Sunday, January 22, 2012

Loving you .. Anonymously.

Wreath in my House. Photo taken by me.

I had no idea what to expect when I asked people to post anonymously on my blog.

No idea at all.

One of those anonymous posts is mine.  And when I typed it out and hit the "post" button, it actually changed my thinking a bit.  Just putting out there, anonymously, something I'm afraid to say to anyone, was cathartic.  Didn't solve my problem, but was a little soul-cleansing. 

I hope it was that way for you, too.

Some of your posts frightened me.  Most I could completely understand.  All made me want to bring you home for a cup of something delicious and a plate of something yummy, and let you know you aren't alone.  Make you laugh at least once.  Cry with you, too.  But mostly, most importantly, let you know you are loved, even though online, here, on this blog, I may seem like just words on a screen to you.

One of the things I love about the internet IS the ability to make friends you never see.  Just because you don't live down the road from me doesn't mean we can't be friends.  

First and foremost, to the person who said they were afraid they'd kill themselves if things didn't get better -- please email me, (she emailed me), call someone, or share this fear with a therapist, because I know from experience how the feeling is crippling.  But I also know that while things look dire, hopeless, and impossible, if you keep pushing forward, things can change.  I write that having gone through two years of intense therapy, the right medications, and hanging on by the skin of my teeth.  When I was 30, you were me.  I'm 42 now.  Please, hold on.  And seeing a professional does NOT mean you've failed, are labeled, or anything like that. 

via Pinterest
Don't be afraid of opening that door.

Most of the anonymous posts dealt with fear of failure, fear of not having enough time, and guilt about pursuing their art.  If any of you go back and read through the comments, you'll see -- you're not alone.  Many of us, I'm sure, have harbored thoughts of never "making it", or being afraid to take the last step to LET you "make it" in your art.  It's about opening a door to the unknown and not knowing what you'll find -- that's more than a little scary, isn't it?   I share these feeling as well.  And I think the guilt associated with finding time is universal. 

I've often wondered if I have enough time to finish the long list of things I feel driven to do.  And I say "driven" because I've always been a person who wanted to finish what she started, and a couple of my supervisors in my "real life working days" have used that word to describe me.  I used to be called the Engergizer Bunny, but now I feel both boredom and a desire to push forward in my artistic endeavors.

I think that's ok.  What isn't ok is quitting everything.  Everyone needs something that truly makes them happy, and it doesn't have to be a huge accomplishment.  Sometimes the deepest pleasures can come from taking a book to bed and staying there all day, luxuriating in peace and quiet and escape.  Sometimes it's a drive down the road, singing loudly out of tune to your favorite songs.   Sometimes it can be as simple as splurging $5 for that decadent bar of chocolate we always pass by in the grocery store.

The person who said they were surrounded but alone -- I've been there, too.  I know that feeling, and I'm sure many readers have felt it, too.  I've also felt the agonizing misery of being quite literally totally alone.   Either way, if you look through those comments, you aren't alone in your feelings.  It's hard to know what to do about it, because the fear of reaching out and facing rejection is terrifying.  But we have to try.   Sometimes it's as simple as smiling at strangers -- it's amazing the joy you can give someone (and yourself) when you smile.  I wish it were always that easy, and it takes practice.  But practice, we must.

I've lived a lot of life -- experienced a lot of things -- but I don't think there's a deadline for achieving anything.  Sometimes I'm not even sure what I WANT to achieve, so those are the times I try really, really hard to find peace in something else.  I've started and stopped several huge things.  I could have been an Air Force careerist.  I could have been a doctor.  I could have lived my life totally alone, but traveling the world.  I've started all three, and chosen to stop all three.  Interestingly, I'm at peace with it, because the fear that I dealt with in between stopping and starting something new was erased when I FOUND that something new.  I keep that thought close to my heart -- the journey can be hard, but the destination can be wonderful.

This post has taken me so long to write because I'm afraid of saying the wrong thing.  I'm absolutely in empathy with all of you, but I speak only from my personal experience -- I'm not a certified professional by any means.  I've struggled with the right things to say that will help or encourage, and struggled with guilt for even writing yesterday's post -- did I make things worse?  I desperately hope posting anonymously helped someone.

It's ok not to finish what you start, to be afraid of the unknown, to be scared, because every road has a fork in it at some point -- every tree has many branches. 

Trees near my home.  Photo by me.

You are loved, anonymously by me. 


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Lori, thank you for this powerful exercise. Love is important. Loving ourselves first, it frees us to create without fear.

  2. An incredible experience :-D
    Thank you for this.

  3. Lori - that was an incredible post yesterday and followed up by today's post - WOW. I'd didn't post yesterday. Well, I did, and then erased it. Even Anon. I withdraw like a chicken. I've read each one and rejoice at their honesty and courage, and yours!

  4. Lori, I think you've expressed it well. What you did helped a lot of people. I was also concerned when I read the one post. I've prayed for this person. I believe in the power of prayer. I hope that this person is able to find the peace and comfort and strength she needs so desperately. When you write down your fears, they often go away. I'm sure there were others who wrote but did not post. This must have helped them. Thank you for doing this.

  5. Wow, this has been so healing on so many levels. I would also recommend that readers go to Marti Conrad's blog and read about her mended hearts. It is no coincidence that this blog and her blog have been published at the same time.

    Thank you, Lori.

  6. Lori, your post is clearly written from the heart, so I don't think that you could ever have said the wrong thing.
    I love your wreath!

  7. Wow. I'm new to your blog but totally impressed. Can't wait to read more.


  8. Lori,

    You're an amazing person, allowing us to share honestly and anonymously and then reaching out to us. *Hugs.*

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  9. I just 'tuned in' this weekend and saw/read yesterday's posts and todays - wow. I really hope the person who mentioned killing themselves can reach out to you Lori or to someone close to them or someone here online. My heart sank when I read that one, too, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them and to all who posted their fears and worries. I know, even anonymously, that it wasn't easy for people to do this.

  10. Lori,
    This post came at the right time for me, and I wanted to send you a 'hug' and thanks. You are a truly bright star!

  11. Dear Lori,
    Your post came at the right time for me. Thank you, you are truly a bright star!

  12. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. just what I needed right now!

  13. oh, my heart is breaking. Please, please, if you need help,
    don't be afraid to reach out and ask for it. I have experience with this and I'm a GREAT listener.

    Lori, you have empowered us by giving us a platform to speak.

  14. Wow - what an interesting post. And what sad comments by so many. We aren't alone. We are NOT alone.

  15. You do some very lovely things for your readers Lori. TY for being this type of person.

  16. You do such lovely things for your readers, Lori. TY for being so caring.

  17. Lori, thanks for taking the time to share from the heart ... as well as putting your post together the way you did today. The words, combined with the visions of the photos were powerful for me. Definitely a post I'll come back to in the future, when my heart needs the vision of going through those beautiful doors (as well as the others!). Enjoying your blog ... enjoying YOU ... thank you! -Susan @ My Happy Things

  18. Beautiful post Lori!

  19. Anonymous2:37 PM

    One thing this blog never seems is... just words on a screen. This blog most certainly has a heart and it beats within one very special lady!

  20. Lori,

    Just reading your heart felt responses to all the posts has encouraged me today, I also struggle with so many of those emotions everyday.
    Thank You :)

  21. I love that idea. It sounds like you were able to help someone out as well, which is amazing!


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