Authenticity lost… and found?

I’ve always felt that those light bulb moments that we have every now and then, where a new idea or concept actually rewires a pathway in your brain, need to be documented in some way, shape or form - so here goes…

After a lot of life changes towards the end of last year, and a tenuous tip toe along the blurry line circling what I am pretty sure was depression, the last 6 months have not been the opportunity exploring/tree change initiating months that I expected them to be. I’ve been drifting… Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, what I want to do with my life, how to be a better daughter, wife, mother, friend, and what sort of example do I want to set for my feisty, clever and independent daughter. And if I’m honest, I am no closer to that answer than I was 6 months ago, if anything I am plagued with more self-doubt than ever – and after so much time on my own, and out of the work place, my introvert tendencies are more pronounced than they have ever been. 

But then I had a friend recommend a podcast to me last week, #hashtagauthentic by Sara from Me and Orla, and when I finally got around to listening to the episode she had told me about, I literally could not stop the tears from falling, even though I was sitting at my desk at work. The episode focused on avoiding the comparison trap on social media, and I realised that in my quest to build my small business around my quilting, I had disappeared down the rabbit hole of social media, and comparison-itis was my constant belittling companion when I was online, and invading my creative time and space even when I was offline.

I hadn’t even realised how loud that voice in my head had gotten until I heard Sara talking about how to fight it. Sara’s words of wisdom, in her lovely UK accent, hit a chord – she offered sage advice about turning that fear of comparison into an interest to improve my skills, asking for help or advice when that doubt hits, and that the time spent watching and comparing yourself to your ‘competition’ is time you are not spending keeping in touch with your audience or making your own way. 

And then I found Sara’s blog post about defining what the term ‘webtrovert’ really means, and you could probably hear me exclaim “THAT’S ME!!!” from the other side of the planet. 

Source: Me & Orla - http://meandorla.co.uk/

Source: Me & Orla - http://meandorla.co.uk/

Normally I am a classic webtrovert, I make friends easier online than in person, I’m more articulate when I write as opposed to trying to use my words in a social setting, and I need recharge time after face to face interaction but I feel energised from interacting online. But online hasn’t been energising me of late, and I’ve been letting the small things get to me, and letting anxiety flavour my conversations and reactions – in person and online. It all feels so… noisy.

Listening to more episodes of Sara’s podcast, I realised that perhaps I wasn’t doing things for the right reason anymore - was that photo I just posted to Instagram really authentic to my journey, or just posted because it was a pretty picture or it might get a few likes? Why was I getting so upset about people unfollowing me? If someone chooses to unfollow another account on social media, they always have their reasons, and they aren't necessarily malicious - maybe my feed just isn’t gelling with them anymore, or we aren’t on the same creative journey anymore - why was I taking it so personally? 

So I’ve stopped. I’m not pressuring myself to post every day - and potentially irrelevant content because I can’t think of anything for that day - just to beat the Instagram algorithm anymore, or keeping FaceBook on my phone because do I really need the temptation there to check it every time I pick up my phone, and notifications for everything are now off. That IG followers app? Deleted. I don’t need to know, people are allowed to make their own choice about who they follow for whatever reason, or no reason at all, it's none of my business, and watching that number go up and down does not help me on my journey at this point in time. 

I’ve started writing again (who doesn’t love any excuse to buy new pretty stationary), I’m trying to allocate the f*cks in my f*ck budget more wisely (if you haven’t read The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight then do, it’s brilliant), and I’m trying to find the authentic me again.

I make quilts (and quilt quilts) because I love the process, it makes me happy to add a piece of my heart into every project, and it gives me space to zone out when I need to hide from the 'noise'. I love what quilts represent when you gift one to someone you care about. The community and friendships I have forged because of a shared love of quilting I will be forever grateful for, and they are worth nurturing and giving my precious time to - so it’s back to doing what I love, for the right reasons. 

Happy quilting friends, and may your bobbin always be full. 

Erin xx