I am in a funk this week, and not in a Bruno Mars Uptown kind of way.
I am stressed at things beyond my control — stuff in the grand scheme of life means extraordinarily little, but at this moment, I am agonizing over it. My mind tells me to keep perspective, but my heart races with the anxiety of the unknown. Insecurity seeps out of my pores and self-doubt runs rampant over every decision.
I am a balloon on the verge of bursting. If one more person blows hot air in my direction, I will explode into a million pieces.
Because of these feelings, I know I am more sensitive to criticism, even from sources not directed at me. I take every look, comment, or even lack of acknowledgment personally.
I am aware, yet it is difficult to control.
This weekend, I read an article that discussed the lack of authenticity and being genuine in the parenting blogging space. It wasn’t my type of article. I’m not into name-calling or belittling other people for their life choices.
The blog post in of itself did not get under my skin. What did surprise me, however, was the visceral response to it. There were cheers from people who say that blogging as we know it is fraught with fraud and inauthentic dribble. Too many people are jumping up and down on the Internet saying “Look at me! Read me! Look at how great I am!”
Others stood up in defense of blogging and their work. And for the right of every person to pursue something they love, whatever the reason.
I wanted to fall apart. It was the last thing I needed to get involved with at the time but like driving by a car accident, I couldn’t look away.
On one hand, I understand the point. When it comes to social media, networking and engaging with readers and other bloggers is critical to your success. I am involved with several groups where bloggers come together to support each other. We “like” each other’s posts and share articles and leave comments so Facebook will show our work to more people. Sometimes these are things that I care about, sometimes not.
On the other hand, why should I promote material that doesn’t speak to me? Why should I give an audience to things that don’t touch my heart or evoke an emotion? Why do I support people whose work I don’t always love or interests me? Why do they support mine? Am I a fraud, too? Is it all for nothing?
So, as I sit at the crossroads of self-doubt and a nervous breakdown, I ask myself, what is the point of it all?
And that’s when I looked over at the Essential Oils vaporizer sitting on my nightstand. The one I can’t use because the oils give me hives and irritate my eyes. The one I will not put away because I bought it from my best friend who has transformed her life over the past few years, and I burst with pride when I think about it. And I would rather cut off my right arm than see her not succeed, so even though I don’t always buy into her holistic way of life, I want to support her.
It sits next to the “World’s Best Mom” figurine that my daughter gave me three years ago that she bought with her own money from her school’s holiday shop, which of course I told her I loved even though I despise trinkets.
Underneath it is an essay my friend asked me to read. She wants to publish a story that is close to her heart. We both know it’s not good, but we are working on improving it because she feels passionate about it. My red-lined comments are tempered and filled with “love this part!” and “great line!” because I don’t want her to quit. I believe with hard work and my help she can create something great.
I admit that sometimes I am not genuine or one hundred percent authentic; but if not, it’s because I am trying to be something else, something that is even more important to me. I want to be kind and supportive and help someone else follow their dreams, just as my friends have supported mine.
And I will never apologize for that.
Life riddles with insecurity. Sometimes we have thick skin and a rebellious nature that allows us to shed people’s opinions — or what we believe they think of us — with ease. For others, our hearts are wrapped in a weighted vest of self-doubt that often plays tricks on our minds.
We see it in moms that believe every missed event, every misplaced sock, every Lunchable packed is symbolic of failure. We see it in dads that view their kids’ athletic success as indicative of their self-worth. And we see it in bloggers so desperate for affirmation they forget the reason they started their blog in their first place.
But we all have choices in this life. For some of us our hearts speak so loudly that the only way to live life is only to be true to yourself.
And for others, we search for the delicate balance of finding ourselves while grabbing the hands of others along the way.
Maybe neither is wrong, but I’ll be the one with my arm stretched out.
Just let me know if you need my hand.