“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” ~ Edgar Degas
My very first blog post was the best one I have ever written. I posted it six years ago, and with every year that passes I cherish that piece even more.
Sometimes around 3 PM at my day job, when I start daydreaming about the evening ahead, I think “Maybe I should write a blog post tonight.” I remember how free and fun it felt to write on my blog for those first couple of years, I remember the clunky thrill of finding my voice and the sweet validation when I realized that people liked my words.
I wonder if there is a way to drop back into that youthful soulful energy. I wonder if writing will ever feel that way again. And then I log on to my blog to make something beautiful… and I freeze.
I think about what my audience wants. I think about who might be reading my work. I think about how to dilute parts of myself to keep everyone happy. My eyes get dizzy, and I close my computer instead. Maybe another day.
* * *
When I started, I didn’t have those same fears. Here’s my first blog post, and here are a few things that stand out:
*I had no idea how to use hyperlinks.
*I expected that my mom would be the only person to ever read it, and that didn’t bother me.
*I wasn’t afraid to get political and spiritual – two strong aspects of my personality that I find myself shielding now.
*I just… wrote. And shared it. The most simple two-step process of all. I said things like “May we all express peace towards our planet and towards one another for as long as we live… and beyond!”, things I would never say now. And I said them and I pressed “Enter” and I moved on.
*I had my own voice – I just didn’t know it yet.
* * *
I love the girl who wrote that first post. I want to go back in time and wrap my arms around her and whisper that one day she will be my role model. She won’t understand what I mean.
I want to hover in the corner of her sweaty summer apartment at 1 AM while she tinkers her way through WordPress. I want her to break into a giant breathless smile when I say she is a few years away from publishing a book. I want her to know that dreams still come true.
I want to warn her about the path ahead. I want to tell her to wear giant metaphorical headphones and ignore every piece of feedback she gets. The negative comments aren’t worth an ounce of her energy. The positive comments feel like floating on a cloud, but they will suck her into a people-pleasing spiral. I want her to block it all out in ways that I couldn’t.
I want to give away the ending, but I slink away instead. I let her find it in her own time. I race ahead of her two years, five years, six years into the future, frantically weaving rainbow threads behind me, laying down a path that I hope she can be proud of.
* * *
“Expert status” is a myth. No matter who we are, no matter what we have created before… another blank page awaits us today. We can write it from a cloistered cage of fragile perfection, one eye pointed at our website statistics, clinging to positive comments for dear life.
Or we can choose to steep in that sweet beginner’s joy again – day after day after day.
May we wear our giant metaphorical headphones. May we be unshakeable. May our rainbow threads cascade before us. May we remember who we are.
Peace + Deep Wild Rootedness,