I woke up before the alarm on my little nightstand went off. The sun hadn't even started to peak over the empty fields.
I wasn't up because I was perfectly rested. I was far from refreshed and ready for the day.
No, I was awake because my nerves hadn't really let me sleep, in the first place.
See, I was headed to a blogging conference that day. My very first blogging conference. With real live people, none of whom I really knew. And I'd have to talk to them. Like a real person.
No hiding behind a keyboard at this conference. No editing my words before I said them. And I had to wear real clothing... my fuzzy pink leggings (read: my "blogging uniform") would stay in the dresser.
And then, if all that wasn't enough to give me butterflies in my stomach, I would be introducing myself as... a... blogger.
Yes, I realize that technically I've been writing here since 2014 (yikes), and that's made me a blogger for nearly two years.
I get that.
I don't think I'd actually ever said it out loud. Not really.
I've got impostor syndrome. Even though I write here, even though my words are read by tens of ... tens of people (ha), I still feel a little like I'm faking it.
A few months ago, I was standing next to my husband when an acquaintance brought up the fact that I have a blog.
"Oh, yeah," I said, "I do a little writing sometimes on my little blog. It's nothing big, really."
(I'm pretty sure I rambled on and on after that, because I'm socially awkward in real life.)
In the car, only minutes later, my husband asked, "Why don't you take your blog seriously? You're always downplaying it, making it seem like it's unimportant."
And yes, I do that.
Because if I take this hobby of mine seriously... then what? What if I let someone in on the secret that I'm actually pretty into this thing and they read the blog and they hate it?
Or what if they think it's no good? Or they think to themselves, ".... Really? This is what she spends hours on? Her writing is terrible, her insights are poopy, she's definitely not funny, and her pictures are the worst!"
The truth is, I'm afraid.
I don't think I'm alone in this.
I think a lot of women downplay their interests. Veil their gifts. Make their talents a secret.
Because we're afraid that we'll fail, or be exposed as invaluable or silly.
We package up our hurts in neat, palatable chunks that won't offend anyone, and won't reveal ragged edges. We laugh off our insecurities so our friends don't know just how deep they run- wrapping it into a funny story.
Because if someone knew- if someone knew how much I care about this- then they'd have power over it. They'd be able to crush me. They'd cut right to the core with their criticism or their disdain, or even worse, their indifference.
So instead, we laugh. We shrug. We downplay. We only let in the few and the trusted.
But isn't that worse?
We're letting the fear win.
(I'm letting the fear win.)
Instead of running towards the things God has for me, I'm taking tentative, halting steps. Instead of diving in to this scary-yet-beautiful thing, I'm on the edge with my toe in the water.
Instead of letting someone come and speak life to the broken stuff, to the insecurity, to the fear, I am closing myself off.
The scariest things are sometimes the most beautiful.
It's okay to care. It's okay to make it a big deal. It's okay to not be finished, yet. It's okay to put yourself out there and let someone else in.
So yes. I'm a blogger.
And that scares me.
But I'm leaning into it.
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