One year ago I needed to express myself.
One year ago I felt my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, my other online outlets of my visions and thoughts were too restricted. The choices I’d made while curating myself made each of them a site to view me from a specific angle–Rachel the socialite and tentative activist on Facebook, Rachel the wit (or try-hard, depending on your perspective) on Twitter, Rachel the photographer (and avid admirer of sunsets) on Instagram.
One year ago, I wanted to show people myself from a new angle.
One year ago, I wanted to show others the parts of me that were still hidden from social media view. In my head, the Rachel that would write this blog was brash and outspoken about her opinions. She was funny and charming; she would put equal weight on a post about human rights as she would on one about her favorite outfit.
One year later, it’s clear to me that Rachel is not the person who wrote this blog, and is not the person I am. I’m careful with my opinions, and more often write posts anticipating that I’ll need to be issuing apologies than receiving praise. My first few posts were fluff (and I say that withholding as much negative judgement from them as I can), and within weeks I found that I couldn’t bring myself to sit down spend an hour writing something that people would then take the time to read if it didn’t feel important. And what I found important sometimes surprised me–sure, I produced commentary on world news and described recent life events, but I kept finding myself drawn toward odd, pseudo-philosophical topics. That tendency toward abstract musings made itself painfully clear when I started including a picture with every post, and struggled each week to find photos that expressed “purpose” and “embodiment.”
One year later, I’m not the same person who sat down with her misguided expectations and created this blog. I like to think I’m more in tune with myself–more aware of my body, my sexuality, my place in the world. The more I’ve learned about myself as the year has gone on, the more connected I’ve felt to my identity/ies and my personality, which has been both exhilarating and disappointing in turns. And, what continues to surprise and delight me each time it happens, as other people see these small pieces of me, rather than recoiling, some reach out to say they connect with them, and thank me for describing that trait we share. To those people: really, that thanks belongs to you. You’ve remind me that I don’t exist in a vacuum, and imbue even the posts that come from the darkest places with light (I’ve also learned that I can be overly sentimental in my attempts to be sincere).
One year later, I’d like to say I’ve made some sort of progress. I feel like that’s what most audiences would expect to see out of an ongoing project like this one. And while my writing may have improved, and I certainly am more in tune with myself than I was, I haven’t necessarily gotten anywhere.Even as I learn more about myself, pieces of me are constantly disappearing and being replaced by new ones, and those new pieces aren’t necessarily better or worse. Moreover, writing a blog isn’t going to be the driving force behind who I am constantly becoming, though it might be an essential tool for coming to terms with her. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with myself and, by extension, with you.
It’s been one year since I started writing here, and now I am starting the second one.