being a little more me…

fears

There are many (MANY) people in my “real life” that don’t know I have a blog. For the record, I hate the term “real life” because this blog is part of my REAL LIFE, but you get what I’m trying to say. There are friends that I’ve had for years that don’t know that I have a piece of internet real estate right here. There are family members that don’t know a thing about this. And I don’t know how to handle the possibility that they will.

I blog semi-anonymously. Mostly because of someone’s job, but also because I think I’m fairly protective of my on-line presence. I mean, I use MY real name. And my dog’s really name. But no one else’s. (Unless you have a blog of your own. Then all bets are off.) I usually don’t remember I’m a control freak. Until something like putting my website link on my Instagram account made me break out in a cold sweat. Because there are people in my life that follow me on IG that don’t know I have a blog. I like all of those people. What the hell is my problem?

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So then I try to remember why I even started writing and blogging in the first place. Because I had something to say. A story to tell. Words to share. I love reading other blogs because I’m fascinated by other people and their stories. I love creativity. I love learning. Why couldn’t it be possible that someone feels that way about what I’ve got going on here? (I’m not saying they do or they don’t. But the possibility is there. I think.)

photo 1

I feel like an asshole even writing this, but if I’m going to be honest…well, I’m going to have to be honest about this too.

Which also includes telling myself how stupid I’m being:

If any person I know in real life asked about any post that I wrote, I would be honest with them. Things they might learn about me that they might not know? I’m a mess when I think about my kid going off to college. I have bad days/weeks/months. I meet and work with some awesome people in this crazy internet world. I worry about my kids starting new schools. I love that damn dog more than I (sometimes) let on. I was a teen mom/college dropout. I love my family more than anything. Campfire Wednesday is my new favorite thing. I’m a hot mess when I think about my kid going off to college. (Yes, it deserves to be on the list twice.)

What is so wrong with people knowing this about me? I’m Jill. This is me and this is who I am. This website just might show a different side than they’re used to seeing. More than they bargained for at times. But…I mean, is that so wrong?

fey

Probably. Not.

I’ll try to stop being and idiot asshole tomorrow.

this is me. and the dog.
they who have real names

 

quote photo credits here.

House of Insanity – Part the 2nd

Part 1 here.

The day before my husband got home from his two-week business trip, I called in the troops. I am often terrible at asking for help, but I knew that I needed it. Those two weeks had tested me in ways that I wasn’t exactly prepared for. It was even busier than I had planned on (the dummy that I am) and I just couldn’t do it on my own. Luckily, my volunteers kicked serious ass. But my mental health? Well…it really took a beating. It felt like I had been in a constant state of stress since February. Work was stressful. Moving is effing stressful. Solo-parenting is stressful. I honestly felt like it would never end.

Picking up The Dude from the airport made a world of difference. Because, damn, he’s my person. Sure he may aggravate me at times, but we really are a great team. And he just…does stuff while I’m trying to do stuff, too. And things get done! Of course, there wasn’t any time for “Hello! Welcome Home!” because we immediately had to keep going on the move. We really had packed a ton before he left and me and my volunteers had rocked it, but the last minute crap totally adds up. Nevermind the fact that we still had to get the new house move-in ready. Oh. Also a softball tournament. Because of course.

The next morning, we had a bit of a juggling act to deal with in our “regular” life and with the new house. Somehow, we had to get Beezus to her softball tournament (and catch as much of it as we could) and also deal with a scheduling issue with the new house craziness. The carpet guys had finished right on time the day before, but the painters still needed more time. The housecleaners were already scheduled, and we couldn’t push them back. It was a very odd balancing act of staying out of everyone’s way…but could you please hurry up because wet paint is a nightmare when you want things to be cleaned. And I don’t know if you remember, but the house was a ridiculous, filthy mess. Grime and dirt and yuck in pretty much every room in the house. (Degreaser used on the showers. I can’t shut up about that.)

But the paint colors. Holy crap, the paint colors were AMAZING. I was absolutely in love with the colors we had chosen. (Sorry for all the iPhone picture. Wait. Not I’m not.)

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downstairs bathroom. may or may not be Tiffany’s blue inspired. maybe.

Like, wanted to marry every paint color we had picked because it was just too amazing for words.

2 stairs

They were soothing and calm and soothing and calm. The complete antithesis of the colors they replaced.

2 kitchen
white walls instead of gross, puke yellow. and someday those cabinets will be white. someday.

I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t until the after the painters and the cleaners had left that I finally felt like this could be our home. I spend a lot of random minutes worrying that I was never going to love this house. I mean, there was excitement because I was able to find the silver lining most of the times, but there were plenty of times that I agonized over our decision.

Except for the paint colors. Hot damn, did I mention I loved the paint colors?

I will forever be grateful for the painters that made ugly walls go far, far away.
I will forever be grateful for the painters that made ugly walls go far, far away.

Somehow we survived the final weekend of getting ready, and all of a sudden the movers arrived to pack up all our crap bright and early Monday morning. As luck would have it, I had to be at work for part of the day. Luckily, The Dude and our amazing people who put up with us were there to make it all happen. And I don’t care how organized we thought we were, moving day NEVER EVER SEEMS TO END. It just doesn’t. And it sucks. It’s like that last trimester of pregnancy where you just resigned yourself to looking like a beached whale for the rest of your life because that baby was probably not ever coming out. It’s the feeling of despair.

But no, the move actually does happen. And you’re furniture and your things (that are in boxes piled everywhere) is sitting there. It finally feels real and like you kinda sorta belong there because LOOK! That is your couch. And more importantly, THERE IS YOUR BED. (And speaking of which, one of the best pieces of advice from my mom: make sure your bed is ready before you do anything else. A soft place to land after a reeeeaaaaallly long day of moving is the most magical feeling in the world. I had even washed all the bedding, just before packing it, so that it could be taken care of ASAP.) (Magical. It was magical.)

Since moving in a little more than a month ago, we’ve gotten most things unpacked…even the garage is pretty gosh-darn organized. I still don’t have pictures on the walls, but that is mostly because I can’t commit to what I want. I may need to switch out some frames and make different choices. Mainly because we have more walls to fill, but also because I’m still getting to know the flow of the house. That might sound hokey, but the house and I are still getting to know one another. I love it. I really, really love it, but I feel like I need to know the house a little better before we put holes in the walls.

There is still so much to do. It’s almost overwhelming if I think about it too much. Thank goodness the structure of the house is sound, but the cosmetics of it were and are a mess. My dad and my brother (and the gardeners) helped us (okay, helped The Dude) start cleaning the yard. Clearing out SO MUCH OVERGROWTH.

2 yuck
this is only one load that went to the dump. soooo many more just like this.

They were also able to tame all of the fruit trees and grape vines that were seriously out of control. And, most important to Jill, cut back any tree branches that were touching the house. Because NO MICE PLEASE IN MY HOUSE. (OMG, I almost can’t even talk about it.) We also had to get the pest company out to our house immediately because…well, there were so many bugs with all the fruit trees and overgrowth. Plus, strange water bugs that weren’t actually in the water? Just hanging around the yard? I don’t even know. But wow with the bugs.

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The pool has also been a HUGE challenge. We immediately hired a pool service, but it has taken a lot of hard work to get that pool looking awesome. The pool took a beating, really. And I’m super excited that we’re finally getting to a point where it’s not so crazy. (And can we talk about how we put up some lights in the yard and around the pool  for Beezus’ birthday and holy crap, it makes me happy?)

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grape vines and twinkle lights

My house isn’t decorated by any stretch of the imagination. I have a couple things done here and there, but since we’ve focused so much time on the “fires” that need to be put out, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time to work on the pretty. And honestly? I’m just excited that we’ve gotten as far as we have in such a short amount of time. We couldn’t have done it without amazing family and friends. And I seriously couldn’t have done any of this without The Dude. That guy makes shit happen.

There are moments when I chuckle to myself at everything that we seemed to “ignore” when we made our offer on this house. It is honestly how I know that it was meant to be. We were blessed with the gift of temporary-house-view-blindness. Or rose-colored glasses. Whatever it was, I’m amazed that we looked past the yuck. But I’m more amazed at how perfect this house is for us. And I didn’t even know it at first. This house is nothing like what we thought we needed to buy. We never set out for any of this. But those unanswered prayers you hear about? Yeah. That’s this house. It it this amazing space that has room for all my loved ones. (I haven’t tried to fit all my loved ones in the house at one time, but CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.) I can share these blessings with all of them. My family fits. (MY FAMILY FITS, YOU GUYS.) And it just makes me so happy to have them all there. And going through all the stress and gross and craziness and gross…well, I think it just makes it that much more worth it.

new house

harmony -vs- balance…and why harmony is the winner

be who you are

Can we just get rid of the word balance? I know I’ve spent too many years trying to find balance. The internet is excellent at making us believe that we can, so we do. The internet is also good at making us feel like shit when we can’t actually find that balance we worked so hard to find. It’s so easy! Put down your phone…get off the internet…say no more…make your own cheese! So much information constantly being thrown at us, proving that we’re doing it all wrong.

I’m pretty sick of it.

The idea of balance is so enticing. The notion that we can have it all and that we can look fit and fashionable while doing it. But it’s a pile of crap that is disguised as kale and elaborate playdates and bikini-ready bodies. It’s the instruction that if we JUST! TRY! HARDER! it will all fall into place. Our life, I mean. We’ll be the shining examples of doing it right and having it all! So we can then, of course, post it on Facebook or Pinterest the hell out of it.

No really, I’m pretty sick of it.

Would it be so bad if we all just admitted how hard life is?

The reality of balance is this: if you are putting your focus on one specific thing, you are not putting your focus on every other thing. It is impossible to focus on all the things at all the time. And I don’t believe you if you say that you spend equal amounts of time on all the things. I call bullshit. And I call it OUT LOUD.

In my efforts to find the ever elusive balance, I have somehow created a war. Mostly with myself, but a war has broken out. I’m angry when I can’t be fair with my time. I’m frustrated when I can’t get it all done. I’m furious when my plans are fall apart. I feel shamed when I fail at everything. Because didn’t the internet tell me I could have it all? Am I terrible? What is wrong with me? Where is all the balance?

Have I mentioned I’m sick of it?

I’ve become so frustrated with all that I have to do and all that I have to focus on, I’ve become bitter and resentful. I’m just so mad at myself that I can’t keep it together.

And then I read a book (a completely un-related, a little bit dumb book) that talked about harmony. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering. It was just talking about the Native American views on harmony and it was almost like I was smacked upside the head with this book. (I do realize that the link mentions harmony AND balance. But I’m pretty sure the Native American version of balance isn’t creating a Pinterest worthy DIY project while doing a million hours of planking at the same time. Maybe.) It’s not balance that I’m missing. It’s developing a harmonious place where all the areas of my life can coexist. Although, I kinda want to punch myself in the face after writing a sentence like that. (I’m so sorry.)

harmony

My point of all this rambling is that I’ve created this completely un-balanced environment while I search for the thing that will make or help me live a balanced life. What I’ve done is cause all the areas of my life to be at war with one another because I can’t seem to remember that I’m only one person. And that maybe if I sought out harmony instead of balance, I might actually get somewhere. Because, can’t we all get just along? If I can figure out a way to not be angry or frustrated at all the parts of my life that are demanding my attention, I might be able to see that all parts can work together and more can actually get done. Okay, probably not…but I’ll be able to remember that each part of my life needs my attention at different times. And I hope that I can stop feeling bad about everything I’m NOT doing when I’m in a car for long periods of time…or at work far more than I want to be…or folding laundry for hours on end. Finding harmony and giving a space for everyone and everything to play a little nicer sounds a lot better than feeling constantly guilty for never obtaining a balanced life. You know, the one that doesn’t actually exist.

I’ll probably never be able to fully give up my quest for balance. Pinterest ruins you like that. But at least I can try put my focus on a lot more harmony, and the fact that I’m only one person, and a lot less on the ab workouts and the latest quinoa recipe.

I wasn’t going to do that ab workout anyway.

photo credits here and here

House of Insanity – Part 1

photo courtesy of metrolist
I’m not sure…but it’s a lot of orange. (Also, not my furniture…)

When we decided to put an offer on the house, we knew we would have some work to do. Every homeowner is…different. They probably loved their (horrible) orange and green and yellow colored (and sometimes sponge painted) walls. And, honestly, it sounds like it wasn’t an easy time for them, so maybe the general care of the house and backyard was just too much for them.

OVERGROWNBACKYARD
a never been pruned or trimmed backyard

So we knew that for us to feel comfortable, we needed to factor in the various “home improvements” into our costs and into our offer. Looking back, I’m actually pretty surprised that we were able to look past all that we did. This was our fourth house that we had put an offer, so ignoring the ugly was meant to be. I’m just still not sure how we did it.

SPONGEPAINTEDGREENBATHROOM
sponge. painted. walls.

On the day that we got the keys, The Dude had already been gone for a week on his two-week business trip. (Yes, let that sink in for a minute. A super stressful time and I was flying solo? Yeah. I’m really not sure how I stayed as sane as I did.) So with my parents and family along for the ride, we walked into this new house that had just become ours. The painters and the carpet guys had already been scheduled for that next week, but we were excited to just be able to see the house. Except…as soon as I walked in, I felt more overwhelmed than excitement. I actually started to feel sick to my stomach and dangerously close to tears.

MASTERBROFHELL
all photos courtesy of metrolist

The house smelled…funny. The pool hadn’t been taken care of since we had gone into contract and it was a GLOWING GREEN mess. Somehow I hadn’t focused on the yard the few times I had been to visit. But now, all the fruit trees and grapevines and various other NEVER BEFORE TAKEN CARE OF plants were staring me in the face. And, well…fruit trees attract critters. Critters that scattered throughout the trees when the sun goes down. And now my stomach turned as I worried about mice in my (new) (but dirty/gross) house. I was so quiet as I surveyed everything that needed to be done. I had never before hired housekeepers…but now I was more grateful than ever that we had already made that call. I knew that if it had been me to do all the cleaning, the image of all the filth would’ve stuck in my brain as I tried to cook dinner or take a shower in a bathroom that was less than desirable. And by “less than desirable” I mean a shower that needed a degreaser (that’s de-GREASER) to get the grime off. Yowsa.

I honestly don’t know how I didn’t have a panic attack right there in front of everyone. I guess scary quiet Jill was close enough. My mom could see the look on my face and I’m pretty sure she is what kept me sane. I did not lost my shit right then and there even though it was a very, very close call.

The next week was a blur of meetings with painters and carpet guys and regular insane life stuffs. I was lucky that we had decided on the carpet before The Dude had left on his trip, but the paint colors were up to me. Thankfully, I had a general idea what I wanted and a Sarah who talked me off of every paint-color-ledge there was. She also stopped by the new house to be there when I needed to meet with the owner of the pain company. He was an absolute ass and I’m pretty sure if she hadn’t been there, I would’ve lost my shit. Another close call.

Moving and packing is hard enough. But since I was without my partner in crime, I had a lot to deal with all on my own. From wiring the remainder our down payment and closing costs to picking out paint colors. Getting the keys, and making arrangements for the carpet guys. Softball practices, etc for Beezus? A conference out of town? 4+ All Star games for Ramona? Just part of the deal. And it was a mess. An exhausting, messy mess of all messes. In a state of absolute panic, I called on the people who kept asking me how they could help. And I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without them.

This move was happening fast and I was about to get knocked over by the stress of it.

…to be continued…

all the roads we had to walk are winding

The thing about having your oldest child start her junior year of high school AND turn sixteen in the same week is that it makes you a bit nutty. Or raving effing lunatic. Whatever. You’re a nut job that is sad and happy and certifiably crazy. You just never know what Jill you’re gonna get.

But here’s the thing: I’ve woken up a lot of feelings and emotions this year. A lot of it surfaced when I wrote my LTYM piece. And then it continued to surface as I faced things that I didn’t know I needed to face. Maybe even forgive people that I didn’t know I needed to forgive. Maybe people that thought that teenage mom me shouldn’t, perhaps, keep a certain pregnancy…or maybe that I shouldn’t keep the baby. That I should give her up for adoption. And even more people that thought I shouldn’t get married.

I always thought that I wasn’t mad. But maybe I was a little. Maybe a little bit more than a little.

There were times that I worried that I was going to ruin that sweet baby’s life. We were too young…we weren’t ready. We had a lot to learn about being married and being parents all at the same time. We were ridiculously poor sometimes. We sacrificed a lot. We couldn’t give her and her sister everything we wanted to. I still have guilt and regret over the times when I have failed miserably. I worried that all those people were right. The ones that doubted us the most.

But I think now is the time that I let that anger start to go away. The anger at myself. At the other people. Because the best part of proving everyone wrong? It’s her. It is all her.

prom2
photo: sarah maren photography

I’d gloat about being right, but I don’t even know how. Because I’m just still in awe that I get to be her mom. Even after sixteen years, I can’t believe she’s mine. She is magical. She is a blessing. And she is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. And I would go through every bit of sacrifice and hard time if it meant that I could still be her mom. Every single bit.

p&me
us…last year’s birthday party

I know I need to learn to let go. I need to learn how to let her grow up and be the amazing person that she is. But I can’t yet. I want to be selfish for just a little while longer.

promkid
photo: sarah maren photography

Because with a kid like this? It’s hard not to.

Stress is Dumb. My Dog is Cute.

I currently feel like I’m doing everything wrong, juggling too much and am more stressed than I’d like to admit. But you know what makes it all better? Spending time with my people. And my dog.

And sometimes you have to post pictures of the time you made that dog get in the pool against her will because you just need to be sure she can swim and know where the steps are in the pool so she doesn’t drown! She is going to be really pissed about it.

paisley1
Paisley is not amused

But then eventually she will forgive you because you let get out of the pool. Even though you will make her stay outside for a bit because wet dog in the house is not okay. But then suddenly, she will air-dry and look like a Muppet.

paisley 2
No really. She looks like Rowlf.

And no, pictures of my Muppet Dog don’t exactly count as an actual blog post. Except for the fact that maybe they do. Because it’s better than me talking about my FEELINGS. And also STRESS. And also, feelings and stress.

See…pictures of my Muppet Dog sound way better than all that.

It’s still a gosh-darn crazy busy time in my world. But someday I’d really like to tell you more about my new house. And update you on our Summer Challenge that is mostly just something I feel guilty about all the time. (Okay, we haven’t been THAT bad. But still.)

Anyway, my dog hates swimming. She looks like a Muppet. I’m ready to not be so stressed.

I promise to write something better tomorrow. Or Thursday. Probably Thursday. Maybe Friday.

Let me distract you with another picture of my dog…wearing a poncho:

ponchopaisley

 

 

The Post Where I’m Not Letting Myself Complain About My Week

camacho_058COPY

I never expected to love my kids like I do. I grew up always wanting to be a mom, but I don’t think I ever imagined what loving my kids could be like.

P&A

I always figured that I would love my husband…but I never figured that I would be miles away and just miss him so much because he’s my person and my safe place. I just…I just didn’t know it could be like this.

laughingcouple

camacho_0811  A&J

A&J

There’s no such thing as a perfect family, perfect children, or perfect marriage. I’m not going to sit here and prattle on about how perfect my life is. That type of perfection doesn’t exist. We have hard times. My husband and I are ridiculously stubborn and can be asshole jerks. My children can be spoiled rotten turd buckets who don’t listen. But even with all our imperfections, we have this family that is pretty damn rad.

camachoFAMoct08

camacho_064 wall

This week wasn’t my favorite. There were some wonderful and awesome moments, but the week as a whole was a bit stressful. It’s been stressful for quite some time. But when I sat down to write something, the words kept coming back to my family. They make everything worth it and okay. Even when they’re being…difficult.

family_pix

I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

family photo by sarah @ sarah maren photographers
family photos by sarah @ sarah maren photographers

LOST: Gratitude

I’m cranky.

That was more a warning than a statement, but I’m hoping we can still be friends. (You DO look lovely today.) I’m nervous to write anything because I’m worried about how cranky this is going to sound!

I mean, I was doing so well before this week! When I got discouraged, I found my gratitude. When I got mad, I found my gratitude. When I thought I couldn’t do ONE MORE THING, I still found my gratitude.

But today? Today I have lost my gratitude and I’m really hoping that someone has found it. And by “someone” I mean one of you. I figure that if one of you has it, you won’t hold it for ransom and ask for a millions dollars. Maybe. I should probably rethink my plan.

I think being bogged down with projects at work and moving and unpacking…MONTHS OF STRESS…I think it’s finally taken its toll on me. I think I’m just done. And I need a little pick-me-up. I need some pampering…maybe 17 or so naps…some me time…something to recharge the batteries, if you’ll allow me to use that tired (and probably cheesy) expression. I need some pretty things. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, maybe.

Or maybe a conference. Maybe.

ALTSUMMIT51801806e4b01333da00cafe

I honestly didn’t start out writing about Alt Summit San Francisco. Honest to blog, I totally didn’t. I really just wanted to sit here and complain. But right when the complaining was starting to get good, and talking about pretty things, I remembered where I’ll be for about 36 hours this week. Surrounded by pretty things and ideas and more creativity than I’ll know what to do with while being in one of my favorite cities.

So maybe it’s NOT the best time for me to be picking up and heading to the city. And yes, MAYBE that’s stressing me out. And sure, there are outfits and dressing up to worry about and I’m not even packed yet, OMG. Nevermind the open apology I need to write to all other attendees because I didn’t have time to color my hair OR get a pedicure. (Sorry, friends.) But maybe it not being the perfect timing is…well, kinda perfect.

Maybe I need a break. Perhaps the timing couldn’t be better. I mean…I get to hang out with some of my favorite ladies. I get to learn and stare at pretty things and ideas. Sure, there’s the fact that I am TOTALLY out of my league! There are some fancy people headed to Alt! But I’m going to have a blast. Because I’m not going to waste this day off. I need it too much.

My gratitude isn’t back yet, but my goodness, I see hope popping up over there. And sometimes a little hope and believing there are good things up ahead is what makes all the gratitude find its way home. At least, I think it does. I’m no expert, but damn…my heart sure does feel slightly lighter.

Which is probably a good thing…I gotta fit into that cocktail dress tomorrow. (Sorry, I HAD to. You can punch me later.)

Mostly I’m Just Happy to Have Working Internet Again

I promise that I’m not going to write a post about how I now have internet hooked up at the new house and how happy that makes me. (Although, for the record? I am SUPREMELY happy about having internet, my friends. IT HAS BEEN WEEKS WITHOUT REAL INTERNET. I’m excited.) The installer may or may not have laughed at me when I said “Hell, I don’t even CARE about the TV…I’m just happy for internet.”

(He also may have said that he’s never actually heard someone say that before. And, well, I’m kinda surprised by that and also his other clients must not love Facebook and Twitter like I do.)

(Did I just admit all that on the internet?)

Now that I’ve taken up so much of your time telling you about how happy I am to have internet, what I really came over here to say is that my first post is up over at HelloXOXO. Remember that awesome website I was telling you about? Well, there I am…talking about Campfire Wednesdays and summer memories and what not. But mostly? I’m just wanting to have a really great summer before my kids get too old to enjoy these summers like we can now.

I also wanted to tell you about the Listen to Your Mother videos being up. And, well…there are bunches of feelings surrounding that. I was kinda surprised by it actually, but I loved watching the video. And I think this weekend I’ll be able to tackle watching the others. But just in case you missed it, there I am. (I will embed that later when this works a bit better.)

LoJ_avatar

Also, I never told you about my logo. And how amazing Sarah is. But I will tell you more about that when I’m not so excited about having internet, and LTYM videos and HelloXOXO blog posts.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a softball game to get to and tons (TONS) of internet to use. Because I can now.

Have a great weekend!

 

Telling the Stories

I started my first blog in 2004. Sarah thought it would be good for me. Maybe she recognized that I had a lot to say but never the guts to actually say it. I think she also knew that I needed a space of my own where my words could be all mine. I needed a space where I could speak my mind and purge all the thoughts that were stuck in my head and stuck in my heart.

For the first time in my life, I realized that I enjoyed telling my story. And, more importantly, that I needed to tell my story. But to be honest, telling my story back then involved A LOT of sarcasm and I lot of sour grapes. It was my story, but it was a very unkind version of my story. I blogged anonymously, so I let loose. I tried to find the humor in most of the hard times I was going through, but it was done with so much snark, I’m really glad that I have since taken those blogs down. They were, at times, the very worst of the person I am. It was irresponsible and often mean, but it was the only way I survived some really difficult parts of my life.

While I have lightly dabbled in the blogging world for a little over a decade, I never hreally made much of it. Blogging was my Free Therapy (I once had a blog with that name) and the place that was only mine. And, as a few more people started reading it and commenting, it was also a form of validation for what I was feeling. Maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t as crazy as these people were making me out to be! (Or, I’m just as crazy, whatever.) I enjoyed the writing process, telling my story and the people I met along the way. But I never really took responsibility for my words. In fact, when it became apparent that too many “real life” people were reading my blog, I took it down. More than once. It was a bit too honest, and I wasn’t careful when writing about real people. And even if their actions had earned those words, they (maybe) deserved the respect of not being blasted on the internet. I also knew that if I was confronted about saying those things, I would probably die of shame right on the spot. As much as setting those words free probably saved me, I wasn’t proud of that person. It wasn’t the person I believed myself to be.

Having said that, I learned more about myself through blogging (and running, really) than I ever thought possible. It gave a voice to feelings I didn’t know that I had. It also gave me the confidence to stand up for and take care of myself. In fact, I no longer needed those mean words that I had written before because I had stopped letting those people walk all over me. And when you find the self-respect that you had been lacking, you will also find that you have a lot more respect for the words that you use to write.

You also have a lot more respect for the story you need to tell.

At the beginning of this year, and with the encouragement from a dear friend, I began taking steps to tell my story and owning my words. I’ve created something here that I’m proud of. This is still my very own space of internet real estate, but I have taken ownership and responsibility for the words that I put here. I can be authentic without being mean. I can tell my version of MY story, not someone else’s. I can be honest without affecting my integrity and the integrity of the story. Not that I will always write the sunshine and rainbows version of my life, I’m just more aware of my words and how I use them.

Sometimes writing takes a person down a road or an idea that wasn’t planned. I absolutely did not set out to write about my blogging history lesson. I wanted to talk about a conference I attended earlier this week and I wanted to share some of that and some of the things I learned. But since I somehow landed here instead, I hope that you might take a look at what Cam wrote. There were some great speakers that morning, but for some reason, I keep coming back to the stories that we all have to tell.

disney smm

Let’s be honest, Disney is amazing at telling stories. It’s what they do best and it is what started it all. And, I believe, is what keeps so many of us coming back for more. At the Disney Social Media Moms “On the Road” event, Michele Himmelberg brought up the importance of these stories and related it to the bloggers (mostly the mom-kind) that connect so well to the storytelling world because that is a big part of who they/we are.

I found myself being fascinated by the stories that we all have to tell. Disney obviously tells their stories on a MUCH grander scale, but there is still a relatable and real idea behind even the most spectacular of all the stories. But more important than that, I find that this space I have here is allowing me an opportunity to not only share my story and own my words, but also connect with the stories of others. It feels weird to try and relate this blogging journey of mine to Disney and the conference, but it is the reason I even thought about it at all. It made me think about how I tell my stories and how it shapes who I am.

I have no idea why I am compelled to share my words on a blog, but I can’t seem to make myself stop. There is a pull to tell my story. And maybe, at the end of the day, that’s the point.