The Value of Privacy

 

It’s February 6th and this is the second (maybe?) time I’ve written here in the New Year. Why?

I’ve documented pretty closely some of my recent struggles. My most recent post outlined my word of the year, and how, even so early into the year it’s been extremely influential. After I wrote that post, I started to analyze my choices and why I was making them. What was my intentions? What motivated me? And, as always, what did I really want in life?

It’s sort of frustrating to always question what you want in life. Some people know from an early age what they’re talented at. Mark has always wanted to be a teacher- something he fought for in a difficult economy. He has always wanted to share his love of music with as many people who will listen- and, if you go to just one of his concerts you’ll see how his passion lights those kids souls on fire. 

When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. I loved reading, I loved telling stories, and I loved the seclusion writing includes. Despite that,  I never felt a particular “pull” to anything. I was good at sports, had great grades, and just sort of floated along on my own path. When I went to college, I was mostly influenced by my family to pursue business. It was there I learned my love of event planning, and, where I learned that photography could be a real “thing”. At night, I would navigate my way through the Art building (a benefit of being an RA was the ability to get into any building, anytime) where I would admire the work that hung on the walls. I envied their ability to express themselves freely and without judgement. 

I joke now that the first few years of my twenties were my lost years. I didn’t know what I wanted so I came to the internet to pretend I had it all together. When I started this blog, my intentions were to showcase a life I didn’t really have. Deep in a miserable relationship (which, in all fairness, has equal faults) I felt like if I blogged, I could showcase the life I wanted. As if, I could crowdsource my happiness by making ‘blog” friends, receive comments, get famous- the whole pyramid scheme.

A different name, a different platform, a different zip code brought me here. Inspired by a drunk evening with my aunt and brother, I loved the idea of a funny place where “I just can’t even.” I would say those were my highlight years of blogging. It was carefree, humorous, outlined my day to day with zero repercussions; it was unedited, raw… frankly, it was like walking down the street naked and giving ZERO fucks who saw. 

Life changed, which it should as you get older, and the balance shifted more towards work. Fast forward through a wedding, and a terrible mortgage process, we bought a house. Suddenly, and, without understanding, this deep sense of urgency filled me. “We’re too young to own a house”, or “What if we can’t afford a repair?” or “what if we can’t afford our mortgage” haunted me. 

My anxiety was so bad that I just stopped answering text messages all together. If I didn’t text friends back, they couldn’t be upset if I didn’t go to dinner with them. I would stay wide awake at night trying to figure out a way to make more money, and fast. Which brought me back to here. After all, over the last 6 years I’ve watched perfectly ordinary people “get rich” on their blog. Why couldn’t that be me?

I wrote recipes (which, I swear by!) I staged photos, I carefully curated my instagram- I did everything that these bloggers were telling me to do. I OBSESSED over the amount of likes a picture received, I studied my analytics- I mean, I was 100% devoted to this idea. 

And, then one day I went to share a picture of Emmett when I stopped, looked at my “grid” and thought “I just shared a picture of him, this won’t get a lot of likes.” In that moment, everything hit me. 

I searched all the bloggers I had followed over the last 6 years, and noticed how they all changed. All sponsored posts, all outfit links to “liketoknow”, all perfectly curated instagrams. All doing everything they can for the “likes”. In that moment I realized there wasn’t a chance I could match them, because there wasn’t a chance I could live my life 100% on the grid like that.  This isn’t what I truly want. 

I have what I truly want– I have a great job that, even at its’ lowest points, still makes me so happy. I have a decent amount of referrals and requests for photography- which is more than I could ever hope for. My writings on other websites are gaining a lot of followers. And, the difference? I can do all that without exposing too much of my life. 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve put value on different aspects of my life. I value my little world at home- I am proud of this home- and, you know what? Today we needed a $1,500 repair on our boiler- and, we paid it. Something broke and we could fix it after all. I am proud of the man I married; even if we disagree, fight, or bicker, our friendship makes our relationship stronger and we always manage to talk through literally anything. I am proud of myself- for finally doing what I love- even if it makes zero sense to anyone else. Yes, I love photography, event planning, writing- I don’t have to choose one! I can do it all as long as I have the balance. 

I have loved documenting my life here, but, as my goals become more clear,  I can no longer feel guilt over ignoring this little page of mine. I will still renew it, I will still write on here, I will still share recipes. But, instead of spending a whole morning trying to perfectly capture a picture of my oreo cheesecake, I’ll take a quick snap on my phone and share it. Instead of trying to curate my pinterest, I’m just going to pin whatever I like. Instead of checking my grid before sharing an instagram, I’m just going to share the things that make me happy. I’m going to live for me without fear of analytics, likes, shares- it all. 

Once again, choosing the things that fill my soul. 

P.S- it’s taken me 2 hours to hit publish on this because of my deep rooted fear of sharing too much of my life (“will mark be mad if I write that we fight?!”- obviously, not.) so ignore any typos or issues because if I don’t hit publish now this will go right back into my drafts where its’ resided for the last week and a half.

 

 

My Word of the Year

Montreal (2 of 14)

When I decided to take this little page of mine a little more seriously, it was with the understanding that I have to forgive myself if there is a week where I do not write. 

It’s interesting how we have to “forgive ourselves” when we let ourselves down. We set our expectations for ourselves at an almost unattainable height, and, wonder why we fail. And, that, was my biggest issue in 2017. I set expectations for myself that were unattainable. I caused myself to fail. I did not give myself time or space. 

Going into 2018, it felt as if there was a heavy weight lifted. I made a choice to let anything that was holding me back go. I made a choice to refocus on the things that make me happy, while also forgiving myself if I can’t run on all cylinders. 

I made a choice to evaluate my diet, my habits, my workouts. And, as I made these choices I started to feel more empowered, happier, and more free.

Choice: my word of 2018.

It might seem simple, trivial even, to some. Shouldn’t I have a more profound word?  Perhaps. But, to me, this word is profound.

Everyday, we have a choice. We have a choice to be humble, a choice to express gratitude, a choice to find motivation. We choose the food we eat, we choose to work out, we choose to do the things we love. Everyday, we are given options and we have to decide what is the best for us. 

Twelves days into 2018 and this simple word has already corrected behaviors for me. I have made better choices for myself. So, as this year continues, I hope to make the right choices for myself.

What are some of your resolutions? 

 

What’s in a Name?

 

IMG_2440

(a blurry iPhone picture of the frozen bay to attract a readers attention!)

The next post on this blog was going to be what I hope for in 2018, but, I haven’t quite finalized my goals for the new year. In fact, I’m still carrying around my 2017 journal even though Mark gifted me a beautiful new one. I’m going to blame my crazy hours for not being able to sit down and introspectively think of what I want for 2018. Just go with it, okay?

With all that said, one of my recent goals has been to tap back into who I am as a person. One of my recent realizations is that I do not like putting titles on the things I love. I am not a writer, I just write. I am not a photographer, I just love photographing others. I love exploring the crafts, learning more, bettering myself, watch as my work grows and evolves. Underneath the surface, this fear of titles certainly drives my inability to consistently blog. “Blogger” is another title that makes what I love seem trivial. 

“Titles” was also an internal issue I had with getting married. I was not ready to give up my last name and change that part of me. I worked hard in becoming “Leanne Gelish”: how could I just say goodbye to it all with a new last name? It was a sense of identity that I held close. The constitution of marriage, that was an easy undertaking. Letting go of Leanne Gelish, well… that was much more difficult than anticipated. The tradition of me changing my name was something Mark valued. To him, it was a final stamp in merging our lives together to become one. He explained it much more eloquently than I can, and, it was because of this that we came to a compromise. I would keep “Leanne Gelish” for writing, but, legally, I would become Leanne Verity. 

Recently, I started submitting my work for publication again through Thought Catalog. When you’re just getting back into the terrifying world of submitting work for thousands to read and criticize, it’s good to start where there are no “deadlines” or “expectations.” Just freely give an article when you’re ready to build that confidence back up. (I’m starting to see that I have a fear of commitment, hahaha) And, in an ironic twist of events, they changed the way writers can send their work. I set up my profile without thinking too much into it. That is, until the other day when one of my pieces went live. The author was “Leanne Gelish-Verity”. I clicked the linked name and the profile was only to my new post. All of the old articles about first loves, being white girl wasted, and stages of friendship were permanently linked to “Leanne Gelish”. It was as if it was two different writers.

I went to contact Thought Catalog to see if I could merge the two profiles until something dawned on me; it is two different writers. Leanne Gelish, as a writer and a person, was so green to the world. Tenacious, persistent, and sort of like a labrador retriever puppy with her lack of self-control, or regulation, Leanne Gelish, while the foundation of Leanne Gelish-Verity, felt so far away.Her positive qualities are deeply rooted in the foundation, but, as I grow older, I’ve changed. A little more intentional, a little less green, a little more self-regulated. I looked at the two profiles and started to laugh. Leanne Gelish was “a twenty something doing twenty something things.” Leanne Gelish-Verity is so much more than that. Even the pictures were in contrast of one another. Leanne Gelish was a bit more unpolished than Leanne Gelish-Verity. In that moment, I felt lucky to have documented so much of my life on the internet; it serves as a good reminder that growth is inevitable. 

I realize this a lot of writing about myself, and, a lot of use of my name. Hopefully, that will help with my personal SEO when people search me. This awful picture of me from the Suffolk Times is like the third search result, so, I have a lot of work to do.

In all seriousness, as I look at 2018 and what I hope for myself, the top of that list is that I hope to continue conquering fears. I hope I realize that titles are okay, that change is okay, and, that in most cases (like the case of Leanne Gelish-Verity) it’s for the better.