Learning to live out loud in my second half wasn't originally my goal, but it happened anyway.
I pretty much spent a lifetime fluffing the pillows in my cushy comfort zone. But all that changed four years ago when I took a chance as the empty nest began to creep up on me. Fueled by hysteria and impulse I decided to pursue my first love ... writing.
Before you know it, I was a "Parenting Guru" on Yahoo!, sharing parenting stories and childhood anecdotes, and using a pseudonym because even I couldn't believe what I was doing. I hadn't told anyone for months and I was bursting!
So during a regular afternoon stroll with my BFF, I suddenly blurted out, "I started a blog! But you can't tell anyone!" Once the smelling salts kicked in and she regained consciousness, she begged me to send her the link to my blog. Days past before I acquiesced. I sat on the phone with her, literally holding my breath, while she read through the first post. Did she like it? Was I any good? More importantly, was I funny?
She loved it, or maybe just loved me, because she said how funny and talented I was. (You can see why she's my BFF, right?!) And she couldn't believe how her publicly private and soft spoken friend, was putting it all out there for those to read. To complicate matters, my new editor told me I had to get on social media to promote my posts.
I had no idea how to Tweet or how to navigate "My Face" (my constant confusion of MySpace and Facebook made my teens cringe). Twitter wasn't that scary, I could still be relatively anonymous, but for a gal who usually likes to fly under the radar, creating a personal Facebook page, (something I swore I would NEVER do!), literally gave me hives.
When The Huffington Post came a knockin' (maybe it was the other way around, but whatever), I agonized for days because they wanted to use my real name and face for my bio, not the cute cartoon version of myself in my logo. It felt strange to see my face on the Internet. Awkward and vulnerable to have my thoughts exposed, but I learned to let that go. And I'm glad I did.
What you may not know is that I am kind of shy. I am often more comfortable being an observer than on center stage. But, even that has changed a little too. Chatty exchanges and conversations online with friends and readers have made me even more comfortable joining the conversation in real life. Who'd a thought?!
However, I'm no stranger to keeping my mouth shut, as I'm known as a vault amongst my friends. I can keep a secret. (What secret? SEE!) I've never once shared something in private or online that would have been juicy or newsworthy. No. Not once. And why? Because, I believe in karma. I wouldn't want my secrets spilled either. When my blog was still shiny and new, most conversations with friends began with their pleading, "Please don't write about this...." Never have. Never will.
When my family begged, "Please don't write anything personal or embarrassing about us," or heaven forbid post a photo, I haven't. Their story isn't my story to tell. That's why my blog is pretty much all about me. And in a world where I have always instinctively put someone else first, this feels good for a change.
Who knew how much fun this would be and how many amazing opportunities would come my way? Or that I would get so much pleasure from writing and connecting with others. Writing this blog has been truly liberating and while sometimes I want to retreat back into my comfort zone I give myself a nudge, because none of this would have ever happened if I would have decided to play it safe.
I've come a long way, baby. Maybe you have too.
This post was previously published on CarpoolGoddess.com.
Earlier on Huff/Post50: