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Getting Out Of My Way Again

My life’s forest has always been invisible but for my own trees. I’ve always known I can’t see me but now I believe I’ve blocked my view. I need to get the heck out of my way. Maybe you knew this about me and I thank you for keeping it on the down low until I figured it out. I can tell you I have stood at the edge staring at where I thought my forest was for a long while. But there’s no chance to appreciate the beautiful forest if it’s invisible.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for others to tell me what I have that is of worth. To tell me what’s interesting about me. As Po’s Dad in Kung Fu Panda said, to tell me what my “secret ingredient” is. But what I really have craved is my recognition. My affirmation of me and that internal faith that whatever “it” is, it’s there.

Like the child who is so desperate for her parent to like her and pay attention to her. “Please, Mama, can you tell me what you like about me. Tell me what I’m good at.” As Supertramp sang, “please tell me who I am.” Whether you have kids or not, you are your own parent for the rest of your life. And that parenting includes giving yourself the recognition you crave.

Hansel and Gretel in the forest in Shalavee.com

I have often felt so impatient about my blog, my writing, and finding my purpose. I wanted to hire someone to help me get on with it. Hurry up and become already. And then it began to happen. I started to hear what people were saying, what they enjoyed, and which things inspired them. And slowly, the person that I already am, that I want to be, that I want to work hard to become better at being, is emerging. She’s just been hiding among the trees in the invisible forest.

It’s dawning on me that I’m not too sucky. And I may have a talent or two that are slightly impressive. If I step back and give myself the time and space to see it, I just may see the forest for how really beautiful it is. Purpose and positivity only help when you recognize and value them.

I find danger to my self-esteem comes when I’ve compared myself to others who are in another league. For example, in the design world, people who constantly devote their lives, money, and extreme experience to design are going to have great spaces. And of course stuff done on the fly cheaply is going to look sucky compared to people with a lot of money, experience, and taste. So I think I can’t even stick my pinky toe into that stream of water with those people. And it’s such a good excuse to avoid doing this kind of work or anything that you love.

more of my forest on shalavee.com

Yet my vision and creations are good, just practiced in a smaller league way. Experienced blogger and coach Kathleen Shannon points out that we’re all at different levels of doing, blogging, or writing. I’m a B girl looking up to the A girls who don’t really see me because they’re looking upwards to their A girls. Kinda like it was in high school when you admired your upperclassmen and they didn’t know you existed. But I can shine if I hang with other B girls and I look pretty kickin’ to the C girls. It’s me comparing my Bananas to their Apples that’s freaking me out.

Who cares what anyone thinks really. If it’s crap, it’s still my crap to be proud of. And I suddenly felt a bit better when I realized all of this. And I’m ready to put that part of myself out for review. Because not only is everybody doing it, but I’m an original. I’d like to give myself a hard time for having to do everything so differently but that is what keeps my style so interesting and endearing. Did you catch Fiona’s bedroom makeover? Stay tuned for more design fun.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Daring Young Girl On the Flying Trapeze

Thought I’d catch you up my lovely reader on where I am and what I’ve been thinking about.

Year of Making

I’m committed to A Year of Making. I am keeping a list and pictures of my everyday making but my documenting system needs a little tweaking. When you do all the creating and the mothering all in the same day, you need really great systems. And I just don’t always feel like I have the clarity to create those. But I keep on keepin’ on.

goal board

I did however clean out my craft room. And updated my goals mapping wall piece.

And speaking of goals, I put out the newsletter I’d been dragging my feet about creating and ironically did so on the day when Fiona was sick. If you aren’t signed up to receive my newsletters, you can put your name into the sign up space on the side bar of the blog. I will be sending these out more often with original extra content. We’ll talk.

Sticking My Neck Out

The daring young girl continues sticking her neck out and in less than 2 months time I’m teaching a workshop on blogging. I fought against doing this. Told the man I wasn’t his gal. He insisted I was. So I bring what I know from my personal perspective and know that at least they’ll be entertained and feel supported in their efforts.

Shalagh of Shalavee.com

I learned blogging in dribs and drabs with a steep learning curve. As I was driving us back home from our Valentine’s date through snow blind conditions last night, I was explaining to my husband that I had needed to find out who I was while I learned how to blog. These happened simultaneously. I was committed to being a writer and my blogging led to reading and learning and reflecting and friending. And that has all lifted me up to such a different place in my inner world. My self-esteem has risen and my anxieties have diminished. Yes I feel scared but more sure that the tasks I posted up to that goals board are the right ones for my future. I am constructing a future of work that feels good to me and that I’ll be proud of.

Feeling vs. Thinking

I intend to do more writing with more feeling instead of thinking. I will continue to be the best cheerleader I can be for me and everyone and if that means I’m a leader, I’ll learn to like that term. And I am about to really look hard at my value. Read over my stuff and decide what value needs to be offered elsewhere. Stop looking outwards in hopes that someone will come tell me why I’m here. And look hard and long at the value I have already produced and created with 575 posts.

Hot pink coat from Shalavee.com

I’d like to feel like I’m wearing a hot pink fake fur coat with a butt warmer when I’m out doing my thing being the super cool productive how-do-you-do kinda me.  I want to feel safe and cozy and happy doing my thing.  These have been my thoughts of recent. Thanks for listening.

 

Barbie Dream House

I had one of those apples to oranges moments a couple of weeks ago and again last week. The one where I compared where I was to where I believed someone else was and then despaired over it. Compared my insides to someone else’s outsides. And it wasn’t just a moment, it lasted a couple of days. I sat with it willing it to wash over me.

There are many women writers and bloggers online I greatly admire. I feel honestly lucky to be able to read their writing and be moved by them. And in a wobbly moment, I found myself thinking, “I really can’t write like that. Not that well.” Which is partially true. I write the way I do and they the way they do and our writings are sometimes as good in different ways. But each of us is always the best person for the “being us” job.

Fiona and the digger from Barbi Dream houses on Shalavee.com

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Until you get a rejection letter and those other people get published on Huffington Post the next day. Then, as you’re trying to be gracious and share and support them, they go and get published again. And they gush at how they can’t believe it. That’s when the girl with the new Barbie Dream House needs to go suck it.

Seems my definition of myself in my head is the girl who’ll never get the Barbie Dream House. I don’t drive the right pink sports car. I don’t hang out with the hip Kens. And even Skipper thinks I’m weird and shoves me towards those Bratz dolls. But this gal with the new Barbie Dream House who I’m trying so hard not to envy? She’s also the gal who would out herself in a snappy momentito for feeling begrudging of another’s success.

drawing on the porch from Barbie Dream House on Shalavee.com

So I took my time and I let that possible resentment go into the cosmos. And I resigned myself to resubmit something else to Huff Post and something else again. Because her hard work and my hard work are commendable and the apples and the oranges might be fruit but there are many many different factors in having them flourish and be added to fruit salads all over the globe. Styles and editors and forces that be just need to have the antes upped.

And no one is begrudging me my Barbie Dream House but me.

My Writing : Q & A

I was offered up an opportunity by All The Everydays blogger Jean a chance to muse my writing process. A writing prompt of the most publicly introspective kind.  Although I’m a writer, I don’t write about my writing process or purpose or motivation. I may write about what I’m thinking about, what I’m passionate about, what I’m mulling over, or what I just went through. So here goes. I’m a bit interested to hear my own answers.

What am I working on?

I am a willy-nilly writer. I write on whatever subject topic interests me. Until it doesn’t anymore. There’s more than a few pieces that languish in the nether regions of my computer because I lost interest in them. And there’s lists of post topics that seemed like a good idea when I thought of them.

I am working on organizing an Eastern Shore of Maryland bloggers meet-up so that we may exchange ideas and gain the support of other human beings who sit at computer screens a lot. I am also working on a project called 50 Asks which is a round about way of gathering courage and momentum to submit my writing to the bigger world. I need to find more guest posting opportunities. As for current writing pieces, I’m always thinking about something. Sorting out the bigger subjects worthy of bigger places to be published from the smaller ones.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are more than a few of us who are genre escapees. We hate labels. Except we still happen to be mothers, creatives, and writers who have blogs. I can call myself a lifestyle blogger. I am definitely a personal essayist. I’m a blogger who started my blog to gain practice writing. I’ve been writing privately in journals since I was 12 when my English teacher Mrs. Johnson had our class start journaling. The next year, in 8th grade, Mrs. Park said I should think about doing more creative writing. 30 years later, I started to do more creative writing.

Why do I write what I do?

My writing topics range from rogue squirrels and farty butts to why disciplining your children is a great thing. I am a recovering neurotic and victim to my self-discovery more often than not. But of late, I write because I’m curious to know what I might find when I do so. It’s cathartic and good for me as a bowl of flax Wheaties. I like myself when I do it.

How does your writing process work?

First, I get an idea. Then this can go several different ways. I may write it out longhand on a lined tablet while watching the children play at McDonald’s. I may sit down and pour out my first thoughts into a text document that will live on my computer desktop. Or I may write the idea down in my journal or a scrap piece of paper which hopefully ends up near the computer or a list of things to do. Or I may forget to do any of these things for days until the idea melts away or hopefully reappears.

I am a dual creative. I love words and pictures. I value my success in both mediums and have striven really hard to get better at both. I believe I’m succeeding. Find me on Instagram and see if you think I’m doing OK ? 

Three bloggers that I love…

If you like to read my stuff, let me suggest you read :

That Curious Love Of Green –  Like me, Jane is always working to create a balance between her creativity and her love for her role as Mammy. She lives in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim in the North West of Ireland.

A Chesapeake Journal - Kathy lives here on the MD Shore a county to my south. She’s my gal and her brief picture posts are very reflective of the relaxed life of living in this unique Chesapeake Bay region in the small communities on the peninsula.

Destination Here & Now – Marg and I are both Hogans. She lives in Bathurst NSW Australia. Her photography is amazing and her posts weave words with these stunning pictures often in a dreamy poetic fashion.

Thanks to Jean for her flattery and inclusion. I really did enjoy the challenge. And I hope you take a moment to follow the links to her blog or my other friends blogs. Thanks so much for visiting.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit. 

Getting Out Of My Head & On With My Life

For a long time, I’ve been waiting to say it. To state what it is I need to say. Knowing that once it’s said, I can move on. And I’ve avoided even daring to think about what it is I need to say. Avoiding taking the time to sit down and let it tumble out of my head where it clogs my arteries of thought like karmic cholesterol.

Waiting is hard. And yet easier than the next step. Sometimes. Until it isn’t anymore. In this article from Lifehack, I found some very sound advice on moving onwards. And a wonderful quote from Anaïs Nin.

“And the day came when the risk

to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk

it took to blossom.”

I have felt stuck on a precipice, a threshold where I teeter being held back only by my own arms. And somehow, that is comfortable. I’m disassociated from what I see beyond the doorway. I’m not allowed to dream those dreams out there. Wouldn’t want to get stuck out there and be unable to get back to here. The comfortable muddy stuck place of which I know of.

I watched the women at the Blog U ’14 conference. I watched them hard. Their interactions and authenticity and needs like advertisements pinned to their pretty dresses. And I wondered what I was doing here really. I couldn’t see where I fit into this picture. I wasn’t this kind or that kind. I was tired and sick and beaten. But I stayed as present as possible. Because my disconnect was so strong that I needed to get through to the other side to see why.

whether you think you can graphic from Shalavee.com

On the other side now, I have a feeling I know exactly what’s going on. This feeling of numbness means I have to finally take it all seriously. To start walking the walk and stop talking the walk. I need to decide what one little ‘it’ is and move. Declare my intentions and own my talent. Submit my writing and allow the doors to open. Have faith. Let go of comfortable hopelessness. Getting out of my head and on with my life.

I need to decide my life story in my way by my own means and madness. Not by the stories others tell of me. Not worrying about doing it right. Just doing it. These women gathering at this blogging conference stressed that we can’t do it alone. And if I take nothing else away, I’ll remember that. We are greater for the sum of our parts. We really can’t do it alone.

I was recently reminded that I’m a personal essayist. I want to get paid to write. I want to say “I’m a freelance writer” without the twitchy ‘waiting to be busted’ feeling at the end. I am simultaneously wanting to be legitimized and terrified of being legitimate. I fear success not failure. Because once you get that plate spinning in the air on a stick, you have to keep it there. 

And eventually, I’ll probably want to publish a book. I’ll be hooked on wanting to know what else I can compose of my lessons. I’m going to need people to support me and read my stuff and that’s why I need you and you and anyone else you know to like my pages and places and hang out with me online everywhere. When the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready to grab my help.

More importantly, through these interactions with people are countless opportunities to learn lessons and to be humbled and grateful for our oneness with a larger human community. Countless moments to feel loved by complete strangers and close friends and to exponentially offer that love back to others.

And that is what I was gifted from these powerhouse speakers at #BlogU14. I am not alone. I don’t suck. I am a freelance writer. I have a lot talent and passion and drive. And I am ready to step into my Shalagh suit and wear it with pride. This empress’ new clothes are almost visible. I’m beginning to see the visible me and not the invisible me.

I am about to begin a couple new projects and increase my participation in creativity and career. One Instagram project starts today. And a project called 50 Asks inspired by Tammie Bennett and Sandra Harris. I’ll fill you in the next posts.

Visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or you can find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness. Chat at me and I’ll chat atcha back. Thanks to you as always for your visit. 

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