5 Things I Learned When I Redirected My Focus to My Blog

Another year has come to a close so that means another year of MegannLouise.com has come and gone. 2018 was an eventful year for this site. Toward the end of the year, I took the bull by the horns (sorry PETA) and focused more time on writing.

When I started writing for MegannLouise.com, I had no intention of posting regularly. I just wanted a platform for me to post my work when I did write. And for roughly 75% of the time I’ve had this site, that’s exactly what I did. But now I dedicate time out of my day to work on new content. In doing this, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, creator, and individual. I know that sounds extremely corny. I’m sorry. But here’s the top 5 things I learned after I focused on my blog this year.

1. Writing isn’t always easy. And writer’s block is real.

There have been days where I’ve spent hours just trying to write an introduction or even come up with a topic. Since I’ve been writing for a long time, I know my style and whenever my brain fails me and I don’t do my best work, I get upset. I’ve spent entire days working on posts before, arguing with myself over wording or formatting. At the end of it all, I’ve felt defeated when I give in and post whatever I came up with even when I wasn’t happy with it.

And here’s the thing- writer’s block happens. It can kick your ass at the worst times but that’s how it goes. I had to learn to roll with the punches and give myself breaks while writing to recoup. Sometimes nothing would pop into my head for days or even weeks. It wasn’t pretty. I would usually go into a dark place whenever that happened. It’s pretty devastating to fall into a place where doing what you love takes a brutal toll on you. But like I said- it happens. I just had to accept that and work with what I had.

2. Writing ahead of time saves my sanity.

To piggy-back off the last point, my self-deprecation took up so much of my time and made it almost impossible for me to crank out content like I wanted. I eventually mustered up the ability to “mass produce” posts. I would write three or four posts in a day and schedule them for later dates so I wouldn’t have to worry about them the day I needed something to go up. This helped a lot during Blogmas since I had to have a post up every single day for almost two weeks. I think the best part about writing in bulk is that I can pump out a lot of content whenever I’m feeling really creative, and relax on the days where I can’t come up with anything.

3. Quality over quantity.

This one was a hard pill to swallow. Once I found time and motivation to write, I wanted to keep writing and create an arsenal of posts stocked up for scheduled posting. However, during Blogmas I realized that the short posts that didn’t take as much effort weren’t as good as the longer ones that I put more of my heart into. It took a lot out of me to know that although I was getting these posts done early, they weren’t as good as they could have been if I worked a little harder and didn’t spread myself thin.

Now I look at it as a reader instead of a writer. What would I want to read? What would I think if someone posted something like this? Would I continue to read their work?

4. It takes determination.

No successful blogger made it where they are now without determination. Slacking isn’t an option. Consistency is really important- just as important as content. Sure, breaks are great for the mind and can lead to better content, but disappearing for large chunks of time really doesn’t work. It leaves everyone wondering where you are and if you really take writing seriously. Trust me, I’ve been there. I had no motivation for this site and it ruined the great path I had made for myself. I had to almost completely start over.

5. This is a community.

I had to repeatedly remind myself that people actually read this. When I write, deep down I know that people will read it but I sometimes forget about it and throw all caution to the wind. So it’s freaky for a second when I get to meet people who read my blog and they bring up something that I forgot I wrote about. I’m always like, “HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!” and then it freaks them out. Sometimes I really feel like I’m writing in my diary.

I found myself heavily relying on my blog to write about my feelings. This is still true at times today. I always say that I try to remain open with my readers, and although it’s hard, it’s extremely empowering at times too. When I feel like my voice does not matter, I come here and I feel heard. I can be happy, sad, or just not myself and I know I have a community here who is willing to listen.

With that, I also had to learn how to censor myself. Although I believe it is crucial to be open with your readers, a line has to be drawn. I used to be far too open and it would ultimately backfire on me. Sometimes I post about something and look back at it later in regret. Now I have to use my better judgment whenever I write about something personal. It’s hard to hold back on occasions, but it’s for the best.

 

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6,889 – An Internal Exposé

6, 889.

18 years, 10 months, 11 days.

That is how long I have faced this world- the cheerful, the gloomy, the downright cruel.

At least 12 of those years, I have been unhappy. That means that from the age of 6, I have been displeased, whether that be with myself or the world around me. Yes, that is a very young age to feel the way I felt, but I was able to disassociate myself with childhood thoughts at a young age. I began thinking like an adult early in life. Granted I wasn’t thinking about taking out mortgages or paying a phone bill, but I was questioning things with such an intellect that none of my peers could comprehend yet. I was by no means a brainiac baby, but I was definitely different.

The Early Years

I can remember being in kindergarten and looking at myself in a mirror. My hair was tangled and my lips chapped. Those who knew me then would expect nothing less. I ran my fingers through my curly hair and smiled at myself. “Looking good,” I would think. Little did I know that that was the last time I would be so confident in myself.

Not long after, I was bullied on the playground for having chapped lips. “Your lips look funny. That’s so weird,” I remember a classmate putting me down as we lined up to go down the spiral slide. That was the moment that I began the long cycle of self hatred and manipulation. Years went by where I would endlessly compare myself to my peers. I wanted to dress, act, and look like them. Maybe then I wouldn’t be weird, right?

 

Junior High

Another vivid memory I have is seventh grade math class. The teacher had left the room, and my class began to run around and cause havoc just as any seventh grade class would. Students were getting out of their seats, writing inappropriate things on the smartboard, and throwing things across the room. One classmate of mine walked up to my friend and I. At first, he just made jokes about how we were the only students who weren’t getting out of our seats and being obnoxious. Then, after realizing that we weren’t offended, he began to pick on our appearances to get a rise out of us. What he said to me has stuck in my mind for the past 5 or so years.

“Hey, ginger! Have you ever made a gingerbread house? I mean, it makes sense because you’re a pasty ginger.”

Yeah, I know. It’s a lame little kid joke. But I had been bullied for years about my natural strawberry blonde hair and light skin tone. It had been so bad that I was actually driven to dye my hair more “natural” shades. This ultimately damaged my hair, and I am still working to get it back to a healthier condition. But I couldn’t find any other way to escape the name calling and ridicule that I would face every day. What hurt me the most was not that I was a ginger, but that the word “ginger” was meant in a derogatory manner and it would continue to be for years. To this day, I encounter people who use the same word in an effort to offend me and I can still feel young Meg’s heart breaking deep down.

High School

Once high school rolled around, I felt slightly more confident. I entered my freshman year with my chin held high. Then it happened. I “loved” a boy for the first time. He was a senior wrestler, soccer player, singer, and he just so happened to be in my computer class. After months of getting to know each other, we began dating. The maturity difference between us was a huge roadblock, however. Not only that, but he did not respect our relationship like I did. So after months of being off and on, we finally cut ties for good. It hurt me immensely because he was the first boy I “loved.” I use quotes because after years of growing up, I realize that I did not love him. I loved only the idea of him. But since I thought I loved him, his absence in my life made me turn into a maniac. I wanted love. I wanted someone to give my attention to like I had once given to him. Something about loving someone gave me such a high. I craved love from someone that would not leave me like he did. So I spent my sophomore year looking for someone who would love me unconditionally. To many, my manhunt looked like I was “putting out.” That was far from the truth, but I couldn’t defend myself, as the evidence was too convincing. Hell, although I never did anything more than make out with a boy at that age, I was beginning to believe the rumors too.

Let’s go back to what I said earlier about me thinking differently than others my age. At this time in my life, I wanted to find the person I would spend forever with. I wanted to love someone and I wanted them to love me the same way. So while others were concentrated on “getting some,” I was focused on finding the one. That is why I was said to be “hopping from boy to boy.” I was eager to find the one who would love me unreservedly, but not many people recognized that.

So sophomore year came and went, filling my life with enemies and untrue rumors. Then, as I was beginning my junior year, I met someone who would forever change my life. We connected almost immediately and we began dating in October of 2015. He took care of me and always assured me that he would never do what any of the previous boys in my life had. I gave him my heart and my trust. I fell in love with him. I would tell all my friends about how perfect he was and how he made me want to change for the better. But then the worst thing imaginable happened. I developed anxiety and depression.

I believe half the reason for this was a medical condition I have called hypothyroidism. Side effects include depression, anxiety, and mood swings. So that’s great for relationships, right? Yeah, exactly.

But times became harder. I would cry hysterically and want to shut out the world. My poor boyfriend would have to watch me suffer. And the worst part of it all was that I didn’t know how he could help me. Sometimes I would need him to hold me and comfort me, while other times I couldn’t even stand him touching or looking at me. He learned, though. He spent months trying to figure out what I needed to feel better. Finally, we learned what it was. I just needed love. However, time went on and my mood swings and uncontrollable panic attacks took their toll on him. He finally left (I say “finally” because I think he should have left for his own good months earlier) after ten months of being with me.

Just as you could imagine, I did not take it well. I would cry myself to sleep for weeks, and had terrifying nightmares about him abandoning me. I would wake up in the middle of the night to dried tears on my cheeks. The thought of him broke my heart for months. Hearing his name would result in a painful heavy feeling in my stomach. Speaking his name burnt my lungs. Seeing pictures of him would make my eyes swell. It was like losing a part of me. And the worst part was knowing that he was better off without me even though I was not better off without him.

It was finally time for my last year of high school, and I couldn’t be more excited to leave. I planned to go through the motions until I had a diploma in my hand. That’s when I became friends with someone else. For the sake of this story, let’s call him Manbun. Those of you who know who I’m talking about are probably laughing hysterically about this choice of characterization.

But back to the story.

We had been classmates for as long as I can remember, but we were never really friends. We sat next to each other in freshman physical science and everyone told me we should date, but he was a jock, and I was still a gap-toothed loser. So I never tried anything with him. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a huge crush on him, though.

But senior year, we were given another chance, by fate or by God. We were both put into a creative writing class for our first semester. He was a super loud and outgoing type, and I was the opposite. Some would even go as far as to say he was the “bad boy” of our grade. He smoked, did drugs, and didn’t have the cleanest record at our school. But after a few weeks of getting to know each other, we connected. Our teacher partnered us up for a project and I, redeveloping a faint crush on him, flirted it up. He surprisingly reciprocated. Thus began the cycle of off-again, on-again, Meg and Manbun.

I fell in love with Manbun, I will admit, more than I loved the past boyfriend I had. We spent so much time together and he made me laugh so much more than anyone ever could. He was what I imagined my metaphorical “Prince Charming” to be like. He taught me how to love myself. I no longer hated myself or my appearance. I could finally look at myself in the mirror and smile. He worried about me and took care of me. On top of that, he would randomly play with my hair and rub my back for me. He wasn’t such a bad boy after all. Although he was great to me, some of our different morals got in the way of us maintaining a steady relationship. We ended in a terrible way, and to this day we rarely speak.

After we broke up, I could not look at myself the way I used to. I began pointing out every flaw I had. I would sit in front of a mirror for what seemed like forever, just to remind myself how hideous I am. I’d say to myself, “he didn’t love you because you’re ugly.” I couldn’t find any confidence within myself. I barely wanted to live.

Now

Months have gone by since Manbun and I broke up, and I am slowly beginning to feel better about myself. A year has gone by since I lost the first boy I truly loved, and I no longer yearn for his return. Years have gone by since I was called a ginger, and I stopped dying my hair to hide from the truth. 18 years, 10 months, and 11 days have gone by since I began this wild journey, and not one single second of it is in vain.

My life is my story, and that is why I write. I share my story with others who may or may not know what I was or am going through. I encourage everyone to open up and find beauty within their struggles and triumphs.

 

 

Journey: The Road to Health and Self-Love

Intro

After forcing myself to become someone socially acceptable, I lost sight of who I truly was. I spent years collapsing when faced with peer pressure and it ultimately destroyed my confidence. After realizing what I had been doing to myself, I found the strength to correct myself and promote a healthier lifestyle. This has been a long journey, and I’m ready to share my story with those who may be looking for motivation to help themselves.

Key in the Ignition

I can’t lie to you, starting this process took more than one look in the mirror. It took about 1,460. And once I took that final look and decided to make a change, it wasn’t set in stone. I spent days at a time arguing with myself over whether or not it was truly worth it in the long run. I doubted my strength and courage to take on such a demanding challenge. But once I noticed how much negativity I directed towards myself, I realized that something really needed to be done in order to rescue myself from the downward spiral I was heading towards.

On the Side of the Road

A few weeks after going through an emotional end to a relationship, I was distraught and depressed beyond comprehension. I didn’t care about my schoolwork or relations with others. I shut down completely and never left my bedroom. Eating became a challenge, as I imagined that whatever went down would come right back up moments later. I ate about one meal a day and rarely cleared my plate when I did decide to eat.

Not only did I suffer from a potential eating disorder, but I also lacked efficient amounts of sleep. I stayed up late crying to John Legend songs and reading Atticus’ poetry on Instagram. I watched as weeks went by and my physical appearance seemed to deteriorate. Looking back at it now, I am truly blessed to have recovered from all I had been going through.

Now, I am in no way blaming my ex for what I went through. This was all my own doing- my own heart and my own decisions. I completely empathize for him now, since I understand where I had gone wrong before. I just felt that I needed to clarify since a lot of people would take it as a jab in his direction. But I am actually thankful for the pain brought on by the tragic end to our relationship because it helped me realize what I had been doing wrong and it motivated me to finally change.

Are We There Yet?

Being new to recovery, I was unaware of how long of a process it would be. I’d spend a few days being nothing but positive and caring, but come home feeling nothing but drained and stuck in one place. I didn’t see any progress nor did I give myself the time to. I wanted to be better, and I wanted it right away.

Eventually, however, I came to grips with the reality of the process. It wasn’t going to be ok in a day or two, maybe not even a year or two. It was just going to run its course and whatever happened, happened. And fortunately, being accepting of the truth of the matter helped the process move faster than it originally had been.

You Have Reached Your Destination

Ok, so “reaching my destination” may be a slight exaggeration since I have so much further to go, but I have definitely seen remarkable advancements in the right direction. I’ve learned to love myself and others for the littlest things. I’ve promoted self-love and independence. I have no longer relied on others for my happiness and it has made me realize how precious life is. Oh, God that’s cliché, but let me explain.

Life is like driving down a long and winding road. You’re in control of where you take yourself. When faced with an obstacle in that road, you can either keep driving through it in hopes that one day the pot holes and rain storms will become routine, or you can turn right onto a freshly paved road with beautiful blossoming flowers and welcoming brick houses. But before you can decide which route to take, you have to recognize where you are and where you want to end up.