I am getting real here on the blog. Today is not my usual home decor post….its so much more, and I hope that you will spend the time to read it. This is what I feel in my heart, and this story is why I am still here today.
Blogging changed my life…..
The other day, I was doing an Instagram live on how I curl my hair. I know…that sounds so trivial right? Well, when the readers ask…the readers get! Well, within reason I should say. As I was ending the Live video….I was talking about some of the projects I have going, including some photography and art projects. Suddenly, I was getting choked up…and I admit, I was a bit emotional.
I am thinking to myself…why on earth are you getting emotional about this? WTF girl , chill out!
I had a friend text me, and I was like…why in the world was a tearing up!? I had to think on it for a bit.
To be honest, I knew. And I really think its time I tell you about it. It wasn’t about the project…it was about where I am in my life right now…and where I was 10 years ago.
So, lets back up. 10 years ago, I was a new mom. Well, I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and I am pretty sure I was pregnant with my third. From all angles…my life looked grand. I had a super supportive and loving husband. I had really great kids, a big new house that I spent hours making my own. I had friends and a secure and flexible job at our family business. All was good right?
Well, not exactly. I was suffering debilitating panic attacks that put me in the hospital, bouts of depression, and I worried….all day, every day.
2 years prior to this time…I had just lost my oldest sister suddenly from a routine surgery.
To say this rocked my world would be an understatement. I was sad and I was afraid. I had so much grief and did not know where to direct it. I felt out of control. I was a ticking time bomb. It was so bad, that my husband could not travel for work, because I could not be left home alone at night for fear I would have one of my giant panic attacks. It was humiliating.
I was also feeling so very unsatisfied with myself. I felt as if I did not contribute any value. Of course now I know that the hours I have spent with my kids, raising them, teaching them, and encouraging them were are very valuable and important moments in my life. But at the time, I felt lost. I had nothing to call my own. I had no accomplishments. I rarely, if ever felt accomplished at my job, and I was just in a big, fat, ugly, no good rut.
And to top it all off. I felt ashamed. I was ashamed of myself. Why in the world did I feel like this? Why couldn’t I control my fear? Why did my body respond in such a frightening way? I was embarrassed. I was a mom of 4 and was scared every day.
The only thing that would distract me from myself was my projects. My husband could tell when he came home from work, if I was in need of some alone time, if I was creating. It was my escape.
Working on my house was so much more than wanting to make it pretty. It was my coping mechanism at the time.
After my daughter(my last child) was born…my projects took on lives of their own. And one day…when my daughter was about 3 years old, my husband stopped me during a project and said, “You have to start a blog, or I will not help you with any more projects”
I scoffed at him. Pah! Like I was going to start one of those blogs. “Look at me, look at what I did and how pretty it all is”. That is so not me! I figured he would drop it and I could convince him to help me anyways. After a few weeks, he still hadn’t let up on the blog idea. In fact, he came home one day and said, “We are setting up your blog right now.”
Ugh, I was so resistant. Looking back, I wish I had started this thing years before then.
So, I started to slowly come around to the idea. He was setting up the website(with or without my consent)…and I needed to come around. I also needed a name for this blog. This is where it gets a little freaky.
Not to get to religious on you…but I have always felt my heavenly fathers hand in this.
About 6 months prior to this conversation with my husband, I had toyed around with the idea of opening a cute little shop in our small town. There is this cool old building at the end of our road…along highway 12. I was walking that road one day… just thinking about what I would name my little shop when..I kid you not guys…a voice inside my head said “twelve on main”.
You see, our main street in our small town is also Highway 12 that runs through Southern Utah. I instantly knew that was the name of my little shop….
But, soon that reality would not happen. It was not the time or the place for that kind of venture. So, I put it all on the back burner, never thinking I would ever revisit that subject again.
That is…until my husband practically forced my to start this blog.
As I sat down with him to think of a name….it came to me…as clear as day once again “Twelve On Main.” Coincidence? well, maybe. I’ll let you decide.
I never thought anything more about it. I decided to name my little blog Twelve On Main. It was something I never thought would become what it has today…and I certainly never thought it was something that would follow me for years to come.
I still remember that very first post……oh my gosh it was such a frightening thing. And lets just say my posts have gotten so much better since then haha!
I don’t think I had any clue back then what this blog would turn into. Now, I am not saying that I am the most successful and the best blogger out there…because I am not! But, I am very pleased with where I have been able to take this blog.
But listen….this is where things got interesting. As I started to work on my website. As I started using my days to create in a productive way, the craziest thing happened.
I started to notice a shift. Instead of my brain going to its regular scheduled anxiety session, I was able to distract myself. And you will not believe it….but my panic attacks lessened. My depression and worry started to fade slightly. I am not going to say that a blog cured my depression, because it didn’t(medicine, a therapist, and a lot of support did that) But, it gave me something to look forward to. I was able to focus on something that really made me tick.
Then a funny thing happened. People started to respond to my posts. I was like…”wow man”. It definitely was not an overnight thing, but I could not believe that people were actually reading..and liking my stuff.
And then…before I knew it, I was making a little bit of money! Like 10 dollars a month on ads! Hey that seemed huge to me at the time.
I remember talking with a friend and she was asking me about the income part of blogging. I said, “I would be thrilled if eventually I was able to make a single car payment with what I made.” That, to me seemed a huge accomplishment. That meant that I was actually contributing to the household income.
And, as I spent more time working on my website, and the more time I spent creating, designing, and decorating….guys, you will not believe it. My anxiety lessened and soon, I was excited to go to bed at night, because I was so excited for what I got to do the next day.
And then it happened. I was spending so much time investing in myself and in my business, that I was spending less time wallowing and feeling sorry for myself. Somehow, I was starting to heal myself.
Soon thereafter, I had enrolled myself back in college…taking online courses as often as I could. I had taken a break years before when I had gotten pregnant. I was able to finally finish college and 2 years ago I walked across the stage to get my diploma with my 4 kids, husband, my in-laws, and my parent cheering from the crowd. The fact that I was able to walk across that stage was an accomplishment itself. It is wasn’t for my husband, I would have gladly asked them to just mail it to me, and pretend the pomp and circumstance never took place.
All these things seem like they may be random occurrences, but I assure you that they were not. After years of feeling like I had nothing to contribute, and had no confidence I could do it on my own…here I was, doing it.
Let me be very clear here. I was not making much of any money at this point. I was working hard…and not getting a paycheck of any kind. But that was not the point, and the money aspect was never the goal. I do not define my worth and value on whether or not I make money. That, was just a bonus my friends.
As my website gained a bit of traffic though…I started to earn a bit more money. And soon, I was able to walk away from a really toxic job situation. This was a defining moment for me. I was so very grateful for my previous job, and it was a very, very hard decision to leave. But, it was the last step I needed to take to heal myself more fully.
Before I knew it, I was my own boss. I was creating, building, writing, hustling to work with big companies and actually doing it! I was someone I did not recognize!
I was confident in myself. I was in charge of my life. And I felt valuable. It was an indescribable moment.
Now, looking back over the last 3 years…I am in awe of the incredible opportunities I have had thus far. I am fully aware of the amount of undying support I get from my husband and my kids. I get embarrassed when my husband brags about me, and just this month, he went out and bought up as many magazines he could find when I was featured. Lets just say he put us in the poor house over them. Haha
As I look back over the past 3 years, I can see moments that would define me. I would see instances, when I knew that my heavenly father knew that this was where I needed to be. This was that path that my life was supposed to be on. I would lie in bed at night, and pray that I was making the right decisions for my family and for my life.
Each and every one of those moments are burned into my memory. Let me give you an examples:
There was a time about 1 1/2 years ago when I was struggling with how to grow my blog and felt as if I was at a stand still. I woke up that morning feeling down. I wondered if it was worth continuing this website. As I lay in bed, I got an email from Remodelaholic. Remodelaholic was just the about the ultimate DIY website in my opinion. And guess what? They wanted me to contribute.
Right then and there, I was humbled. It was a reassurance that I needed to keep this blogging thing going. It was small yes, but very big on that low day.
Over the last 2 years, there have been so many other minute, yet palpable moments that defined me. And as my blog grew, I grew. For the first time, I took out my paint brushes that I had hidden away for so many years. I had allowed myself to put my emotions onto canvas once again. I have pushed myself to create in new and unfamiliar ways. I have pushed myself to learn and try so many new things, pulling me utterly and completely outside my comfort zone.
And this is what took my to a simple Saturday afternoon live video on Instagram. I was talking about how excited I was about some new upcoming art I was creating…and I said something to the effect that this “blogging paid the bills”. And there was a moment, where I felt as if I was sitting there, looking back on the last 3 years, watching this slowly progress to where it is today. And as simple as that….I couldn’t speak. That moment became more powerful than anyone can ever realize for me.
I am not the same person I was 10 years ago…5 years ago…and even 1 year ago. I am becoming confident and sure of myself. I know what I want. Instead of my anxiety and depression controlling me all the time(yes it still does more than I would like it to)I have learned to embrace it. Yes, I still have setbacks and yes there are so many days when I want to throw in the towel. But, its not just about me anymore. Its about my reader, its about my family. Its about our future.
Each and every day I am blown away by the support I am given by my readers. I am also very aware of those in my life that don’t understand what in the world I do. They have no idea that I spend 40 plus hours a week working for this business. And that’s okay. How cuold anyone possibly be working when you are busy decorating and painting…I get it. I have had to learned to not care what others think. As a blogger, you have to have thick skin.
I have hustled…used blood, sweat, and many tears to get here, and I will not be going away anytime soon. You are stuck with me.
And in the end, I want to stress this. This blog was never about making money. It was my creative outlet. It was a place where I could share, brainstorm, and find myself again. I do not value myself depending on how much or how little money I make. It has never been about that. Its been about making goals, finding my strengths…and my weaknesses and learning to work with them. But, I will admit, its a huge blessing to our family. It has given us access to things I never thought possible.
Sometimes I spend my days doing really important things, signing contracts, and spending hours typing away on my laptop. And sometimes…its about curling your hair for a few readers that genuinely just want to know more about you. The world is a funny, funny place. Blogging has certainly changed my life. I will eternally be grateful for each and every one of you that spend time visiting my blog or reaching out to me. I do this for you…and for me after all.
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