things i’m afraid to tell you.

things i'm afraid to tell you

When Jess Constable hit “publish” on this post, I hope she was proud. The kind of proud that makes you feel you should put on your running shoes and flee for the mountains, much like a curtain-clothed Julie Andrews frolicking about. I hope she twirled that day, because she deserves to.

And when Ez contacted me to start a viral blogging campaign about transparency, fear and anxiety, I hope she was proud, too. Because when I agreed to participate, I twirled. I twirled and twirled and twirled, so fantastically inspired by this community of genuine women that surrounds me. At the same time, the all-too-familiar fears of anxiety and rejection began to creep up inside me as I wondered what exactly I would (could? should?) share with the world.

The truth is, I spare a lot of details about my personal life on this site. For a lot of reasons, of course, which is something people say when they’re scared to admit the true reasons. And for me, those true reasons stem from fear.

When I started my personal blog in 2001, no one was listening except for my college roommate and the computer hacker down the hall in 2B. And now? Now there are thousands of you, which scares me to no end. I’m so much more comfortable highlighting the amazing lives that other creatives are building, rather than let you in to see the cracks in my own foundation. I’m a shack writing about the many Sistine Chapels of the world, and in doing so, I forget that even shacks provide shelter amidst the storm.

So, in honor of celebrating the shack in us all, I present to you a list of Things I’m Afraid to Tell You:

1. I limit my time on social media channels (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram) not because I’m too busy, but because feelings of jealousy creep up when I look at the perfectly styled and aspirational lifestyles of my online friends and suddenly my life seems too slow, too mundane… too regular. (I know this isn’t true, and that I have the power to mold and create the life I want. In reality, I am a very lucky girl, yet when my focus is on others behind a computer screen, my perspective shifts and I get thrown off balance.)
2.  I sometimes tire of writing about art/design/visual inspiration, because I fear I’m contributing to a false sense of reality. I do believe there is beauty in absolutely everything, but where does that beauty come from? Is it in a well-designed object, or the story of a maker who has overcome adversity in some way? Or is it in the beauty of failure – of accidents, unexpected twists and personal trials?
3. I am average at a lot of different things, but above average at very little, so my inner voice sometimes lets that deter me from following my dreams. I badly want to start a clothing/product line, but am terrified, because I’m not a style expert and know nothing of the sort. But you know what? I’m going to give it a shot. I truly am.
4. I miss creating things. On some days, I’m perfectly content highlighting the inspiration that abounds from other people’s creations, and then other days? Other days I want to join in on the fun – to be my own inspiration. To create my own things, my own self. I haven’t found that balance yet, but I’m hopeful.
5. I am super sensitive and my feelings are easily hurt. I spend a lot of days in my own head, creating catastrophes that don’t exist and feeling anxious about silly, unimportant details. I continually judge myself and am a very, very harsh critic. (This is why I give myself non-goals at the beginning of the year!)
6. I am a horrid homemaker. Until recently (thanks to nesting!), I rarely cooked a meal and am always fighting the dreaded laundry day. I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my toilets (I truly am disgusting myself over here).
7. I’m surprisingly non-crafty. I don’t have the patience or attention to detail, which is why designing and styling is more up my alley. If the item already exists and I can create something around it? Yes. If I have to dream up the inner workings and function of something entirely new? Hives abound.
8. I’m not fully confident in my own skin. I have stretch marks, teen acne scars, oily skin and many more beauty flaws. I have to continually remind myself to strive for inner beauty and forget the rest. Don’t we all?

You guys. I feel better already. I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to create a safe place where I can share my deepest anxieties. I’d encourage you to do the same, when you’re ready. Or to visit the other bloggers who are spilling their guts today. The hills are, indeed, alive, and I’m so glad we’re ready to twirl.

Much love to each of you,

EDIT: My gracious, you guys are so incredibly supportive and kind. I’m amazed at this community. Definitely read through the comment section – it’s a great thread and proves that we’re all much more similar than we think! Thank you for your grace today!

  • Thanks for sharing! It’s actually pretty comforting to hear these things from you because I can relate to several of your confessions. I visit this site frequently for ideas, inspiration, and a pick me up when I’m feeling down, but never really imagined you to be dealing with your own insecurities. The idea that you’re managing your own self-doubts while leading a brilliant professional life is just as inspiring as the art and design images you post here.

  • @Allison – OMG you are so brave to share those things! And can I just say that my style icon (my grandmother!) is a size 12? She’s as beautiful as anyone I know (probably more beautiful) and pulls off the craziest ensembles. Such an inspiration!

    As far as giving birth/having kids, ha… I’ll let you know how it goes. ;)

  • Erin, thank you so much for all your honesty. It really helps. I’m new to all this and I keep comparing myself to the blog world. I think this is an amazing campaign. You are wonderful just the way you are.

    P.S. I need to get to my toilet too.

  • Okay Erin, I’m not sure where to start except I am SO glad I picked today to catch up on your blog. Big virtual hug, and bigger props for taking a deep breath, gathering your courage and sharing this…thank you!! And my toilet hasn’t been cleaned for awhile either. xxxxoooo

  • I love these posts so much…it goes to show that we bloggers are all perfectly NORMAL human beings with flaws just like everyone else. My list would look a lot like yours and I find myself feeling the same way many times when I become too engrossed in my virtual life. Sometimes it’s just nice to take a step back and live REAL life, the you see all the beauty that surrounds you that isn’t material. Bravo!

  • Goodness, such bravery! I feel that it’s only fair to tell you that I have terrible penmanship, an incredibly messy desk, & a tendency to waffle between loving the things I create & fearing that they are too quirky to appeal to anyone else.

    P.S. Your writing skills really shine in your occasional personal posts.. just sayin :)

  • I can relate to so many of these! PS. I think you are even more perfect now that you shared, then before. ;)

  • I love this, and I’m loving reading everyone else’s posts as well. In the end, we’re all just people, huh? The same struggles and little monsters get to us all. Cheers to you, and to all the honest folks out there. xoxo

  • So brave! Know that you are not alone and many including myself feel the same doubts and more daily.

    Speaking to point #3 I paraphrase from a Ted Talk video…but Paula Scher a well known graphic designer says: “The best way to accomplish serious design … is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job.” The next time you feel unqualified or nervous about starting your own line, know that greatness may come from your feeling of naivete.

    Good luck to you, thanks for the bravery and honesty.

  • Oh my goodness; you ladies are too much. I just love you all! Am I allowed to say that on the internet? :)

  • Oh Erin you are lovely! I echo the thoughts of those comments above and please know you inspire me everyday when i think “what would Erin do?” Life’s to short to clean toilets anyways.

    I can’t wait to see your design range


  • Erin, thank you for responding to my comment. I have contributed to the movement now. I’m scared, I admit it. I shared really scary things. Here we go world!


  • I only had time to read one blog post today, & I’m so glad it was yours. You are one of the most absolutely genuine people in the blogosphere, & the one I would most like to hug, should we ever meet. :) Yay, for imperfection! It makes delights of us all!

  • What a great post Erin, I love it! I agree with everyone else on here, sometimes the internet can be so isolating – make you feel like everyone else has it SO together, while you just don’t – I feel like that all the time. It’s liberating to hear someone as successful as you also has insecurities – if only I could get the guts to make a post like this!

  • I’m loving all of these posts and have even shared my own. I think it’s funny that we are opposite. I am crafty and wish I could be stylish enough to do design – I’m just clueless. When I decorated my boyfriend’s apartment, it was basically taking full floor displays from Pier1. I have no idea how to put things together on my own

  • Erin-tastic! This is why I loved meeting you so much cause we got to talk about REAL stuff and it made me love you even more, and now I love you even EVEN more, if that’s possible :) You sure look good all opened up like this. You’re one amazing lady!

  • Wow…okay. Thing I am afraid to tell you: I have stopped by your blog off an on for probably two years now, and never made it a really regular read b/c every time I dropped by I thought “too perfect–can’t relate.” After this post, though? YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND. I mean, you are beautiful, your designs are beautiful, your eye is beautiful, but sharing these insecurities just makes you the kind of perfect I can relate to.

  • OK, at this point I’m crying. Thank you so much for your endless words of support, ladies. Gosh — I feel so lucky. Let’s make it an effort to showcase the real sides of ourselves, yes? What does that look like? How do we balance inspiration with realism?

  • Thank you for a fabulous, refreshing, honest and lovely post. Voicing these inner fears shows your true strength. –Carolyn

  • i am loving this campaign, movement, what have you… it makes me look at you {and all of the other bloggers participating} in a whole new, refreshing light! cheers to your honesty and bravery!

  • What a brave & wonderful post, Erin! It is strangely comforting to find out someone you admire for her talents also struggles with some of the same things you do. Not in a ” misery loves company” kind of way, but more because people just love real people, I guess. :). Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh Erin, this was so wonderful and brave of you! Please know that because of you, thousands of us out here are breathing a sigh of relief. I hate that I get pangs of jealousy when I see all of the blogs that I admire put together gorgeous post after gorgeous post, while I feel that I’m not really getting anywhere with mine. It’s so refreshing to be reminded that you are all real people too, and it’s most likely not easy for anyone like I perceive it to be. You were a major inspiration to me for years before I decided to start my own blog – and I thank you for that beyond belief. Although my blog is still small, it is extremely rewarding to me and I look forward to making it grow and to make new friends with all of the amazing people in the blogging community. You have accomplished so much and have inspired so many people – way to go! Virtual hug my darling! xoxo

  • Ah, you are all so uplifting! Thank you for your kind words, and I’m so happy to hear so much honesty coming from every corner of the web. Let’s keep it up, yes?

  • Bravo Erin! You were my first introduction to this series, and what a great job everyone has been doing…I’m inspired to create my own now too :) I can relate to a lot of what you had to said, and it’s so nice to know that we’re all in this together, and that sharing this can be very cathartic. ((((((())))))) <—big internet hugs!!

  • Ah, thank you Kelsey!!! I agree; everyone has been doing SUCH a great job. It really is an inspiring movement indeed!

  • I just finished having a bedtime chat with my 6 year old daughter about how “nobody is perfect” and she was shocked…then continued to go down the list of each of our family members asking if each one was perfect or not. And, no, none of us are, surprise surprise :) Felt so great to read your post after that little talk. I read Ez’s earlier today and felt that same sense of relief knowing that, no matter what our status or stage of life, we’re all in the same boat and just trying to make the best life possible out of what we’ve been given. I’ve had the same sticky note stuck to my computer for a year and a half, listing “patience, gratitude, and be satisfied with less” yet each is a daily struggle for me. Despite our insecurities and daily failures, the best we can do is wake up and try even harder the next day, right? Cheers to keeping it real and thanks for the beautiful post :)

  • Erin, I love that you wonderful gals are doing this. I can relate to so much. And being a mom seems to bring on oh so many more realizations of inadequacy. But I love that we are all human and beautiful in our imperfections. Like so many have mentioned, Erin I love you (and your blog) even more for you willingness to lets us in.


  • Thank you. So helpful to hear people talk about being afraid… doesn’t really matter what afraid of… just that we share that vulnerable little piece of ourselves.

  • I loved reading this, its really great to see people putting themselves out their a little and seeing the community come together. Great post.

    Definitely start the clothing line if it feels like the right thing to do, I wrote a post recently about how I’m more terrified of my abilities but I think if perhaps all of us really push ourselves to do that one thing we’re terrified of, the results could be amazing! :) have a great day.

  • Hi Erin, I can definately relate to most of these points that you’ve written. Im in my early 20s, and a few years a go I had a really bad accident. It’s taken me three years to get to how I am now – very nearly fully recovered thanks to my determination and my close friends and family never giving up on me. Because of this I couldn’t go to uni, and my confidence in my self was completely lost. Ive decided to follow a career that I wanted to at the beginning, interior design. But like you I am terrified that I will do it wrong, and nobody will like anything I design! I always always question myself and I’m very very easily offended with what people say to me. But I just tell myself, if you don’t try you will never know and if it doesn’t work move on. At least your never left thinking ‘what if?’. So I would like to say a million thankyou’s to you for sharing this with everyone, I alone feel so much better that I’m not alone in my nervousness! You are wonderful, and I sure you do well with whatever you want to do next, and I wish you the very best of luck!x

    • @Sarah I’m so sorry to hear of your accident, but at the same time, I am SO happy to hear of your positive attitude. Go get em, tiger! Definitely follow those dreams.

  • I think this campaign is truly amazing! Your’s is the first set of ‘Things I’m Afraid To Tell You’ and I can relate to many of the points you’ve listed. I feel better too :) Thank you for sharing!

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