Interestingly, the person who taught me to read was not a teacher, it was my mother. To motivate me, she promised she’d throw me a reading party when I was able to read my first paragraph. Her logic was, I needed to be able to read the writing on the cake. So, we practiced syallabic patterns every day, because that’s how you learn to read in Spanish, until I was ready to combine them and make words, and then we read sentences. Finally, the day of my party arrived. My mother invited everyone we knew to a park. There, she presented me with a huge sheet cake that read “Felicidades”. That day, my mother taught me that important milestones are to be celebrated.
This is why, when the anniversary of the day my blog went live came around twenty-five years later, I decided it was time to twirl around in confetti and celebrate. I invited a few of my closest friends, distant friends, and an entire community of online readers to join me in celebrating the commitment I had made to finally telling my stories and publishing my writing.
We celebrated my “blogiversary” at Lincoln’s Beard Brewing Co., the new brewery in the Bird Road Arts District of Miami (more on them in a future post because they’re so amazing they deserve their own post!). We ate Boricua food, drank craft beer, and laughed for hours. Then, as is my custom, I got a little reflective. So indulge me in these self-reflections.
What I have gained from my year of blogging:
- I have connected with others in a way I never had before. I have met people who have, like me, been battling with their pasts and presents. I’ve met people who love reading and writing, and people who can relate to some of these very raw and personal posts. Sometimes my writing is uncomfortable and painful for me, but when others respond to it, I realize we humans are a lot more interdependent than we like to admit. And that has humbled me.
- I have gotten to know myself better. It is no secret, at least if you read my posts, that I can be very insecure. Self-doubt is like that recurring nightmare, the one where you’re free falling from a very tall building and you wake up in shock right before the moment your face smashes against the concrete. Despite my insecurities, writing this blog has helped me recognize my strengths and face my faults.
- I have found a constructive way to channel my creative energy. In my life, I’ve always been in search of what’s coming next. The next job, the next place, the next anything that will make me feel something. I realize now that it’s because I’ve been created in my maker’s image. Thus making my creativity something that has been embedded in my DNA. Not being creative feels contrary to my very physical composition. I know now that what I had been searching was a way to create. And now, I no longer seek for what’s next.
What I wish for you in any creative endeavor:
- Truly connect. This world will have you believe that you have to be selfish to survive. I disagree. If you’re blogging or creating art, or pursuing any other passion project, realize you have a responsibility to your craft and your audience. The least you can do is respond to others kindly with a “thank you and have a nice day”.
- Aim for self-exploration. Being meta-cognitive is one of the highest skills we can develop as humans. And I am firm believer in self-actualization through self-exploration. I aim to inspire anyone who reads this blog to dig deep, to the point of discomfort, and face the things about yourself you fear most. Turn your thoughts into a hobby. Then, turn your hobby into a passion. Finally, don’t be afraid to dedicate a balanced amount of time to then perfecting your craft.
- Do not stifle your creative side. I know from experience that doing so will make you feel like a bird with clipped wings. No one in your life, especially you, will benefit from you suppressing a healthy desire to create. It doesn’t have to be public or for money, just for yourself. If you’ve been thinking about painting, go buy some canvases and brushes and get to it. If you love photography, take a day off, go to your favorite spot in the city, and shoot till the battery dies. How do you know something is worth doing? If you haven’t been able to stop thinking about a project, it’s probably your heart’s way of telling you it wants to do it.
This past year has seen some of my most trying times. I know for a fact, if it hadn’t been for my writing, I would not have been able to process it all. Starting this blog was like lighting a spark that would ignite me. And that, was cause for celebration!
Is there a project you’ve been thinking of pursuing, but haven’t been able to figure out how to start?