I started the blog I've been dreaming up in my head. I took that leap. I put myself out there. I did it. I really, really did. And if you are here reading this, it's actually really happening.
You can only imagine how I feel. Maybe I'm dancing in excitement. Shouting from the rooftops. Smiling from ear to ear.
Or...I'm wallowing in doubt. Sitting within that overwhelming feeling of "Oh gosh, what did I do?"
"What does *insert random name here* think about how I said that?" "What if they are offended?" "They probably think I'm full of myself" "Who does she think she is?"
Who do I think I am?
The truth is, being vulnerable is scary.
As Brene Brown might say, I have a vulnerability hangover after sharing my first post. Sharing so much of yourself and putting your thoughts on the web is fulfilling, but it's equally scary. I am opening up because I feel called to do so. Writing and sharing these thoughts make me feel complete. And I am following a passion that I'm trying to bring out of the shadows and into the light.
On the flip side, so much of me feels I am unqualified to spit advice at you and pretend to know what life is all about. Because I absolutely do not.
But as I knock down every wall of self-judgment, I feel the need to share. Being a work in progress and a person who cares about others is a recipe to overshare (ENFP and Type 4 Enneagram). I want to be able to feel understood, so we can understand each other.
So we can help each other.
Overcoming fear of judgment is difficult.
We live in an age where it is so easy to share and even easier to feel judged for it. That's why God created Instagram filters, fake eyelashes, hair extensions, and photoshop. We want to look like our best selves, and want to be perceived in a positive light. Not only to feel good internally but to be able to appeal to the masses. (If you fall into the category where you only do it for you and don't give a crap about what others think, let's talk. I need to understand your ways. Also, I don't believe you.)
And now, it seems as if vulnerability is trending, so much that if someone is choosing to share about personal growth, it can be perceived as staged and crafted (sometimes in the hidden effort to sell something) instead of what it's truly meant to be. Honest. True. Real.
Step into my confessional: I use filters just as much as the next person. I've taken the staged photos, laughing and looking to the side so that it looks "candid". In reality, it's 20 takes with my self-timer and cell phone propped up somewhere. I pick the best one and throw a lightroom filter on it. I post a perfectly crafted and revised caption, equipped with hashtags and send it in to the universe to catch the attention of strangers.
Is that being vulnerable? Is that being honest and true?
I thought I was being real, but what if I just look carefully crafted? See: Miss Americana.
Overcoming self-doubt is more difficult.
This circles back to the reality that after I post something, and when I'm lying in bed at night, a tiny voice appears. Perhaps you know the one I'm talking about.
"Why'd you say that?"
"Did I have an attitude in that email?"
"Does Karen think I'm an asshole?"
"Did you put your clothes in the dryer?"
"Hey, remember back in 2012 when you..."
"Karen definitely thinks I'm an asshole."
Truth is it's not others we need to worry about. It's that tiny asshole voice in our own heads.
Vulnerability isn't about them. It's about you.
The biggest thing holding me back from putting my own thoughts out there wasn't because of what others think about me. It's about what I think of me. If I'm good enough to be heard. If what I'm sharing is worth anything.
Listen, I'm no Brene Brown, and I'm not anywhere near an expert on being vulnerable. But what I do know is that passions are worth exploring, and if there's anything that ever holds you back from that, it should definitely not be yourself.
It should not be because you've made up stories in your head about what people might think. Because they are just that. Stories. And if it becomes truth...who cares? They are not worth letting in.
I completely understand sharing something you've made carefully with your heart and soul is scary. The thought of someone reading these words right now makes me want to jump out of my own skin and hide under a rock.
But that's not what I'm meant to do. I'm meant to shine. I'm meant to share. I'm meant to create. I'm meant to live fully. Live for my passions. Dare to push to the next level. Dare to do things and not care what people might think if I do them.
Yes, being vulnerable is scary. But you know what's scarier? Holding back something amazing because you are worried about what others will think of it.
So buckle up, buttercup. I hope you're ready for a wild ride.