It's not that I haven't had anything to say. Check Twitter. I've had plenty to say... just not as much as usual. It's just that I was allowing myself some time to cocoon for the last few weeks, keeping to some editorial promises, letting others slide for a moment.
The video that I posted a few posts ago has stuck with me. I haven't stopped seeing skulls everywhere I look. Like big reminders that I should keep going towards the wacky ideas. Blogging used to be a wacky idea, remember? Who in the world would write about their personal life on the internet? And who would even care to read?
Then the business opportunities came along and it was good. I got to pay some bills, travel to different cities with friends, have lunch with local celebs, and got my name and face on TV, magazines, radio... all because of blogging.
But blogging has changed.
Some changes good.
Others, not so much.
I often think about a woman named Pat. She was a crazy old hippie that I rented a floor from in the hills of Marin. She taught macrobiology to cancer patients, showing them how to cook whole foods to stay healthy during chemo and after. I learned so much from her, but the lesson that lasted the longest was one chat we had. I was shocked that I had been called conservative by a co-worker. Until that moment, I think I was in denial about it. I still had (and continue to have) many liberal leanings, but I was definitely a lot more conservative than most of my neighbors in one of the most liberal counties in the country.
Politics aside, our conversation turned to how to share our beliefs and influence others for the better. She said to me, "No matter what your beliefs, if you have a platform, it's your responsibility to use it."
Blogging = Awesome Platform
Years later, I was sitting at lunch with a PR friend who brought a copy of the San Diego Magazine that I was in. I thought about Pat when this woman asked me, "So what are you going to do now, Sugar?" I had so many ideas. I was going to do this and that and maybe a little of this and that. It all sounded good. People nodded and smiled and said, "Great idea!"
But it never felt quite right. And the more I proceeded in those directions, the more I felt the walls closing in. They walls looked oddly like cubicle walls. I hate cubicles and I've emphatically said that I'd never return to one. But that's just what these moves that looked like natural next steps, but felt so unnatural really were. Big gray virtual cubicle walls. I started to feel like a fraud. It's not that I didn't know what I was talking about. It's just that I don't think there's any eternal value in some of the things I was doing.
Puppy Mill Blogging
Granted, helping people find gems in the pile of crap on most store aisles or at strip malls has been a fun way to influence how people spend their time and money. I guard my time and money the way some people guard their cars from dings or skin from sunlight. The companies I work with are ones that I respect and use regularly and enjoy sharing with people in my small sphere of influence. I don't think working with brands is a bad thing, but for blogging in general, it's turned into something like a Chihuahua puppy mill.
What the ayych are you talking about, Sugar?
Apparently, there is a glut of Chihuahuas in the world right now. Jumping on the popularity of the yappy little tea cup sized pups, many backyard breeders now have more dogs than they know what to do with. In the rearview, it seems completely irresponsible and greedy, but I'm sure, at the time, everyone was nodding and smiling and saying, "Great idea!"
SIDEBAR: Adopt a Chihuahua. That is all.
I don't mean to minimize the inhumanity of the backyard Chihuahua breeders, but the Give-Me-Free-Shit bandwagon has long turned me sour on many bloggers. And the things some bloggers will resort to just to be part of a group is really scary. I've written posts about no free lunches, which might seem hypocritical since I've gone on quite a few. I've also turned down several more. I have filters and guidelines on things I accept. There are some programs that I wish I had been asked to be part of, but when I'm honest with myself, I know that it wasn't the right fit and couldn't commit to the demands even if I had been asked. But when I do get asked and I do say yes, it's a HELL YES! So it's kind of frustrating to see people sell and back stab, so I just turn away.
And then I don't blog.
And don't share my passion.
And don't use my platform for good.
Shame on me.
"If something goes wrong, go back to the beginning." ~ Vizzini
I once wrote a blog called "Living - In Theory." I came up with the name because I hated that I was getting up every day, doing my routine every day, not enjoying any of it. It took a long time to snap out of it and realize that I wasn't honoring who God created me to be. In fact, I was trying to be some crazy controlling woman that God definitely did NOT create me to be.
Ever been there? Not pretty, huh?
After years of hating myself, then healing myself, I finally admitted to myself that I have natural gifts and abilities that need to be used. I'm not special (well, sort of ;) ). We ALL have natural gifts. The trick is -- now I want you to lean in because this is really important -- to unwrap those gifts and enjoy them!
But not just enjoy them all to yourself.
You know how when you were little, you got a toy for your birthday, and it was just about the best gift you ever got, but it wasn't really awesome until you got to play with it with your friends? Yeah. That.
My top gift has always been communicating. Another gift was teaching. I can communicate and teach on just about anything. No, actually, that's a lie. I can communicate and teach on anything that I'm passionate about. One thing I loved about my job as a recruiter was going to local business and trade schools to teach prospective employees how to find the job, ace the interview, and negotiate a salary. It wasn't because I loved human resources. Quite the opposite, actually. I did, however, love -- and I mean LOVE -- helping people find a job that would allow them to use their talents and become the person they were created to be.
THAT is my eternal job!
I'm almost done...
Sometimes, jobs just pay the bills, and that's okay. It's necessary. And every place we are placed gets us that much closer to refining and defining where we want to eventually be. But that's the fun part! How do we define that? What resources do we have at our disposal to guide us? That's what I'm supposed to be doing.
I just needed a little time to remember that.
I'm still going to rant about a-holes that don't know where to put shopping carts. I'm still going to work with brands that I love. I'm still going to share my favorite stuff. And of course, I'll continue to post to my social sites with reckless abandon.
I'm getting back on track. Again. This time with a
little lot of help from my friends, I'm building a really cool thing... maybe even a movement. I'm excited and nervous.
And I'm so glad I gave myself that time to cocoon.