Well here we are folks, 2018 is almost up. We have a few days until Christmas and then is a quick ride till the new year. Where has the past 12 months gone?
I can’t say I’m big on new years resolutions and self-reflection for the passing year was never my thing and yet here I am writing this. If you’re on twitter now is the time where you find funny hashtags like #2018infivewords and other short bursts of witty humor grace our screens. Got to admit though, most of them hold a dark sense of humor to the fact that for most, 2018 has been a bit of a rubbish year.
When I look back to the last 356 days I seem to naturally start gravitating to the more negative aspects, the things that left a funny, unpleasant taste in my mouth for the rest of the year. It’d be so easy for me to only look at the hardship and pain leaving me agreeing with twitter in saying 2018 was a rubbish year. But unlike most I have a memory bank that allows me to not forget any moment that matters, and that memory bank come in the form of this blog.
When scrolling back over this years posts, my life that I’ve shared with thousands of people on the internet, I can’t help but feel a whole heap of respect for this year. It’s by no means been easy, but 2018 has been a year that’s truly made a difference. So I’m breaking out of the negativity and sharing with you all today how blogging in 2018 has made a diffrence.
I hope you enjoy
How blogging in 2018 made a difference – A photo essay
Let’s start in January, the month where facing perfection head on was my cause to write. It created a space for me to challenge negative thought patters through the photos I took and the words I wrote.
In due course the wonky month that is February arrived.
It marked my 2nd year as a guide leader at my local unit. Feeling discouraged about being the youngest and less experienced leader on the team I turned here in the previous month to explore and encourage other how I could be a role model if I struggled. It was a difficult one for me to write and an even harder one to hit publish on. Even though no one at my unit even knew I had this blog, I was still worried that someone would discover that post, fear of them judging me for being open held be back from hitting publish a few too many times. Eventually though, the desire to encorage others in my moment of vulnerability over threw my anxious mind and the post went live.
Next up was the start of an ongoing book series A book that shaped my recovery.
Part one was held by Keys to freedom, an interactive discipleship course that aimed to equip its readers with the biblical tools to live a life free.
I knew from the moment I got this book that I wanted to share it on my blog. The whole purpose of this blog is to tell people who are struggling about the God who saved my life and I felt that Keys to freedom was too good a resource to miss. This helped me carry on the course when things got though or life tried to distract me.
Without the motivation from my blog, I doubt I would have persevered with this incredible course.
This book was a first big step in taking control of my recovery from anorexia.
The following months were met with challenges, most of them from the safe space I went to for counseling and the other from the place I started to dread college.
In my free moments my blog became my escape. When I felt trapped and helpless I’d turn here. On this platform I was able to take control and feel like I was doing something positive and useful with my life. I felt like I had a purpose helping others.
Before long I was taking my laptop everywhere. If I had a break in classes I’d make my way to my favorite coffee shop, Liar Liar, pull out my laptop and write to my audience. I didn’t feel like an adult in a class of children, I felt like a woman who was fighting with a purpose.
Blogging allowed me to share my first real glips of recovery.
In March I went on holiday to Scotland with my family. The photo bellow held a tale of success that just had to be shared. There are few moments I feel proud of myself, but I did then. I couldn’t share my sucsess with the people around me, the eating disorder was my best kept secret and only my mum and boyfriend knew. But my small gathering of flowers knew and it was them who I shared that moment with.
My growing faith is the backbone of Lost In The Story, my relationship with God is the most important thing.
Sometimes though, my walk with God has to happen privately. Not everything is for the internet to know. These moments of absence on my blog is what I refer to as a ‘quiet spell’ and I’d had quite a long one untill march. As part of my college course I had to do two weeks of work experience, what I did at an incredible place called designed in mind.
Sharing the post of my experience there blew me away and brought my faith back online.
I then decided to cut off most of my hair.
I wrote a post about my short hair and a shorter poem I liked. Something so silly and simple really gave me a sense of identity back.
An aspect that I haven’t really talked about is the creative freedom blogging gives me.
I was very academic, had study forensic science for two years and was at the time studying business. I didn’t have space in my course to express creativity and rather surprisingly, it took a big toll on my mental health. We were doing a module about marketing and it gave me the inspiration to start taking my blog more seriously.
I decided to hit two birds with one stone.
As often as I could, I would pick up my camera and go out to take photos for my blog. Most often that not I’d come away with only one or two usable photos that I could post, but the act of taking over 70 other ones gave me some of my creativity back.
In August the unbelievable happened.
God healed me of anorexia.
I was free.
My new-found freedom took me away from my blog. My audience heard little to nothing off me for two months.
I needed the space and time offline.
Coming back off my break was harder than I’d expected. Now recovered I weirdly was lacking ideas on what to write about. So, I turned to a book, called Bloom, that truly helped me get better and so the second installment of A book that shaped my recovery was created.
From there on posts have been slower, taking the pressure off myself to be publishing something every week was one of the best ideas I’ve had in a while.
Blogging started off as a safe space for me to express myself, not for one moment did I think I’d gather a small, cozy group of people who followed and supported me on my journey. It’s been a real privilege to spend this year sharing my story. I hope that it’s made as much of a difference to you as it has to me.
See you all in the new year – Arabella