My journey through sharing personal topics on social media and learning one of life’s biggest lessons.
I have a tendency of pointing my iphone at my face and talking about everything. From silly things that I get a kick out of, to topics that carry some weight and tend to make some people feel a little uncomfortable. You may be thinking “why on earth would I want to do this?” So, let me dive right in.
We live in a social media world. It is a part of our generation and I think we could all agree that it’s probably not going anywhere, anytime soon. Over the years, I have watched and participated in the sharing of all things awesome — like how fabulous that summer wedding was in the Okanagan. All that is good and fine and I enjoy those posts just as much as the next person. But one day, while bouncing my newborn baby to sleep, so tired I was barely able to stand, I felt the urge to put something raw and real out into the world. And so, my real life commentary began.
As I continued to share the rawness of Motherhood, I started to tap into sharing other aspects of my life. As I did this, I watched amazing things begin to happen amongst myself and amongst others. Healing. Acceptance. Understanding. Camaraderie. Empathy. Self-awareness. Strength. Love.
So, in February of 2018 when the ten-year commemoration of a friends passing came around, I found myself more open to address feelings than ever before. It was at this time, that something in me ignited. I’m not sure I can put it into words, but I’m going to try.
In the span of ten years, a lot changes. Here I was, having recently turned 30 and been through one of the most challenging years of my life. My second baby was just about to turn one and I’ll admit, I was very sleep deprived and emotional to begin with. All you Mama’s out there, I know you feel me! Anyways, I was reflecting on the last decade and realizing that while so much had changed, there was something about being 20 years old that had stood still — her. I could still so clearly imagine her face — her laugh ringing loudly in my ears and although she was no longer here, I felt like she had been with me through it all.
So, I began to talk. I thought that perhaps, my vulnerability may be a beacon of strength to help propel healing for anyone who had burdens in their heart. But, I was not prepared. I had never tread through this water before and being a person that steps forward with her heart first, I don’t always think things through. And so, came the turning point of 2018. A time full of reflection, growth and a few (okay many) tears. While difficult at the time, I am able to see now, that there is nothing like a tough situation to help you transition into a different season of your life. This transition however, does not come without its challenges. You are forced to look at all aspects of yourself. The fact that (at the time), I looked for validation from others rang true, when after a friend voiced her disapproval of my version of the Oprah Show — I went on an ‘opinion tour’ trying to feel out a diverse handful of people. Surely this would make me feel better?! But, [insert sighing gif] this was just gasoline on the fire. The consensus however, was no surprise — split. Ah… and so we come to one of the biggest lessons in life — there is no such thing as universal agreement. If you are going to put yourself out there, you have no choice but to accept this.
Regardless of the ‘consensus’, this self-proclaimed people pleaser (Hi!) had really upset a handful of people. I apologized, and apologized, and texted, and called, and apologized, explained myself 50 times and texted again. After a week of spinning myself out, feeling like everyone was surely going to hate me forever, I crashed and burned. I broke down in tears with my Mom and my husband and they spent the majority of a Saturday night helping me pick up the pieces. Thank goodness for family who passes up Netflix and popcorn for a real life version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!”
Something I realized during my family intervention, was the weight I put on what people think of me. This may sound privileged, but I grew up in a small town, where I knew a lot of people and I like to think I was well liked. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I know my name has probably been tossed around at a hen party a time or two, but not about anything that really mattered. This was different. This was heavy stuff. Knowing that I had made people upset and that they didn’t understand my heart was hard for me. I was worried that all of these people that liked me, may not like me anymore. [Fast forward to current day — I am okay with that. Fine… because well, honesty. I am working on being okay with that.]
And so, in an attempt to continue doing what feels right while not burdening myself with anxiety — I needed to figure out what content would live on what platform and how deep I was comfortable going. Furthermore, I learned that I needed to do some work on myself. I needed to turn my thoughts inward and figure out how to stop searching for love and acceptance from others and instead grant that to myself. Could you imagine forgiving yourself when you stumble? Showing yourself compassion instead of practically begging for it from those around you? Magical.
One absolutely positive thing I take away from the entire fiasco, is where it directed me and the connections I have made. I have had deep, meaningful conversations, that I believe have impacted lives and sparked growth and healing. If what I put out there helps just one person get through something difficult, makes them giggle when they are having a tough day, or gives them something to relate to so they don’t feel alone, then maybe it’s worth ruffling a few feathers.