When I was growing up, I was always the New Girl at school. We moved every time my dad was promoted, and invariably there would be that moment of exasperation at the new school when kids would say, "If we hear you talk about how things were at the old school one more time, we're gonna pound you."
I imagine the same response when people start talking about blogging in The Good Ole' Days, (hold off one second on that pounding) but there was something unarguably freeing before things like branding and commerce made their way in, when it was just you and your computer in the dark at 10pm, sending out a missive into the nameless, faceless abyss.
This morning when I thought about why I haven't been sharing more in this space, a few reasons came up that are related to the shift in the online world, which used to be a subversive, anything-goes terrain that so quickly turned formulaic, with a Right Way to Do It.
Reason #1: The belief/expectation that a post should be written like an article, complete with a search engine-optimized title. I can write an article. I have that move. Some have even been published. But it's not what I read, myself--it's not what I enjoy. I'd rather read a hand-written note from a friend than a magazine any day, and in this place I would rather write as if I were writing you a letter.
I know it's frustrating without all those 10 Easy Steps and pull-quotes, and maybe I'm committing some kind of career suicide by not just pumping that stuff out right and left, but the bottom line is: it just doesn't bring me joy.
Reason #2: If I have to be strategic about things like Branding and Message, then what I write will come from my head, not my heart. And that's just not what I'm committed to. Some people have that strategic move, and I can access it in a pinch, but I know my own development is calling me out of my head and into other places, like my body, heart, intuition, and into trusting myself.
My other reasons are less systemic and more personal. I've shared some here about some of my struggles this past year, most of which stemmed from the dilemma of having a public presence alongside a very private life.
It's one place I feel a disconnect between myself and other bloggers--the large extent to which I am a very private person. But I also want to share the journey when I can in case it casts some small light on someone else's path.
Reason #3: The pressure (even self-inflicted) to share in real time when I am going through deep or dark places. In the throes of my public/private dilemma, I really needed the space to pull back and do my soul work in safe containers--inside the contexts of my close relationships, with my trusted advisors--away from a public and potentially critical gaze.
My therapist says, "You're doing really great, Jen."
"I don't know," I say, "I think people who are really doing great don't need to pay someone $100 an hour to tell them so."
But it's true--I do feel myself turning a corner over here, relaxing into a new season. My hair is getting long, and my tendency is to want to keep it tied up and anchored down in case it's too frizzy, too big, too crazy or attracting too much attention. But this morning out walking, I removed my clip and shook it out. I let it be just as it is, as I felt myself shaking loose on the inside, too.
I'm going to try a new experiment--showing up here a little more often and giving you a window into this next chapter of my journey as it unfolds. Because I remember the solace I received at 10pm at night reading the thoughts of kindreds, I know what it's like to miss people when they disappear for awhile, and I'm ready now to let my hair down.