BY SARAH BRYAN
In, 2021, I launched my blog. I was SO damn nervous, but I remember feeling as though everything had fallen into place. I felt so supported and positive. Incredibly anxious and vulnerable. I felt all the things that make you feel alive. And as I’m typing this, I realize how long it’d been since I had last felt that. When my Dad passed, I returned to my 9-5 and was so grateful for the protective bubble it provided me. I had been there long enough to rarely run into situations that scared me. Sure, it happened at times, but I still always felt safe. And I’m not saying this to bash 9-5’s. That job did so many incredible things for me, and I got to work with wonderful people who I am still grateful to know. But it was for that chapter, not this one. I grew more and more restless, and by the time I’d decided to leave, I had no energy to put toward anything else. When I finally started this blog, I’d been unemployed for about a month. I felt like I had no creative bone in my body, but the more I got into it, the more I got into it. And here we are- 1 year of Complicated Basic. Here’s what my first year of blogging taught me:
Nervousness is not a negative
I still remember the night before and the day of announcing my blog. I felt like I could throw up and do cartwheels all at the same time (quite a visual, I know, lol). It may sound a bit dramatic, but if you’ve ever put your heart and soul out into the world to be judged by the rest of the world, I think you’d understand. And that doesn’t just mean with writing- if you’ve ever painted a canvas, sang a song, played a sport, whatever it might be, you’re creating art from what’s inside and displaying it for the world to see. It’s vulnerable, which means it’s scary but also exciting. Those feelings are one and the same. And, in this past year, I’ve come to realize that more and more. Nervousness is not a bad thing; it means you’re challenging yourself and living your life to the fullest.
If you want to heal, write
Writing has always been something I loved. Watching words join together on a page to communicate the human experience with rhythm and emotion so that another human can read it and connect with that same energy. How beautiful is that? What I never anticipated was that, in writing my own thoughts down and sharing them with you every week, I would be able to heal. At least not like this. I have spent the last year of my life extra tuned in to all the stuff I’ve got going on inside. And, in sharing it here with you, I have had the privilege to speak with some of you about how we’re not so different after all. This process has helped me bring things that were in the darkness to the light, making them less scary and overwhelming, and I hope it’s done the same for you in some way or another.
Stay open, and let creativity find you
I began my blogging journey how I assume most others might: by putting it off, over and over and over. I loved writing, but I didn’t trust myself or my abilities. To be honest, I still don’t a lot of the time, but I’ve tapped more into my creativity since then, and that’s helped a lot. I’m still discovering more of it every day, and I did it by recognizing whenever my ego would try to get in the way. I’d start getting down on myself for feeling blocked creatively or comparing myself to someone else who seemed to have it all figured out, but once I recognized it, I found a way to stop it. My mantra to do this has become “stay open.” Just because you don’t have a brilliant idea right this second doesn’t mean one won’t come to you in 5 minutes or tomorrow. But judging yourself at this moment for it will close you off from that possibility. And just because someone else seems to have it more figured out than you does not take away from how figured out you can have it. A favorite line of mine is “comparison is the grand distraction.” Pressuring yourself to have it all figured out ruins it all. No one has it figured out. And once you realize these things, creativity will flow more freely.
At the beginning of this journey, I trusted others way more than myself. I mean, what right did I have to trust myself when I literally knew nothing about starting and writing and growing a blog? I was overwhelmed and filled my schedule with webinars and seminars and presentations, and whatever else I could possibly sign up for so that I could learn. But also, admittedly, so I could distract myself from actually starting. And then, once I finally did start, I continued this process every step of the way. I took in so much information that there was no wiggle room for me to make it my own. Somehow I managed to make it work and then realized that I could do this- I was doing it! Like training wheels coming off a bike. Such a liberating feeling- to trust yourself, whether you actually know what you’re doing or not. Either way, you’ll figure it out. Believe that, and you’ll fly.
You are so loved
The support I’ve received from this community is something I will never take for granted. Every time I see a notification of alike, or a comment with a shared sentiment or words of wisdom, I squeal inside with excitement. These interactions have served as breadcrumbs, paving the way for my next steps. The path in front of me (with this whole blogging thing) is often dark- I feel inexperienced and unsure all the time. I can’t see clearly what’s up ahead or what my next move should be, and each step feels a little unstable. But then I plant my foot in front of me, and I’m met with solid ground. A ground made up of your encouragement. You’ve been creating this path and lighting the way for me. And whether you intend for that or not, it has made me feel so loved.
You are never alone
One of my primary purposes in starting my blog was to create a community in which we all could feel less alone. Many of the thoughts and ideas I’ve shared with you this past year are things I never thought I’d share with anyone besides those closest to me. This is why it was so terrifying to put them in print and display them on the internet for anyone to access anytime they wanted. I mean, that’s why we don’t do that in everyday life, right? We’re embarrassed or ashamed of our experiences and of our reactions to or thoughts about those experiences, so we don’t bring them up. And then we all just walk around thinking we’re the only ones who feel that way. But that couldn’t be further from the truth; this past year has made that more apparent than ever. The amount of you who have reached out and told me you’d felt the same has made me feel so much more a part of this world. We’re all in this human experience called life, and we don’t have to do it alone. Not going it alone not only makes the experience so much richer but also so much more healing.
They say the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know, and it’s true. With all I’ve learned this past year, I know this is just the beginning. I’ll be relearning these lessons and learning new ones for as long as I’m alive, inside and outside of writing this blog. And I have to say; it’s not even so much the blogging that taught me all these things. It was simply doing something I cared about and getting vulnerable enough to put it out there and connect with others over it. Not everyone will connect with what you put out there, but that’s okay- that’s not the point. Those who do connect with it will make the vulnerability all worth it. Anything you choose to do that creates slight nausea and makes you all giddy is a good thing. Follow that feeling- that’s where your magic lives. And I feel so incredibly lucky and humbled to have experienced a little bit of that magic.