Posted by: charityliz | March 7, 2012

the art of putting myself out there

I first started this blog because I needed a way to stay close with my dear friends back home. Shortly after moving to the Bay Area, I realized that catching up with friends on the phone just wasn’t enough.  Phone conversations are usually centered around the big/important updates in one’s life, rather than the day-to-day miscellaneous anecdotes. I missed telling the random stories and thoughts that go through my head everyday. I think half of the stuff that happens to me is purely for the sake of relaying it to others in a funny story. So I decided to start blogging about it, and it worked well. My far-away friends got to know a little more about the “day in the life of CharityLiz in the Bay Area”, while I also got the satisfaction of sharing it with them and (most of the time) laughing it off.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the fact that this was all being put “out there” for the world to see on the wonderful world wide web. I mean, I knew my blog was public and therefore technically anyone could see it, but I just thought of it as something written to an audience of friends.

Then things started getting a little sticky when “other people” asked about my blog. It’s actually my own fault because shortly after starting the blog, I picked up this weird habit of saying, “I gotta blog about that” whenever I was chatting with somebody anybody about anything even semi-amusing or notable. And those “anybodies” were not always my usual friends/blog audience – sometimes they were new acquaintances, colleagues at work, or even just a guy that I just met for a first date. What was I thinking?! It seemed like a harmless enough thing to say – “I gotta blog about that”—as a mental note spoken out-loud. But I realized (all too late) that it also served as a possible invitation for that somebody to ask more about the blog.

Oh, you have a blog?! What’s the address?

Sometimes I could dodge the question, other times I couldn’t.  And that’s when I began to explore the art of putting myself out there….or not.

Uhhhhh, well…sorta. [awkward] It’s just one of those stupid personal blogs. You know, just to update my old friends about the random stuff in my life since I moved to the Bay. [Trying to play it down, so it seemed ultra boring].

That worked for a few months. But lately more and more people, especially at work have been asking. Every time I get a little more awkward, and the more I hesitate, the more it seems like I have something  hide—which I don’t! So I finally decided to cave when I was out to lunch with a handful of colleagues recently. Someone asked about the blog and then the whole table was interested in knowing if I had a blog, if they could read it, and why I was hesitating to give any straight answers.

Finally, I quickly rattled off the web address, half hoping they wouldn’t catch it. And then I found myself trying to throw in some disclaimers…

It’s really not that interesting. And it’s definitely about the “other side of my life”…you know, it’s not like “work Charity”….it’s like me outside of work, so it might not be what you expect. The more I talked the more nervous I sounded and the more curious they got. My attempts to downplay the blog were back-firing with every sentence that came from my mouth! I was digging a hole and burying myself before they even saw the blog!

And then came the confession. You know, it’s just really hard sometimes to know that people from work are seeing another side of you and getting a window into your life and your perspective outside of work.  Ahhhh, and there it was. True confessions. It’s hard to be vulnerable with people who only know one side of you.

And then, the craziest thing happened. I realized that I was sitting at a table full of colleagues I have known for over a year, but I had forgotten an important fact about them during the course of this particular conversation—the fact that they are all artists. And as artists, I think they immediately connected with my nervous insecurities far more than I ever would have imagined.

My confession was greeted with true empathy– these people have learned to be artists, and as such know quite well the feeling of vulnerability that comes with putting yourself out there when letting people see your art, critique your work…and in my case, read into the pages of your life.

Oddly enough, I felt a new sort of camaraderie with these folks, not as colleagues or friends – but as an artist. Not that I really consider myself a true artist, but my blog is my creative outlet – my own interpretation of a very charmed life indeed.

So I left that day with an increased sense of freedom and hope that maybe I could, in fact, handle colleagues reading my blog, since after all, they are artists as well.

A few days later, one of those colleagues informed me that she was enjoying reading my blog.

Oh, Yeah? Thanks. I was slightly embarrassed and didn’t know what else to say or if I even wanted to talk about it. And then she said something that made me laugh and cringe with girlish embarrassment all at once….

It’s so wholesome.

Yup. That’s the word she used. Wholesome. I suppose there are way worse things people could reduce my life story down to, but I was disappointed nonetheless. Of course, she’s very sweet and was meaning to be genuine and encouraging. But all I could think of was all my cool, hip, artist colleagues throwing me into the “wholesome blog girl” box from here on out. And so begins the art of learning to put myself out there, as well as the art of knowing thyself amidst all the critiques. Perhaps I’m becoming an artist after all!

 

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Responses

  1. “Wholesome” is such a breath of fresh air in a world where we are bombarded by so many things that stick in our brains like the flecks on an etch-a-sketch. It is a nice getaway, a mental (and sometimes) emotional vacation to the things that weigh us down.

    Thanks for putting yourself “out there” and giving us something to smile about. 🙂

    Your most faithful fan.

  2. Wholesome? . . . I like it. I think it was an awesome compliment!

    Webster’s Definition of WHOLESOME

    1: promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit
    2: promoting health of body
    3: sound in body, mind, or morals

  3. Dirty it up, Romano! =)

  4. I love your wholesomeness! We need more of it in our crazy, depraved world. Wear it proudly my friend.

  5. Three cheers for Wholesome!


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