First off, thank you so much to those of you who have completed the reader survey! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your feedback and I’m really excited to incorporate your ideas into my content and site design going forward. I’m going to leave the survey open for another week or so, so feel free to weigh in if you haven’t already!
One big takeaway from the survey responses so far is it sounds like we’re all craving more connection in our lives — less incessant chatter on our iPhones and more genuine conversations with people we identify with. I try my best to write my blog like I’m talking to a girlfriend, but I have to admit I sometimes find myself shying away from sharing more vulnerable moments or watering down my sense of humor in the interest of trying to offend as few people as possible. (Believe it or not, after nine years of blogging, ill-intentioned comments still cut me to the quick.) I think my family and closest friends would say I’m empathetic, fun-loving, funny, and passionate, and sadly I’m not sure that always comes across here.
It makes my day when you guys say you get to see more of my personality on my Instagram stories, so I really want to try to be more “me” on my blog as well. Seeing how many of you still visit my post about my experience at the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017 makes me disappointed in myself that I chickened out of sharing my experience this year at the march in New York. And I know I let at least a couple of you down when I shared my cooking fail in last week’s rose and thorn post instead of talking about the horrific school shooting in Florida. The funny thing is, I thought I was being vulnerable by sharing a moment where I felt like a total loser, but I missed an opportunity to talk about something more meaningful, even though I was clearly thinking about it in real life (particularly now that my dad is on his second career as a high school math teacher). It’s hard to strike the perfect balance between sharing happy inspiration and connecting on the really important stuff, but it’s something I find myself craving as I’ve gotten older and the world has gotten scarier.
It’s not about politics — it’s about being less afraid to put more of myself out there, whether that’s writing about my parents’ involvement with the ABC house (which I’ve been meaning to dedicate a post to forever) or doing a Q&A series (as a ton of you suggested in the survey!) to answer reader questions on the blog vs. email so more people can benefit. To be clear this blog is not going to become some podium for me to preach from; in fact I want the very opposite: community, connection, genuine conversation. The posts where we’ve had real discussions are the posts I find most rewarding and the ones that seem to stick with you guys too. Granted I don’t have some breakthrough “aha!” moment every week, so in between those more thoughtful discussion-oriented posts I still plan to share my weekly rose and thorn so we can all share our everyday ups and downs in a way that hopefully hits a note between being lighthearted and self-deprecating/more vulnerable.
I know I’m not alone in this fear of really putting myself out there — I’ve had so many conversations with blogger friends about how much to share and how to cope with hurtful comments. But I suppose this is me gently ushering in the newest chapter on Design Darling, one where, in addition to sharing the pretty things and places I love (and believe me, those aren’t going anywhere), I’m also going to make a concerted effort to share more of myself, my personality, and the things that make me “me.” I still want my blog to be a happy corner of the internet and a pretty escape (and I will always keep certain things private out of respect for family, friends, and my sanity), but I also want to get to know more of you by sharing a little more of myself. I’ve started brainstorming a few ideas on how to do this, but I’d love to hear any thoughts you have either in the reader survey or in the comments here.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now (and I think it’s a natural growing pain for a blog I started my junior year of college!) so thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and for sharing your feedback on how I can improve. I’d love to connect with any of you who have faced similar hurdles (whether it’s putting yourself out there online or in real life) — as with everything I’m wrestling with, I find I’m rarely the only one.
P.S. Some of my favorite discussions with you guys: changing your name after marriage, the need to be more present, and your goals for the next three years. You can always peruse lots more discussion posts here.