Today I want to just take a moment to share something I’ve been thinking about with you… Not a tutorial, a recipe, a trip or a part of our English life– just me and part of my journey. I don’t know if everyone will “get” it, but I hope you can relate in some way. It sometimes seems more acceptable to tell tales of woe, rather than sharing what we are learning, how we’re growing. So today I want to write a letter to you, all of you people in The Internet who have shown up here. The Internet is a huge place, but each of you are very real, and I want to talk to you a little bit about my experience.
You could have hardly found someone more reluctant to start a blog than I was, 9 years ago. My siblings, cousins, mom and eventually even my grandma all had blogs, as a way of keeping in touch while we were spread all over the world. I was the last one to give in and start one– the idea of putting myself out there, of talking about my life and sharing my thoughts… was kind of mortifying. I felt silly. But I eventually went for it, mostly to make my mom (living thousands of miles away) happy. And then I kept going.
When we moved to Germany four years ago, I was seeking some community, and began this blog mostly to network with other bloggers– mostly from design blogs. My readership grew little by little, and it was such a strange feeling to know that people were interested in my stories and pictures of our life there. Having so few people that had visited us (three, to be exact) it was important to me to be able to share what our new, expat life was like.
And then when we went through our super-crazy series of events, living in all sorts of places, it was this blog that brought me a sense of belonging and security, and the knowledge that at least a few dozen people out there knew where we were, and were sometimes checking in on us and wishing us well. That meant so much to me.
I have had to learn so many new skills in order to keep blogging– photography, writing, social media, website design, graphic design, how to write recipes, marketing… The list of what I still have to figure out is never-ending. But I am learning every day! I am improving, and continually challenging myself. And that is a gift.
Blogging has opened my whole world up for me. It has challenged me and given me so much confidence in exchange for courage. Not everyone gets to have a big audience and put out there into the world what they believe, what they care about, and what they want to see happen in the world, in the same way that most bloggers do. The discipline of articulating my views regularly in the form of blog posts has really helped me to crystallize who I am and what I believe about the world. What an incredible gift!
I started out being very shy, and honestly feeling pretty silly and wondering if I was being narcissistic by even having a blog and assuming that there were people out there who would want to read whatever I had to share. I got a pit in my stomach every time I put a picture of myself on The Internet.
I never imagined that I would have so many readers, that you would be so amazing and feel like a real community to me. That I would connect with so many other incredible people who are doing the same thing. That I would make real friends this way.
Writing my ebook was a serious leap of faith for me– if I’m completely honest, I felt embarrassed about doing it. I had the same doubts as I did about starting a blog. (Who am I to write something other people would want to read? And to ask that I be paid for my work? Scary!) It was a really emotional experience to put it out there and see whether or not anyone would buy it. And how my own community would respond. It was such a huge step for personal growth, and I am so glad that I did it. I had so much fear, and now the world feels so much bigger because I stepped out into it that much more.
Now, more than ever, I wake up thinking about the things I want to share with you. The projects I want to take on, and the readers who have taken the time to tell me that they value what I am doing. It’s a total thrill to hear that someone picked stinging nettles for the first time because they read about doing it on my blog. That I have encouraged someone, or that I have shown them that their dream of moving overseas could be a real possibility for them. I love hearing from readers about what they are working on or thinking about, and consider it such a privilege to be let in on these things.
Because of all of this, I have developed so much more confidence in the greater world. I feel like I know what I am all about, and how to communicate that to others. And I feel so thankful to have a little space of my own in the world to talk, share, and get to know people– it feels like a community to me, and I’m thrilled that people are showing up every day. I genuinely love sharing articles and thoughts (yes, and jokes) with “my people” on Facebook— it feels like such a privilege. You are an incredibly thoughtful, respectful and inspiring group of people.
So this rambling post is kind of a love letter to you. Thank you. Thank you for coming here and participating, and reading, and listening, and letting me know that you value what I am creating. For following our story, and cheering us on from the sidelines when things are dicey. It sincerely means the world to me. My life is so enriched by being able to use this space to share and connect with you.
And now… I also want to ask you– do you have an outlet for sharing what’s inside (your passions, your interests, your thoughts, your talents) with the world around you? Do you have a space to create something? What brings you joy? What terrifies you in a good way?
Thank you for being here. It matters to me, and having this blog is an incredible privilege that you have helped to shape.