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,
e.

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!

  • Wow, thank you for this post! It’s like you read my mind. I guess it means that none of us are nearly as unique in our insecurities (and trouble with housework) as we thought. We ALL struggle with ALL of these issues.
    As for me, I have always struggled with feeling ‘average’. I once asked a close friend and fiance what my talents are and they looked at me blank faced and then my fiance said, “you’re practical”. PRACTICAL??! Does that even constitute a talent? lol. I know I have talents but it’s sometimes hard to see them.
    Thanks for this :)

    • @Rachel – Ha, practical! That’s such an odd description, and I’m quite sure there are millions of better ones to describe you. It’s true – some of our talents are pretty far below the surface (and sometimes we push them farther!); let’s dig deep and try to give them some sunlight every now and then. ;)

  • Ohhh, this warmed my heart right up! I (silently) shouted “ME TOO!” at a few items on your list. I’ve always loved seeing your posts (and I love Minikind too), but now I feel deeply inspired by you as a person! I’ll never look at this blog the same again. Thank you!

  • Wow… I just stumbled on this movement and I am all in! I can’t wait to bare my soul to the world too, lol! I just wanted to say that I am right with you there on numbers 5, 6 & 8. Thanks for sharing, and God Bless!

  • Now I know why I was meant to stay home this morning! Such a heartfelt, beautiful post. None of us sees ourselves the way others do, whether that is good or bad. I see you as a unique, beautiful, confident, young woman, who is paving the road to help others find their own beauty. Most importantly, you have been brave enough (this takes confidence for sure!) to express your own inner voice, which some are never able to do.

  • I’ve loved seeing this here and on other blogs. I think it all boils down to ‘us’ as in ‘everyone’ are all more alike than one might have thought. Life isn’t perfect, we all have our struggles with different things. Thanks for sharing your story Erin. You inspire me!

  • Hugs Erin! I love this series of posts and I love EZ for starting it. Even though I know nobody’s life is a shiny as it seems online (and I’m guilty of glossing over the ugly bits too) I am so relieved to have an out loud reminder.

    • You are all so smashing! It also feels great to know I’m not alone in my own list — thank you for that, friends. Let’s enjoy a lovely weekend now – I’m sure a few of us are feeling much lighter! :)

  • Erin, I’d regularly read your blog years ago and one of the secrets I’ll admit to is that I stopped reading it (and many other beautiful blogs, too) because I was doing that thing that so many ladies who blog have come clean about in these posts – I was constantly comparing myself to the designers you featured and always finding that my designs were coming up short. I had to cut myself off for a while. I was glad that a friend of mine posted something about this “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” project because it led me back here to your blog, which I’d loved for so long. I think I’m ready to visit regularly again, to get over the comparisons, to find inspiration here instead of the criticism I brought on myself. Thank you for your honesty, and thanks for the beautiful things you’ve introduced me to here.

    • @Sulu what a beautiful, beautiful thought. I don’t blame you a bit – there are many people I have unfollowed on Twitter b/c the “inspiration” turned into “aspiration” and I was left feeling a bit empty and useless. It’s a fine line, and I definitely hope we can figure out a better balance along the way. I’m sure we can! :)

  • Wow, Erin! Thank you for sharing such personal detail about what goes on behind the scenes. I am late to the blogging game and get bogged down seeing all the beauty and success around me! It’s nice to step back and realize that we are not alone.

    I have to say that you are so very talented. I don’t know you. We’ve never met and I dont’ know if we ever will. (Don’t want to close the door on that dream!) I have been wanting to take your Alt class for months, but the stars haven’t aligned for me yet. I know there are so many people out there that love what you do. I hope that you find the time you need to accomplish the things you want. You’re amazing!

    xo,

    Lexy

  • I sometimes feel that being too real on my blog will deter readers but as i click around blogland i see that being me is what differenciates me from the rest, and after all, I started my blog with me in mind..I have read posts where the author criticizes these, let’s call them: self-centered posts, I think those authors should consider joining this group and break open their glass cage and take a step into their own personal reality, accepting you’ve got a life that’s affected by the world we live in makes everything else even more enjoyable, we need to take a breather from talking about others sayings and doings and let our own hearts have a chance at dictating today’s blog post…thank you Erin, as I’ve told you before, the fact that you answer back to your reader’s comments says a lot about you, so see the lovely in you that we, your readers, see..there’s a lot of it…take care, big hug Alexandra

    • Ah, thank you Alexandra — I completely agree; you are what makes your blog original and unique. Keep sharing from the heart!

  • hey you all! i definitely understand all the feelings u ¨ve expresed, and i was just thinking about it this days. i mean, i think we ve all got so excited about some ideas/mottos/slogans, we¨ve demanded and expected the same from ourselves; being some huge sports-clothing-brand-slongan the one im talking about.
    i guess we ve all got so hung up in the endless possibilities that web and connection brought (and to some other things), that we ve kind of have lost perspective? and we keep compariring ourselves to what we would want//to the best//to others/to the endless possibilities of nothing being impossible”” to the maximun of possibilities-even more if u know how the universe works”-
    i kind of thought that myself, this passing days. how we can lead simple wonderful profund meaningful lives if we got depressed out of what we feeel we are lackin? then again, as much as i personally have a thing for albert (dear einstein in my mind) and LDvinci, maybe society, designer and creative people all around just got obsessed with genius.type of mentalities…and even when im perfectly content with my -thank the lord!- gifts” and talents, i secretaly wish for many more …

    im sorry if i didnt make much sense,-or the spelling…- as typing this in the second language” i found it more and more difficult to explain.but we hear u E, dont feel alone.u never are :) xo

    • Paula:

      Ha, my father looks like Einstein, so I have a soft spot for old Albert as well. ;) Thank you for sharing, my dear!

  • I love this movement Ez has created. I relate a lot to “creating catastrophes” and I like to think that is not because I’m a negative person, I think it’s more due to the fact that I know how infinitesimal our lives are so I’m constantly aware that things can go wrong any second. I often feel scared when everything in my life is ok, you know, just health, personal, and financial wise, I’m kind of always expecting something bad to happen. Thanks for sharing, you’re truly an inspiring person!

    • @Gaby – Ha, I have those feelings, too! I’m a relatively anxious person, so I have to constantly remind myself to keep my head and body busy so they can work together on distracting the crazy. :)

  • Erin I have been a huge fan of yours for quite a while now and to read this post where you are so candid and open has done nothing but raise my level of respect for you even more.[I didn’t actually know that was possible]. Thank you for taking up the challenge and for being brave enough to share these with us! It has amazed me how much we all seem to feel the same. How much we have in common and how universal these feels and fears seem to be.

    I have written my own response to these posts. You can read it here if you like: http://www.amandafullerblog.com/2012/05/things-im-afraid-to-tell-you.html

  • I share many of your insecurities and found it very brave of you to share them with all of us. As women we definitely judge ourselves too harshly and require much of ourselves. My mother told me once when I was commenting about how perfect a friends house seems that everyone puts their pants on one foot at a time (translation–eveyone is human) with their own frailities and concerns. I try to remember and sometimes even picture that (it is so much fun to picture George Clooney putting his pants on!) when I am feeling less than perfect. With impending motherhood you will find many of those personal insecurities go away as that little one loves you whether the toilets are cleaned or not. Thanks so much for sharing so much.

    • @Diane – I LOVE that saying! It definitely helps put things in perspective for sure. Thanks for sharing, Diane!

      @Amanda – Just hopped over to your blog and commented. Your second confession really hit home for me!

  • Erin,
    Read every word and loved hearing more about you. So thankful to you, EZ, Nichole, and Jess for spearheading this fantastic idea. I think its important to be reminded we all have struggles in our own way, and behind all the pretty we are flawed sometimes….but you know, it makes each person more beautiful when they seem more real:) Thanks for sharing this!
    Anna

  • Love this post so much!!! Your honesty hits all of us and in the day and age of blogs/social media it’s so easy to compare ourselves and feel worn out from it.

  • Love this Erin! Thanks so much for being brave and sharing this post with all of us! :) Gotta say I live with a lot of the same things and it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who feels insecure, lacks craftiness, and who doesn’t clean her toilets on a regular basis!

  • You are so wonderful Erin!!! I am so thankful our paths crossed. xoxo
    -p.s. your fashion line would be smashing. do it now!

  • this is amazing. and i identify with many of your points (hey, #5!). my blog is so new and i started it out a month ago with a painfully honest post, but i may reference this idea for a future update because i think it’s healthy & important. like, i took such a deep breath after reading this.

  • this is so beautiful. i am right there with you and all your commenters. especially number 5. its so easy to forget that all the pretty things we read and gush about online.. have more to the story. thank you for being brave and honest with your sharing. its really helpful and heartening :))

  • thank you. it’s a breath of fresh air. twice in the last week i have been asked to share more on my blog. I think there is a lot more to the art of sharing without feeling like you are giving something away. Making the blog and yourself more rather than less…Do the line … you are ready

    • Thank you again, sweet friends – and yes! I am absolutely going to tackle that clothing/product line someday!

  • This is so refreshing to read! Not because I take pleasure in your insecurities or fears, but because reading about yours makes me feel better about my own. I’ve been sensing, for a while now, that the blog world is adverse to talking about or revealing failure. It is certainly helpful to read about someone finding success with a handmade business through social media, etc. This is what gives you the will to keep going through the bad times. But when those bad times seems to go on longer than expected or nothing seems to be working out or the success you read about on blogs is not happening, it’s even better to know that others have experienced and overcome those times. Thank you so much for keeping it real!

  • you all so right.
    I can recognize me self in so many of your words.
    Feel better, not to be alone!
    Have a nice day, erin.

  • funny the insecurities we all share but find so hard to talk about even to our nearest and dearest – but writing it down always helps refocus our thoughts and make them much more rational – so keep believing :)

  • oh god. love this. love you. never been to your blog before but this is fecking fantastic. relate so much. thank you.

  • oh god. love this. love you. never been to your blog before but this is fecking fantastic. thank you.

  • This is my 1st time to your blog and I haven’t looked around yet fore this is the 1st post that I read. I located you from Apartment 34. In any event this was beautiful. It’s so thrilling to see sincerity surface. I feel as if we live in a time of grave superficiality and a lot of us live with grave insecurities because of it but in some ways perpetuate the cycle of superficiality. However when moments like this abound that allows us all to get back in touch with the humanity at our core and the truth of our spirit, then there is undefinable beauty and great growth. I appreciate you for opening up and sharing. and because of this post and this post alone I am now a faithful reader of your blog. thanx again.
    xo
    Darling Bonnie
    thehouseofdarling.blogspot.com

  • you are so magically YOU!

    For years I’ve pranced around your blog and saw photographic perfection, yet there was still such a transparency that you conveyed that kept me coming back and in a sense developing trust. Which is rare in the blog world today.
    i can say that, since meeting you, that still stands true.

    Keep beaming!
    -Kel

  • I found my way here from Creature Comforts and am delighted and inspired to read your honesty. Thank you for being who you are! Lovely!
    Jesska

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