I’ve hemmed and hawed about blogging for years. Do I have anything unique to say? And if I do, need I share with the world? What will people think?
For the following reasons, I’ve decided to JUST DO IT:
- I’ve written professionally for 7+ years, but never as myself. I’ve ghost written for an international trade advocacy organization, community health center, and now USAID Learning Lab. It’s about time I find my own voice, and say what I want to say.
- I’m turning 30 in about six months and don’t care what anyone thinks about me anymore. This is a new revelation. Remember when Facebook had a place for you to list favorite music, movies, quotes, etc.? Afraid of being pigeon-holed by my preferences or regret them later, it took months for me to decide how to fill that out. I know that I’m running the risk of being embarrassed by my current thoughts and opinions down the line, but I know that I’m on a journey of understanding myself and the world, just like everyone else, and I don’t need to apologize for who I am today. In his Michigan essay, Sufjan Stevens argues that it’s okay to be found wanting and still want to be known. We often spend so much time fixating on who we want to be that we miss out on being known as we are.
“Perhaps we don’t like what we see: our hips, our loss of hair, our shoe size, our dimples, our knuckles too big, our eating habits, our disposition. We have disclosed these things in secret, likes and dislikes, behind doors with locks, our lonely rooms, our messy desks, our empty hearts, our sudden bursts of energy, our sudden bouts of depression. Don’t worry. Put away your mirrors and your beauty magazines and your books on tape. There is someone right here who knows you more than you do, who is making room on the couch, who is fixing a meal, who is putting on your favorite record, who is listening intently to what you have to say, who is standing there with you, face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye, mouth to mouth. There is no space left uncovered. This is where you belong.”
3. I love the creative process. It’s how I work, how I cook (sorry/thanks Alex!) and how I like to think about the world. Iteration is my M.O. I find these words from Ira Glass so freeing and inspiring:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
4. Reflection helps us learn, and writing helps us reflect. If I’ve learned anything from my job on the USAID LEARN contract, it’s the value of stepping back. As an Enneagram Type 1, I’m always doing this, but I often spin and spin and don’t go deep in my thinking or document it. So this is an attempt to do that—to record what I’m thinking about and learning.