March 13th, 2017
I have a loud appreciation for people who do what they love.
Unabashedly. And publicly. Regardless of what others might think.
I battled with that notion for a while.
At the beginning of my blogging >>>> sometimes in the middle >>>> and even in the current day.
Because putting yourself out there is scary.
And I revisited that realization recently when I noticed a former classmate popping up on my newsfeed in a big way. I admired her boldness, and more than that, I admired her answer when I asked if she ever felt that feeling when publicly sharing too.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The Chicago-based author of Diary of a Dirty Blonde and former sorority sister of mine.
We reconnected recently because we both realized we unknowingly shared a vital passion—a desire to curate everything that inspires us, and afterwards, share it with the world just in case it helps anyone in any way.
Then…we talked about how weird the internet has started to feel.
How the insane wAvEs of political posts, opinion lash backs, and celebrity gossip have suddenly made the internet feel a little less safe. It’s the reason I subconsciously started
s l o w i n g d o w n
my public writing.
But I felt better after our chat.
“I had a lot of hesitations when I started,” she began. “I’d ask myself so many questions that I knew were holding me back like ‘If I start posting, will the random girl from college think I’m a wannabe?…Am I wannabe? Will my friends think I’m conceited? Who will take these photos of me without making fun of me? What if that person from high school that I haven’t spoken to in years sees my posts and think I’ve lost my mind? Does anyone care about what I have to say?’…And the list goes on and on.”
I related to that initial notion of self-doubt. I readily assumed judgment would spark from my stories and writing style, and worried people would think that sharing what I wrote was less of a passion and more of a cry for attention.
None of that is true.
And still isn’t.
But I get why people think it.
The truth is:
I write because I love it. And I share it because it feels fun. And to be honest, one of the other reasons I started transcribing my work digitally was because I kept having these irrational dreams that all my handwritten journals would get caught in a big-time fire and suddenly any evidence of my written memories would be void in a fiery flame—just like that.
But what made Kirsten go for the gold?
“Eventually I said ‘fuck it’. Other amazing people seemed to find the bravery—no problem—so why couldn’t I? They were truly passionate about sharing what they love looked so happy doing it, so I wanted in. I’ve done cool things that mean a lot to me, and I wanted to document them.
Simple as that.
So one day I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed some breakfast cookies, sat at my computer all day, and by the end of that afternoon, I had a blog name, a domain, and a lot of ideas stirring in my head.”
I remembered that moment for me too. I was sitting in a bunk bed at the age of 22 with
of handwritten journals I was dying to transcribe. I really wanted to repaint the important people and places in my life through typed-out words. Because those experiences? And those people? Molded me—struck passions, thought processes, and priorities in me I would have never found on my own. And then I remembered thinking to myself:
‘If these people, places, and things impacted me this greatly, then why not make that feeling contagious?’
Turns out, Kirsten felt the exact same way.
“I’ve always been a sentimental person, so getting the opportunity to look back on the things I used to do and the way I used to think to me, felt amazing. So on August 13, 2016, that feeling overrode every insecurity I had and I just went for it. I posted my first post. And I was extremely excited. I did it. All by myself. And for a while it was fantastic. I was posting article after article centered around trips I had recently taken to Southeast Asia and Europe.
I couldn’t get enough of the amazing pictures I took while I was there, and instantly wanted to share all my travel tips with the world (even if it was just the 5 people—at the time—who followed me…including my parents and my sister). I wanted to be committed. Really committed. And I felt that way until I realized.
I was about to run out of material.
Well what am I going to write about now? All my travel posts are practically done…so do I have to keep traveling to stay relevant? Would people even care? The insecurities started to flow in all over again.”
I remember exactly where I was when I felt that emotion. I was walking to work and
II paused II
on the corner of 59th street and 5th avenue, right near the Plaza Hotel.
I had just written a post about breaking into an old and abandoned performance hall in 2012 where Elvis Presley played once. Then I shared it. And for some reason right afterwards I thought to myself “that might be the last worthwhile thing I ever write”. I hit an inexplicable certainty that I could never write anything interesting ever again. I was only 23 and for some reason I felt like my writing days were over—only because my insecurities and self-doubt told me so. But I knew I had to get over it. So I did. And I’m so happy Kirsten did too.
“I knew that what I wanted was too important, so I decided to go for what I really wanted full force. I asked my older sister, Lauren, if she would follow me around the park one morning (super early so I couldn’t risk running into someone). She was annoyed about getting up early, but agreed to follow me around for 30 minutes to see what we could pull off. I was the most awkward person in the world…and she also felt awkward taking my pictures…but at the end of the day I ended up with a few photos that I put in my first-ever fashion post—the new direction I decided to take—and I felt good all over again.
Then my nightmare happened.
Random people started texted me asking if I had a blog. Immediately I was concerned about what they thought. Because I’m no angel. I’ve definitely caught myself passing judgment on what people said in a post. So why wouldn’t people do the same to me? Suddenly, I became wrapped up in negative feelings instead of being excited for my new adventure. I even found myself lying to people that I would run into that would see me taking pictures and would just mumble that I was getting coffee so people wouldn’t pass judgment.
And that’s when I decided, that if I was going to do this, I needed to not care about any of that.
Because at the the end of the day?
I loved doing it.
And I didn’t need to be driven by any more reason than that.
I admired her boldness, and more than that, I admired her answer when I asked if she ever felt that uneasy notion of publicly sharing too:
It’s the thing that gets me excited to come home at night and a place where I can shamelessly document anything I please. But I’ll tell you what, the best part of my experience has been how much positive feedback I’ve been getting. The support has been amazing and I’ve even connected with people I never would have if I didn’t take the chance…so maybe we had it all wrong. Maybe people are a lot more supportive, open-minded, and badass than we may think. Knowing that now, I’ll never wait this long to pursue what I love again.”
For more of Kirsten’s inspiration insights, check out her website to see how she finally went for the bold.