I always loved to write. In high school my best friend and I would pass notes all day long back and forth, creating wild stories and poking fun at any and everything around us.
In hind-site I can totally see why I was not one of the popular kids.
As I got older I stopped writing. Part of it was just time, I was busy in college and the only things I wrote were papers the night (and sometimes mornings) before they were due. The other part was that it was the beginning of me forgetting who I was.
Wanting so badly to be accepted I changed to fit in with the crowd. I lost confidence in myself, assuming I would not be liked for who I was and, like a chameleon, continued to change and adapt to my surroundings. I stopped writing, stopped being the tom-boy who rode horses and wore blue jeans and flip flops to nearly everything. I followed a boy to college instead of following my heart and going where I had always wanted. We broke up soon after but I had begun creating a life for myself there, a life so different from the one I had before. I found a fantastic group of friends in the sorority I joined and a few years later met an amazing man who I eventually married.
I was starting to find myself again but I had changed. Part of it was the natural evolution of oneself as you get older and mature but the other part was self-doubt. I beat myself up, told myself I was not smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough. No longer was I creative; instead I was analytical and logical. I still joked around, but my personality was split – a more serious Gina at work, funny Gina with friends, reserved Gina with strangers. I second guessed everything I said and did. I made assumptions that compared to my hilarious artist boyfriend my jokes would fall flat. I hated my reflection, berated myself for not being as pretty as my friends, for not being stylish enough. My confidence was in the gutter and no amount of reassurance would change my mind.
It wasn’t until many (many) years later that I rediscovered parts of myself and that long-lost creative side began to emerge again. I was a mom to 2 horse crazy little girls. Girls whose passion for riding reignited my own. Girls who were confident in themselves, who would laugh at their own (horrible) jokes and would stare at their reflection admiring their own beauty. The journey to who I was had begun.
Then I was diagnosed with cancer and I began to write again. First it was to inform friends and family of what was going on but it began to evolve. I began writing about my life in general and was blown away by the positive feedback. Not only were my friends and family wanting to know what was happening with my health but they were also enjoying my writing. I began to gain confidence that I had long ago lost. I started a blog then branched out a little at a time to see if anyone really wanted to hear what I had to say.
And they did.
The more I wrote the more I realized that I could do this, I got published on a few “dare to dream” sites and my desire to start my own actual site began to grow. But still, I had nagging doubt that it would flop, that no one would care. Every time I would consider throwing in the towel though something would happen. Maybe I would post a status on Facebook and someone would message me saying that was what they needed to hear that day, or I would read a comment on an article I wrote saying I made them laugh.
Through all these tiny baby steps I realized something; maybe one person can make a difference in this world and my way is through story telling. It may be fleeting but if I make someone smile when they are having a bad day, if I can make someone look at their life and laugh at the absurd instead of feeling alone and like a failure (cause trust me, I have some crazy failure moments happening) then I have done my job.
I am taking a leap of faith and beginning a this new site. Here I am; the raw, unfiltered, real me that for years I hid or camouflaged hoping to not make waves while not being true to myself. This site that I am creating is not just for me but for everyone who has ever felt not good enough, that they need to change who they are in order to fit in. This is a place of love and laughter, a place of no judgment, a place that no matter how bad a day you are having will remind you that you are important, you are needed and you are loved.
My confidence will continue to waiver. I will still question all the things I say and do and wonder when I hit the “submit” button if anyone will want to read what I wrote. But then maybe one person will comment and let me know it made them laugh, or it helped them through a bad day; that I made a difference. And that is enough to fuel me to continue.