Welcome to the Wilderness

I just shared the URL of this blog with some friends and family members, so it seemed fitting to write a welcome post for them. And yet, what can I say? I’m writing this in advance, on a blog with few views, to a group of people who may not read any posts here. Some will, but others probably won’t. Still more may read a few entries and then stop. Goodness knows that I try not to take it personally.

This leaves me in an awkward spot: how can I write something that both values the people who read and doesn’t set me up for disappointment if it ends up having no views? Maybe I’ll just write about this experience, explore the discomfort and its source, so that I will still draw value from it even if no one else does. That seems reasonable to me, and Kuno has no opinion on the matter, so it’s unanimous.

I’m excited about people reading this blog because it will make me feel valuable. They are taking time to invest in me and to pay attention to my struggles. It’s validation.

I’m afraid that no one will read this blog, because it could set off a long chain reaction of thoughts: that I’m not valuable, that I have nothing to say, that my voice isn’t worth hearing, that no one cares, etc. If you’ve ever struggled with doubt and fear, you can probably fill in some of the thoughts that I have missed.

Most of the time, when I look at my blog’s stats, I try hard to breeze over them and not to take them personally. On the days when there aren’t views or comments. On the days when no one follows or likes. Even on the days when someone does respond, I still try to ignore the stats. I feel like if I accept the success as proof of my value, I must also accept the failure as proof of my flaws. I cannot have only one side of the coin.

But is that true? Do we have to depreciate all of our successes if we want to keep our failures at bay? Or, even more relevantly, are we responsible for the responses of others to our work or is that separate from us entirely? I suppose that it probably is separate, because I have no control over it, but still…

I feel like I’ve been taught that my effort determines my results. Has that all been a lie?

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