A month after my first post I tearfully ‘broke up’ with my blog in the parking lot of a starbucks. I cried real tears, I sad-binged on a butter croissant, & I texted my boyfriend who simply responded “why?”. Not a proud moment, not a good day, not an inspirational story from the past. It. Just. Sucked.
Hello Dreamers! I’d like to start by addressing the elephant in the room *waves to Dumbo* now that that’s taken care of, we can discuss the fact that I atomically failed at writing this blog. If we were to compare the idea of this blog in terms of food, this was actually a good recipe that, if well executed by an executive chef with a 5-star kitchen, killer ingredients, & a knack for creation, would have been even the slightest bit successful. If properly marketed to the right crowd, could have been enjoyed by so many. If properly delivered to… oh, well you get it. Truth is, I’d like to lie to myself & simply say “I didn’t have time, but [insert time in the near future here] I will”, but I know that’s not the whole truth. If you’re still reading this, I can only deduce that you have followed my from instagram to bathe in the wake of my destruction (because that’s the kind of thing you enjoy), or, simply because you’ve experienced failure as well. Perhaps my flippant title resonated with something inside of you that quietly whispered “me too.” Perhaps you don’t want to feel alone in the ‘arena’ ( Brené Brown reference, we’ll come back to that later). I am hoping the pretty photos of various scenes in my life might entertain you as I explain, & hopefully connect with you, about why we fail at things we love. Here goes nothing.
I want to address the photo above. I promise, it’s relevant, although it looks like a poorly-edited stock photo from a travel magazine. I actually took this photo when I was 19 years old. It was my first trip to Europe on my study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. The first day we arrived, I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday; our professor sitting us down in the massive lecture hall. The smell of foregin carpet cleaner. How distinctly ‘American” we all looked as our tiny group of twelve sturggled to fill the space meant for 500. Dr. Ricardo, albeit a bit eccentric, far too energetic, & overzealous about being punctual (though he was, indeed, late himself a few times), captured our attention as he stood at the front of the room to enlighten us about the foregin culture in which we were about to spend a significant amount of time. I remember his pressed white shirt & stubbled face presented before a nervous, excited, anxious group of collegiates. There, he gave us the most vital piece of advice about writing & documenting that I have ever, ever recieved. I wrote it down as fast as he spoke, trying to absorbe every word, & I will attempt to do his words justice here:
He started by addressing us casually as he always did, never making us feel like inferior students, but equals in education, “You guys,” he explained, “This is it. Document it. Live it. Do everything you can to remember this.” He went on as I rushed to grab my leather-bound notebook from my travel bag (in true wanna-be hipster fashion).
“In a year or two, when you look back at this, you must realize that you will only be able to recall maybe five minuets in total of this trip. Think of another trip you’ve taken, how many details can you recall? How many spoken words can you recite? (little did he know, I would be reciting his words years later) Could you talk for more than five total minutes about that trip or experience? You will forget if you do not make yourself remember. You will never be in this moment again; in this place with these people, feeling this way. Never again. So remember to document, guys. Live it all & drink it in because (& here’s where it really sunk in) no memory can ever, ever be replicated in the form of experience.”
I wrote my first travel blog post that day. Errors & all, here’s an excerpt:
“Ahoy from Praha! I had my very first look at the city today & let me tell you it was breath-taking. Between airports, college dorms & class rooms I finally felt like I was in Europe. There are a few of differenced we noticed right off when we entered the city, here are ust a few from my classmates & I:
Amelia: Tiny roads & scary driving! With a significant lack of stop lights, everybody simply GOES & they drive RIGHT next to each other! It’s crazy, I felt my heart beating out of my chest!
Classmate: Sporadic people Some people would go over the moon for you, while others can’t be bothered.
Classmate: Flankey ball a German drinking game involving a basketball, a round of beer, & some crazy competition.
Classmate: Flying on an air plane Her first time.
& the post went on. 281 words. Spelling errors. Grammatical mistakes for days. & a sense of pride that wouldn’t soon be forgotten. I received one comment on that post, zero likes, & too few face-to-face compliments to name. It was a different world back then, I think it made it easier, in a way, to not only avoid seeking validation, but simply not to address it. I wasn’t writing for anyone, I was writing to follow the words of that professor for myself. I was writing to remember. I was writing for me.
Flash forward to blog posts entitled: “Magical Mozart”, “Dear Vienna”, “From Start to Venice” &, my personal favorite, “5 Easy Ways to Fall In Love With Yourself”, I was a ‘blogger’. I began writing to someone not just about myself. Instagram took off, I started my, what is now @magicalmelia, Disney account entitled @100daysofdisney, & began documenting my DCP experience. Even in 2015 my focus was mostly documenting for myself. I quickly faltered when working for the mouse became too much & relied heavily on instagram, as so many of us do, where captions became my platform of information & photos were the desired focus.
Likes, comments, DM’s began to matter. I can still recall the excitement of hitting 11 likes, when the list of names became a number; a sign that you didn’t need to delete the post due to inactivity… who else can relate?
This is getting long, & I can only assume if you’re still with me that you’re a dear friend, a fellow failure, or, again, someone who enjoys grinning at my faltering self-esteem. Despite this, you’d be wrong to assume this is simply a ‘poor me’ post. The inspirational stuff is coming up, fear not.
Ps. hey to all of my IRCHS babies reading this. See? Your teacher fails too. Pss. Thanks in advance for not correcting my spelling.
The point of topic is now vulnerability. When I decided to reignite my love for writing in the form of a blog, I, of course did what anyone would do nowadays: I googled how to be a successful blogger. I followed the steps. I found my niche. I created an ‘inclusive-yet-interestingly-open-ended-but-specific tagline’. I even bought a $10 online E-Book – boy, are there so many other things I can buy for $10. (the title of a future blog post). I wrote an intro, created content, made sure my title was “an attention grabber!” (@ all of my high school English teachers) & bought a matching domain to my instagram handle.
& yet, here we are, in the wake of my failure. A month after my first post I tearfully ‘broke up’ with my blog in the parking lot of a starbucks. I cried real tears, I sad-binged on a butter croissant, & texted my boyfriend who simply responded, “why!?”. Not a proud moment, not a good day, not an inspirational story from the past. It. Just. Sucked.
There are a million other words I can write about what happened between that starbucks parking lot in Vero Beach, FL, & my current location of a coffee shop in La Jolla, CA, but I’ll spare you the details (They’re sure to show up in other blog posts), for now I will talk about Brené Brown, & how her words changed my life.
Brown speaks about the concept of “living in the arena”. To quote her, quoting Teddy Roosevelt, the concept in which her theory is based on is as followed:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again… and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly,” – Teddy Roosevelt
Brown then goes on to state:
“If you’re not in the arena getting your butt kicked too, I’m not interested in your feedback.” – Brené Brown
I realized. I didn’t need to write for you, reader, but for myself. I realized that without living in the arena, nobody was going to care about what I was writing anyway, & those who had something to say, didn’t really matter if they weren’t , at one time in their life or another, crying in their car in a starbucks parking lot. In my book, I failed, but was and am grateful to count myself as one of the people “who’s face is marred by dust & sweat [ & butter croissant crumbs].”
I’m going to write about travel. & Disney. & my friends. & anxiety. I’m not a ‘niche’ blogger, & I have finally found peace in knowing I’ll probably never be a famous writer. Yeah, I’ll keep trying to reach people, & I’ll probably fail at that too. But at least I’m living in the arena; at least I’m daring greatly.
If you’re still here, thank you for sticking through the musings of a girl who’s rising from the ashes of her, let’s call it ‘parking lot moment’. This is just the begining. As alway, Stay Magical.