As I was working in my office yesterday, I got a second notification for the day that someone was following my blog. (I’ve been getting them somewhat regularly now.) Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link and there was a picture of a man I didn’t know. “Who is this?” “How did he find me?” “How are these people finding me?” I noticed I had stopped breathing. I was holding my breath so I exhaled.
“Well” I thought to myself, “This is quite interesting” and I went on to ponder. I wondered what had me stop breathing? What had my chest feel tight? Why was I reacting in such a way to seeing the picture of a man who was following my blog. I felt the need to get away so I got up, got bundled up and went outside for a walk to figure this out.
I realized that when I started writing three years ago, it was to work through my experience before my lap band surgery. After I had the surgery it was to process what I’d chosen to do. When I chose to take the liquid out of my band and face what I needed to face, I realized the words I was sharing were making a difference to the friends who were reading them. Yes, I said friends. At first, it was just friends who were reading the blog. At times they passed it along to their friends but they were friends by association. And now we get to the crux of it. There was safety in what I’d created. If my friends didn’t agree with me, or didn’t like what I had to say they’d probably choose not to share it with me and so it was safe.
When I saw the picture of the unknown man, he represented all who have chosen to follow my blog that I don’t know. He represented the possibility of critical words. He represented uncertainty and thus vulnerability. It was clear that’s what had me stop breathing. Then I thought some more.
These folks have chosen to read my words and chosen to be notified when I post so obviously they want to hear what I have to say. Crap. Crap. Crap. The deeper level of concern surfaced. I don’t want to be “the one”. This is pressure to have to produce and make a difference. “You are so funny!” I said to myself. “Of course, you want to be the one! You just wrote about how your work is people growth not personal growth.” I took a deep breath then and I just took one as I wrote. Yes, I will continue to share. Yes, I will have strangers choose to follow what I write. Yes, I will make a difference. And, yes, there will probably be times when people choose to disagree with what I write. However, I must be building up to this because I’ve been writing for three years. It’s just now that I’m having this influx of followers. It’s time.
Now- on to the biggest win of this writing. Did you notice in the beginning, that I said I got up, bundled up and took a walk to think this over? Did you notice that I didn’t go to the kitchen for comfort food? When I realized I chose something different yesterday I had a little pep in my step as I walked the block. It’s the little steps of celebration that bring the walls down and build me up. And there’s another deep breath.