We all go through different challenges at different times in our lives. There's even a theory, that each incarnation comes with new learnings and challenges, and that if we resist them, we'll keep being faced with them. One of the reasons why people have partner after partner, or spouse after spouse that present them with the same issues, or same type of relationship. This post isn't about relationships but it was the only example I could think of that illustrates how sometimes people are faced with a situation again and again until they change the one thing that all those relationships have in common = themselves.
Anyone who has read my blog for quite some time will know I have been navel gazing and soul searching pretty much non stop for the past 2.5 years.
In spirituality there is a theory that we go through each of the chakras in turn. One year you might be projecting from the heart and therefore your challenges are heart centred, another year the crown, a different year the navel etc....
I realised today that a challenge that I seem to keep facing again and again is that I am invisible. In the emotional rollercoaster of the last few months I blamed blogging for that. After all blogging was giving me huge self-esteem challenges, so it MUST be bloggings fault, but today, somehow the penny dropped and I had some sort of epiphany.
I realised that as with most problems the problem starts on the inside and the outside is simply a mirror to what I am projecting and worse still it is an issue that predates my blogging wobbles, my blogging insecurities.
Earlier this year (now I warn you this is going to sound dramatic and is certainly a first world problem and self-indulgent so click away now if you don't want to read about my inner nonsense)..... still here? Okay, earlier this year I was at a night out and when a peer blogged about it, you'd have believed I wasn't there, even though I sat next to her. Now, in reality, that's no big deal, BUT given that I was having "invisible" issues, it pushed my buttons, and I cried for 2 days. I couldn't admit it to many people at the time because it sounds R I D I C U L O U S. And, to be fair it probably is. I picked myself up, and forgot about it, and ensured it was tucked away in an emotional "deal with later" box with a very firmly secured LID (the phrase "put a lid on it" exists for good reason).
Anyway, a couple of things happened at Blogfest that set this visible/invisible challenge of mine presenting itself to me once again. I met Ginger Warrior at BritMums Live. She was full of the joys of Spring and bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm. What I remember of that encounter? Feeling shocked when she asked for MY business card. Why would she want it? Yes, very very insecure of me, but I remember feeling it. It was a deep feeling but thankfully momentary. So then when we bumped into each other recently at Mumsnet Blogfest, I had a moment of I know her (due to her website, BritMums Live video and BlogHer video) but she won't know me. When she straight away said "NewMumOnline" I was shocked. Like proper shocked. Also when Kate the editor for Mumsnet Bloggers network not only recognised me, (at the after conference Gin and bubbly) but knew my son's name was Aaron I was also really shocked and said as much to her. So it's a real contradiction, as I get upset when I am invisible, yet get shocked when I am visible... WHAT sort of NONSENSE is THAT. And from someone like me, who used to be probably the most extrovert person you'd ever meet. I used to be the one who'd attend every work drinks night out. First one to arrive, last one to leave. What's happened to me?
But today, the epiphany was, that I remember meeting a well known Yogi, back in my yoga days. Back when I was slim, healthy, zen like, and with energy levels I'd die for now. I remember the "famous" (in our circles not mainstream) yoga person knowing who I was. I remember feeling 'knock me down with a feather' shocked. The exact feeling I once had again when meeting Ginger Warrior (Ceri) at Blogfest. What I am trying to say, if you are not following what I am saying, or not reading between the lines, is that as confident AND healthy as I used to be on the outside, I clearly already had some of these niggles, or issues. Even back then!
I don't know what it is. I know it is wrapped up with many other peccadilloes that I have. I also know it is not an attractive quality and neither is the insecurity that I seem to be plagued with of late.
Maybe I need to get out more, or get busy, I am clearly thinking too much, but I also know with certainty that getting busy, taking my mind off it, will only mean that this issue comes up again. Unless of course I deal with it NOW. Maybe if I can be visible to myself I will be visible to others.
I walked around at Blogfest with a cloak of insecurities mentally wrapped around me, and therefore, felt lonely in a crowd, and it wasn't a nice feeling. There are lots and lots of bloggers I could have spent hours chatting to, but none of them were there. A lot of the friends I met in the early years don't attend events like this anymore. I did have lots of quality time and good conversation with people like Emma and Ella, but when there was no mention of me in Emma's post (which is her prerogative don't get me wrong) my invisible issues came up again. So despite coming away from Blogfest on a high, I went into a very introspective few days where it was hard to get enthusiastic about anything. Housework just piled up around me. That's how I roll when I get like that.
I could do posts like this more often, about all different sorts of issues, sorts of emotions and the only reason I don't is because I know (and quite rightly too) that there'll be a lot of people who read it who say "oh get over yourself, I've got real problems". I know how I feel is very much categorised as a first world problem, but I equally know that it can be quite debilitating and given that it is a challenge that is reoccurring I'd rather have it out than in. I also know, that if I can get over these challenges, I can do some great things. Things that are my soul's purpose, things that I currently have the free time to do, if only I CAN get over myself.
So now that you know all of the above, maybe you can understand why I sometimes get upset when I am not invited to things, like Wilko's Xmas in July. It is not because I am jealous of you, or you, or you. It is not because I think I am any better than you, or that I deserve to be there more. Although my gratitude at being there might mean I blog about it more than you ;-) But rather that it means that you are visible and I am not. It's taken me months to realise this, but it is the exact same emotion. Normally when these things happen people say "make yourselves known to the brand" (tick) "follow them on Twitter" (tick) but those sort of phrases didn't help me any, as I knew I'd reviewed products for them twice, written on THEIR BLOG and despite only following a 10th of their followers they were already following ME, so I concluded "yep! Invisible! For sure! I surely must be!" - luckily I had the guts to talk to them about it and went to their FABULOUS beauty event. Problem temporarily solved, on THAT occasion.
I don't know what to do with this invisible thang! Hopefully acknowledging it and processing it will be part of the battle.
My bigger battle is actually about the fact that I always self sabotage everything I do, and I think that is all about self-love which is why I read this today with a great deal of interest: The Discipline of Loving Ourselves.
So, do you think I am bonkers, or are you yourself doing some navel gazing and also not liking what you see?