I will never forget the first time I heard the term blog. I was going to school full time, hubs was working 80+ hours a week, and it was all I could do to keep the kids in clean socks. I was working on some kind of dental research paper when I decided to take a break. There sitting in my inbox was a note from my sister telling me I was tagged on her blog.
Blog? Tagged? I sat there with a blank stare. How does one respond to what they don’t know? Under normal circumstances I would have consulted my handy friend mr google, but time was not my friend. And there were deadlines to be made. And hungry kids to feed.
Fast forward 4 years.
Here I sit at my computer for the 4th straight day this week thinking about a blog. More specifically, my blog. The thing that seems to have taken on a life force all its own; that somehow forged its way into the forefront of my life. That same thing I was absolutely clueless about just a few short years ago. Strangely enough, I have written in it for nearly 2 years now on an almost daily basis and am just as confused about what a blog is as that first time I saw it in my inbox.
What started out as a way to connect with loved ones far away morphed into my daily project 365. Then along with what appeared to be a midlife crisis came a redirected purpose and name change for my blog. A Beautiful Mess: Project Alicia.
Then I found SITS. Those four little letters altered my blog. And certainly changed my life. At least the life that I had once known.
I now had followers and comments. Comments from fellow bloggers that weren’t family. I was awakened to an entirely new world I was oblivious to prior.
I learned that there were millions upon millions of bloggers out there, some like myself just trying to find their voice in a noisy world. Others were in it for fame and notoriety. Or monetary reasons. And they came in all genres… couponing, religion, crafting, book reviews, giveaways, foodies, motherhood, photography…
I learned about the rules and etiquette of commenting. The dos and don’ts of blogging. The social media requirements to stay connected. Oh, and the vocabulary. Who knew blogging had a language all it's own?
It was intimidating and overwhelming. It was about that time that I asked this question in the SITS community.
I admit there was a time I, myself, was intoxicated by the sheer idea of making money from blogging.
I do it regardless. It was something I enjoyed. What a novel concept. A perk.
Then hubs put me in my place. He has a knack of doing that. But the words he spoke rung true. “If you are good enough the sponsors will come to you.”
Now fast-forward to present day.
Somewhere, somehow in all the craziness that is the blogging world, I lost my focus. My initial direction and purpose. My reason for doing this. Because this should NOT take precedence over the finer things of life, particularly my family. Or feel like a chore.
Initially I was never in it for fame or fortune. Or numbers.
So, what went wrong? When did I make this detour? Because this is not who I am. Nor is it who I want to be.
I am not an idiot. I know that I’m not a writer. Sure I can spell and throw together fragmented thoughts, but I am not a writing blogger, I am a blogger who writes. I will never get any book signing or publication in my lifetime. But I know enough to appreciate a great read when I see it.
And although I love photography, I’m not a photographer. I am an amateur at best who shares her passion.
I’m not even a foodie, although I have thoroughly enjoyed finding new recipes with my Tasty Tuesday's meme.
But my blog has allowed me an outlet to express my thoughts and share my interests. It has stretched me creatively. And helped me discover myself in the process.
And the most amazing gift is the connections I have made with such talented, inspiring individuals who move me and drive me to be better. I hope you know who you are. Your friendship was unexpected and a wonderful surprise, something I will always treasure.
But I was also under the false assumption that the blogging community was this tight-knit group of women and mothers that were there to bolster each other up in the spirit of camaraderie. To offer kind words and support. Turns out I was wrong, disillusioned perhaps. I'm sad to learn that there are many out there that are also cut-throat. Driven merely by numbers. And willing to sell their soul to get there.
Perhaps I am too trusting or accept too readily. Perhaps I should have been more cautious on this blogging expedition. Perhaps I should have never allowed myself to go down this bumpy road at all. I was perfectly content with my 2 comments per day on average. After all, I was blogging with purpose. I was blogging for me.
But as I've stated before, if we only stay where it is comfortable and never take risks we will never progress to our truest potential. So, I ventured out on a limb and made my blog public and put myself out there, opening myself up to critics and fans alike.
It all seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. I went from 12 followers to 350 just like that. You may remember my vlog from back then- the only way I could think to say thanks. Now there are days I can barely keep up with my emails. Don't get me wrong, I love them all.
But as much as I want to always reciprocate, I am a wife and mother first and foremost. Soccer, pukey kids, frog hunts, matching socks, wiping tears, hunting down bullies, figuring out what's for dinner, math homework... these are just a few of the things that fill my mundane days. You know, the real stuff blog posts are made up of.
So I have to continually remind myself that I am but one person and that "life is not a sprint, but a marathon".
This transcends to all aspects of my life, including my blog.
So, I've made some mistakes along the way. Encountered a few hiccups.
As we mature and grow, we evolve. This is an inevitability that comes only from the culmination of life's experiences. Some good, some bad. This is not a process that happens over night.
And 4 years ago I would have never thought I'd even be contemplating the purpose of my blog today. It's a confusing place to be.
I don't know much, but I can tell you this with certainty... I am but a work in progress. And blogging is not for wussies.
I don't need to win any races. Or set any records. I just want to find a happy steady pace so I can enjoy the ride. And regardless of what obstacles I may encounter I will always try to stay true to who I am.
My blog is merely a reflection of my journey.
For those of you who are reading this or have been following me I thank you. You seemed to believe in me even when I had my own doubts about myself.
I'm still not sure what I want from my blog, but rest assured that I do it for me and will never be driven by the voices of the blogging community or the world. I strive to be a girl with integrity.