If they made a movie of my life and career – which they wouldn’t because that’d mean I’d become ‘known’ – it would be called Eternal Wallflower With a Chaotic Mind.
Okay, so I *may* have been ‘inspired’ by a certain film when I thought up this title – but it popped into my mind when Phil said something to me this evening about whether an Instagram of mine would go viral.
I’m not the person who goes viral. I could write the most spectacular, or hilarious, or heartwarming, or tragic, or insightful article ever, and it wouldn’t go viral.
The post in question is not even worthy of such glory, so that conversation was really a moot point. However it’s interesting to me that my status as ‘eternal wallflower’ has been set in stone well, my entire life!
I don’t actually like the spotlight. I don’t want loads of people analysing my every move, or cameras following me around. Ask the child Hannah what she wanted to be when she grew up and nouting ‘celebrity’-esque would have made the list. Pilot, journalist, writer, teacher, marine biologist after one amazing holiday to Florida. Never actress, singer, Princess. I didn’t want a big wedding with hundreds of guests – hence a marquee on a farm with about 40 guests.
I don’t like the spotlight, and yet I blog. I place myself and my family in front of a fair number of people, discussing our highs, lows, and in betweens. I’ve been on live BBC television, Radio 4, filmed adverts to be broadcast across the world. I guess I am quite the contradiction. I write and talk openly about postnatal depression and breastfeeding, yet I go bright red if I meet someone new, or receive a compliment.
And I think – at the grand old age of 30 years and 51 weeks old – that I may have figured it out:
I can be open about the stuff that matters. To me, to us, to other people in my/our situation.
I can’t be funny, I’m too shy and sarcastic, but I can do real.
So of course it’s inevitable that a silly meme won’t go viral, because even behind a screen I don’t do funny; and that’s fine! But the stuff that means so much to me I could burst? The stuff that parents every hour of every day are going through and looking for support with? I won’t lie, sometimes I get really despondent when those things don’t ‘get’ anywhere. I’m not the best writer or blogger in the world, but I take immense pride in what I do, and so inevitably I take it to heart if a post is not as highly read or shared as I feel it deserves.
And yet, yet. I write because I love it. I write because it’s therapeutic and enjoyable and cathartic and a huge part of what makes me, me. And sometimes I do receive comments, messages, emails, that bring tears to my eyes. Thanks from people who appreciate my honesty, who I’ve supported with my openness, who just feel less alone because I neither sugarcoat nor vilify parenthood.
So I’ll continue to plod. I’ll also remind myself that I don’t go to the huge effort that many bloggers do, in order to get their name and posts ‘out there’. I can’t moan at not achieving something I don’t put my life and soul into! Others astound me with their dedication and work! I put my soul into what I do write, share, publish. But I also work full time, have a business, another blog, a husband, 2 small kids. This blog means a lot to me, but it isn’t what I put my all into.
So at nearly 31 years old maybe, just maybe, I’m accepting who I am. The shy girl with opinions and a few decent brain cells. The redhead with an often red face. The woman who cares and loves and writes with passion.
So I’m not perfect, I’m the Eternal Wallflower With a Chaotic Mind. But if you need me, I’m here. That’s my quiet strength.