This past weekend I was blessed to be able to attend one of the most unique blogging conferences. Unique in that almost all of the attendees were already united in a way. Built around a community of bloggers who help each other, lift each other up, and genuinely care about the others in their tribes. Collective Bias is much more than social media company. They have established a community, Social Fabric, that, to most, is an online family built on trust and love.
The camaraderie among the members of the Social Fabric community runs deep. And it all stems from the leadership of the Collective Bias team. One powerful voice in that leadership was “accidently” thrown into the closing keynote: Jasmine Banks. She spoke with a strong string of words fueled by a passion to to tell us all to write our own story. To just be ourselves. We each need to get discovered:
To get discovered you must be found… and to be found means to know WHO you are and WHERE you are. #SoFabCon
— Staci Salazar (@7onashoestring) May 4, 2013
With that we were given a challenge. A challenge to let down the fake facade we often let others perceive… most especially online. To just say: #ThisIsMe
Therefore, this is me. The genuine article. And perhaps one that some may like and others may hate. Whichever it may be… I am still me.
My childhood was anything but easy. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was mad at him for it. It made for many rocky days and nights, but it is what it is. It made me the person I am today. I am strong. I am stubborn. I am resilient. I am genuine.
I have to be. I am me.
My parents have since then both changed. My dad has been sober for over 14 years. He had to quit drinking or he would have been dead within a year or two. My mom, dad, and I all dedicated our lives to Jesus on the same day almost 13 years ago. Since then our lives have drastically changed.
My husband, Colby, and I were separated, and I was, for the first time, really looking to discover me. Who was I? Who did I want to be?
I didn’t want to be the parents I had grown up with. I had two small kids under 3 and needed to find a way. My way. It was a tough journey but had to be done. And, in the end, it could not have worked out better.
Colby and I reconciled and completely restored our marriage a couple years later. Between then and now we have not only rebuilt the marriage we had… we improved it. We made it better. We worked at it and made our relationship a priority.
But the years in between were hard. I got to the point where I gave up trying. I was tired of fighting with him. Looking for him when he disappeared from our lives. Tired of living with the broken heart I feared would never be fixed.
The anger, bitterness, and lack of self-worth from my childhood had helped put a strain on my marriage. On who I had become.
I found my hope in God. In forgiveness. Not only of Colby… but of myself. I needed to be alright with myself most of all.
Today, I still struggle with so many insecurities. So many.
I’m too fat. Too short. Ugly. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Too picky. Not picky enough. Stubborn. Stand-offish. Harsh. Too cynical. The list could go on and on.
But, fortunately for me, I have this amazing tribe of friends and family… online and off… that give me all I need. That keep me going. Hold me up. Pick me up off the ground when I need it. Put in my place when I get “too big for my britches.” Keep me grounded.
Even with all of my faults and hang-ups, people still love me. They are my family. My friends. My tribe.
No matter how many times I hear someone come up to me with the following words… I am still humbled:
“Oh my gosh! I heard you were here and had to come find you. I am so excited to meet you!”
Me? Why me? Who am I?
I forget sometimes that I actually have a voice. People read what I write. People expect certain things from me.
And then I get nervous.
What if someone hates what I wrote? What if they disagree and write nasty things. I hate conflict.
I almost didn’t publish a post about my daughter being more than her special needs because I was scared others would judge her… or simply not understand my heart behind the post. Yet, once I shared it I was commended for it. It was highlighted on another blog. Why was I so scared?
Why am I still so scared of what others think about me online? I honestly don’t care offline. I am me. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
This is Me
I like to wear Converse. All.the.time.
If I am not wearing Converse, I much prefer going barefoot everywhere. I typically put my shoes on in the truck just before getting out.
I hate under garments. Yep. I said it. They are too constricting.
I have a VERY long list of pet peeves. Mouth noises is on the top of that list.
I am passionate about my marriage... and most importantly, FOR my husband. I still tremble at his touch.
I am nowhere near the perfect mom… but would do anything for my children. They are an extension of myself and I love them to the moon and far beyond.
I am a Wife. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Cousin. Friend. And perhaps even enemy.
I have no imagination. I live by logic and reason.
Being ruled by the left side of my brain, I am not a creative person.
I have never tried artichoke or quinoa… and probably never will. I am stubborn, remember?
I could live on guacamole and Naked Juice… although not at the same time.
I used to dream of being a NASCAR driver.
I wanted to be a pediatrician since I was in the 4th grade. Went to 2 years of college as a Pre-Med major before getting married and then pregnant. Decided I just wanted to be a wife and mom. Now I simply keep our pediatrician in business.
I rarely cook. I am not good at crafts. I hate to do daily chores. I love to mow. I am not “domesticated” but luckily Colby is.
I do not wear make up. Never have on a consistent basis. Special occasions only. Have never put it on myself.
I am a low maintenance friend. I do not call, text, or reach out often. As long as I talk to you every once in a while I am good. I hate talking on the phone.
My love language is quality time.
I do not like to be touched. Hugs only with those I am comfortable with. No thank you on the massages from strangers.
I like to travel. I like to take pictures. I like to play around with graphics.
I try my best not to judge. Be hypocritical. Be fake. I am modest. Conservative. Non-drinker. Non-smoker. Non-cusser. Goody Goody.
Basically, I am me. Plain and simple.
We can be our own hero. And we should be! Embrace your own story. #SoFabCon
— Staci Salazar (@7onashoestring) May 4, 2013
What’s keeping you from telling your story? From being you?
Join me and others and write your story. Tell us about you. Take the #ThisIsMe challenge:
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