I’ve been reading several articles recently about people being authentic and honest, particularly if you are working hard to raise your profile. There are 8,000 mummy bloggers on Mumsnet alone, so if you are a blogger, it is incredibly important that what you write about is open and honest. In fact, the more frank and open I am about things, the larger following I seem to acquire.
I’ve had abit of criticism recently about how I share content online and I know it’s a tricky subject. I have a voice and I want to share my voice with whoever wishes to listen. I do share some photos of my children. I try to think about what photographs I post. When I originally set up my profile, I purposely left out photos of my children, but Guilty Mother without children just doesn’t really work. So, I’ve had to open and share my soul a little.
I run most blog posts by my husband or a friend before posting so they can tell me if it needs changing or whether it pushes a subject too far. If you don’t like it or approve of it, you do not have to read it. But, when people who you thought were your friends, who then turn out to be unsupportive, it can cut right through you like a knife. Everything I share and post is real. I don’t ever lie or bend the truth – because being authentic is important to me. It’s also a quality I want to instil in my own children.
The feeling of being something you’re not reminded me of an incident that happened to me when I was very young. Maybe nine or ten years old. I went into the local sweet shop with a couple of friends from the village. One of the children was egging me on to take something from the shop. We are talking inexpensive items here, wham bars, dip daps, you get the idea. But in my heart - it felt wrong. A foolish and unsubtle shoplifter, I decided to steal a blue Mr Freeze. I swiftly stuck it down the back of my trousers between my butt cheeks. I will never, ever forget how cold that was. My eyeballs almost popped out. As a useful piece of advice, in case you ever need it, If you are going to take something, don’t choose a Mr Freeze.
The newsagent re-appeared from the back room and asked me “are you ok, Jo? you look uncomfortable?” He knew I had something down my trousers and I had been rumbled. I bowed my head in shame, admitted it straight away and pulled out the melting Mr Freeze. It was 25p. 25p I didn’t have that day. I was so embarrassed. He told me off and said he would telling my mother the next time she comes in. That moment was proof that I am a terrible liar. I really can’t tell lies to save my life. I’ll always be honest because that’s just me.
It’s fair to say I’ve never attempted to take anything else from a shop that I haven’t paid for. I’ll always be reminded of the Mr Freeze incident. As children, we thought the shopkeeper seemed so naïve, but it was the reverse. It was us that were naïve. He was watching us all the time. Oh, we had so much to learn. This was just one tiny moment in my journey. But it can be moments like these that shape the person you become.
One of my brothers is pretty much the same. He wasn’t involved in the Mr Freeze incident, but he’s a very honest guy too. He really dislikes people who are not honest with him. I can’t lie to him. He would catch me out quicker than anyone else I know.
So, if you want to blog – blog. If you want to be an engineer – be a engineer. If you want to promote mindfulness (I still don’t really understand how this works) – teach mindfulness. I know everyone doesn’t agree with what I’m doing, but I can’t please everyone. I know my family and family are proud of me. I also know that my writing is helping me to become a better person. It’s my therapy. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t – because I’m telling you that you can. But whatever you do, focus on being yourself, your authentic self, embracing all your strengths and your flaws.
Just be you.