When I started this blog in January 2013, I wanted desperately to please everyone. I didn’t even read blogs before I wrote my first post. So I was very green. I wrote blindly. And like a “Valley Girl” from one of my favorite ’80s movies. Any slightly bold posts in the beginning were due to a few glasses of boxed wine. But that’s not Kimberly H. Smith and that’s not Being A Wordsmith.
My family and friends will tell you that I like to tease, laugh, joke and say off-the-wall things. When it came to this blogging thing, I struggled with revealing myself. I was unsure of so many things. The title Mommy Blogger was one I wanted to run from like the plague. I thought it would label me as such and overshadow any other topics I wanted to write about. After some web surfing, I soon learned that Mommy Bloggers rule the internet and they write about whatever they want to. Crisis averted!
I submerged myself in reading all the WAHM and SAHM blogs that I could. Like I said before, they rule the internet. I noticed that many of them had these cute character avatars on their headers. Moms holding a soccer ball while balancing a cup of coffee and a laptop, moms holding a glass of wine while balancing a skillet and a baby. Some of the avatars bore a striking resemblance to the blog’s author. I thought, I need to get one of those. Then I thought, Do I get an avatar that resembles me? A light-skinned black female. Or do I get one that is white? Or do I get a brown-skinned black female? Or a header with objects and no female character? Do I let people wonder about my race or decide for themselves? Hubby joked that nobody would be able to tell from my pic if I was black or white anyway. I’ve heard that all my life, but I was still concerned. You see, I was scared to death that if I revealed too much about myself, I would not gain any readers. I was also afraid that black readers would think I was not revealing enough. I did not want to piss off anybody. I am not worthy of representing the entire black race nor did I want my blog to be about only black issues. Some of you may think that’s crazy, but it was very real for me. I wanted to write from my heart, but I did not want to be judged or alienated because I was discussing mainstream topics.
I talked with Hubby about how I should approach my blog posts. I told him my fears and why. He said, “Be authentic, be yourself.” And some other things I probably shouldn’t list here. My husband is a handsome, 6′ tall, chocolate brown man that I’ve loved for over 20 years. He went to a HBCU and is in a historically black fraternity. I knew what his answer would be when I told him how I was feeling, but I value his opinion. He thought it wasn’t an issue or a debate. Do you. Period. The End.
In April 2013, I read a post called 24 Reasons You Don’t Have Comments On Your Blog and things started to change for me. It was written by Joi at Rx Fitness Lady. At the time she was new to blogging like me. But her candor and insightful information gave me an Aha! moment. I thought, Who is this gutsy chick? I learned she was a young black pharmacist in Georgia who does fitness instruction and mentors young girls in her community. How did I learn that? Because she proudly displays it and talks about it on her site. The very next day, I changed how I was blogging. I began including pictures of me and my family in posts, writing in a casual tone and when commenting on other blogs, I started doing blog challenges to push myself to the next level, and I gained a great friend in Joi. Thank you, Joi, for being you because it inspired me to be me. I began to write from a place that I once thought I could not go to. My readership increased and so did my relationships with other bloggers.
Another one of my blogging friends, Kate from Another Clean Slate, recently wrote a post called Struggling With Faith And Family. She poured her heart out in it and it prompted me to comment and let her know that she was not alone.
That was a big step for me as evidenced in my post, I’m Not Blushing…My Face Is On Fire, where I talk about how I don’t like discussing politics or religion in certain settings. I have been reluctant in the past to even LIKE certain posts on Facebook regarding President Obama, Trayvon Martin, or other high profile political issues for fear of co-workers seeing it. I didn’t want them treating me differently or looking at me differently in the office. Even if they had openly declared their stand on the matter. I haven’t had a co-worker since I became a WAHM almost a year ago and I still hesitate over clicking that LIKE button sometimes. But I’m a work in progress.
In the last year, I have been discovering who I am and what I want to be. That means what legacy I want to leave behind. I am raising a young black boy to become a strong black man. That is a huge responsibility. Thank God, my husband is already one and he is supportive, protective, and involved. I don’t want to be afraid any longer. I don’t want to hide behind selective words. I want to make my son proud of me. I want to be proud of myself.
Happier, Healthier, Wiser.
Do you tackle hot button issues on your blog?
Have you felt any of these things that I talked about? If so, how did you cope?
Do you discuss politics or religion in social settings?
Post originally written for BlogHer NaBloPoMo August 2013: Do you avoid talking about hot button issues on your blog or embrace those topics?