There are about as many kinds of blogs as there are people. But generally, when a psychotherapist creates one, it is thought that the best practice is to keep it professional (i.e., not too personal) and strictly related to general mental health issues for educational purposes. Well, that is not how my blog will be.
I have dreamt of starting a blog for years. I've had many ideas for mental health related posts that would fit into the "professional" category - the most respected kind in the community. But being a psychotherapist, while a huge part of who I am, is only one facet of my being. And truthfully, none of these very different parts of me are actually separate from one another. I think that's true for most of us as humans.
At one point, I wanted to start five completely separate blogs at the same time:
1.) My professional mental health blog. This is where I daydreamed about writing informational posts on tips for happiness, coping skills, and general emotional wellbeing, including mindfulness meditation and yoga. I thought about sharing small tidbits about myself, but nothing too personal.
2.) A blog to review makeup products. I have an unhealthy collection because I enjoy playing dress up as much as I did when I was five. Plus, I figure I might as well help shoppers out by showing color swatches and letting them know if I thought a given product was worth the money. It seems logical since I personally like to look for these things before buying makeup.
3.) Fashion. II also really enjoy clothes and love sharing great finds. And since I'm short and at the higher end of the plus sizes, I think showing how certain items fit could help out potential buyers. Aaaaand I just think it's fun to try on outfits and take pictures. I'm a dress up lover, remember?
4.) Plants. I've gotten really into plants these past couple of years, and thought it might be fun to share what I've learned from personal experience so far about each different kind of plant I own - especially about the ones I haven't killed.
5. Body-positivity and fat acceptance. This is possibly where I was most conflicted - not only because I felt there would be a lot of posts that could fit here or on the mental health blog, but also because I wanted to use this as a space to show myself in a...ahem, not-so-professional light. One of the most psychologically beneficial things about the body-positive and fat acceptance movements on social media has been the brave people willing to bare their souls and bodies. I'm not talking about the Kim Kardashian look-alikes. You know, the ones with hourglass figures, flat tummies and plenty of photoshop. I have nothing against those people, but they are typically met with more praise than not. I'm talking about the ones who do not fit unrealistic media beauty standards and brave ridiculous, cruel, and ignorant comments galore. Why? Because they know it helps normalize marginalized bodies. They understand how powerful it is for people to see someone who looks like them, especially when shown in a positive light. The truth is I've wanted to do this for years - show my rolls, my belly hang, my cellulite and veins. I used to think these things made me unlovable. I used to think it was absolutely impossible for me to be happy or have a good life unless I figured out how to conform to the standards the vast majority of us will never be able to meet. I was shocked when I realized I could actually love myself and feel good in the body I have right now - regardless of how other people perceive it. But the main reason I get the urge to bare it all is because had I, as a teen, seen one photo of a woman with a body like mine enjoying her life and being happy, I would have known it was possible. But I've always stopped myself from showing any revealing photos because it's "not professional."
I was humming and hawing for the past five years or so about what I should do. I've finally decided that the most practical solution is to simply create a personal blog where I share all of these interests and passions. Doing otherwise seems too inauthentic and cumbersome, both of which eventually became excuses to not put myself out there and just hold in all my ideas.
One of the biggest fears I had was to alienate some people who would love one subject I write about, but who stop reading my posts because they hate other topics I'm passionate about. I know now that I can't let that stop me from doing what my heart urges me to do.
I have been most fearful of how some will judge my choices when it comes to how much skin I show (you know, the whole professionalism thing) or how I would open myself up to a lot of negativity. While my self-love is very solid, it's still very unpleasant to receive mean-spirited comments and unsolicited lectures from strangers.
Yet I'm finally accepting that for me to be completely genuine and authentic, I can't keep all of these parts of me separate. The only way for me to share my ideas and heart with the world is to show all these parts of who I am. But it's scary. I know it's natural for people to judge, and the internet provides the perfect platform for people to say mean things. But I also know that I will never feel complete if I don't trust my gut and at least try out these ideas. Maybe no one will connect with my words. Maybe I will only receive harsh judgment and unwanted, unhelpful opinions. But I hang on to the possibility that someone will get something good from my posts. I remember how desperately I searched for signs as a young girl that I could one day learn how to love myself, regardless of how I measured up to mass ideals. Now that I have a deep and unconditional love for who I am and how I look, I hope I can be that sign for someone else who is desperately searching for it. I suppose this post is a long-winded way of saying that that is my wish for this blog.