A Warm Welcome

IMG_20180127_104139_736Today is the day I release my blog. By that, I mean, share it with my friends, loved ones and acquaintances both here in Australia and also around the world. Where would we be without FB? The phenomenon that allows us to delight in the lives of others. Or cringe with shame at tagged pictures of the past. Or discover a new musician, recipe, way to gain one-upmanship on an unsuspecting work colleague. Although I have been writing and publishing for nearly the whole of January now, the pieces have only gained a relatively small following through the blogging community. I feel that now I have written a good small collection of posts, had wonderful support in preparing my site and encouraging feedback from the few who have read what I have written, I can now start to share and promote.

How do I feel now that my new venture is going public, so to speak? Well of course, nervous. When anyone creates something, and then puts it on display, they are going to generate a response. You know there will be positive and supportive reactions, but our natural precondition to expect the worst, thanks to our amygdala, will be preparing us for fight or flight. We unfortunately are living at a time when people are hijacking the ease with which we can share and obtain information, and are using it as a platform to harass, bully and persecute those they don’t know. Fear and lack of self-confidence along with jealousy lead many to abuse people who share  ideas through social media. It is a sad state of affairs, and one that I am aware I am putting myself up for in writing on-line. When people used to read a book or newspaper article, and disagree, they would write a well articulated, well-edited, formal “right to reply” to an editor or publicist. Those days have unfortunately gone. But this shall not deter me.

Other emotions? Plenty of them. Excitement, Joy, Trepidation, Fear, Relief. I have always loved writing and yet as the adage goes, “those who can, do, those who can’t, teach”. I have spent the last 12 years teaching others to write and haven’t put pen to paper myself. This needed to change. Over the last 6 months, I have decided to take care of my mental health. I had been diagnosed with anxiety shortly after having Little M. and was still suffering dreadfully. This anxiety comes in the form of extreme obsessive concern for her health and wellbeing. She did have a very tough start to life and she has, to this day, never slept for more than a few hours in a row. These events and severe sleep deprivation resulted in poor mental health. I also have a stressful job, working with teens who have many issues, and this day-to-day exposure can also cause vicarious trauma.

It became evident to me that I needed to start to look after myself better. I am not a fan of seeking medical assistance, doctors and illness scare me quite a bit. I have always been an advocate of exercise and relaxation, and am proud of my physical fitness and nutrition. I know that is why I so rarely get sick. However, I became aware that I needed to incorporate something creative into my life to support my mental health. It was actually really hard for me to think of anything that I could do that was creative. I cannot draw, or make things, or cook, or garden. Then it struck me at the start of this year. Start writing again. I used to write all the time whilst I was travelling, before I settled into teaching. I thought I’d just pick it up again once all the lesson plans and marking was done. Such naivety. Every teacher knows that the planning and marking is never complete. I had to make time for writing, in between looking after a toddler, running a house, being a wife, working part-time and studying part-time. Where on earth would I find the time?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been. Currently the words are just pouring out. I use nap time and after bed time to write, composing in my mind whilst I run or train. I do hope that this fluency continues now that I’ve invited people to read and share my posts. Uncertainty and concern that I’m a fraud. Yet more emotions.

But I’m doing it anyway.

What have I learnt so far? As a person who loves to discover and study and learn, I revel in the lessons that this new venture has and will continue to give me. What little bits of insight have I gained already in such a short time preparing and commencing to write?

Lesson 1, take a risk. It’s been 18 years since I started my own business, 14 years since I left the UK, 12 years since I became a teacher and a wife, 2 years since I became a mother. All huge risks. In spite of my outwardly quiet, non demonstrative persona, I am a risk taker. It’s just been a couple of years since the last one. And so far, they have all been very much worth it.

Lesson 2, examine your heart. Then follow it. It might take a while to find what you want to do, 6 months of searching this time for me. But if you keep plugging away, asking the questions, you’ll be amazed who and what comes into your life to help you on your next journey.

And Lesson 3, reach out to your friends. And family. And acquaintances. What I write is my truth, and I offer it to those I know, initially, in the hope that they will read these thoughts, ponder their own lives and help grow our village. We live in a time when we are so far apart, not just in distance, but often in the time we have available to be with others we care for, and yet can still be there for each other. We can’t exist in isolation and we need to find new ways to connect and help each other.  Let’s support, promote and share ideas so that all may live full, engaging lives and continue to explore our own potential.

I thank you for reading this post on the day I officially share my creation. If you liked what you read, please explore my site. Pass it on to others whom you know will like to read it. Also, if they are not your thing, then I ask that you refrain from harsh criticism and instead ask yourself when you last took a risk. Go ahead, do something that scares you. You never know quite where you could end up.

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