Lists To Be Honest...

Starting a Blog: 8 Things I’ve Learned From it in 2020

Look. I don’t care if its redundant, here is another semi-farewell to 2020 blog post. However, rather than go through and talk about all of the good and bad life experiences I went through this past year, I want to talk about how starting this blog in the beginning of a pandemic, has truly helped my mental health. This is definitely going to be one of those posts where I just kind of purge my thoughts so it may sound a bit rambly and repetitive at times, but I’m not gonna lie – this one of the main reasons why I continued writing for The Fox and The Bee. The ability to learn more about myself while sifting through my random thoughts is such a healing and doable act. One I truly encourage you all to do if you ever get the feeling to reflect. So, without further ado – here are the 8 things I’ve learned from starting a blog in 2020 💛

  1. More people read it than I assume – both an amazing and terrifying feeling

When I started this blog I truly did not expect people to read it. Truly! I thought they would humor me for the first couple of posts, probably poke a little fun that I’ve been a mom for a whole 2 minutes and now I have a mom blog, and then slowly and completely forget about it. While it hasn’t garnered the attention of big influencers or notable celebrities, I have been genuinely surprised and *so* touched by the amount of people who off handedly tell me they actually read each week. It has been so fun to think of all of the random people out there following along with one of my “to be honest” posts or making a mental note while reading one of my lists! But it actually is kind of scary too – because with more attention comes more judgement. I haven’t had anybody actually reach out and tell me I’m stupid or wrong or anything like that, but I do honestly believe there are people out there shaking their heads with annoyance at some of my posts. It’s only a matter of time until some keyboard warrior feels the need to make their opinion known, which I hope I will be ready for. I want to write about content that makes people think outside of their four walls, to empathize with a mom’s who struggle each and every day, and to maybe *just maybe* change their perspective on something. With that kind of content, you are going to garner some disapproval – and that’s ok. Which is something I would have never been able to say a year ago.

2. I don’t always know what I am going to write about until I’m completely done writing

My absolute favorite part about writing is 1) realizing that I actually truly enjoy writing (look at that!), and 2) I often times don’t really know what I’m going to write about until its all done. I may start with an idea or topic I’d like to write about for that week, but I never make an outline or plan too much ahead. I was a mega procrastinator in college and well, things really have not changed that much since then! Although I will say that since I’m not paying someone to critique and grade my writing, I don’t feel the intense pressure of needing to produce an A+ paper. Rather, I can take my time, re-read it to make sure I’m getting my point across, and then publish it – even I don’t really get my point across. But I have yet to publish something that I don’t feel some kind of emotion towards. Whether its writing on something that brings me joy by just thinking about, or something that’s been weighing on my mind for quite a while, I feel grateful and accomplished when I hit that publish button on my blog site. I don’t get paid for it, and I don’t always get praise for them, but its been so so rewarding nonetheless.

3. I’m waaaaay braver than I thought

I know, this is incredibly cheesy to admit – but damn. Never in a million years did I think that I would *physically be able to* be so open like I have been trying to do for the past year. It used to give me insane anxiety at the mere thought of people knowing my struggles. I have no idea when this started happening, but since I can remember I have always felt like I was stronger person by keeping it all in – that people would actually respect me more if I didn’t have any real problems or didn’t complain about anything in or around my life. I just wanted to offer a warm smile to anyone looking. I still want to offer a warm smile to anyone looking, but something about giving birth to Savannah and feeling some of the most intense feelings I had every felt, made me want to vocalize it. I didn’t feel strong keeping it in anymore, I felt weaker than I ever had before. And I just knew that if I said something, one person out there would be able to understand what I was going through – that’s all I needed, all I wanted. It’s not weak to need help or desire empathy from someone – and it took me most of my life to learn that. I am so proud of that Alex back at the beginning of 2020 for speaking out, even if it was just a whisper. I think it not only saved the person I was at the moment, but also the person I was going to become. I know, some of you may be like wow ok, its just a blog – take a seat! But it was so much more for me. I really do owe Trevor everything though, because if it wasn’t for him, I would never have dared to type up that first blog post. Thanks babe💛

4. A blog can take a serious amount of work and dedication 

So, when I started I decided that I didn’t want to just write a post whenever it felt convenient because lets be real, I would’ve written a couple posts and then just given up. Nope! I was very ambitious and said I wanted to do it once a week – at least. Since starting in April, I have missed around 3 or 4 blogs posts in total, so that’s about 3-4 weeks out of 9 months. I’m pretty dang proud of that! I may not be getting paid to do this, but it has been so rewarding that it doesn’t even matter. Which has showed me that when I do really care about something, I don’t mind putting in the work for it, which also gives me insight into any future jobs I may have. You know?

5. I really enjoy writing – but just for myself

My bachelors degree is in English literature and let me tell you, I did a whooole lot of writing – but I didn’t enjoy it. I knew that I wrote well enough to get B+ and the occasional A paper, but I steered clear of the creative writing courses because quite frankly, I didn’t feel like I was good enough or artistic enough to be apart of that crowd. I don’t blame myself for feeling that way (English majors can be very pompous…) but I think I was forced to look at writing through a very specific lens and if I didn’t fit that mold, then I really had no business writing. I was extremely hesitant to write for myself on this blog because of that fear, but then I started thinking of what I wanted out of it rather than what the world wanted out of it. I wanted to write for myself, possibly for the first time ever, and not worry about being graded or judged for my choice of words. Trust me, I have a lot to learn when it comes to writing, but as long as I can get my point across to all of those reading this, then I’m perfectly content with where I’m at.

6. Even though its small, it was one thing for myself that made the transition to a stay at home mom even more fulfilling 

To explain this a little further and put it plainly, its so incredibly easy to lose yourself in your kids. It’s a tale as old as time, a woman becomes a stay at home mother and completely loses any semblance of an identity outside of her children and her family. Don’t get me wrong, I have never once felt drowned out because of my choice to become a stay at home mom. No, rather I have felt my identity grow and shift into a more mature, brutally honest, devoted woman. What I have lost is the act of getting paid because I’m performing some specific job. Realistically speaking, its actually not a small loss! I have been working 2 jobs since the age of 14, so for me, as nice as it is to not have to answer to anyone (besides the 1 year old dominating all of my time…) its so so weird to not get paid for anything. I am *extremely* privileged to even be able to say this, especially with the many injustices and financial struggles many are facing right now – that is something that will never be lost on me, but I want to keep reminding myself nonetheless. No matter how different my life is now from last year, it could always always be way worse. 

7. I’ve become waaaay more vocal about things I disagree with in my day to day life (sorry Trev😂)

One biiiig thing I think everybody in my life can attest to is the fact that I’ve without a doubt, found my voice. It honestly makes me laugh to think of it because while I’m not exactly confrontational, my first thoughts don’t revolve around minimizing the possible damage done in each and every conversation. Whether its because the topic on hand could be construed as controversial or because I want to leave a certain impression on the person I’m talking to, I was always thinking things thought very thoroughly before I would say them. Why? Honestly, because I wanted to be liked. I don’t *not* want to be liked now, but I also don’t feel the weight of that want anymore, which makes it a whole lot easier to say something “disagreeable” to everybody! Keep in mind, I’m not running around attempting to start arguments with the people I love and the people I don’t love, I just want to have the option to speak my mind. 

8. I feel like I’m finally becoming the type of woman I’ve always wanted to be

I have finally been able to start doing, feeling, seeing, acting like the woman I’ve always wanted to be. I can still feel worthy even though I no longer work at a traditional job. I can still be strong minded even though I converse with a 1 year old for 6 hours of the day. I can still be confident even though its been a year and my body hasn’t “snapped back.” And even though we are in a pandemic where social distancing and quarantine are 2 words I had only used in history classes in high school, I can still have boundaries. I heard a quote the other day that really really resonated with me, it said “the only people who get upset when you set boundaries are those who benefited from you having none.” While I don’t feel the need to talk about anything specific regarding this, I finally feel the ability to set boundaries in any area of my life, whatever that means in that moment. I’ve learned to show myself grace in the areas of my life that I feel could use more TLC – friendships, family relationships, eating healthy, productive planning. Lastly, I’ve welcomed the art of feeling. What the heck do I mean by that? I started reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, which I’m only 100 pages in and I absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone, but she said something that I was like, “yup, uh huh, 100%, thank you for saying it just like that because that’s just how I feel!” She said:

“A kind woman revealed to me that being fully human is not about feeling happy, its about feeling everything. From that day forward, I began to practice feeling it all. I began to insist upon my right and responsibility to feel it all, even when taking the time and energy for feeling made me a little less efficient, a little less convenient, a little less pleasant.”

I MEAN. So much yes here. Like I said earlier, I always insisted on keeping my feelings inside. I refuse to do that now because I don’t want Savannah to do that as she grows up. I don’t want her to look at me and think, “mama has it all together, all the time. She’s happy all the time and never disagrees with anyone about anything. She’s a very nice lady.” I want her to learn from me, and not just how to be a agreeable, nice lady. But how to be a real freaking human being – whatever that means! And while I’m figuring it all out, I’m just going to start with feeling everything, because that’s the first thing I want her to learn from me above all else💛