I always knew it would come to this, time to share my work. Shit.
As I have gotten older I have certainly cared less and less about what other people think of me. Not because I am dwindling my personal care-factor levels towards wearing old and bally Kmart tracky-pants, a Bintang singlet and thongs in public. But because I am more comfortable with who I am.
I find myself anxious and nervous about sharing this body of work with my friends and family, yet I have zero concerns about website visitors I don’t know potentially showing up. So what is going on?
I built this particular blog post to smack my incessant self-doubt in the mouth. The insecurity bangs around inside my head like a fly in a jar trying to find an escape, a release. So fuck it, I’m smashing the jar and directing everyone I know to this article, this is my new landing page.
Read my stuff, subscribe, like, follow, share… or don’t.
I have undertaken many public facing ventures during my career but if I am honest, this one feels different, it seems more daunting. This is all me.
The insecurity bangs around inside my head like a fly in a jar trying to find an escape, a release.
Why do I care? I started this blog as a hobby. All of the content I have produced for this website (and all of the future material) is addressing subject matter that I was keen to write about. I am trying new things and blogging about my experiences, big deal.
So I remind myself why I am spending my valuable spare time doing this. One thing I enjoy more than writing is being able to write about whatever I like, so here we are.
And if I am honest, despite my best efforts, I admit that I do still care about what happens from this point forward. It matters how it is received. It matters how it grows and evolves and develops.
Time to dig deep, put on my big-boy pants, fire up the imaginary self-analysis machine and see what I can identify when I think about my feelings. This is what I uncovered.
1. I value and respect the opinions of my friends and family
It sounds frivolous and obvious but naturally I am worried about what certain people think of me because I value their opinion. Essentially the individuals I talk to in person and those I am friends with on Facebook make up a tiny percentage of the world’s total population but they are folks that matter the most to me.
2. I am actually a private guy
This one seems like bullshit considering the existence of this blog and the subject of this post, but it is true. I am not one to volunteer private details or personal information. I am reluctant to talk about myself and we keep our family life relatively low-key. When considering these personal observations and adopting such an honest inward focus, it is probably the primary driving force behind my apprehension.
3. I am average and uninteresting
I could not be more mundane, elementary, standard, boring. I’m 40, married, two kids, full time job, car, a little overweight, friendly and I enjoy beer, chocolate, holidays, footy, Netflix and Xbox. I am just a normal bloke, typing away. I am just a guy, who now has a blog. Who is going to give a shit about what I have to say? The enthusiasm and motivation for writing can quickly transform into trepidation, hesitation and embarrassment.
The enthusiasm and motivation for writing can quickly transform into trepidation, hesitation and embarrassment.
4. I don’t know anyone else doing it
So much of what I have done with my life has been guided, or more accurately I should confess it has been heavily influenced by my mates. Yet not this. I do not know anyone else having a crack at blogging. It creates a weird feeling of trying to navigate unknown waters, which reminds me of a great REM song called Night Swimming. Although there exists mountains of online advice in many different mediums and formats, there’s nobody I can ask for advice. Yet.
5. I will be laughed at
Seventy-nine-year-old Canadian poet Margaret Atwood is renowned for addressing topics such as animal rights, national identity and feminism. She also wrote The Handmaid’s Tale. Her studies of university aged students circa 1990 uncovered a startling quote often referenced in various forms to this day, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Whoa! Cop a load of that, wow! Unfortunately, I find myself a predictable conformist in this regard, see point three above. I am fearful of being ridiculed, scoffed without my knowing. Nevertheless, this venture is something I have contemplated for years, life is short. Thus, I will push on with this blog appreciative of the fact that being laughed at is not nearly as serious as feeling as though my life is under threat.
6. I am making myself vulnerable
A large majority of the people I admire and respect have at some stage “put themselves out there”. Famous Australian people like Scott Pape, Jim Jeffries and Donna Hay to name a few, but also lesser-known acquaintences whom I share personal connections with. They would have no idea how much I admire their work and courage. I have several cousins doing extraordinary things with their adult lives and people I consider friends really kicking ass with their passions. It is inspiring and as I weigh it all up it has helped me to recognise that it certainly overcomes the false-might of self-doubt.
7. I believe in my abilities
I think I have the talent stack to compliment a hobby like this blogging thing. I can write OK, I can manage a website OK, I can manage my time OK, I can photograph OK. When you pile them on top of one another it should pull together as a nice little product. The challenge is making the whole much greater than the sum of the multiple OK parts. So if I fail, if I cannot bring the skills together harmoniously, if my best efforts amount to a stinking pile of clown shit, then I will be devastated. In turn that disappointment will result in a fundamental shift in how I see myself, scary.
…if my best efforts amount to a stinking pile of clown shit, then I will be devastated. In turn that disappointment will result in a fundamental shift in how I see myself, scary.
8. I want to keep going
I am well aware I am going to cop plenty of well-intended banter for whatever I write and put out to the world, that’s what mates are for. I am quite used to that and more than capable of handling such laughable and light-hearted situations. So what’s the worst that could happen? Somebody I know and actually respect will post a negative comment. Nobody will show up followed by a plethora of unspoken “I told you so-s”. Maybe it gets super busy, or I get super busy and there’s no longer enough hours in the day for me to keep everyone satisfied. I do not want to be disheartened and I appreciate that’s on me. I aspire to build a body of work that is the culmination of a regular and consistent commitment to my individual writing style. It would suck if that all stumbled on the first hurdle.
9. I don’t want to embarass anyone else
This website is a collection of my encounters and the thoughts and opinions that are derived as a result of such experiences. That is all good and well, however, it does create a reality where my writing might inadvertently affect other people. I would hate to expose or embarrass somebody, or even worse learn that somebody I love is ashamed to be related to me. It might come across as dramatic or even unnecessary but nevertheless, it is another added concern to heap on the pile.
10. I will regret it
If I quit before sharing this post then nobody will know. If you are reading this, then chances are I already threw caution to the wind and started spreading the word. So now if I quit, many people will know, mainly those from point number one above. Forget about the wasted hours and effort, forget about all those instances when I showed enthusiasm for something that I believed in that subsequently fell over. Forget about everything else I have listed above, because if I ever regret sharing this blog it will be because I have let myself down.
I figured there was no better way to overcome my reservations and anxiety than by listing the reasons I am fearful in the first place. And then directing everyone I know to read it for themselves. Cards on the table, walls down, sphincter clenched. Thanks for reading.
Downunder Dad: Independent, Aussie and Personal
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