Lucy Sarah’s First Birthday
Lucy Sarah turned 1 last week. It’s strange because I’m usually really big on events and occasions – I love birthdays and anniversaries and any excuse to celebrate, and especially any excuse to eat cake and buy balloons. When I was at University my friends and I even cultivated the tradition of celebrating half birthdays, where you basically have a second birthday on the day exactly halfway between your last birthday and your next one (someone better remember to bring me half a cake and half a card on October 11th.)
But I didn’t realise that a whole year had gone by since I started this blog. I hadn’t written it down or put it in my calendar or anything like that, which is super unusual for me. It was only when my friend Dani mentioned seeing it on her Timehop that I realised that somehow it had been a year. And I have to admit, I didn’t feel that great about the realisation – in fact, I felt pretty flippen rotten.
The thing is, when you start something so big and personal, it’s hard not to have really crazy expectations and goals for how it’s gonna work out. When I decided to take my personal love for things and writing to the next level, I was completely exhilarated and excited, though admittedly also really scared and nervous. Choosing to put yourself out there on the internet is not the easiest thing on earth (though it’s kinda amazing how many of us choose to do it anyway.) The first time I got a really awful comment, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Human’s can be super mean. I can still recite it character for character right now – it reminds me of my dad saying he can still remember every bad review he’s ever gotten in the papers. Bad feedback has that special awful quality of sticking with you.
So, when my blogiversary came along, I couldn’t help but be transported back to a year earlier when I’d decided to put my heart and soul into something I truly adore, and was filled with such hope and excitement. 365 days later, finding those same feelings every day is much harder. Every day I’m faced with a barrage of emotions about my journey and my plans, and when I stop and take stock of them, I’m so alarmed by how many of them are negative. I beat myself up about not posting often enough, about not getting out more and doing more and trying more, about being late in replying to emails, and about being too busy all the time. I’m guilty of something that so many of us are really bad about: I am so so hard on myself. And, worse still, I spend a ridiculous amount of time feeling really crappy because I compare myself and my work to everyone else.
My amazing friend Anna-Belle, when I brought all these fears and emotions up to her, said to me, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s always kinda amazing when other people admit their comparison issues to me, because I always assume everyone else is doing so much better than I am. Anna-Belle, who is an incredibly close friend, is also a blogger, and one who’s been doing this whole thing a lot longer than me. I seek out her advice about all sorts of things, and it was pretty refreshing for me to hear that she has crappy days, too. I’ve only ever seen her as being confident and incredibly good at what she does. But it turns out that comparison can rob her of her joy, just like it does mine.
It was great for me to have a friend and contemporary be so open and honest about their stuff too, and give me a bit of a lift. It’s good to have someone who lets you say your stuff, accepts it, and offers advice without being preachy. AB is that person for me. When I was having my all-fall-down, she stepped in very gently, and encouraged me to take stock of my journey in a very real and honest way.
So, I did. And this is what I found: things have been hard and crappy and frustrating and exhausting and discouraging at times. Not everyone has been supportive, and I haven’t been supportive of myself at all times either. Blogging and writing are not easy, and they take up a lot of your time. Working 2 jobs (and don’t kid yourself, blogging IS a second job) has made me have to sacrifice social time and relationship time and sleep time and relaxation time. BUT, the year I have devoted to this space has also been incredibly rewarding. Uplifting. It’s given me the space to get very real about what I want, what drives me, and what I would like to achieve. I feel much closer to the person I’d like to be than I ever have before, and I have never worked so much or so hard in my life. I’ve learnt about managing my time and throwing myself into things, and I’ve pushed myself very hard. I have met some incredible people, and made some incredible friends, simply as a result of this blog.
While I can’t promise that I’ll stop feeling down and crappy and comparing my work to other people’s, I’m going to try hard to balance that out with also acknowledging that I’m doing the best I can and, at times, it’s going pretty well. Rather than letting the occasion pass without mention, Ant bought me a cake and we got some candles and I made a wish. And looking back on the past year more clearly, I felt pretty great about it.
Happy Birthday, blog, Thank you all for sticking with me for the past year – here’s to many more years together.