I stopped writing here four years ago because I was a liar.
I had conceived this blog as a place to “go through things” thoughtfully and out loud. It was supposed to be a practice of sharing myself in the process instead of waiting for moments of performance to highlight me like an Instagram filter. I was tired of blogs that cherrypicked life with lighthearted suggestions on how you, too, could look perfect, make everyone love you, live forever with the right diet, and accomplish every dream you ever had.
But when I felt the shame of giving up on natural methods for healing my severe acne, I hid.
As planning a wedding became an emblem of a marriage that didn’t end up working out, I was silent.
When I found myself on the wrong side of layoffs at work, I waited to say anything until my next opportunity was lined up. Twice.
Life has given me plenty to write about over the last four years. But I have been perfectly quiet until now because I was ashamed of my imperfection and failure. How could I be inspiring if I wasn’t successful or happy? How could I be useful if I didn’t have answers? How could I be authentic when each struggle left me questioning what it was I really wanted?
I wasted so much energy feeling like I needed to have a “personal brand” and have it all figured out before I deserved to express myself.
I got sick of the highlight reel of social media too. The endless stream of meals, outfits, vacations, and accomplishments presented in a mosaic of overwhelming one-upmanship. I just wanted to be honest, but I didn’t know how to do it. I was afraid of what people would say about me behind closed doors, or God forbid, openly in the comments.
After a year of retreating, I came back tentatively with a post that I worried would suck the air out of the room with its sadness. But instead, I found friends who had been waiting in the wings, refreshed to feel real human emotion pierce through the self-adulatory noise.
It has inspired me to come back here to Habitually Hopeful. Despite the setbacks, I still think I live up to the name. Maybe because of the setbacks.
All this time, I have held my deepest hope–to be seen for the whole person I am–in the quiet of my own mind. I wasn’t singing or writing or sharing because I didn’t feel ready. But now I think the only way to have that deep and complete sense of belonging is to be where you are and be there out loud. I want to share the questions I don’t have answers to, the feelings I’m not sure how to manage, the gaps between who I am and who I want to be.
If you’re reading this, your imperfect story is valuable because it is real. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to share what is true. Opening up those messy parts of myself to has changed my world more than I thought it could, and my greatest hope is that it can offer you some solace and courage too.