Using Your Authentic Voice

Feeling like something is standing in your way is extremely frustrating. Realizing that that something is you is a major bonus.

I’ve been cycling through an ongoing list of excuses in an attempt to justify (to myself) my lack of writing for the past few months. Somewhere along the way, I psyched myself out. I began to worry about needing to adhere to “best blogging practices” that I read about in other posts by large scale bloggers and found myself in a holding pattern I could not escape.

Pick a theme, know you brand, and stick to it. Tailor your words to a specific audience. At this point in my life, I can’t even decide which apple I like best. Is it gala? Honey crisp? Caramel? Cinnamon? My preferences shift by the hour. I have been so caught up with trying to decide on a platform and have repeatedly found myself staring at the screen with hands locked motionless over the keyboard. Opportunities to write have transformed into mental and emotional wrestling matches. What should or shouldn’t I write? In return I have been left with a stockpile of incomplete posts about topics including mental health issues, parenting struggles, design and decor / DIY overload, travel, rockhounding, birding, and other extremely cool un-nerdy subjects.

Write on a regular schedule and with high frequency. Again with the self-inflicted pressure. I’ve always believed that I work well in a high stress environment, and (on a clearly unrelated note) often find myself writing about my struggles with OCD, depression, and feeling overwhelmed by it all. Beating yourself up about failing to write only serves to fatten up the stress monster while simultaneously adding to writer’s block. Write when you can. Don’t when you can’t. End of story.

When you write, ask yourself, “How would a publisher view this?” Given some of the others works I have seen on the literal and figurative shelves, I would say that the view depends on the publisher. Clean up your writing so it will reflect quality, but don’t remove your voice in the process. If you are constantly choosing your words for someone else, you lose that authentic element that does make you truly unique. People are always searching for something different and something new. Stop aiming to run with the herd. Unless there are lions. In that case, ALWAYS PICK THE HERD.

Make your posts visually appealing. In a comical twist of photographic irony, I have been seriously hyper-focused on the severe lack of focus I have been experiencing with my pre-Jurassic camera. If I was to classify the quality of photos I have been generating, I feel like the term “janky” would be most accurate. Or maybe crapola. Regardless I have been extremely annoyed with my perceived lack of usable photos and again have been at a productive stalemate with my mind on this issue. As I have finally purchase a new camera, I am hopeful that this will leave my mental excuses list.

Ultimately I’ve realized that I should write about whatever speaks to me at that time. This site may be all over the place, and it may diverge from the standard. That’s okay by me. It’s my style of writing as well as my style of living. I do plan on cross-posting some of the entries on alternate topic specific blogs, and those sites will be tagged whenever that occurs. If someone needs a tailored site, perhaps that will work better for them. But I will not lose me or my voice in the process.  I can’t feed into the concerns of an electronic audience, a mercurial publisher, or any number of apples.

Move with honesty within your life, and seek success through your inner truth. Speak with your own voice, and be authentic. Always.

🙂  Joanna

Authentic

Day 12 – Keep Going and Never Give Up

prayer

This is a little snippet of a text conversation I had with my mom a few weeks ago.  Clearly I was ribbing her, but sometimes it feels true.  We pray and beg and cry, but we stay trapped in an emotional whirlpool where we can barely keep our heads above water.  I fully believe that our cries are heard, but we may still have to ride out the waves a little longer.  The key is to keep going and to just hold on a bit more.  Never stop hoping and never give up.

Thankfully I was able to spend yesterday out of the whirlpool.  I didn’t have to ride any major emotional roller coasters.  I wasn’t subjected to any blindsiding life events.  And I continued to take initiative to keep the good momentum going.

My three goals from yesterday were:

  • Assess and go into more detail on the division of labor on the home management scene (a.k.a. sharing the chores).
  • Take a little walk beyond the boundaries of my home and yard.
  • Write something honest that makes me uncomfortable to share but likely needs to be read by someone who could be helped by it.

These were the results:

  • Chore chat – On a scale of “Bleh!” to “Fabulous!” I would give this one a high “Meh.”  We talked about it.  We split up chores.  No big epiphanies, but no big meltdowns either.  Chores were knocked out with minimal drama by anyone.  That’s actually probably closer to a “Yay!” than a high “Meh.”
  • Take a walk – I circled the block to check the mail.  That was probably somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of a mile.  Task complete.
    • This seems like really small potatoes, right?  But allow me to add these deets for the numbers nerds out there.  If you walk 1/3 of a mile every day for one year, that comes to 122 miles.  In ten years, you are at 1,217 miles.  If if really committed and did this for fifty years, that would mean an extra 6,100 miles.  Bumping it to 1/2 a mile a day would mean an extra 183 miles in a year, 1,825 miles in a decade, and 9,125 miles over fifty years.  Dat’s a lotta meat-a-balls!
    • If I went totally bananas and walked 1 & 1/3 miles daily for fifty years (51.17 years for you fact checkers), I would walk the same distance as the circumference of the Earth (again allow me to save you the lookup time – 24,901 miles).  Amazing!
  • Write something raw – I wrote about problems, labels, and disorders I have wrestled with my entire life.  I wrote about what I am doing to work toward booting any remaining freeloaders off my train for good.  I don’t like putting this stuff on paper (electronic or otherwise), but I believe that it’s important that we recognize any negativity we have been empowering, and at times, embracing.  We wear our labels like they are fresh off the rack.  Even if I can’t fully extricate them from my emotions and my behaviors, I can stop allowing them to define me.  I have to be willing to see them for what they are, and hopefully in doing that, I can recognize that they are not who I am but rather attributes and experiences I have meandered and learned from.  Taking that a step further, my prayer is that my revealing my own struggles and successes may help someone else keep swimming through their emotional whirlpool until their waters subside.  They always do.  Just keep swimming.  (Now imagine Dory singing those words in “Finding Nemo” – it’s catchy!  A bit annoying but catchy nonetheless.)

We are not designed to be “perfect” people (“perfect” per our subjective human standards, definitions and expectations).  We are going to be sorely disappointed if we require that of ourselves.  I believe that the real game at hand is figuring out that we are the way we are for a reason.  We always discover our greatest strengths whenever we overcome our greatest weaknesses.  And sometimes it isn’t even about overcoming those weaknesses or shortcomings.  Sometimes the actual truth (Truth) is that we have to recognize that they aren’t shortcomings at all.  These so called disorders and perceived personality aberrations are an intentional part of who we are.  They have a purpose in our lives.  We are not broken.

You are not broken.

With that said, I would like to highlight a few of the people who have deeply inspired me to keep going at various times this week.  There are so many amazing writers out there, but these individuals have a special kind of style when it comes to sharing their own experiences with adversity and how they tell their struggles to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.  The word du jour per the Daily Post is savage, and that is the perfect adjective for these writers.  They are honest and real and raw.  They speak from their hearts and are perfect just as they are.  I don’t share these with you for my benefit.  I share them for yours.

https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.wordpress.com/ – Where to begin when describing this jewel?  She is absolutely wonderful on so many more levels than I could ever articulate.  Truly.  Amusing, heart warming, eclectic, and inspiring.  (Hello future me!  I utterly adore you!)

https://knockedoverbyafeather.wordpress.com/ – Bad assness at this level needs no introduction, but I will say that my world is infinitely better because she is part of it.  (Also I’m dying to see that giant feather!)

https://insidetherainbow.blog/ – She makes me laugh and cry and laugh again every single time, and she speaks to my heart whenever she writes. (I would gladly stand in a line for 4 hours to see “Grease” with this rockstar!)

https://carolrolke.com/blog/ – Introspective, clever, witty, and fierce – I appreciate her words on so many levels.  (I’m pickin’ up what you are puttin’ down.  Keep sharing all that awesomeness!)

https://authentically50.wordpress.com/ – We face different issues at this point in our lives, but her words transcend the individual scenarios.  (I’m truly thankful that I stumbled across your blog.  Such divine providence!  You are a blessing.)

never give up

My father gave me this little sign for my desk years ago.  Such powerful words.  Thanks for the reminder Pop.

Be fierce.  Be yourself.  Never give up.  Never give in.

***Joanna***

Savage

Fuzzy Around the Edges – Pixel Pix

I’m typically speaking about myself when I use the phrase fuzzy around the edges but not this time. While I have a wonderful eye for quality photo opps, my actual talent at executing said shots could be put on level with that of the Blair Witch Project.  Probably less.

Although I am photographically challenged, I’ve playing around with the camera on my new(ish) Google Pixel XL phone to see if it can overcome my human limitations.  I have been rather wowed with the results and wanted to share for any other shakey-handed Sallies out there who might be in the market for a phone in the near future.

Picture_20170617_122202087

I am intrigued with the mixed levels of focus in this shot.  The only areas in focus are the ones that were actually moving.  This spinner was turning wildly when I took the picture.

 

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The front was rolling in very quickly, and it was almost totally dark.

I took this picture while looking up at the branch that was 20+ feet above me.  I was standing in its shadow, and the sun was shining from behind it (because getting the sun to shine from beneath the branch seemed to be definitive no as the sun doesn’t work like that).  The camera still picked up the detail of the bark.

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It’s a lovely shot (if I may say so myself), but the truly impressive detail is that it was taken from a car window while bumping down a little highway at 70 miles per hour.

This week’s photo challenge is to show your favorite in-focus and out-of-focus moments. Click below for instructions on how to share your awesomeness with your fellow WordPeeps.
Focus

***MoJo***

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