When I finally decided to brave the blogging world again and put the five LostGirls sites together, I had only written blogs of a more personal nature, meant for friends and family. The blogs I wrote before did not cover a wide range of topics and, since I was feeling very stuck in my life, they were often used as a place to go and whine about what was missing. At some point, I realized that they weren't helping me get unstuck and I wondered if blogging (the way I perceived it at the time) was part of the problem. So I stopped writing altogether.
How We Get in Our Own Way
When I first started thinking about the LostGirls project, before I’d ever voiced it to anyone, it was a meek little mouse of an idea, terrified of coming into the light. I was convinced that I could never really make it work, that mentioning it to anyone would be pointless, that they would just assume I would fail. I hadn’t even come up with the full concept yet and I was already talking myself out of it. During one of those conversations where you talk about all the things that you could be doing, my stepmother made me realize that I had to work out what had gotten in the way before.
As it turns out, the only thing that ever stood in my way was me. My negativity, my perception of what a blog should be. My unwillingness to leave my comfort zone. I had only ever had support from friends and family, most of all my parents, who both contributed to past projects, so I had only myself to blame for all the fear mongering. It’s hard to face this kind of revelation, but it was also the chance to change something that had kept me stuck for years. A chance for a real change in my life, as a whole.
I asked my mom and my stepmom if they ever make ridiculous excuses to avoid doing things that they know are good for them. They both laughed knowingly. I don’t know if men do this, but the more I talk to women about it, the more stories I collect about this type of self-sabotage. One friend told me that she would make what seemed (in her own mind) like reasonable excuses not to go to the gym. Basically, if the stars didn't align just right, she'd put it off. She would then keep putting it off till she had killed her exercise regimen and then she had the excuse that it was just too hard to start over. At some point, she ended her gym membership because it was a waste of money if she didn't even go.
As for me, I once made a rule for myself that if I did not sit down first thing in the morning and write three pages in my journal, then I wasn't going to get the desired results and should just wait till the next day. Days would turn into weeks, weeks into months, and then one day I’d decide to write something. And I would be shocked when writer's block would set in, obviously in denial that I had done it to myself.
The idea that either of these excuses would be remotely justifiable is, of course, ridiculous. But until we really look at how we get in the way of finding our own happiness, it is awfully easy to stay stuck. The worst part is that it is entirely up to each of us to change our own lives. This is, of course, also the best part. Guess what? It's up to you - no one else.
Although I can’t pin down the exact turning point for me, as a writer and a blogger, I can say that the decision to create LostGirls, and its sister sites, came from a desire not just to do something different for myself, but to offer something different to the women I know and other women like us. A place to go learn. Go discuss. Go do.
In the last two months that I have been working on these sites (formatting, writing, getting advertising, etc.), I have shared bits and pieces of this project with a lot of people and shared the whole of it with a few very special folks. What I’ve found is that, even more amazing than having people support you and what you’re doing, is having them want to do it with you because they like the idea for themselves.
This is our project. Five sites by and for women who know what it is to feel a little lost. In our travels. Moving to a new place. Learning a new skill. Or just in life, in general.