Coffee Stains turned three today. I remember deciding to create a blog. I didn’t really know why I wanted to. It had no name, no vision, and I didn’t have anything in particular to say. A week later, in the living room of my aunt and uncle’s farmhouse, I was flipping through free WordPress templates deciding what I wanted my blog to look like. It still didn’t have a name. I was just sipping coffee, desperately looking for a project that would inspire me to do… something. “Live healthier”? That may have been what this started as. I did follow a lot of health and fitness blogs at the beginning because that was what mattered to me then. And, at the beginning, that is what most of my content was about. I almost cringe thinking about it now – the posts where I listed what workout I did that day or what meal I ate. Who was I kidding? I am not a fitness or food blogger, but maybe that signifies how little I knew myself three years ago. How I thought self-improvement was rooted in bettering my body before my soul and mind.
The substance and regularity of this blog have been inconsistent and variable, but a few things have stayed the same. The content always reflects where I am, what I am doing, and what my priorities are. It is always honest. It has been with me through many transitions: relationships, careers, and continents. It has grown as I am growing. Someone asked me recently if I ever go back and read old posts and my answer is: Yes, all the time. It shows me where I started, reminds me of old moments, and – quite frankly – embarrasses me. But in a good way.
See, I want to be a writer.
But I’ve never admitted it to myself because writing was always something ‘personal’; a goal on the bucket list I would throw out there as something to be done sometime before I die. I want to write a book one day, I would say to friends, lovers, students, myself. Well, I asked myself last week, when is that ever going to happen?
And I realized that the reason I have been so insistent that this blog is just a ‘personal project’ is because admitting that writing was anything more than something I did when I occasionally found inspiration would be an easy way to disguise my fears. Fears of being vulnerable when others read my words. Or worse, fears of failing when my words aren’t read at all.
But my blog and I are growing. Coffee Stains is three, I will be twenty-five soon, and I want to start bridging ‘the gap’. The gap between reality and ambition that you can only bridge by showing up and practicing. By producing work you are not proud of so you can more clearly see what it is you do want to make. I am not proud of a lot of my old content. But, as my blog has grown (and my writing with it), so has my willingness to share it with others. I am not there yet, maybe I will never be, but I am starting to be proud of what I write and I don’t want to make excuses anymore.
So here is what is going to happen. First, I am going to write more. I am going to try and push the limits of what I know, be vulnerable and creative, and try harder. Second, I am going to share it. I’ve made a Facbook page where all posts will be shared and collected. If you would like to be updated when I write, you can follow it. It is such a strange thing to put something that makes you feel vulnerable out into the world for others to see. Putting aside for the moment the peculiar issue of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ and ‘views’…the only reason I can imagine people would put pieces of their creative work (therefore, pieces of themselves) on the internet is because they love what they do and they think they have something to say. A small number of people over the years have consistently read what I write and an even smaller number have reached out to say that something I’ve written moved them or helped them in some way. We talk a lot about ‘having it all’, but the moments when ‘what you love’ and ‘what impacts others’ collide…that is the closest I’ve ever gotten to actually feeling like I have it all. This is what I love and I am excited to keep going. Thanks for reading.