There are multiple times during the day when I want to quit blogging.
I open my RSS reader, click on another twit link or Facebook share to read a post from another blogger like the hilarious Mrs Woogs, the raw and honest Edenland, and talented travel writers like Bret from Green Global Travel, Wandering Earl, and Abigail King.
While their posts enlighten, entertain and inspire me, part of me begins to crumble inside. I wish with all my heart and soul that I could weave a story so naturally and engaging.
More often than not, I close my computer lid and walk away.
As I get down the hallway that leads to my sulking place, the little voice returns — the empowered voice, the voice of reason and truth.
“You don’t have to write like them Caroline, because you are not them. You are different.”
I battle back with words of doubt and insecurity, but the voice has learned to be stronger.
“All you have to do is Be Yourself.”
I’ll never be funny like Mrs Woogs, I’ll never be able to express my thoughts like Eden, or craft a tale like so many of my travel writing friends, but deep within me there is something worthwhile that only I have to share.
What sets me apart from other bloggers is that I am simply me.
That is all I can ever be. Blogging that has taught me that this is okay, and that I, that shitty self that I’ve always despised looking at in the mirror, can actually make a difference.
I think this is all anyone really wants. To know that there life has somehow been worth it.
My Biggest Fear
“You’re frightened that you are going to be another mug left on the shelf,” the Romanian gypsy peered deeply into my palm. We were sitting in the cramped space of her caravan near the Brighton Beach pier.
I thought she was talking about relationships. I was in the middle of a disastrous one so was kinda happy to be a mug rescued on the shelf.
I soon forgot about her reading until ten years later at a friend’s Christmas party in 2009. After a couple of strong Pomegranate Cosmopolitans, I blurted out to Craig the fear that had been niggling at me for weeks.
“Look at my life. I’ve lost everything and I have nothing to show for the past 10 years. What was it all for anyway? Why did I have all those travel experiences and learn those lessons if nothing has come from them? I’m worried that I am just going to be another mug left on the shelf.”
I was instantly transported back into the smoky caravan and clarity, stronger than the smell of the gypsy’s burning incense, hit me.
What if I go through my life never being who I was born to be? What if at the end of it all, I look and see that my life has been one where I hid in the shadows, allowing it to pass me by?
I’d travelled all over the world, and here I was stuck in a life that I was deeply depressed about. My life, once so full, had become so meaningless.
I saw the gypsy’s eyes rolling, gazing at a world beyond my palm. She softly chuckled and patted my leg,
“Don’t worry, you won’t be.”
The details of what she saw in my hand will never be known to me, but the promise of me getting off that shelf and doing something worthwhile was reflected in her eyes.
Over the next cocktail, I promised myself and the Universe that I was not going to be that mug. I would no longer hide myself away, that I wouldn’t let all those years be for nothing. I would do whatever I could to bring to life what she saw in my hand.
I had no idea what I was going to do, and I was terrified, but I said YES.
I kept saying yes every time another doubt appeared and a task arrived that I felt too scared or insecure to tackle.
“You said YES Caroline. You have no choice but to do it.”
A succession of yeses led me to blogging. In my mind I was a crappy writer and didn’t believe that anyone would ever read my work, but that didn’t matter because I said yes.
I shared my stories, I shared my lessons, I learned and improved and somewhere along the way, I became me.
Each time I wanted to hit delete, called myself names, or wanted to hide under a chair in the fear that those reading my work would discover the idiotic self that I was, that voice shouted,
“You said YES Caroline.”
The succession of yesses helped me to find peace with who I was, to forgive myself, to appreciate myself, to find my special place in the world.
Because I care a lot
The yesses have now given me the life I always desired: travelling and sharing the world with others.
“Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.” Once-ler from The Lorax
The world was something that I fell in love with. From the terraced rice fields of China, to the African Savannah, to the jagged Rocky Mountain peaks, and the sun rising over volcanoes, I couldn’t get enough of her beauty.
Masai warriors guarded me while I slept at night, Cambodian women cleared spaces for me in the back of their Utes so I would be comfortable on long journeys, my Thai students carried my books around the school, and I shared homes with people from all around the world.
I discovered how connected we all really are and how more alike we are than different.
I grew to understand myself more and most importantly the magic that exists in our world. Some may call it God, I call it the power that lives in all of us.
Blogging became a place where I could share what I learned and hopefully make the world a better place.
Call me naive, but I thought that maybe with this one small space I have online, I could make a difference.
And now here I am
I still struggle every day. I still compare and feel less than, but those yesses keep me going. I know that I have a special role in this world to fill. Nobody else can do what I came here to do; the fact that I am breathing demonstrates my role is important.
I blog every day, on two blogs, because I believe life is about sharing and helping others. It’s about being kind, and supportive and encouraging.
It’s about letting others know that you feel the same things they do. Nobody is ever really alone, even though we so often feel it.
It’s so I can help others learn how to say YES. To not let their lives be one based on fear, negativity, and emptiness, because its far more valuable and beautiful than that.
It’s about being your own light so that you may give others permission to be the same.
Every day when I compare myself to others, I try to remember that instead of being afraid, I should see that their light shining so brightly is giving me permission to shine my own. I don’t have to be like them, or as talented, funny, or witty,
I just have to be me.
That is the best way that I can make a difference and the only way that I won’t be that mug upon the shelf.
This post is my entry in the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers Competition. You can vote if you feel I deserve a vote, or if you feel someone else does then go ahead and vote for them. You will be entered into a draw to win $5,000 and I really hope you do.