I was reading through old blog posts tonight - posts from my former blog at Semicolon Stories - and I realized my younger self was much wiser and bolder than I give her credit for - and much more fearless too.
The same goes for my old journals I skimmed through a few months ago - I knew more than I thought I did back then.
And I feel super challenged about it.
In the 'olden days, as my daughter calls them, I started a blog because I needed a place to dump my thoughts. I looked for a way to process life events, work through cancer, and receive encouragement from the few people who wanted to follow along.
A blog became the answer.
For a long time, I blogged with openness and transparency. You saw it in posts not just about my surgeries and bowel habits, but my family vacations, dogs, big announcements like "We're Adopting!" and, once we got Mae, her adoption story and updates on life with a toddler.
My blog became the news feed of our lives. And then suddenly, it wasn't.
Sure, posts slowed down because life got busy.
And, my content ideas expanded.
But if you've followed me for awhile, you've likely noticed the shift and elimination of a lot of personal posts and general life updates. You probably noticed it much sooner than I did - it took me scrolling through old posts to recognize it.
While age has brought me wisdom, discernment and refinement, it's also brought something else: fear.
And after 10 years of blogging, I am realizing I'm a much more fearful writer than when I started. I used to log in and type up blog posts for hours.
Now, I freeze in fear when my fingers hit the keyboard. Why?
Fear of writing the wrong thing.
Fear of writing something that will offend people.
Fear of coming across as unloving or unkind.
Fear of not getting it right - especially now that I'm an SEO content writer.
Fear of losing my friends, my livelihood and our safety.
The list goes on and on, and it's only getting worse. Have you logged onto Twitter lately? Yikes - it's hard to put anything personal out there.
Dare I say that anyone who shares a strong viewpoint online these days should be prepared to receive push back and confrontation from an opposing "side"?
In fact, here's a recent example.
A few weeks ago, I wrote my first piece for Facts & Trends about what working moms need from the church - it was a soft article without a hard stance on any issue, although not everyone likes the idea that some moms go to work.
Yet the first comment the article received was basically a man saying, "Get over yourself" in response to what I wrote. (Which, I'm grateful for the few who chimed in to share the merits of the article.)
But geez - no wonder my fingers like to freeze at the keyboard these days.
No wonder bloggers stay quiet and leaders don't stand firm.
No wonder it's super scary to share our beliefs.
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there where we all want to speak, yet not listen, and still be heard.
Dear younger self - come back
While all of this can really get me down and silence me, my old posts written by my younger self inspired me tonight to keep writing.
Because I've got some things I'd like to say, and why can't I add my voice to the mix?
My 25-year-old younger self who started her first blog nearly 10 years ago and wrote posts about being mad at death for taking her friends fighting colon cancer, looking for organic food in Kansas City and adopting after cancer didn't hold back.
So why should I?
I want to mimic her courage to share her views about faith, family and randomness... along with her pictures.
And so I'm going to.
For starters, here's a bad selfie I took of Mae and me this week at the Kansas City Zoo as we watched the elephants eat hay.
Riveting, I know - but fun to see, nonetheless.
This was taken on the day I spent with her this week over her spring break.
Thankfully, we have several local family members who jumped in and took her to do other fun things since I was on deadline for the spring issue of the FCA 68-page publication this week.
A project I'll tell you more about soon.
This is a slight taste of what I hope is to come.
Because I'd really like to get rid of this fear that holds me back from sharing more on my blog with you.
I ask for your encouragement as I keep finding the strength to open up.
I do believe love is more powerful than fear, and I'd love to share even more of what goes on around here.
Some days, it just takes me awhile to get there. But my younger self isn't giving up on me - and neither will I.
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