It has been way too long since I have written and published a new blog post and I can feel the emotional ramifications of this. The guilt and shame that I have felt has been uncomfortable to say the least. Feeling like I'm letting people down has been a struggle, but every time I have tried to come up with a new topic or question to answer, I have found myself feeling creatively dry. It's within this blankness, this loss for words, that I am trying to uncover the truth about what it really means to take some inspirational downtime. As I mentioned in my very first blog post, my relationship with the written word is complicated and emotional. When I lack that Aha! feeling in my writing, I tend to store it in my drafts and move on, or delete it altogether and start over. But now I am realizing that maybe this is the whole reason why I started my blog in the first place... It doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece every time I hit the PUBLISH button... it just needs to be real and honest.
So here's something really honest... I am having a difficult time figuring out how to straddle that line between being authentically myself and appealing to a wider audience. As someone who works in the inspiration arena, these are the questions that I return to over and over again: What is my truth, and what version of that truth are others genuinely interested in? How do I inspire others when I don't feel inspired? What inspires me? What part of my story do I pull from for some material? Am I too comfortable? Have I hit a plateau? Was I more entertaining when I was unhappy and single? What about me is inspiring? What is inspirational to others?
The Universe has a funny way of eavesdropping on our thoughts. On a day when my self-doubt was really getting to me, a woman named Nancy approach me after class. After telling me how inspired she was, she told me that she was in the process of bringing her organization, The Inspire Movement, from London to San Francisco and wanted me to get involved. Nancy explained that she was interested in having me as a speaker at their next event. After a few conversations about why she created The Inspire Movement and what she hoped I could contribute, I was asked to share my story at their next event. She wanted me to tell a story that would inspire others; a story that would open up a conversation in order to bring people together and offer support to those who need it.
Trying to figure out which story to tell, how to tell it, and how to make sure I wasn't just telling my version of someone else's story has been a huge challenge. I honestly wouldn't have been able to navigate through it without the people in my life who are always inspiring and mentoring me (you know who you are). What it comes down to is keeping it real... keeping it raw, messy, and human. We like to paint a pretty picture of our lives on social media but the truth is, the more honest we are about how f*cking hard it can be, the stronger we will become for it.
Today I sent Nancy my first draft of the speech I will present (hopefully sometime in November), and here are some things I learned throughout the creative process:
Writing a personal blog is hard. Finding ways to feel and be inspiring everyday is hard. Making sense out of our messy lives is hard. Not being so damn hard on ourselves is hard. Taking care of ourselves is hard. Taking care of others, especially people we love, is hard...
What we need to remember is that it's ok to take a break. It's ok to lean on others for inspiration when we feel dry. It's ok if things don't make sense. We are allowed to be proud of ourselves and give ourselves more credit for our accomplishments. Life doesn't have to make sense all the time, but we owe it to ourselves to not be so judgmental when we feel lost or confused. Sometimes it's that pause—that shift in energy—that gives us the perspective we need to take better care of ourselves.
I will be announcing more details about The Inspire Movement and when I will be delivering my speech soon... Until then, I hope this messy-but-honest story helps you feel a little less alone if you feel like you're doubting yourself or just trying to make sense of it all. Uncertainty can make us feel vulnerable and feeling vulnerable can be uncomfortable. We don't need to add a guilt trip on top of that.
Embrace the mess, embrace your story, and embrace your truth—that is the version of us all that is the true inspiration.