I’ve spent the past months talking about myself as a “brand”. That is really fucking weird. It’s weird to have conversations – with myself, and publishing professionals, and other bloggers who do what I am beginning to do – about who Laura Jane Williams is and what she stands for and where she’s going and why she’s talking about herself in third person.
I make a living, right now, writing about my life, and given that I am writing a book about me, too – about my heart and soul and healing and all that juicy stuff – the levels of narcissism I’ve reached are Kardashian off-the-chart.
I don’t know if I’m not just a little sick of myself.
The Internet is my tribe. Let’s start there. This week alone I’ve met three perfect strangers – one from Twitter, one from Instagram and one through blogging – in Bangkok, all of who live in London but happen to be travelling, like me, and I’m amazed at how those people already felt like friends. There’s a trend for digital detoxing, because apparently social media is dysfunctional and unhealthy. We millennials, they say, find validation in the “wrong” ways. I get how we’ve reached that conclusion. Sometimes I spend a whole evening, deep into the night, Google-stalking bloggers as I assess their design against mine. Compare and contrast followers and hearts. Head on over to that hate forum dedicated to me, just to see. I feel like a lot of voices online tell me that I am doing the Internet wrong because I’ve fallen, on occasion, down that rabbit hole – the digital version of keeping up with the Joneses.
I’m just not into that. I could not live the life I do, could not travel and adventure and fuck up and pick myself up again, were it not for the world wide web and all of the people at the other end of my wifi connection. I love the Internet. The Internet makes me bolder. The Internet tells me that I am not alone.
I committed to (*vomits*) “growing my brand” for 2015 because I knew that is what publishers and agents would look for when pimping out my book. They like knowing I have a certain number of newsletter subscribers or Twitter followers. An audience. These are real, important, tangible things that I cannot ignore. Plus, you know – I’m proud of what I write. Of course my attitude is that the more people who read it the better. Else, why would I bother?
The “sticky”, distasteful thing about trying to make who you are your living, though, is that stuff can get a bit distorted. That it can be easy to start writing emotional porn because that’s the kind of post that gets shared on Facebook more. I understand how bloggers get seduced into becoming parodies of themselves, because we work so hard that when people start to take notice in bigger numbers it feels like, YES! ALL OF THIS WAS FOR A REASON! HUZZAH! I question, constantly, whether I am giving “too much” of myself, and for what reasons.
But, today, I had a thought.
I forgive myself for that.
Sometimes I hold back, sometimes I reveal too much, sometimes I go way beyond the edge and then I know where it is for the next time. And I forgive myself for that. I am not doing this perfectly. I do not have a flawless scorecard when it comes to my life, or writing about it online. I’m not always a poetic scrappy mess, and I am not always the ambitious career girl who knows exactly who and what she’s gunning for. I’m feeling my way as I go along.
There is no black and white. Oh goodness, there is no black and white!
That’s the lesson of my life. That it isn’t yes or no. In or out. Right or wrong. This whole fucked up, messy, frustratingly delicious thing we’re all doing just is.
There’s no answer, you guys.
For any of it.
No answer on “how to write on the Internet properly”, or “what to tell other people” or “the reason I did this thing”.
When I say, then, I’m taking a break from blogging so that I can train to be a yoga teacher it’s not because I am embarrassed or distrustful or unsure of this thing I am building. It’s to honour what I am building. To make sure that my “centre”, my one unwavering truth, is still as true as it ever was: that living authentically is the reason.
Not the amount of traffic doing so generates.
I’m going offline for a bit to make what I do put up that much more important. To me. And maybe to you, too. I hope.
So... See you in June?
See you in June.
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