Living Life Out Loud and Feeling a Bit Exposed…

I’ve made a very conscious choice to wear faults and failings, as I do my triumphs and adventures, on my sleeve.

Sharing thoughts, experiences and feelings with the world; online and often, is commonplace for me.

LivingOutLoud

At worst, it opens me up to judgment and scrutiny from strangers and haters. At best it opens up my heart and life (and message folder) to people who become great friends and allies in the altogether hectic, painful, beautiful, difficult and wonderful life.

Wow, I started in with the pithy pretty early in this blog.

Hang in there please, this should be good and useful stuff if you manage to shovel through the schmaltz and stick with me until I wrap this up.

So, why am I so open? Am I simply an insecure and needy exhibitionist type? Do I crave acceptance and absolution from strangers and friends and plead my case regularly and publicly in an attempt to win you all over? Am I so arrogant that I think an audience will benefit immeasurably from my experiences?

There’s almost certainly an element to all of these things.

Here’s the thing that I keep coming back to though:

Every person who lives and breaths is amazing, complex, beautiful and we all have some ugliness mixed in in varying degrees at various times.

I sincerely feel that the distance between each and every one of us decreases with candor and sharing. I also believe that the absolute shortest distance between people is shared laughter.

LaughterShortestDistnace

I share stories and very actively toil to add an element of humour when I share thoughts and experiences. Sometimes it is in the form of self-deprecation, sometimes the stories I share are absurd enough that they require no finessing to be funny.

Here’s the thing though; You and everyone else has absolute power to twist anything I share. You can throw confessions or thoughts back in my face. You can alter and contort any of my experiences or stories with simple additions, exclusions, amplifications or exaggerations as you see fit.

VulnerabilityHemmingway

Once I share anything, it is no longer exclusively mine. By virtue of taking the time to read the words I write, you own a bit of real estate in my life, my heart and my head. I give it to you and anyone else who chooses to read my blog or anything I share freely.

Some people put a great deal of effort into building walls and feeding an identity that makes them feel safe or secure. Some people put their best face forward all the time and want to convince themselves and the world that they have their s*** together.

I have no hope of ever convincing anyone that I have my s*** together. I am a hot mess with a big heart and high-ideals. Being as deliciously different as I am means I am privy to hurts and helps far superior to anything I’d ever have imagined I’d feel or know.  I feel like I have the freedom to be myself openly and honestly, and I feel like that makes me a better friend, role model to my children, and generally a happier freer person because I don’t have to worry about people finding out about the real me, as the real me is the me I get to be most of the time.

It also means I see greatness, brokenness, faults and fabulousness in everyone else I see and meet. There’s not as much distance between you and me and everyone else on this planet as some people perceive. We’re all fighting battles, and we’re all learning in varying degrees and with varying speed and success.

I am an observer and a participant in this life, as we all are.

Even after years, or decades, of living life out loud, I am still absolutely devastated when people interpret my kindness for weakness, my vulnerability for feebleness, my quirkiness for foolishness, or my earnest for naivety.

VulnerableSign

I share my learning with people, in the hopes that they will share theirs with me, and we’ll both be better off. My opinions and beliefs are changing all the time based on the stories and opinions people generously share with me.

The absolute best and worst part of my existence is people.

Being naked and vulnerable as I choose to be means there are people who don’t require much encouragement to decide that they are far superior to me in some or many ways.  Sometimes, for whatever reason, people hurt other people in cowardly, backhanded or childish way.  Sometimes our closest friends and staunchest allies break our hearts with words and actions, despite having the absolute best intentions.  Because I choose to let people into my thoughts, and life so actively, people can hurt me without too much effort.  I get that.  And for the most part, I can take the good with the bad.

VulnerableNotWeak

Because I openly and honestly share my struggles with ADD, depression, parenting, professional life, friendships, marriage, self-esteem, relationships, power struggles, pain, loss, Love, learning, travel, health, hope, happiness and sadness;  some people dismiss me, or attack me, with my own words. Other people engage with me on a level of trust and Love and friendship that makes this whole life more manageable for both of us I think.  It is a risk we all take when we share a bit or ourselves I suppose.

If you take the time to read or share any of this with me, you get to decide how you relate to me, and my journey. You get to decide if you find my choices and behaviours uplifting or abhorrent. You get to decide if you feel superior, equal, or comforted. You get to decide if you see some of yourself in my observations and experiences. You have total control over how you decide to pick up what I am throwing down as I share these (and any other) words with you.

So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart for sharing the journey with me occasionally, frequently, or closely. Please take it easy on me, and anyone else that has the courage to share a bit of themselves with you.  And you can be as open or as guarded as you want with your life and experiences, and I will go ahead and keep living my life out loud and feeling elated and vulnerable at differing times and to differing degrees.

Guess that’s it for today.

Thank you, especially because this was a long one, for tuning in and sharing the journey with me.

January 3rd 2015

Day four of the official Road Trip.

Had the best New Years we could have ever imagined. Also managed to off-load one of the four children. Steph is staying on Paihia with her BFF and her amazing family. Steve and I are very fond of them and approve whole-heartedly of their parenting. They use humour, laughter, and lots of Love and respect. It is the humour thing that got and keeps us on board for sure though.  She’s having a great time and my friend Ginell and I are a little jealous even, as she gets to see dolphins and hang out with some genuinely fabulous people while we drive for hours and hours every day for the next couple of weeks.

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I won’t complain though! It has been a hugely successful (and exhausting) journey so far, and the footage we are gathering is going to splice into the most perfect clip imaginable. And I adore the people we are traveling with.

Cape Reinga was awe-inspiring.


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I was lucky enough to talk briefly to local Iwi there. The man that ran the last camp before Cape Reinga was receptive and lovely, although quite busy so we never did manage to get him away from his desk for a test drive. Maori have an undeniably strong connection with the land, and nature. I’ve always also seen a sense of family and community that is admirable, and all of these things gave a synergy with the cleaner, fairer and more independent New Zealand we’d like to see. I’d like to work more closely with connections we have, and meet more thought and community leaders in the Pacific and Maori communities.

This trip has definitely ignited a desire to get more people involved in this movement, and to get more people thinking seriously about the issues.

I am no activist. I know that due to the fact I’ve met quite a few social and environmental activists in my travels with this trip and generally. I am a loud, caring, open and enthusiastic wife, mother and member of this planet. All of this work started simply with my own selfish desire to assuage my middle-class guilt. Now it is so much more. I’ve made friends and seen changes in people’s perceptions and behaviours that I believe will be long lasting and do a world of good.

I miss my best friend and business partner Rebekah every single moment on this trip. Not only because she is a million times better at organizing and logistics than I am, but because doing this stuff is more fun when I have her to share it with.

Luckily, the people we are working, traveling with, and meeting along the way are amazing, funny, engaging, interesting and diverse.

I am having a brilliant time, but already looking forward to a period of hibernation for a couple of weeks when we return.

Missing all the people we have been neglecting lately, particularly sneep and P who we wanted to see and missed completely over the holiday period.

Thanks everyone for your support.

We’ll be checking in regularly, and remember to like our facebook page for information on how we are tracking and where we are going to park up for public viewings next.

Tomorrow we are hoping to be allowed on Eat Street in Rotorua, and if that fails, we will be heading to the lake front.

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How to avoid being “That Guy” online – Extensive personal research conducted over several years I have to say!

We all have our own list of pet peeves with Social Media. There are plenty of articles explaining what really miffs us off about social media.  Here is a list of articles on the subject to save you the trouble of googling it yourself:

http://socialmediatoday.com/rebecca-her/1786731/top-facebook-pet-peeves-small-businesses

http://gigaom.com/2010/08/11/8-social-media-pet-peeves-and-what-to-do-about-them/

I need to take a moment to say that I consider myself qualified to remark on these, because I have almost certainly been guilty of all of these at some time and to varying degrees.

that guy

In the early days of Facebook I’d hop online after one or two tooooo many wines.
OH THE HORROR!

Anyway, I’d like you to benefit from the wisdom of mine and others’ mistakes.

Here are just a few of the social media faux pas that we all ought to be mindful of:

The Painfully Proud Parent
Truth is, most people like hearing about kids antics, and seeing cute pictures of our friends’ young families growing up. ONCE IN A WHILE!

– Trademarks:

  •  Seriously spamming everyone with paintings or pictures your precious kids drew, stories of their potty training antics, ten thousand photos of them rolling over for the first time or eating an ice cream… You get the idea.
  • Baby talking ON YOUR status updates. Seriously, I find this quite remarkable, seriously, do these people not have spell check? Cause spell check would not like that one bit.
  • Publishing every minor milestone. There are times that many milestones are reached in close succession, and if you find yourself posting updates about your precious bundle more than a dozen times a day, you may want to rethink your strategy.

-Tips

  • Keep your content light
  • Don’t post too often
  • Put up one or two pictures of your precious bundle looking angelic,
    instead of 20 or 30
  • Poop pictures are out completely
  • Actually, any photos taken in the bathroom are probably best avoided.
  • Have a special page for everything kid related for friends and family to subscribe to if they choose
  • Find other proud parent groups and forums to post to your hearts content on! These places are great and you can find like minded individuals and EVEN SHARE POOP PICTURES!

Serial Relationship guy

The VAST majority of these guys (who are probably more often actually girls) are teens, tweens, and recently single men and women. I’ve been guilty of changing my own status to “it’s complicated” and then flew off to San Francisco without my husband for a couple of weeks some years back now. So anyone can fall prey to being this guy.

– Trademarks

  • Changes relationship status monthly or even weekly
  • Complains bitterly about ex and 24 hours later singing the praises of “The one, NO REALLY! This is the ONE! I think we’re going to get MARRIED!”

-Tips

  • Just don’t
  • A relationship is private and special when it is starting out, so try and keep it on the down-low until you’ve moved in together at least maybe?

The Oversharer or TMI guy

We have all been guilty of this. Whether it is because we have too much time on our hands or we feel a little bit needy,  we have all turned to social media, looking for validation and interaction and perhaps given far too much away.

-Trademarks:

  • Posting about EVERYTHING that happens – from breakfast to bowel movements.
  • Posting photos of injuries, mysterious rashes, every new purchase… you get the idea.
  • Spam spam, wonderful spam. Posting more than 10 times a day is simply not okay. Tweeting, no problem, but probably a bit too much for Facebook.

-Tips:

  • Find private groups to share your enthusiasm in. I belong to a pregnant ladies private group with a few dozen women, and we spam each other incessantly and over-share about fears, bodily functions, and can post as many belly shots and photos of our baby scans as we want. Know your audience, and try and keep the personal stuff out of the completely exposed public forum.
  • Think: Would I be okay with my kids and/or grandparents to see this post? If the answer is no, maybe don’t put it up.

Next instalment

  • – The Purveyor of Politics or Soap Box Guy
  • – The MEGA Motivator
  • – Food Porn Perv
  • – Eeyore
  • – Chain Letter Spammer
  • – Warnings and Fear Mongering Sharer (this guy doesn’t check snopes.com)

Written by one of the Social Soup Directors ( We will not divulge which one)