I’m having so much trouble kicking this blog off. The annual renewal for the domain name came through recently and I’ve published a grand total of two posts.
I don’t have trouble setting and meeting deadlines or coming up with things to say. I’m active on Twitter for example and I manage to complete all manner of written tasks for my day job easily enough.
What I do have is publishing anxiety.
Is that actually a thing? Maybe I should Google it? Oh no, here we go…just another excuse to get out of writing this…Before I know it, I’ll be 2 hours into a Google trail and have lost all hope of ever finishing this piece.
I have plenty of half written or even fully written posts for this page. But they’re not published. They’re still being edited and re-written and quite frankly obsessed over. So what is going on?
A quick web search a few days ago for “I can’t publish anything I write” told me “Yes you can! Just do it! It will be fine! Don’t be scared! Everyone’s scared, but you’re great!” Ok….helpful as ever there Interwebs!
A class at the gym gave me some food for thought. Here are these amazing, strong, healthy, gorgeous women, who have full and active lives, jobs and families. Yet, too often I hear them put themselves down, disparaging themselves when they have so much to crow about. It sometimes feels like a competition to see who can minimise their successes the best, who can be the most unimpressive person in the room. It’s second nature and we barely even notice we’re doing it.
Sure, men engage in self-deprecation from time to time, but I don’t see it in this constant, consistent and subconscious way women partake of it. It seems to me that women are taught from birth to be small, meek, mild. Keep their heads down and knees together. Don’t take up space. Another example of the controlling nature of the unequal and patriarchal society in which we live
As I was considering this, I saw an article written by Meg over at Hummingbird Life about something not entirely unrelated. (Serendipity?) In this blog, Meg discusses her concerns that, in a world full of self-made ‘experts’, we’ve forgotten the value of our own experiences. She shares how women she wants to interview for her Couragemakers podcast are quick to dismiss their candidacy. ‘I’m not experienced enough’, ‘What can I add?’, ‘I’m boring’. But goes on to encourage us to trust in ourselves and our own knowledge.
This resonated because it echoes my inner monologue as I am paralysed with anxiety when it comes to pressing ‘publish’ on my posts. What do I have to say that will be useful or interesting? What can I bring to the discussion that hasn’t already been shared? What if someone doesn’t agree with me? Isn’t it arrogant to think that I have a right to a view?
But now I’m wondering if that isn’t exactly the point? This is a discussion. Everyone’s experiences are valid and the more we can add to the pot, the more informed the discussion will be.
If we stay out of the conversation simply because someone else is already championing our position are we not abandoning those champions? Are we not leaving them to appear to be a lone voice in the crowd when they’re simply the loudest, clearest voice in the choir? They may sound beautiful, but they lack depth and substance if the choir isn’t singing with them.
I believe that communication is the key to most things. It’s only through sharing, trusting and opening ourselves to one another that we can really begin to resolve problems, be they local or international.
I don’t necessarily have a unique or exciting story. I probably won’t shake the world with my revelations. But I do have a story, I do have an opinion and I do have experiences. I do have something to say and it may be of use in the grand scheme of things.
I’m struck, over and over again by how comforting chatting with friends in similar situations can be. Hearing the worries I have echoed in the stories of my friends and knowing that someone else has had a similar experience can make all the difference. We’ve shared a weight and it really is halved.
I think for me, it is time that I shifted my mindset. I’m not writing expecting to change the world with my unique view. I’m not sharing in the belief that I will open doors to new ideas (although I hope to spread those ideas). Instead and I’m adding my voice to the growing chorus. I’m writing to offer my support. I’m proud to be another in the crowd and I don’t mind if I’m just adding one more ‘like’ on a Facebook post in a pool of 1000’s or one of a 100 people re-tweeting someone else’s ground breaking efforts.
My views, my experiences and my story aren’t unique. And that, I think is why it’s so important to share them.