waterfall inside the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN; home of BlissDom ’12
He said to write something dangerous. I’d already written some dangerous things in a prior session. I wondered if they would count, or if I would have to write something else dangerous, because I wasn’t sure if I had that much fear conquering in me for one conference. I thought about posting what I’d written in that other session, where Ananda Leeke had us get in touch with our Creative Heart. My Creative Heart is really mad at me. I’ve been shushing and ignoring her for quite some time. I knew what she had to say in that session was important, yet I also knew that using it as my ‘assignment’ for Jeff Goins’ session would be a total cop-out.
And so here I sit in front of a blank screen, over a week after BlissDom, nearly paralyzed about what to write. Oh, the possibilities! There are so many dangerous things I could write about, most of them having to do with my fear of one thing or another. In fact, in my notes from the session where Jeff asks what obstacles keep you from writing I wrote in big letters FEAR and started a meaty list of things I’m afraid of.
One of my fears: not being seen as nice/likable.
As you can imagine I have a lot of social anxiety related to this fear and BlissDom was fertile ground. There was a ripple in the undercurrent at BlissDom that has since been bothering me and while I’ve wanted to write about it, I’m afraid to put it in the open and shine light on it. It’s about my blog name. Upon meeting a few folks who asked about my blog name, I heard “oh, I read your blog”. For a second I was flattered – really, little old me? And then realization hit. My blog name is quite similar to another blog out there, leaps and bounds more popular than mine. I presumed they were talking about her (because seriously, I have like 2 followers and they couldn’t BOTH be at BlissDom). And I told them that saying “oh, I think you’re thinking of so-and-so”. One person was very adamant it was my blog she was talking about and I was indeed, genuinely flattered (though I’m certain it was a deer in the headlights moment that I did not come out of looking all shiny happy blogger – I was so taken aback I don’t remember who you were, so if you’re reading, give me a holler!).
I eventually realized that the near-doppelganger blogger was also at the conference and we crossed paths a couple times. It never crossed my mind to talk to her about it because I can only handle so much awkward without the assistance of medication. Then a friend told me after the conference was over that she had talked to her about our similar names and got the impression that the other blogger was less than thrilled. When I heard that I got a huge flare up of the disease to please. I didn’t want this other blogger to be mad at me, to think I copied her in any way or for other bloggers to think I’d done so either! An anxiety fueled solution even crossed my mind: change my blog/Twitter to smooth over the bumps (invisible bumps in the universe I was certain existed and were my responsibility to fix).
I’ve been really trying to shake the notion that I must be likable to everyone at all times. I want to be seen as nice and caring and courteous because somewhere along the line I convinced myself that I was only worthy of love if I was those things. Honoring my value and worth as a imperfect human is something I’ve been working on personally and in therapy. Being true to myself means acknowledging that sometimes I’m short tempered, harsh, thoughtless, selfish, and angry as well as being kind, generous, loving and sensitive. All of those things make me who I am and none of them make me less worthy of being loved and treated with respect.
Because of my (irrational) fear, the idea that someone could think poorly of me over something as innocent as a blog/twitter name made me feel ill. I thought about reaching out to the other blogger in an e-mail, explaining how I chose my name, justifying my choice, confident that if she was mad at me and I explained, all would be right with the world. And then she followed me on twitter and my stomach lurched. I pulled out an olive branch, following her back and sending her a direct message – 3 in fact – explaining I was sorry for any confusion and promising I wasn’t a wacko. And cue crickets.
It took a lot to put that out into the world and to not hear back has been difficult for someone like me. It’s hard for me to live with the fear that someone will misunderstand my actions and think poorly of me. Still, I’m working on believing that how other people choose to respond is not exactly up to me. She may very well be mad or upset about my blog, but that’s up to her. I don’t mean that in a dismissive way at all, I truly don’t. The reality is that there are many blog names out there and some are very similar to others. My blog, my voice, my reason for naming my blog Velveteen Mama are very different from her blog, her voice and her reasons for choosing her name. If she is in fact upset about it and mad at me without knowing me at all, then I can’t exactly take responsibility for that. I’m not one of her readers; I never have been. I did a double take a few months ago when I saw her Twitter handle thinking that someone was talking to me. But they weren’t. That was when I knew she existed at all. And when that happened it was nothing more than a blip on my radar; I let it go.
And now, I’m going to do the same thing. I’m letting it go, or at least trying to. Someday I’d like to share the story of how I arrived at the name for this blog; it goes back 20 years and the journey here as been one interesting ride. But I want to do that for myself, not for anyone else, and I’m just not quite there at the moment.