things- then to read of too much partying, too many boys and too much self-loathing.
To read about when I lost God.
I got so lost at one point that I lied to myself in my journals.
I wrote about happy times and events that I know were so far removed from reality because I was afraid of leaving unhappy memories in print for my future descendants.
I didn't want anyone to think that I failed them.
That I didn't live up to the person I had said I was.
At the end of this exercise, I wanted to burn my journals.
Or maybe write a memoir.
Or maybe burn them.
I did neither.
At least not yet.
Some of you reading this may have no idea that any of this was going on just a couple years ago.
Or maybe you are thinking that I could be over-dramatizing mid-20's growing pains.
Maybe. Maybe not.
I did, however, get out of that emotional funk I was in and start being me.
Simply doing what I loved and seeing what happened.
Setting up healthy boundaries in my relationships.
Not allowing others to dictate my feelings.
I started trying to journal again.
Honestly journal again. No filters. No lying. No fabrications.
Just the honest truth of what life is like for me.
It felt good to shed everyone else's plans for me, stated or implied.
Being me, unapologetic.
In one of those journals, I had found an entry where I said someday when I grow up, I wanted to 'be a writer.'
I couldn't stop thinking about that entry. How I still had the need inside me to say things. Important things and unimportant things. To share my voice. To speak to other people the way true and honest writers have spoken to me.
And so, EvenMe was born.
That first day, on the day of my 28th birthday, I shared 28 things about me.
Reading that post again, I smiled to myself about how excited I was to be blogging and the big ideas I had (and still have) for my life.
I'm still me.
28. When I'm lying on my deathbed someday, hopefully not too soon, my wish is to look back on my life and see that happiness was all around.