bloggingchronic illness

Am I Crazy? Am I Enough?

Blogging-For-Endo>
Welcome to Week 2 of Blogging for Endometriosis! Can I start off with some amazing news?! The Blogging for Endometriosis fundraiser has raised $100 towards our $250 goal to support the ERC in providing support, advocacy, and research resources for endometriosis! Isn’t that amazing?! I totally think we can blow our goal out of the water!

This week’s topic is to share about the effects of endometriosis on our lives beyond the physical – our relationships. So many times people only consider the physical impacts of an illness without considering how illness affects every aspect of our lives. 

Dealing with the mental effects of endometriosis has probably been the hardest thing to adjust to after my diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong, the pain can be unbearable at times and difficult to work through but I think pain can be more easily acknowledged by others whereas the mental (along with emotional, spiritual, and social) aspects of chronic illness are not validated and therefore can leave you feeling pretty isolated.

I have mentioned before that I have always been a perfectionist, almost-Type-A personality. I  like feeling in control. I like for others to be proud of me (whether it be my parents, professors, or spouse). I have always sought to be the best as possible – highest grades, first chair in orchestra, etc. I like having a list that I can easily check-off. I like saying yes to projects and feeling accomplished when they are complete. So when I was diagnosed and really started being impacted by endo on a daily basis, my ideas about what my life should be like came crashing down. I never thought that I would have six surgeries in nine years. I never thought I would have more diagnoses that I could count on one hand. Fighting for disability at 32 was not a part of my life’s plans. All of these things add up to never feeling like I am enough.

I have shared about my anxiety and the struggle to regain some kind of control of my emotions.I have written about trying to get to a point where I can mentally accept my “new normal” in life and let go of my previous life without chronic illness. Heck, that is even what I based this blog around almost seven years ago. But why can’t I just accept it once and for all? Why do I have to keep fighting?

Sometimes I really wonder if I have gone crazy. Is the pain really real or is it in my head?

Sometimes I really wonder about the fatigue I’m battling. Is it real or am I just lazy?

Sometimes I really wonder about my worth when I look at my family. Am I enough?

Sometimes I wonder about how spiritually empty I feel. Do I just not have enough faith?

I cannot count the nights I have cried myself to sleep asking myself these questions even though I know my pain and my fatigue is real. I know that my lack of healing isn’t the result of having too little faith. I know this in my head and in my heart but being the perfectionist that I am, I think the Enemy has found where I am weak and cause me to question how I view myself as well as how I think others view me.

I want to get past this. I really do. I feel like I have been in the same cycle for the last six months. I was to embrace the incredible support and unconditional love I feel from my family. I want to be able to look ahead without saying “if only..” I feel like I keep saying the same words over and over. The same struggle over and over.  I want to do more than put up a front that I’ve got it together. I want completely embody the hope I am so eager to share with others. I want to make the choice to believe that I am enough.

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blogging

2014 blogging goals

I’m well aware that it is already two weeks into 2014 and it may seem I’m a little late getting on the ball setting my blogging goals for 2014. Let’s just say it hasn’t been as smooth as start to the year as I would have like. After taking some time to mull over how my 2013 blogging goals worked out and deciding on which word I wanted to describe my year, I have finally figured them out!

Be Fierce.

Its my word for the year and I most definitely want to bring it through my blogging and online life as well. I’m ready to regain some of the confidence and spunk I feel like I’ve lost over the last several years as my health has taken such a sharp decline but I am ready to jump back in and find myself so to speak. Maybe its more like rediscovering myself. I am a firm believer that regardless of the situation you may find yourself in, you can make the choice to allow it to let yourself become bitter or you can allow it to make yourself better and find a way to honor God in spite of it. I believe that this blog is an avenue of the ministry that God has called me to and I need to be a fierce follower of His guidance and allow that passion to be a fire in every aspect of my life.

Get more organized.

I have been a part of the blogging community for almost seven years now (wow!) and I completely understand the need to be organized and how much it can benefit not only your sanity but your readers and community in a big way. The Content Brew* course over at Momcomm was amazing but I feel like I’ve lost the momentum so I am definitely planning on working back through it and building up an editorial calendar. I want to develop a posting schedule that is realistic without being rigid. There are way too many benefits of being an organized blogger to not make it a priority. (*affiliate link but I stand 100% by the awesomeness of this course and would share regardless!)

Write outside of the house at least one day a week.

Not only is it a great goal for me to get out of the house in general one day a week, I know the change of scenery will do great things for keeping the creative juices going! We have a great little coffee shop down the street so I think that will make a great spot to cozy up with a cup of their amazing white hot chocolate and get to writing.

Finally try my hand at vlogging.

I’m sure it seems that vlogging is old news but I have yet to give it a try. I’m not sure if its because I’m pretty shy on top of being introverted or hating the way my voice sounds on recording but I have just not been able to let go of my insecurities. There are a ton of awesome things to do with videos and even take it a step further with Google+ Hangouts (can we say awesome spoonie sister chats?) so I definitely think as a part of embracing being fierce this year, it is time to make the leap!

Complete at least one blog-related pin a week and update at least on old post a week.

Raise your hand if you have the habit of pinning some pretty awesome things yet never actually getting around to doing it. ::Raising both hands:: I am AWFUL about this. I have some pretty great blogging Pinterest boards (if I say so myself) but I need to make being intentional about putting those pretty great resources to use. I have my blogging boards broken down into categories (such as organization and time management, monetization, and traffic/SEO) so by rotating through the categories on a weekly basis, I know I can fix some of the kinks I currently have going on and take A New Kind of Normal to the next level.

Also, with almost seven years of content in the archives, there are some pretty good posts that could use some dusting off by adding some photos (as I know most of my early posts are naked) and updating key words and titles for better SEO. Not only does this make content more Pin-worthy (which is a huge source of traffic), but I like sharing old posts that not only remind me where I’ve been but to share about the journey one takes when living with chronic illness.

Complete the blog redesign and make sure pages are up to date.

Let me clarify. The amazing April from Creative Girl Media is working her design magic to makeover the look here at A New Kind of Normal but I have a thing or two (or ten) to do to make sure that every part of the site is clean and sparkling! Maybe even some glitter thrown here and there! I learned from Melissa in Blog Design for Dummies that a great design is more than visual aspects of a site. It is also about user-friendly navigation, having a consistent style guide so content is visually appealing, and building pages to support and enrich your site.

Read at least 4 books on blogging.

There are some amazing resources out there and its about time I tapped into them. I have read some fabulous books so far (check out my recommended reading list) and I have even more on my must read list. I am determined to get through Mom Blog SEO by Kelby Carr that was on my goal list last year. There are definitely others on my pinterest boards I am ready to get my hands on as well!

Community, community, community.

Creating community and building relationships is at the heart of why I blog. It is why I work hard at Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness and the Secret Support Sisters project. I want more conversations and connecting. I feel like there has been a shift in the blogging world to more of a business approach (which is not an entirely bad thing as even I want to look into options of monetizing) but I think as a result the community aspects have taken a backseat. Maybe I’m the only one who has noticed it or maybe I am crazy. I don’t know but I do know that I want community to be a priority.

 

Have you created any blogging goals for 2014? Any goals for 2014 in general?

P.S. – Here are some great posts on achieving some bloggy awesomeness in 2014:

Go Big! 52 Blogging “To Dos” in 2014

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Bloggers

10 Things To Let Go Of On Your Blog in 2014

bloggingjust for fun

Photo Shoot Fun – My First Ever Blog Head Shots

As a part of my 2013 goals, I really wanted to get some blog head shots done both to update my social media profiles and materials as well as have some fun and get a boost of confidence! I had not had any fun pictures of my new hair color to infuse a little of my personality back into my online persona. It took me until December to cross it off my to-do list but I got it done with the help of my friend Ryanne at R@ck Photography! It just so happened that I ended up starting a blog redesign around the same time so these will really come in handy!

These are some of my favorite solo shots:

Blogger Head Shots

On our way out the door, I decided to bring my Charlie along for the shoot! As I have mentioned, she is a huge part of my heart and the best therapy I could ever ask for! She turned 13 this year and is starting to have issues with arthritis and her vision so I really meant a lot to have some meaningful shots taken together!

World's Best Dog

How do you think they turned out? Have you ever done a solo photo shoot either for your blog or just for fun?