"I've been meaning to write more." 

I can't even count the number of times I have said that sentence to people in the past several months. It's a true statement, but nothing ever comes of it, and as a result, thoughts have been piling, piling, piling, until it's become almost too overwhelming to even know where to begin.

Almost. 

I recently read the book "Rising Strong" by Brené Brown, and in it she talks about the concept of a Shitty First Draft (SFD). She is referencing the SFD within the context of writing your thoughts down when you're going through emotional turmoil, just to get them out of your head and tangibly into the universe, where you can then either let them be, or revise them until they're cohesive enough to express them to someone else. But it's also the perfect way to think about any kind of writing, especially for blog posts, which can often sit in the drafts folder for months, never seeing the light of day. At least, that's the way it is for me.

There are so many things that keep people from doing the things that bring them joy and release: perfectionism, comparison to others, fear of being vulnerable/judged/failing...the list goes on. My biggest hindrance lately has been a mix of perfectionism and the fear of offending people. I actually love being vulnerable. I love open, honest conversations, and if I'm comfortable around someone, I don't have much of a filter, which leads to some amazing, life-changing conversations, but can also make people feel uncomfortable. I'm hyper-aware of that last part, because the last thing I want to do is offend anyone - if I write or say something knowing that even one person in the world might take offense to it, it feels like a selfish act. Better to just keep the thoughts inside in that case, right? Don't rock the boat.

That's how I've operated for a long time. But in reality, it's hard to express anything without someone feeling appalled/hurt/embarrassed, etc. etc., so the result of operating under that line of thought is nothing ever getting expressed at all. And that might be fine for some people, but for me, not being able to express myself is the equivalent of filling my brain up with bumblebees, one by one, until my head is vibrating from the buzzing and I can't focus on anything else but the bees bouncing off the inside of my skull. It's taken me awhile to realize and accept that I can literally be and do whatever I want, short of murdering someone, and as long as I am being true to myself, that's okay. It doesn't mean I won't make mistakes, or hurt people, or make a fool of myself, but the likelihood of those things happening is pretty high anyway, so I might as well mess up while living a life that is real and authentic. I've been seeing a therapist, like really, really seeing a therapist, for the first time in my life, and the one thing she keeps reminding me as I wonder and worry and fret is that at the end of the day, people are going to respond how they respond, to all things good and bad. The only person's reactions we can control are our own. This doesn't give us free reign to be careless, or not give others consideration when choosing our actions (a big theme in my life lately), but everyone is in charge of themselves and their lives, and it is their responsibility to decide how to feel and react. 

All of this is to say that you're going to start seeing a lot more of me around here. And this time, I mean it. As I've said before, I don't think that everyone deserves to know everything about my life, but I do think that being willing to be open and vulnerable, especially amidst the sea of seemingly perfect pictures/lives/families/relationships/homes/lives that bombards us online every day, is crucial to cultivate a more loving, authentic, connected world, which is something we desperately need right now. I endlessly appreciate the people who are brave enough to bare their souls to the universe, and I've always found that my most honest writing is the kind that jump-starts the best conversations and people messaging me to say, "I can relate to what you said SO MUCH". Vulnerability begets vulnerability. And I need to start practicing what I preach. 

So there's going to be a lot more real talk around this blog. I'm going to write about my business struggles, money problems, dating, and why the hell I'm eating so many boxes of macaroni and cheese a week when I'm 30 years old and should be cooking more real food, damn it. I'm also going to be sharing my joys, daily life thoughts, and anything else I find to be interesting and meaningful. And it's gonna be awesome.

I wrote this entirely in one sitting, without going back to read it and make changes as I went. And I'm not going to edit it. Consider this my first public Shitty First Draft, with many more to come.