Saturday, May 05, 2012

Things I'm afraid to tell you...

{warning: long post!}

A reader of mine introduced me to this blog post by a lady called Ez.
It's all about being real.
It's about showing others, our readers, that life is not always perfect. I encourage you to read it and follow the blogs that have participated. It's refreshing to know you are not alone.

There is some truth to the fact there is a trend in the blog world for everything to come across as idyllic, constantly happy, bright, perky and cheerful. The photographs must be amazing, the tutorials never ending, the projects and art awe inspiring, the homes always neat and what you would find in a magazine.

The truth is, life-as we know it, though, is not like this, at least for most of us!
It's really a learning curve, from the day we are born. We make mistakes, we make wrong decisions, we hurt others, we get hurt, we cry, we fall, we pick ourselves up again.
Along the way we find happiness in little or large amounts.
We grow and change and try to be a better person. Sometimes we fail miserably.
But life is never sure, even our best laid plans often go astray.
That wonderful dream we had either becomes a distant mirage, or we realize that dream only to find it's not as we imagined, or on the upside, they are every bit, if not more, than we imagined.

Let me start by saying that I am, by nature, a shy person. I am guarded.
In school I was always the painfully shy girl. The girl who never spoke. In fact I tried to make myself as invisible as I could. I remember thinking that if I remained quiet and in the background, nobody would notice. I didn't want to be noticed, I didn't want the lime light, I didn't want to be popular. I preferred being a part of the wallpaper. I liked the quiet. I enjoyed listening to conversations rather than being the one who everyone else was listening to.
It never bothered me that I went through school with the same kids and some of them never even knew my name!

Looking back, I guess to me being under the radar was safer. I still, to a degree feel and live this way. Although I am not painfully shy anymore, neither do I cringe when I am asked to join in a conversation. However, I still don't like all the attention on me. I am a homebody. I love being at home, surrounded by things that provide me with comfort. I don't mind being alone and I often crave solitude. I don't like crowds or shopping malls. Give me a good book, my crochet, time with my kids and husband and I am happy.

I started this blog one day nearly 6 years ago, when I had no idea what a "blog" was even about.
I taught myself HTML code, {this was way back before blogger had the easy "add gadget" buttons it has now!} I was proud of myself for achieving this, often with tears along the way, and pure frustration. I even "lost" my blog a few times, deleted the entire contents and had to start all over again!

My blog has been many things but one thing I could never get was the balance of how much of my personal life to share along with my "business" adventures and creativity. I have never been comfortable being "an open book". While having said that, it has nothing to do with being devious. I am not that person. I am honest. Perhaps sometimes too open and honest, too trusting. When I love-I love with all my being. When I give, I give with all my being. But to me, my blog has never been about sharing the antidotes of my everyday life, or the things my kids get up to, or the failures, embarrassments and sadness that are often there, amongst the joys, happiness and successes.

A part of me has always felt that nobody would care or be interested in reading those kind of things anyway. I wanted to have the "perfect" blog, free from the everyday struggles of being a mother, finding myself and struggling to have a small voice of creativity. Because it was an escapism from the sometime mundane routine of life. It was my place I could just come to, and while I have always remained true to who I am, I could also just forget all the bad that happened and just be positive. My goal has always been to create a place that is friendly, inspiring , real and honest. I never have wanted to give anyone the impression that my life is perfect or use my blog as a platform to boast about my achievements or to gain "followers" and "subscribers".
I really just want to share. I love to share my creativity, things I make and do in the hope that they will inspire others to go and create something of their own. I would hate it if my blog made people feel inferior or if they left my blog feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed or even envious.
Not that I think for a second that anything I share or create is ever good enough to make anyone feel like that!

Rather, sometimes I feel shy or silly even sharing my creations, thinking they are so inferior to others. In fact, I am still amazed when I get a comment or an email about how much they find my blog so inspiring or my photographs so good. It always amazes me and humbles me.

Let's face it, as I said in the outset, we all feel it. We all go to a blog and sometimes come away feeling " I could never do that", or "my home will never look as glamorous as that", or "I can't paint/draw/sing/dance/dress like that". It IS demoralizing. It is boring and often we just stop visiting those blogs because we can't keep up, we can't " live up to it" and we are tired of feeling "not good enough".

Been there, done that.

So today I wanted to share with you, my readers that faithfully visit me, that leave me comments and send me emails. Because you deserve to know at least a little about the person behind this blog. It is hard for me to do this, because as I have said, I am not an open book. I have so often gone through my blog and deleted old posts, taken off photographs. I am always wary of WHO is reading my blog. A part of this is good because let's face it, there are a lot of crazy, sick people in this world that will abuse what content you put on your blog. I mean I heard about a thing going on in FB, where people were stealing photos of people's kids to use in chain emails. You know the ones where the "child is so sick and need of a serious operation and if you donate to the cause you will be helping". This happened recently to a fellow blogger and someone whose blog I follow. It is scary.

To a degree to, we all hold back a part of ourselves because we don't want to be judged, or thought of as "weird". We want to be liked, admired, respected. But I think if we all were just a little more giving, a little more open, a little more "human" by letting our guard down just that little, we could gain from it. I am a firm believer that we can all inspire each other and all learn from each other, even in some small way. Everybody has something to offer.

I do worry about what I put on the internet because they say once it is on, even if you delete it, it is still there and can still be dredged up 15 years later! So let's just be real for a second. It is all fine to want to be "real" but just be careful how "real" you are going to be. There are still things in life, as far as I am concerned that will always remain private, that will always be out of bounds for me to share. And just because I don't share them, doesn't mean those things aren't important to me.

Some of those things are my kids. I love my kids with all my heart. They are my heart and soul, the fiber of my being and the sunrise and sunset of my life. But my blog is not here for me to post photographs of them or talk about them at length. That is why I scrap book, why I write a journal, why i keep a journal for each of them. {yes, I keep a journal for each of my kids}.
Another thing is my marriage. I am married to my best friend and the love of my life but I won't share my marriage on a public blog. I have a wonderful marriage that is, {apart from my kids} the best thing in my life. And like any marriage, we have our ups and downs, {but mostly ups.} He is the only person that fully understands and knows me. Some of the other things are my friendships and family. I would never be comfortable sharing thoughts and feelings about personal friendships/family issues and problems that come up regarding such. I think everyone is entitled to feel what is "sacred" and "private" and those are just some of the things where I draw the line.

So having said all that, let me tell you just for today 10 things I have been afraid to tell you..

1. I dislike "You've been tagged" comments on my blog. I apologize in advance, but I really dislike them. {For some of the reasons stated above}. It normally involves sharing things I am not comfortable sharing. Having said that, if I feel okay with what I am asked to share and they are not too personal, I will, on occasion join in. But (and this is the part I am afraid to tell you...I mostly ignore them!)

2. I worry a lot. Probably more than I should. About a lot of different things. I create scenarios in my mind or "what if" situations and try to imagine how I would react in them. I know, it sounds silly even saying it (I might even come back and delete this entire post :)!)

3. I cannot handle the toilet lid being up. At any time. Ever. In fact I have issues about anyone flushing the toilet when the lid is open. I have visions of germs flying out the toilet and landing on the towels, the toothbrushes...It totally freaks me out.
I also always put the toilet paper roll in so that when you pull the toilet paper it comes out towards you. If someone else puts it in the wrong way, I will take it out and put it in the "right" way (aka my way!) And if you didn't think I was a freak enough, I do this when I go to other peoples houses and I have to use their bathrooms! (*blush*)

4. I miss a part of me I can't seem to fully get back. I remember a long time ago, I used to share funny stories, sometimes just silly things on this blog and would get comments on how I made them laugh. I miss my sense of humor. It is still there, but I feel a part of me changed a few years ago and I know a lot of it has to do with the death of my brother. I never thought something like that would happen. It is still hard for me to talk about and 3 years later, I still cannot bring myself to look at videos of him, I even struggle with photograhs. I think about him almost everyday and miss him. My life definitely changed. In fact I remember with vivid clarity,the weekend before the news. It was probably the last time I felt so young and carefree, swimming in the sea with my kids. I felt alive and everything was good. When you loose someone you love, I think a part of you dies too and it's a puzzle piece of your life that never falls back into place. You carry on but a part of you is always missing. I hope with time, I can try and get a bit of carefreeness I once had back and I am learning, slowly, but it has made me age inside, it has made me worry more, it has made me more cautious, less adventurous, more protective...

5. I cannot read blogs with a black background or with a yellow font. It just plain hurts my eyes.

6. I love the sitcom Friends. It was one of the first things, as a newly married couple my husband and I would sit and watch episode after episode (we would record a whole lot and then have a marathon!) 14 years later and we still love watching old reruns of Friends and I can STILL relate to Monica with her weird fixations! (see point 3 and 4!)

7. I hate people covering my ears. I really have phobia too strong a word to use?

8. I love pinterest and check it everyday. However I only check on the pinners I follow. I mostly love the crochet and craft inspiration I find on it.

9. I am bad at twitter. I hardly ever use it. My blog and Etsy store is set to automatically send a "tweet" to my twitter for me.

10. I went off FB three years ago and will probably never go back on. I don't like knowing everybody else's business and to me, it's just another social network that I really don't need. "staying in touch" to me is about picking up the phone, sending a card via the "old fashioned" way like the post, writing a hand written letter or sending an email. I am just not into the whole group thing. I prefer to connect one-on-one and I feel to a degree, I can also do that via my blog. Most of you readers that leave comments, I email or visit your blog too.

Well, that's it for today.
It wasn't so bad really, and I hope you got to see a side of me that is not just about the images I share or the things I did or created.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and if you feel like joining in...on "Things I'm Afraid to tell you...." please do!!



Veronica said...

Hi Bonnie,
I so enjoyed reading your post. So honest and beautifully written.
I am even more amazed at how similar you and I are, yet we (as yet) have never met.
The toilet roll thing - it has to ALWAYS roll towards me too!! (And I also change it around in other people's homes;o))
The loo- when I got married, I 'trained' my husband to put the seat down!! My son has never once left it up - I 'trained' him from day 1! You will never find a toilet seat up in our house!! Ask my family- I have a problem with this! When someeone else visits and leaves it up I cringe!

On the serious side, I am also shy and reserved. I was desperately shy as a child. I have also improved (with age!), but still enjoy solitude and quieter places and take a while before I relax and chat to people I hardly know. I love being at home. I only go shopping when I really need to and always choose quieter centres. Though am I known to lose myself in art supply stores!!

Have a great weekend!!

SuzySomethng said...

I have to tell you that I do the same thing with the toilet paper...even in other people's houses!

Something I haven't told on my blog is that my son committed suicide in 2008 and I haven't been the same person since then. I know exactly what you mean about it being a changing experience when you lose a loved one. I think that losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent, but losing a child (even though he was an adult) to suicide is a kind of unmitigated hell that never leaves just carry it around and hope that you can continue to cope.

There...I will be putting this in my blogs also. Ez started something that is wonderful and growing by the minute.

Thank you for your are so brave!

Nicole Austin said...

wonderful, honest post. i often feel the same way about much should i share? are there weirdos out there keeping track of my info?...i worry a lot, too. ;) and i can totally relate to #3 and #10. fb was fun at first when i reconnected with my good friends from high school and we could have group conversations but then after a while, it just felt impersonal. and like a big popularity contest (like the bad parts of high school all over again!). thank you for sharing. i always enjoy your blog.

wendy said...

bonnie, i enjoyed reading your post....thank you for sharing so honestly. i lost my sister in 2004 and you put so beautifully into words how that kind of loss really feels. xoxo.

Bonnie said...

Thanks ladies for your comments! It is refreshing to just be a bit more open and like so many bloggers have said, we can all relate to one another in some way or another by doing this. We don't feel so alone. I appreciate you sharing with me too through this!

Jenni said...

Beautifully written Bon.I often think you should have lived in a more romantic era hundreds of years ago!I think I am even more closed off and private than you,I keep a lot to myself.I very seldom put anything personal on my blog, I prefer the company of my dogs to most people,I talk to them which amuses my family no end.I don't even go to the toilet without all of them coming with me. I only have a handful of close friends,and they are very important to me.The most important part of my life are my kids,I am very close to them,I feel everything they go through.I am not a domestic goddess, I hate cooking and housework.The toilet seat being up does not worry me, it takes a second to put it down. I have no time for people who don't like animals.I am not good at keeping in touch with people, I hate talking on the phone, I would rather email or message.What I worry about the most-I have a daughter who is bipolar and it kills me to see her go through so much pain.My digi scrapping keeps me sane.Oh,and I am addicted to my blackberry :)

Emma said...

hey bon, what a lovely, refreshing, honest post. i enjoyed the long read! and have felt comforted knowing there are so many women who feel the same, i can relate to so many of your points. but also to your sister , jen's too, in her comment!!
namely, toilet seat, germs etc don't bother me, hate talking o the phone and prefer letters, email, text, and generally keep myself to myself,talking to my cat!!! haha!
I am going through a tough time at mo.(depression) and haven't felt this low in a long while. so due to that i have been hibernating even more, which isn't a good thing as i draw away from everybody and everything. so forgive me pls for not being in touch much.
My blog has been so neglected, as i just can't find the words to be cheery and bright and funny and 'me'(because i'm not 'me' at the mo.
anyway, was lovely to read, and totally agree with about how careful we have to be. I went back on FB recently, but its only to keep a eye on family that i don't see often! its v.boring! same as Twitter! yawn!

Emma said...

p.s am totally the same with shopping centres. i hate them, i never go shopping on a saturday unless i really have to, and have been known to go do my shopping late a night at our 24 hr store, just to avoid people!!

Roberta said...

Wonderful blog post Bonnie and I don't think you are weird or phobic at all...just wonderfully real and loved reading and learning all about what makes you "you" ;} I know how you feel about the loss of your brother and how a death of a loved causes a real big "shift" (as I refer to it) in the lives of those left behind. I just had another big shift in my life with the birth of my grandson and it has been amazing. This subject matter of "perfect" blogs is perhaps why I'm on a hiatus...blogging is suppose to enrich and inspire and personally I'm just tired of how "commercial" most blogs have become as they become more popular. I always viewed blogs as personal journals and we were suppose to be able to make them what we wanted and not have to worry about followers and adds and such...hence my hiatus of late ;} My kids have asked if "I'm okay" as well and I simply told them that I'm taking a break and doing more work on my personal albums and such in lieu of this public one. I don't know if I'll go back to it as much as before...but that is okay because it is my blog after all. Have a Happy Mother's Day. {hugs} Roberta

Jazz said...

Hi Bonnie

Very nice post. Haha thanks for changing my toilet roll. I also prefer it like that but could not be bothered most of the time. We also have alot in common. I was very shy in school and always made friends with the "nerds" They made much nicer friends anyway!! Loads of Love!!!

pve design said...

I can relate to so many of the things you were afraid to tell me, I could hardly feel your fear - at all.

Bonnie said...

a note for PVE designs:

Fear is relative to the person feeling it. We all experience fear on different levels according to different experiences. Some people have a real fear of birds for instance, I am not one of those people, but that does not mean I shouldn't say that person's fear is real.

I shared things that are close and personal to ME, whether anybody else feels those things was not the point of the exercise.

I wasn't trying to make others feel my fear, just sharing it.

Anonymous said...

At last i have a chance to share my comments. What an inspiring.. challanging read!! Honest and beatifully written. There is actually so much of you packed into this post ... like a "blog package" that we can untie the ribbons and sift through all your thoughts...this will have to be read in a few sittings :) for me anyway.

Also loved reading through all the other comments. And was really touched by Emma's comments.

And I agree with you... a little bit of HUMAN goes a long way. We often don't want to be vulnerable or appear vulnerable BUT being vulnerable can often be quite powerful in positively touching other peoples lives. (we are weird hey?? :)

Bonnie I am so thankful that I stumbled across your blog. I will forever be a follower xx Nicki

redjanfan said...

I have saved this post for a longtime in my email. It is very touching and human. I am so much the same, people think I am extroverted, but in reality am quite shy and have to push myself to be out with people. I too am concerned with internet invasion into my life, and am careful with FB, my only social network, but also with my posts. I try and always be genuine and real with comments so that people can get a sense of who I am. I like to make puns and often will in a post, and display my quirky or often dry sense of humor. I don't blog because I'm afraid I don't know enough about anything to be interesting!! Kudos to you for pushingyourself out there, and being way more than good enough, plus you're always interesting. Whether it is a new craft or decorating project or shots of a vacation or outing your photos are always great and your storyline interesting.
I enjoy getting to know you some thru your blog and are one of the few whom I would like to call "friend" and really know. I catch myself thinking that a visit to South Africa would be fun and that perhaps I could even meet you for tea! Just a dream as I don't get to travel that much anymore, however, if you get a hankering to come to Canada...
Stay real Bonnie, and true to yourself, your values, your family. Hugs, Jan

Gem said...

What a totally amazing post. Just found it. I love it. You write so well and its like you are talking to friends.
I completely "get" what you are saying. I get OCD about toilet germs......TOTALLY. I am completely over the top OCD about dog poo........the thought of someone wearing shoes in my home horrifies me. I am not nuts though! Perfectly sane! We all have our foibles.
I've been writing my blog for about 18 months and I understand what you mean re painting a pretty picture and not giving too much away.
Anyway, just wanted to say hi and to let you know I love your blog.
I am so sorry about your brother and it's perfectly understandable that you don't feel yourself. Completely!
Gem xx x