sharing

22 Years of Sharing

Twenty-two years ago, a little girl was born in a hospital in a small state, the air frosty, the wind blowing, a blizzard heading their way.

I was whisked home from the hospital the next day, as the first flurries fell of what would become a three-foot springtime storm, coined the April Fools Blizzard, perhaps most fondly remembered by my mother, with a brand new baby and five additional children home from school to welcome her.

This was how I entered the world, and it’s a story I tell proudly, for absolutely no conceivable reason.

Twenty-two years.

That’s how long I’ve been hanging around on this planet, scraping my knees, putting Band-Aids on, exploring my world and hiding under my blanket.

Having been born just a couple of years before Y2K, my life has been pretty centralized around the internet and the emergence of technology. I didn’t get my first iPhone until I was 16, but computers were a big part of my life since my young childhood days, filled with watching my bigger siblings play games and then morphing into the big sibling that got to play the games, but with a much smaller, less attentive audience.

I made my first Gmail account in August of 2006, promptly shooting off an email to my entire family announcing my brand new form of contacting them, and over the next few years, contact them I did.

With tears of laughter streaming down our faces, my sisters and I dug deep into our Gmail archives the other day, reading my diary-like emails sent to everyone and anyone who would listen.

At one point, I chanced upon a recording, something I sent out weekly (I only followed through for approximately two weeks), coined “Etti’s Update.” An early form of today’s popular podcasts, I would record myself discussing current events in my daily life, and sent it out to classmates and family. I listened to it, just the other day, laughing at what an over-sharer I was as a kid, before I realized – oh my gosh, I haven’t changed.

From my earliest days, I have been a sharer, seeking connection, reaching out in whatever form I could find.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to change how I celebrated my birthday a little bit by doing tiny acts of kindness for others. Paying it forward at a Starbucks, leaving a post-it note with some cash at an MTA machine, or just simply leaving an encouraging note somewhere I knew people would need to see it. It’s so easy to become unhappy on your birthday, looking at the marking of time as a reminder at how little you’ve progressed, or how quickly the years are going by. Changing the perspective has reminded me that a birthday is simply a reminder that I am lucky to be alive in this world for another year, and I have further opportunity to bring joy to others.

As a spiritual person, I do use this day to look inwards, to give extra attention to the important things, to use it as a time to reflect on the year past, and make stronger resolutions and goals for the year ahead.

I’m obviously thrilled to accept the sweet gifts and lovely messages from my friends and family.

Yet, like I previously said on this blog, the key to my happiness is remembering that it doesn’t end with me.

Reaching outward, just like my emails from my childhood show that I have always naturally done, is what brings this day to its completion.

Remembering that we live in this great big world, filled with humans that are more similar to us than different, a world ripe with the opportunity for connection, for smiles, for kind words shared – this is how I like to celebrate being alive.

Remembering that no matter what language we speak, what country we were born in, what food we prefer, we all know what loneliness is, what love is, we all have dreams and aspirations, we all can recognize a smile and an open heart.

So, in honor of my twenty-two years, I’ll be working on giving back towards twenty-two people, in whichever way I can, if that just means listening to someone for another moment, or helping someone with their stroller, or smiling at a stranger, or sending a heartfelt message to a friend.

Twenty-two years ago, I joined the mass of humanity on this earth, and I’ve spent nearly every day since talking and letting my voice be heard.

I don’t intend on quieting down any time soon, but I hope to channel all that sharing and be able to continue using this blog as a way to connect with all those who read.

I think 8-year-old me would be pretty darn proud.

4/52


Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

I Have No Words.

Sometimes,
Writing is an escape,
A place to feel at home.
Sometimes,
Writing is a way to build,
Stories and poems,
Worlds that may not exist.
Sometimes,
Writing is communication,
A way to express
What is clogging my heart.
Sometimes –
Writing can take a moment,
A deep breath,
A bit of time off.
Writing can step back,
Have to be woken from its slumber,
When I must write.
But this week
I’ve been living,
Reading,
Loving.
Sometimes…
I don’t need words.
And words don’t need me.
But I made a promise.
52 weeks.
Whether words and I
Are together
Or taking a break.
So here.
Here are my words.
Sometimes,
it’s important to live
To be able to have
What to write.
Sometimes
Words must sit inside my heart
Before I can allow them to live
On paper.

 

Blog Post: 29/52

Featured Photo by Jelleke Vantoogeghm via Unsplash.

Where Blog Posts Go to Die

People often tell me I’m good at being vulnerable, but the truth is, I’m okay with anything I put out there.
To me, being vulnerable is opening up to what is truly fragile.
But perhaps that is just stupidity, and knowing what you should share and what you shouldn’t share is just maturity.
I’ve been struggling with this idea this week.
I wrote 4 blog posts this week.
Not one of them are fit to be shared, either because they’re too boring, too personal, or too controversial to unleash on my Facebook page.
Do you know how frustrating it is to write 4 blog posts and not want to share any of them?
I’ve always been a sharer – I’ve never been one to avoid sharing my feelings, not as a child, not as an adult. I’ve never been afraid of putting myself out there with my emotions. Trust me, I’ve put myself in some very vulnerable, embarrassing situations because I don’t believe in letting things stop you when you have something to say.
But these blog posts are not meant for the world, maybe just for now, or maybe for forever.
I tried a lot of things to produce a blog post this week.
I tried writing at different times of day, in different locations, all different forms of writing.
I sat in a coffee shop, with a coffee I didn’t even want to see if I could reproduce that famous coffee shop inspiration.
It’s time I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not a coffee shop writer. It just doesn’t work for me.
But the point is, I’ve been working hard this week.
And it’s felt fruitless.
As I finished each blog post, I knew immediately it was not the post I was looking for.
And then, while I was walking back from the coffee shop, this line popped into my head.
“Where blog posts go to die.”
And I clung to that line, not knowing where it would go, not knowing if it meant anything.
And I got home, and I started writing.
And I decided- I’m going to honor each of this weeks failed blog posts by giving you one tiny excerpt from each:

1. And as I finish writing this, I know that I’m not going to share this because it is empty of thought and meaning. It is simply a rambling, and the level of ego I need to imagine that people should be reading my ramblings is not a level of ego I want to admit I have.

2. This attitude towards school has carried me through to my adult work life. I tried once explaining to someone that I am not capable of becoming a workaholic, of putting work before life.
She stared at me, puzzled.
“Without work, what is life?”

3. Each night, as I fall asleep, I remember all the mistakes I made, all the bad choices. I resolve to do better tomorrow – no, not better, to do it perfectly tomorrow.
I’ll wake up early, do a quick workout, eat a healthy breakfast, have an incredibly productive day, still have time to hang out with people I love, and most importantly, go to sleep earlier.

4. It is not something that is in my control.
I’ve berated myself, I’ve tried to remind myself time and time again that a watched pot never boils. But alas, I can not stop myself from thinking these thoughts.
Every wrong turn, every delayed train – heck, every train ride I’ve ever taken.

Perhaps one day these posts will be revitalized, fine-tuned and shared. Or maybe they won’t. Maybe they don’t need to. Maybe there are things I can tuck inside my notebook, keep inside my heart, and not share with the world.
Maybe these blog posts have lived and died, enough for me to open up my heart, let the words out, and close up the story.
I’m a writer. I love sharing.
But maybe not everything is meant to be shared.

Blog post: 19/52


Featured Photo by Jose Fontano via Unsplash.