I had my first encounter with “blogging” in 2007 when I was in New York. My friend’s cousin’s wife, a mouthful I know, was an actress. Or aspiring actress depending on who you asked. In any event, sitting around the kitchen table one morning she started talking about how she was going to perform a one woman play based on a blog written by someone living in Iraq. Maybe I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet but this all seemed like some arty- farty-aspiring- actress-figment-of-the-imagination-I’m-trying-to-get-into-Hollywod-type-thing. I mean what the heck was this thing a “blog” anyway?
And that’s where I left it until 2010 when I was sitting around another kitchen table, this time in South Africa, with my sister, having a discussion about her starting a blog. Still clueless, I thought, oh boy, here we go again. Another kitchen table, another woman known for her dramatics, another blog discussion. Whatever this blog thingy is, it can’t be for me, I thought.
I have always loved writing. At school and at university my favourite part of English and History studies was always writing the essays. Quite the nerd, yes. Anyway, when my sister finally got round to explaining what a blog actually was, I got a little excited. Writing. About anything. In my own time. In my own space. I can do that, I thought.
So I started a blog on some site in South Africa for about a day. It died a quick and painless death. It froze. Like me. Eeeek! Put my thoughts and feelings and opinions OUT THERE. For strangers to read and comment on. You see, a few people responded to that initial blog and it did not impress me. It scared me. No, this is not for me, I thought.
And that’s where I left it until February 2011. This time I was in Korea and I got a message from my sister about this wonderful site she found called WordPress, and anyway she’s created an account and started a blog (Leanne Tee) and its so easy and quick and easy, did I mention that already? I should create an account. I should start a blog. That was her message. So being the obedient sister that I am I created an account, and I snooped around the site and I thought mmmh I dunno about this. I could maybe kinda sorta do this. Maybe?
I didn’t write a thing on the blog. Not even the “about” me page. Fear. Doubt. Lack of confidence. Lack of self worth. However you classify that thing that holds you back. I had it.
And that’s where I left it until February 2012. I was still in Korea but now my sister was living in New York. I got another message. “I want you to write a guest post for me and I’m giving you a deadline. Monday”. A bloody cheek, I agree. So I sat and I mulled over it. I thought, I brewed and stewed and I procrastinated. Mainly I procrastinated. Sunday rolled round and then boom the thought of an impending deadline got the creative juices flowing.
It took me all day to write that first post, I’m No Jane of the Jungle. And it probably took me 2 hours to press the send button. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I obsessed, fretted, panicked, double-checked, triple-checked, read it a million times in my head, read it out loud and then settled into worry. What if it wasn’t good enough? What if no-one liked it? Worse yet, what if no-one read it?
I thought I was finally losing my mind that night panicking over that first post. Obsessing about it. Getting paranoid about it. Becoming all ‘bunny-boiler’ over it. I was cursing my sister for putting me in this position. I felt vulnerable, like I was up in the docks waiting for a jury to pass judgment. Needless to say, I survived the experience and so began my blogging journey.
Although I managed to get over my fear of putting my words and thoughts out there in a public sphere, the ‘bunny-boiler’ lingered. I immersed myself in WordPress and “blogging”.
Suddenly there were things like ‘being part of a community’, ‘growing your audience’ and ‘publicising’ your blog to think about. As much as I was obsessed with writing a good story I became even more obsessed with the stats and how many people were reading my blog and how many people were liking it. I felt like I was being sucked into this popularity contest yet I was the only contestant. I didn’t like myself for it but I also couldn’t stop it.
In the few months that I’ve had this blog I’ve done a fair bit of experimenting. I believe in dipping your bread into the sauce of life and tasting different flavours. Otherwise how else will you know what you really like?
This blog has taught me that sometimes the things you start with the greatest of intentions can cause you the most amount of suffering. Staying grounded takes work. Writing authentically takes presence. Being true to your art takes soul.
Writing the I Am blog series was really about me exhaling and saying I’m re-turning to MY voice. I know what I like and I know what works for me. I’m clear with what my intention for this blog is now and that is storytelling with a purpose.
I’ve been in the process of re-building, re-moulding and re-shaping my life for a while now. It is a constant journey that has taken turns of fits of laughter, tears, mistakes, rubbish choices in cavemen, adventure and friendship. It has all ultimately led to a very happy place. And if in some way my story touches just one other person that is enough for me.
So after 5 years, 3 continents, and 2 drama queens I feel like I’m finally onto this blogging business. As it turns out it’s not a figment of the imagination nor is it an arty-farty-I’m-trying-to-get-into Hollywood- aspiring- actress thingy. It’s simply an open platform for people to share and create communities. And sharing and creating are very powerful platforms. You never know where it may lead, right?
As it turns out, my friend’s cousin’s wife, the aspiring actress from New York, is now a Bollywood star with a big Bollywood blockbuster behind her name.
Life is full of delicious surprises. Keep dipping and keep tasting.