Friday, 24 October 2014

C stands for "Courage"

Don't we all reach some point in our lives where we feel that we may have (finally) found the direction we want to head in...but still haven't found our very personal right pace or way of moving (towards whatever we think we will find at the end of our journey)?

Having been a blogger for about six years now (all of the blogs I started back then do not exist anymore - and I regard them being first steps rather than real blogs honestly), I still find myself lacking that courage to blog as "the real and complete ME". And when I read wonderful Seth Apter's blog post about authenticity (over HERE) this morning, I decided it was time to change that. Now.

Why? I hear you ask. Well - in fact I am a very thoughtful and earnest person (as those who know me a bit closer might already have noticed). It is what I would describe myself by if asked about my most typical qualities.

I started blogging as a photographer and poetry writer, you know? So there were a lot of very personal thoughts and feelings expressed in the poems I wrote back then. But since I discovered Mixed Media and turned to creating with paints, stamps and visual stuff of all kinds instead of painting images with words and their very sounds, something has gone missing.

I know that one's works of art always tell something about the artist too - but it always has a more "common" feel to it. And they are most of the time filtered to create that "sunny, happy (and therefore rather unreal) world"-image or to make a statement critical of society.
A lot of the feelings we all experience on a regular basis seem to be banned from "crafty blogland", which is the "bloggersphere" I "exist" and move in at the moment. And I understand that when people want to spend some time off everyday life (by getting creative) they don't want to read loads of burdening or mood-affecting stuff. We want to see something inspiring, bright, light-weighed. Something that makes us forget about our own worries for a while.

But then I found that we often tend to forget about the person/s behind the blog we are visiting - simply because they do not feel "real" (or authentic) in a way. It's that "shiny, happy people" image that is a very powerful thing that's going on in blogland. Part of us simply knows that noone is shiny and happy all of the time. It's just not a reality one could live by - no matter how hard he tried or wanted to. But visiting crafty blogland provides us with the illusion that it might be possible anyway. And don't we all long for this state of living without fear, illness, anger, frustration, pain and all the other burdens that consume part of our energy on a daily basis?

So me too was drawn into not blogging about my health issues (of which there are quite some, dealing with a chronical illness) or about things that annoy me or just get me thinking. Not even about failure with creative projects! Until only recently I realised that when blogging I feel that I have to serve readers with only that part of me that's positive, motivational, encouraging and visually appealing - the "perfect" me. (I know we all know there is no such state as being really "perfect"...).

Seems I never really asked myself whom I wanted to write my blogs for. Me or my readers? Who in the first place? Boy, it is really difficult deciding on how to balance this - I know. You wouldn't blog if you hadn't wished for at least a bunch of readers who like what you write about on a regular basis, would you? So for starters you try to present yourself as attractive and joyful as possible (don't we know that from real life too?) - you smile, you create, you burst with telling the world about your latest creative adventures, achievements and explorations. And once it starts getting you somewhere it is hard to change the old (and obviously successful) behaviour, isn't it?

And you are afraid of how readers will think of you once you show your less "shiny and happy"colours. Will they still like you? We all want to be loved for what we do and what we show of ourselves. We don't feel safe when showing our imperfections or talking about our worries or fears. But when we do so, we reach out for a hand. It is that urge for being touched so we can feel that we are not alone in whatever troubles us. But reaching out and therefore becoming "touchable" also makes us vulnerable. Right?

And that's why it takes tons of courage to blog and present ourselves authentically.

But if you feel that something's missing from your being a blogger...if you feel that it doesn't make you as "whole" as you wanted it to make you...shouldn't you just take a leap and try? You'll never find out unless you try.