Thursday, September 25, 2008

BE BRAVE: Post 16: Back to Blogging

I'm back to blogging after a what feels like very long 17 day hiatus. It's felt like months. I miss all of you. I've been keeping up with your blogs, but having some trouble commenting as I like to. And of course, been stalled totally in my blogging.

I easily recovered from the gastroenteritis I had days ago. But I'd had two group activities around the same time that shook my sense of self and made me wonder about fitting in, being separate from others, how I relate and project my own feelings onto others, and more. It made me wonder about what I have to offer others, and this self-questioning made it hard for me to blog. I contracted my life and withdrew into myself. To process, to heal. I'm fine now, but I think this was just something I had to go through.

I say "had to" because I really am determined to try to figure out a way that I can form local community. And in order to do this I'm going to have to overcome the obstacles I've built to being with other people. At this point, I would almost say I'm desperate for community. I absolutely love the fantastic community I have here online, and it has changed my life; it is incredibly precious to me. I just would like to be able to have local companionship sometimes---say if I want to go out to eat, or go for a walk, or have tea with someone. As much as I enjoy being alone (and I really, really do, because this is where I gain energy and feed myself spiritually), I also enjoy being with others, so have lately been taking steps that are new and challenging to me.

Then, as I've encountered the inevitable obstacles I've been stopped flat by my fear, instead of being resilient and persevering. Instead of taking things lightly. I have such a strong inclination to stand apart from others, and to take other people's reactions very personally. To perceive rejection where there is none. Or to be rejecting myself and yet to see it as my being rejected.

It's just been a lifelong inability I've had to connect in a group. In the past, I've sometimes joined "instant communities"---communities that are already there where I'd certainly be welcomed regardless of who I was (like churches or multi-level marketing groups) as long as I tried to fit in and act like everyone else. Find out the rules, and then conform. Agree. Nod. Act like everyone else. That was be easier for me than going out and learning about myself in a group, building the overwhelming skills of relating to multiple people at the same time, holding my integrity and identity enough to disagree with the group, facing rejection without it devastating my self-esteem.

But I'm too old for that short cut now. It's not even really a short cut, of course, but a false path to what I want.

I feel very comfortable with who I am and know that not everyone will like me. I'm totally okay with that. I've studied group dynamics and have a lot of head knowledge about how to relate to others. It's just that the doing of this, the persevering and the sorting through situations and groups and people, dealing with the emotions---this has been something I've not pushed myself to do. Because of this. Because of the growing up I'd have to do.

So now I'm being brave. And working on growing up. And back to blogging.


Kate said...


I am glad to see you are back blogging again. I have missed you.Being brave keeps things moving in the right direction I think. I believe I was being brave, owning that I am an artist by making a banner for my blog that consisted of my Art. Also I am trying to do the things I think artists do like showing my process. The Be brave project truly changed my life. Thanks you for introducing me to it.


thailandchani said...

I completely understand what you mean about local community. While I am always open to more, I've found quite a bit of contentment with even just a few like-minded people. As you say, it's just the idea of having someone to have lunch with occasionally - or go somewhere with.

I know you won't have any trouble building some local relationships - and I don't think you'll have to submit to any group or conform to do it.

Just be who you are - and you'll draw the right people.



Kate I said...

Good to see you back to blogging Olivia...I have missed your online presence but completely understand your need for downtime.

I think once we put the intention out there for what we want it's just a matter of time before it shows up. Your openess and gentle kindness are sure to create a circle of support.

(...and it was wonderful to meet you at Patti's book signing!)

patti said...

Yes, great to have you back, I missed you!

I would not feel comfortable conforming, just to fit in to the 'group' either. Integrity is important to me too and I understand your conflict there.

Maybe you could find a community writers group or perhaps a book club that meets regularly, where different opinions are encouraged.

Also volunteer/charity work (lots of scope here) is a great way to connect with community. You can 'forget' yourself, yet still be yourself. When you're 'doing' something for someone else the focus is outward not inward - much healthier and is so rewarding too.

I admire your bravery in facing this and know that you will find community somehow, while keeping your integrity intact.

Tami said...

I wonder how many of us have truly formed our own communities. I mean, most people do go to churches or group meeting where they sit there and act like everyone else. I know I do this.

On the other hand, someone has to form these groups. Not everyone can form their own group or there would be too many. I hope I am making some sense. I don’t think there is one thing wrong with you joining in with a group of people that has already been formed. If you find the right group for you, you won’t feel bad about disagreeing with them once in a while because you will have become friends and friends don’t agree on everything.

The older I get, the more I realize that we don’t all have to agree on every subject. I hope this makes you feel better! True friendship, like you have with Love Hubby, means you don’t hold grudges or call someone out when they are a little different.

It is great to hear from you :)

Olivia said...

You're welcome, Kate, and thank you for your encouragement. I enjoy watching what you share about your process, and it inspires me to watch you grow. I have yet to be as revealing about my art as you are about yours, but I aspire to be there. It 's good to be back. Love, O

Olivia said...

Yes, Chani, I do believe in the concept of attracting the right people. Thank you for reminding me of this. I just need to relax and let the process play out. Sometimes I get so spun up and anxious THAT I COULD SCREAM! I try to force things that truly will happen naturally on their own if I just----let them!! Thank you for this important reminder! Love, O

Olivia said...

Hi, Kate I---Yes indeed---openness, intention, and gentleness, as opposed to forcing, pushing, impatience, etc. Sometimes I think that I get so caught up in "making things happen" and my goals, forgetting to surrender to the process of life. I very much enjoyed meeting you and communicating with you via email as well. Love, O

Olivia said...

Hi, Patti,

Thank you!! Thank you for your ideas and for your encouragement as well. I will consider both a writer's group (I know of one, and I do need the support on my book) as well as volunteer work. Thank you Patti, Love, O

Olivia said...


I do understand what you're saying. I think I made it an "either-or" type situation, as though I have to either pick a group and compromise or else slowly build my own. That's a false choice. I can indeed join a group yet be myself. This is an important distinction, and I thank you for making it. I am learning, slowly... :) Love, O

Journey Through Life said...

I'll chorus everyone else also and say, I'm glad you are back. I look forward to reading your posts once more.

Angela said...

Good to have you blogging again, O. I thank my lucky stars every day that I've been able to build a community that suits me here over the past six years. I didn't do it by joining an already established community; I did it by nururing relationships one at a time. And I've missed being a participant in my blogging community, which has also become an important part of my life. So, I finally got my new blog up!

Kerstin said...

Hi Olivia,

This is why blogging is so fascinating to me! Having met you in person and if I hadn't now read your post I would have never thought that you felt this way about being in a group. You seemed very at easy and open when we all got together, and I do hope that you felt you could be yourself with us. For my part I really enjoyed meeting you, and thought that you were interesting and genuine :)

As you know I am in a similar situation in wanting to establish a local community of friends you can just meet for a coffee or a walk; having just moved here I know that these things take time. And I have to admit that I have never been one to join a group or club, it's just never been on my radar. Having said this, when I moved to Mass three years ago I actually founded a dieting group. Although no individual friendships came out of that (and none of us lost any weight except the one who had also joined WW!) I still enjoyed those weekly or fortnightly meetings. I wish you lived closer to me, I would definitely love to get to know you better over a coffee or glass of wine!

In any case, I agree with everyone else - it nice to see you blogging again!

Take good care,

kikipotamus said...

Hey, I've missed you! So glad you're back. But I understand completely that sometimes other processing has to go on that precludes or inhibits the blogging.

yertle said...

I understand the breaks. Sometimes I just need to process too. I am glad to see you back.

Olivia said...

Thanks, Kelly! Thanks for asking about me too. It's nice to know that I was missed :) xxoo, O

Olivia said...

Thanks, yertle. You know I almost never comment on your blog, but I continue to enjoy your gratitude lists. They remind me of the "little things" as well as the so-called "big things"---all go into a day. All are worthy of gratitude. Thanks for the welcome back. xxoo, O

Olivia said...

Annie, thank you, and welcome back yourself :) Blessings and love, O

Olivia said...


I am thrilled to know about your blog and that you are back. Good for you for building step-by-step; and a good reminder, too, that it took 6 years. For hermits like me, it could even be more time-intensive.

Peace, joy, rest, and love,


Olivia said...

Thank you Kerstin,

No, absolutely, I felt like I was being myself the whole time, thank you for that feedback and for the warm thoughts. It's just me, and how I feel "connected" was wonderful meeting you as well!

Kerstin, both the coffee and the wine sound good, and especially the talking. I could indeed start a group, and a weight loss group sounds superb.

I'm going to put some intention out there, be open, and see what I attract. I do have to remember that it takes time.

I hope you find a lovely community there in Bellingham. I think you will...

Thank you, Kerstin, for the welcome back.

Blessings and love,