Writing online is a strange thing indeed. Here I am sharing details of myself with you each week (or a little less often of late) and yet I still feel as though I haven’t told you enough about myself, like we should get to know each other a little better, you know?
I remember when I first started writing this blog, I heard a lot of noise online about being authentic. The whole notion left me feeling bemused, I couldn’t conceive of being anyone else but myself, but with time I’ve realised how easy it is to unwittingly sensor what you do or do not share of yourself online.
The authentic self is the soul made visible. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
Let me give you an example. I recently read a great post by Corbett Barr about whether or not to swear online. It is a topic I struggled with for a long time. I swear in the real world, not prolifically, but I have definitely been known to swear when the occasion has called for it. Initially the thought of swearing online felt too scary, too risky for me so I simply avoided making a decision about it. But by making no decision to swear in my posts I had made the decision not to swear. You may have noticed that I have been a little more true to myself on that front lately.
I’ve also thought many times about writing a “things you don’t know about me’ post but have never felt inspired enough to do it. Recently, I declared that I would be getting naked on this blog (metaphorically speaking that is) and this post is a step in that direction. Around the same time that I realised I was in danger of going into full-time hiding, a friend of mine also wrote an inspirational post called ‘Things I’m afraid to tell you’ inspired by what could now be described as an online movement.
We are constantly invited to be who we are. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Writing a ‘things I’m afraid to tell you’ post, felt like an appropriate way to reveal even more of the real me online and to step even further outside of my comfort zone/hiding place. When I sat down to think about what I would be afraid of saying online, I quickly realised that it was the same list of things that I was having a hard time admitting to myself. But recently after a period of not feeling as happy as I think I should be I’ve got pretty honest with myself and now it’s time to share that honesty with you.
Confession #1 Travel
I’m not enjoying travelling as much as I thought I would. Moving from place to place feels so transitory and has left me feeling lonely and disconnected from the people and places that I visit. I’m also finally ready to confess that I hate living out of a backpack, I miss my
home comforts like a strong cup of tea, a hot soak after a long day, late night chats with good friends, having a fitness routine and my bed bug free memory foam mattress (or at least it was when I sold it). I’m also starting to feel a serious sense of dread at the thought of the inevitable one hour struggle that is packing and zipping up my 52 litre backpack. Who said travelling light was a good idea? I’m missing the sense of purpose that I felt my life had before I started living life on the road. The goal was always to create a location independent life for myself, earning money doing something that I love, but I’m finding it more difficult than I anticipated to juggle travel and work. I find myself feeling guilty if I’m out sightseeing rather than working and guilty if I’m working too hard and not exploring the places that I visit. I do, however, have a plan up my sleeve, which doesn’t involve hopping on a plane back to the UK. More on this in a future post.
Confession #2 Love
I’m getting a bit sick of being single. After a run of failed relationships I decided to take a year off men to focus on my goals and myself. That was two and a half years ago and if I’m honest I’m now starting to get a bit foot tappingly impatient. I’m 100 per cent certain that there is a dude out there for me, but it’s quite a big deal for me to actually admit that I’d like to meet him sooner rather than later. I’m not worried about my age or some sort of ticking clock, I’ve no current desire to have children although I don’t rule it out as a possibility. I would, however, like to have someone to share and enjoy life with. Being on the road has made me appreciate what it is to deeply connect with other people and I’ve decided that I would like to have that on a more regular basis with someone special. Despite having faith that these things happen when you least expect them, for someone who is normally quite proactive at realising my goals and dreams, I’m finding it frustrating that falling in love is not something I can put on a to do list, schedule in and then tick off when complete.
Confession #3 Self-consciousness
At times I can be ridiculously self-conscious. I’ve suffered with it all my life and whilst I know how self-conscious I feel, it may not always be completely apparent to others. I’m not especially shy although I can be if the situation permits, nor am I overly confident but some might think so if they saw me in my comfort zone. You can then, imagine my delight when I recently asked for feedback on this site and got a virtually unanimous call for more video blogs. This was not happy reading for little old self-conscious me and as I started to ponder whether or not the world would come to an end if I simply abandoned this whole blogging malarkey, I remembered my unlikely passion for facing fears and my own personal growth.
Confession #4 Courage
Despite the fact that I write about facing fears if you asked me what courage feels like I couldn’t really tell you. People tell me sometimes that the things I do are courageous and inspirational but I always feel bewildered to hear that. I know that things scare me, quite a lot of things actually and I hate feeling scared so much so that I find myself compelled to do those very things, but if you were to call me brave then I’d tell you that I’m the most scared, brave person I know. I feel as though just as I face one fear and triumph, I turn to see another fear on the horizon, heading straight for me. The goal is to work out how I came to be someone who gets called brave and then share with other people how I did it. More to come on this too.
Confession #5 Goals
In December I wrote a plan for 2012 full of goals to achieve throughout the year. It’s now June, virtually half way through and apart from those related to my travels I haven’t achieved any of them. Not one and until now I haven’t been exactly forthcoming about that fact. When I first started this blog, I published a monthly ‘goals round-up’ post, which would detail how I fared against the last month’s goals with a list of goals for the following month. With those posts came a strong sense of accountability for me. Putting my goals online and then reporting back on how I’d got on saw me do lots of crazy things I wouldn’t normally have done without that added pressure. Those round-up posts stopped back in September 2011 and I’ve noticed a marked difference in what I’ve been achieving ever since. I’ll be reinstating those posts (or something similar) in the near future.
Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good. ~ Alan Cohen
Well I think that is probably enough confessions from me for one day and I hope that you feel that you know me a little better as a result. It has actually felt quite liberating and cathartic to be so open with myself and others about how I’ve been feeling lately. I can strongly recommend having a think about the things that you would be afraid to tell other people and see what comes up. If publishing them online feels like too much, then simply admitting them to yourself could have a really positive impact.
Are there things that you haven’t been admitting to yourself lately? Any confessions that you would like to get off your chest? Let me know in the comments I would love to hear from you. If you liked the post please do share by hitting one of the buttons below.