Why I Am The Way I Am

 

Well, I really don’t have the answer for the overarching reason of why I am the way I am in general. That’s another topic for another day. More so, I had an encounter this weekend that reminded me why I blog, why I do it the way I doย  (read: probably way too open and emotional and sappy for most people). It was definitely one of those life-affirming things for me.

So Will had off on Friday for the 4th of July and we kept throwing around ideas for things to do. We finally decided just to stay around our area. We took a four mile walk (2 miles to this cute neighborhood we love with lots of shops and food stuff and 2 miles back). One of my missions, besides getting coffee, was to find this Little Free Library (which I think is the COOLEST concept ever) that I knew was in the area so I loaded up a backpack with a couple books and we went. It was an adorable street off the main road and when we walked up there were two ladies outside in front of it actually picking out paint colors for it — one being the owner and the other her neighbor. I’m a chatty/friendly person (clearly you know this) and so we got to talking to them for a little bit. Learned that the owner of the LFL used to work with Laurie Halse Anderson who I love so that was pretty cool but then she talked about WHY she decided to put up a Little Free Library. And here comes the life/blog-affirming part.

Little Free Library

She shared that she had gotten the Little Free Library when she was caring for her husband who was diagnosed with ALS. They felt closed off as it got harder to go places for him and so she got one in hopes that neighbors and the community would come use it. It became such an uplifting thing for him (and for her) to have neighbors and others come visit and exchange books and interact with them in such a hard time. I haven’t really talked about it on the blog as much as I’ve talked about losing my mom to brain cancer but Will’s dad passed away from ALS about 5 years ago. So this story really, really moved me and I was so thankful that she shared it.

Here’s the thing. I’ve always believed that reading and books are a special sort of magic. They are there when you are lonely, when you need to feel connected to other humans, when you need to escape, when you need something to uplift you or energize you or don’t want to feel alone in whatever you are dealing with. They have the power to transform and save and do all sorts of things. Words and stories are so powerful.

It reaffirmed for me about how much reading and blogging about what I read is about connection for me — connecting with other readers, hearing their stories and just connecting with humanity in the pages of the books I read. I think that’s why I’m so willing to share the personal things. Why I hope you will trust me with your stories when I share whether that be in the form of blog posts of your own, in my comments or in my inbox. That’s why I might talk more about my experiences related to a book or how a story moved me personally. It’s just important to me. It’s just how I’m wired. Maybe it was losing my mom when I realized how much CONNECTING with other people who went through something hard/similar and hearing their stories made me not feel so alone. How certain books were there for me at the right time.

It reaffirmed why I run my blog the way I do.

 

And this is not to say that it’s the right way (I’ve said it a zillion times before…no right way/no better way). It’s just the way that makes me feel content and makes it fulfilling and worthwhile FOR ME. It’s why I’m okay that I’m not naturally the blogger who can do a wonderful critical analysis and point out all the technical things that just don’t come so easily for me. It’s why I’m okay with featuring books in different ways even though it might not be flashy and get a whole lot of attention. It’s why I’m okay writing more personal posts in favor ofย  promo posts. All those things that I don’t do are great and needed and important… but the things that I do are the things that align with ME and what I care about/what interests me and the blog gives me an outlet to do that. I’m so thankful for that. When I DO the things that make me fulfilled it’s what keeps this blog going (and everybody’s sense of fulfillment comes from something else!).

Sometimes I’ll get down on myself that maybe I should do this and that and what not. Maybe my blog should have more of this. Maybe it should look more like this. Maybe I should do less of this. But at the end of the day, I’m really happy with what I do. I’m happy with what I put out here and what I focus my time on when I do this. I’m so thankful for all the ways I’ve connected with people who became shoulders to cry on (metaphorical but whew you don’t have to endure the snot on your shoulder), who gave me advice or inspired me, who I may have helped with my words, who reached out to me and shared their stories, who may have felt inspired by my openness, etc. etc.

Today just really reaffirmed why I blog, why I do it the the way I do and why I am the way I am — no matter how the trends shift or what becomes cool. At the heart of this blog will always be the things that are important and fulfilling to me and I sincerely hope, for my fellow bloggers, that it’s that way for you — no matter how that looks! It also reminded me just how vast this book community is outside of my little corner of the bookternet and how wonderful it is.

Thank you for being vulnerable with me these 5 years. Thank you for sharing your stories on your blog, in the comments of my posts/emails or by the books that you write. It’s what has kept me around for the past 5 years — not the ARCs, not the “cool perks”, not the ad money, not the spotlight or anything else.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I absolutely love this post! And I love how open you are on your blog. You’re kind of like an honorary big sis haha.
    What’s your email, btw? I’ve been wanting to email you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Great post. You should definitely blog however you want. I love reading personal stuff along with book reviews. It makes you more of a real person. So glad you had that cool experience yesterday. I’ve seen a few LFL around my town but haven’t used one yet. I need to. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Kate <3 You should definitely check out your Little Free Library! I have a feeling I'll be a regular there. Even if I don't end up taking any books...I always have a lot to donate haha

  3. I don’t usually comment a lot, but I just wanted to say that I’m very happy I’ve found your blog. I’m not the most outgoing person, but I love how you feel okay with shareing so much of yourself, I think that it’s an amazing quality. I think that in the back of my mind I’m hoping that if I read enough of your post, one day maybe I will get better at sharing my feelings. Keep on blogging the way that makes you happy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Well I appreciate you commenting to say all this, Kjersti!! <3 I think being vulnerable is hard and I don't think that maybe it IS for everyone to be as open as I am for the general public...after all...you want to operate at a comfort zone that feels right for YOU. I think that for some people the connecting and the sharing might be done on a one on one level behind the scenes of a blog and for someone people it might be a here and there thing. I think I just have this need and desire within me to connect in this particular way and be vulnerable and blogging is that outlet that let's me do it. Now, put me in a public speaking setting and have me share my story with people? I WILL THROW UP BEFORE AND THEN CRY THE WHOLE TIME hahah. BUT if you do get that desire to share and be open, you can do it!! Maybe start small? Do something like my If We Were Having Coffee posts where you could talk about like 3 things on my mind lately or something like that! Always here for encouragement if you need it! ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you feel self conscious about it when you post it..you let me know the link and I will be over to be your cheerleader!! I know it can be scary sometimes wondering how people will respond, I wanted to puke the first time I really was open, but now I'm like EHH WHATEVER.

  4. Jamie, your blog is one of my favorites if not my very favorite, and its what inspired me to start blogging in the first place. I’ve always loved your openness on your blog, as someone above said, it makes you feel more real, in a way? You’re so amazing, so keep blogging the way you do! In the end all the ARCs, trends, etc. aren’t nearly as important as your own happiness. I’m glad that this style of blogging makes you happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you Emma!! <3 And I agree! Like all those things are great and some days they make me SO happy but over the past 5 years I've realized how they don't like SUSTAIN me in this. For others, it might not affect them the same as it does me. I think that's why I always hate posts trying to tell people what to do and what is important because an actual sustaining happiness and contentedness will not be found in the same things for everyone and that is OKAY!

  5. I love bloggers who use their blogs to be personal, I find if a blog has tons of posts that are sponsored that is puts me off a bit. I like to see the real person behind the blog, I also think it’s incredibly brave to share parts of you with the world and that’s part;y why I love the blogging community.
    Keep being you and doing your blog the way you feel is authentically you, it’s why I love coming back and probably the reason your other readers do too. x

    • Thanks for your thoughts and kind words, Emma! I think it’s definitely a balance thing when it comes to promo and sponsored content. Your readers have to connect in some way and I think readers do, unless they are simply just looking for a blog to tell them about the latest and greatest things as a resource, want some sort of personality. It doesn’t always have to be with mega sharing like I do but with humor and just pops of their personality. But at some point, I believe, there’s gotta be something that makes a loyal reader and, at least for me, it’s having a voice and feeling like I can get to know them through whatever they are writing. I’ve seen some awesome blogs outside of the book community who do a great balance of posts but do include sponsored pieces but I can always here their voice in it and they always still make the post true to them even when it is sponsored and those are the blogs i tend to go back to!

  6. You are clearly blogging for an incredibly awesome reason then. And, gosh, I always feel more drawn to blogs that are, well, kind of intimate. Like there’s a PERSON behind the blog and not just a cold blog rolling out what it’s “supposed” to. So YAY for being personal. And omg, that is a bittersweet story behind the Little Library.

    • YES I feel the same way! I think people can inject that sort of intimacy in a lot of different ways and it totally doesn’t even have to be like super sharing like I do haha. I know a lot of blogs who do it in their own way but the common thread is when I go to their blog I can hear their voice and get bits of their personality and uniqueness. I love that! Feels like grabbing coffee with an old friend.

      And right??? It was SO bittersweet. From watching Will’s dad and also seeing how hard it was when my mom was sick with brain cancer, I can see how easy it is to feel closed off to people and how this would have been a great source of joy to them. And I internally yelled at myself because when I walked up and saw people in front of it I was like GAH I don’t feel like talking to people or being social and then I wanted to kick myself after because I’m like THIS STUFF IS WHAT MAKES HUMANING WORTH IT.

  7. What a wonderful post, Jamie! I don’t comment all that often on your blog posts, but I do read most of them, and it is your personal touch that I like most about them! I love how you just write from your heart, whether it’s a review or a more personal post. It always cheers me up to read your posts. I think when you do what you want to do, that really shines through (ehehe I’m a poet) in your blog.

    • Thanks Anne <3 I really appreciate that! And I sooo agree...when you do the things that truly bring you joy (whatever that may look like) I think it is so very evident to your readership!

  8. This was great to read, Jamie! I love your blog and always appreciate how much of yourself you share with your readers. I wish I could find a Little Free Library in my city!!

    • Thank you, Kimmy! <3 Have you checked their website? They have a map so you can see where they are! Although I discovered not everyone puts them on the map because I totally drove past one in the same part of that town that wasn't on the map at all!

  9. I’m so glad you decided to share this story on your blog, Jamie. It was so moving, and I liked what you said about it reminding you that the book community is so much more than just our corners of the Internet.

    It’s not quite the same, but I saw that a few days ago when I got to go see Judy Blume(!) at our local library. There were SO MANY people there, and tons of them were readers and librarians and just people who loved Judy’s work. I actually saw a girl there who I knew from high school (we were literary mag editors together), who I knew was in the city, but really hadn’t talked to in ages. We’re going for coffee next week because I decided right then and there that it didn’t matter that we hadn’t talked in awhile, we are both lovers of literature and who cares about awkwardness or whatever? I think it was just being with so many book lovers that reminded me of that magic that you felt a few days ago.

    Also, I just wanted to say, I think the fact that you’re so personal really resonates with people and inspires all of us to be a little more personal. I know it’s inspired me. I mean, I just shared a story I hadn’t talked about to anyone yet. You inspired that in ME, Jamie. So thank you for being personal and drawing us all out of our shells. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aww I’m glad you did that (and that you shared that with me)!! I hope that your coffee date with your old friend goes well!!

      And awww HUGS for that whole last paragraph. I don’t expect everyone to want to or need to share the way I do but I always love when people do!

  10. I’ve always loved the way you run your blog, so never stop! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m sure your also providing people with ways to connect with you and not so alone!

  11. I love this post! I think it definitely represents a lot of the reason we ALL do this too. It’s about connecting with people about reading. I guarantee that’s the number one reason everybody made their blog in the first place. It isn’t about the free books and perks. It’s about talking with people like you! I love your posts and the personality / personal elements you put into everything.

    I wish there was a little free library near me – I’ll have to investigate!

    • WOAH THERE ARE SO MANY OF THESE NEAR ME OMG

    • Absolutely!! I think that’s probably the heart of why everyone joined — to connect with other readers because somehow they seem absent from our lives!! I know that’s why I did initially and then the more I did this it remained my reason for blogging (to connect with bookworms) but then on this whole other level of just connection with PEOPLE about the things that makes us human — all the bad and the good. It’s so rewarding and I always remind myself of these things on days when I feel discouraged about something that doesn’t make up the core reasoning of why I blog — not getting invited to do a cool thing, stats going down or a post not being as well received. I think that’s why it’s important for bloggers to identity what makes their heart beat when it comes to their blog because if you are doing that core thing that makes you content with this it really helps you to ground yourself with the constant changes and highs and lows of blogging. And I think that connecting/sharing comes differently for everyone — some might be super personal like I am or just talking about the big things of life or private convos and connecting behind the scenes , etc. etc.

      And YAY I am so happy you found a bunch near you!! I so want to buy one when Will and I get our own house!

  12. I love your posts! Even through words I can feel your spunkiness through a lot of them, or sometimes you’re serious or sad or even angry. Your emotions seem to flow through the words on the screen and that’s something that keeps bringing me back to your blog. The content you put out, the way you do it, everything is wonderful and it’s great to see how it makes you YOU.

    • This is just the best comment ever. I’m not an author or anything like that but I can imagine that’s how they feel hearing their book resonated with someone. As a writer of any kind I think that’s all we hope for…that what we are putting out there is translating how we mean it to. So that makes me so very happy that what I’m writing is capturing my feelings!

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment!! <33

  13. I love the idea behind this post and it is actually something that I’ve been thinking about recently. On my blog, I just like to talk about books and nothing else, especially not very much personal stuff. But I’ve been feeling like I might want to start another blog for that. Upkeeping two blogs does not sound like much fun, so I’m also working on maybe finding a balance on my current blog, much like you do. I often like reading personal posts more too, and that’s just how my blog has grown since I started it about a year and a half ago! And I’m looking forward to growing with my blog too.

  14. Thank you so much for this lovely post Jamie! I think sometimes its easy to forget that we all started to blog because we loved connecting with others who share our passion for reading. I love your posts because they have that personal touch and are so incredibly relatable — it definitely makes them a joy to read =)

  15. I’m really happy with what you do on here too SO PLEASE NEVER CHANGE, JAMIE! I love your blog, and how you personalize it. You make it YOU, and you’ve created such a positive and safe space for others in this community. So THANK YOU for that. <3

    I think I blog for the connection too. I love this community and the people in it. I love that books have connected me with so many others who love them as much as I do. And I'm an emotional reader, too. I can be technically critical, but what I love most about reading is the personal connection I can get out of it. There are some that have changed my life and made me really THINK about my life and things in the world. THAT'S what I love about books. That they do so much more for me than give me a pleasurable escape from reality for a few hours (not that I don't love that too). And I want my blog to reflect ME as well, even if it's in little ways. And one of those ways is making it my own personal space where I can share bits and pieces of myself and my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also I LOVE the Little Free Library idea! It's so cool and I wish I had that somewhere around where I live. I'd totally put books in there for others.

  16. Wow, great post! And I love moments like those, where something confirm/affirms you in your choices. It is you being you that when people stop by and read your posts, they continue visiting because of the connection they have with you. Something I’m figuring out for myself. Living my second childhood, you know. Ha!

    I also love the little free library idea. Maybe someday I will have one…

    Happy blogging!

  17. I linked to this post in my Sunday Summary this week. http://gotmybook.booklikes.com/post/1391479/sunsum-2016may08

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