I haven't posted here in a while - at least for me, it's a while. A few weeks feels like an eternity in the blogosphere.
I unplugged (for the most part) since my last post. It wasn't as hard as I feared it would be. I didn't realize how the constant stream of emails, FB messages, etc. was impacting my mental health. It all got to be too much.
We went to the Florida Keys as a family - we haven't been away just the four of us on a vacation like that in, well, ever. I had no idea how I'd do - wallowing in my kids, only peeking at social media periodically like a junkie sneaking a quick fix. Very quickly, my Internet World felt far away indeed.
I closed my jewelry stores for the summer. I haven't done that since I opened my first store in 2008. I knew it was the right decision when I clicked into "vacation mode" with nary a second thought.
I don't really know how to describe how I've been feeling lately. Over my birthday (44 on July 4th) I had what amounts to an emotional and physical collapse. All the stresses of the past months - heck, the past two years - came flooding in. I missed my Dad terribly. I thought a lot about how on earth we got through the past year and a half with his death, my cancer, and all the day-to-day pressures of life.
In part, I realized, I got through it by throwing myself into work. My non-profits - The Bubble Hour, Crying Out Now, Shining Strong -- in addition to my jewelry and Arbonne businesses. It only took a day or two of stepping away for me to see that I was, indeed, running from and not towards.
It's baffling, really, because I adore everything I do. As I've written about before, I can't imagine my life without all these things in it. I didn't stop from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I closed them at night. I spread myself too thin, but I did it willingly. Happily, even.
I don't know yet what will have to give. I am giving it until the fall to figure it out. My kids are thriving, and I'm grateful for that. It's odd to contemplate giving up something that I've worked hard to build. When I started ANY of the things I do, including this blog, I couldn't ever have imagined the places they would take me, the people they would bring into my lives. Even my Arbonne business - young though it is - has already brought me SO many gifts. And some much needed income.
I've decided to let it go - let the Universe direct me where I'm meant to go. If I don't over think - if I stay out of my own way - I know the answer(s) will appear.
I'm heading to Chicago tomorrow, to the big blogging conference, BlogHer. It's making me nostalgic; this is my fourth BlogHer, and it seems only yesterday I was heading to New York for my first one. I remember the dizzying pace of that conference, wanting desperately to be in the middle of all the action.
I could care less about the middle, now, and ironically letting go of needing to be there has swung it around my way. I was chosen as one of twelve Voices of the Year to read a post in the "heart" category at the big community keynote on Friday night, in front of over 3,000 people.
When I saw my first Community Keynote I remember thinking "man, I'd love to be up there someday", but it was for all the wrong reasons, although I didn't realize that at the time. I just felt so small there among all these well-known bloggers whose words and lives were such a big part of my life.
I hated feeling small. I was just getting started, chomping at the bit to get the word out there about One Crafty Mother, Crying Out Now and my jewelry.
Now I know you can't force these things. You can't just dive into the spotlight, or charm your way there.
But now that the spotlight is swinging my way, I'm ambivalent. This is not to say I'm not grateful - because I am very honored and humbled to have been chosen. I think I'm ambivalent because I no longer crave the center of attention. I think this is growth, but it's tinged with a feeling of undeservedness (now I'm making up words). This isn't compliment fishing, or false modesty.
I think I simply feel kind of done. Maybe reading at the Voices of the Year will be my going-out party. I don't know yet. We'll see.
If you're going to BlogHer, especially if this is your first time, be sure to come to the Serenity Suite, hosted by my good friends Heather and Maggie. Read Heather's post HERE for a list of who is hosting. The Suite locations are Sheraton-1287 and McCormick-921A (one in both locations as this conference is in two locales). I will be hosting there as much as I can.
Every year someone - or more than one person - comes in feeling small, alone and questioning why the heck they are there. Nobody is small in the Serenity Suite. My favorite memories from last year's conference happened there. So please, come on by and say hi.
I will leave you with a picture of a dolphin kissing me, because I can't think of any more words.