10 August, 2014

A Hanmade Goodbye x

I started this blog in 2010, almost exactly 4 years ago to the date, when not much in my life felt right. It was a time when I felt weak, and struggled to see a way forward. After a period of self-destruction, I exclaimed “enough” and picked up the thing God had given me – my writing. That was easily one of the best decisions I ever made. Ultimately and undoubtedly, this blog was and has always been a means to my own strength, nothing more and nothing less.

It’s a funny thing – writing. In order to write with any passion, quality and sincerity, you have to not only have a great awareness of what is in your heart, but be willing to share it. For me the pen (or rather, laptop) has been like a bridge between my soul and the outside world, and ultimately my blog became a window for others to peer into. Fortunately, when I started this blog, I was in a place in my life when I had little responsibility other than myself (and my ever-loved friends and family of course!) and really at times had little to lose. It was easy to tap into my world, to create anecdotes of a 20-something life, to write lightly and at length. Tales of a young, lost girl finding her way are easy – I observed my own life, I added some humour or analysis and voila. That was my blog for a long time, and it worked for me.

I have never had a big audience, and I haven’t wanted or needed one. The main purpose of this blog was for me to scratch my writing itch, stretch my creative muscles, and ultimately find confidence and happiness in something I had complete control over. Something no-one could ever take away from me.

My readers have primarily been friends and family, people who know me and are able to appreciate and understand. Yet my all-time stats tell me this blog has been right around the world, my biggest audience being the USA, and reaching people in Germany, Russia, India, China, Australia, France....the list goes on.

The absolute single highlight of this journey for me has to be my quarter-life crisis post, which I wrote probably when this was at its peak. I had so many messages of empathy and cries of “Yes! Thank you! Me too!” that I was overwhelmed and reassured all at once. Receiving an email from someone who lives on the other side of the world, telling me that my blog had inspired her and lifted her out of a mid-twenties-panic-fuelled depression, was just the most awesome feeling in the world. Yes, my blog has had selfish purposes, but actually I have inspired people at times too. For that reason, I will never, ever regret a single word I have written.

Over the years my blog has evolved with me, the name has changed, the audience to some extent has shifted, and so have the words I have needed. The light-hearted anecdotes have become deeper analysis; the easy-to-relay stories have become more complex, more meaningful, and taken more strength and confidence to expose. At times, particularly in recent months, I have left myself so uncovered that I have not gained strength from my blog, but actually felt weaker for it.

It has taken some serious soul-searching and thought, and I have had to answer a lot of my own questions, yet the time has come for me to admit that this blog is no longer right for me, for my life. I am no longer 23 and alone and scared. I am 28 and fulfilled and strong. My life isn’t about nights out and frivolity anymore. I have infinitely more to consider. I’d love to feel able to expose my thoughts as bare today as I have done in the past, but with a full life comes responsibility – to others and to myself. My stories aren’t small anymore, they are big. They are break-ups and milestones and weddings and life and pain and serious shit.

Aside from the fact my muse has matured beyond comparison to what she was when this blog began, I also have such precious little time. I have always said I never want to write in a rush, or under pressure, because I don’t want to produce anything other than my best. Sadly, and increasingly, this blog has become a chore. A life which once felt empty is now full to the brim, and finding the time to write anything of any quality has become so tough.

I always vowed that upon finding strength and fulfilment I wouldn’t turn my back on the things that got me there, and believe I have remained true to my word where that is concerned. However sometimes the tools we use in life evolve, and old weapons tire out. I know I have many battles ahead of me still, and at times I may want to write about them, but I know in my heart that I have exhausted this blog. I have exhausted it long past I even gain anything from it, because I haven’t wanted to turn my back on something which has been so core to not only my progress but to the happiness of my soul. How do you hang your soul up on a peg and say “that’s done”?

I feel extremely sad to be writing this final flourish, and the nostalgia is overwhelming me as with these words I wrap up the past 4 years of my world in a pretty little bow and store it away somewhere, somewhere for a rainy day. I also feel vulnerable. This blog has been my bow for a long time, and yes I feel extremely vulnerable putting it down. How will I defend myself? How will I express myself? How will I process this life? How will I inspire? I know I will still write but I have no idea in what form. I may even blog again in the future, if the timing is ever right again, but for now...

THANK YOU to everyone who has ever read a single word I have written. Whether you have read my blog because you are my Mum (!), or because you have found it interesting, or maybe even been inspired by it. Even if you have read it with great disdain – THANK YOU! For a writer’s soul, it is the greatest honour to have someone, anyone, read what you’ve woven. It’s like baking a cake and having people eat it. It just feels good to contribute to the world in some, tiny way, and it's been a most unforgettable chapter in my life.

I’ll be seeing you.