As a writer, it is an interesting decision to keep a blog. Now granted, at the moment my writing is on a small scale, the odd article here and there, plenty of poetry scattered about, keeping this blog, writing the occasional reflective facebook post, but that is going to change over the next few years.

By this time next year I will have 4 books out, and I have 3 more in the wings of my mind that I can already feel taking shape and trying to pop out onto paper. No longer working from a place of uncertainty and fear where I lack direction and confidence in my writing, now all I lack is adequate time to quiet my mind, get my ideas down onto paper, and do the work of making words into sentences into paragraphs into pages into books.

It takes a lot of courage to own your truth, even more to be willing to write it. Sometimes when I’m writing personal essays on this blog, I am so wrapped up in the voice of writing I don’t stop to think about who reads it or connects with it or judges it or dismisses it or feels it. I just write whatever is on my heart that day, and I have found as long as I let that be my writing compass, I end up focusing on the things that matter.

It used to be that Sunshine In Winter was a hidden corner where I was anonymous. Then, 3 years ago around this time on a similar rainy August day, I published my first article on Elephant Journal, and in my author bio I gave the name of my blog. The stats showed that I had more traffic the day the article went live then ever before, and I felt horribly vulnerable and exposed.

I was unprepared for how naked I would feel to have my truth be on display, to have so many faceless visitors stop by and look at these words.

Part of me wanted to shut the whole thing down, but I pressed on reasoning that writing from an open, honest space of personal truth was what I felt called to do. That the only way to do that was to continue to hold myself to a standard of authenticity in my words, to not hide behind the masks of the computer and a nameless blog, and to just keep being me. And I found that a few new people dropped me notes and said nice things about the article, and I made a few new connections, and I had a little more courage the next time I had something published.

This week I changed my About section, posted my real name, BethAnne Kapansky Wright, owned it. No hiding or pretense of being faceless. These are my words, this is who I am, and yes, some of what I choose to share is personal and vulnerable and so achingly human I want to crawl through the screen and give myself a hug over some of the posts of days past, but I wrote them to stand in my truth and in the hopes that the right people will stop by, connect with something, and find a word or two that helps them on their own journey.

Sometimes I still feel a little vulnerable, a little exposed. Despite the fact that I had 206 hits on this site at 6am Tuesday morning?!, (I have no idea how or who or what that was all about since I usually only get 2-10 hits per hour) it’s usually pretty quiet around here. I don’t get a lot of external validation, usually just a few likes, sometimes none at all, but I have a sense that someone is out there reading anyways.

Connecting with the words. Contemplating their own journey. Leaving with something that was perhaps good for their heart or made them think or gave them a sense of encouragement, because we are all in this together, no matter how much it sometimes seems that we aren’t. We truly are. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. And when one of us loves, we are all a little better for it.

When I write, it’s my way of putting more drops of love into the world. My way of making an active choice to live life from a place of honesty and the light of truth and compassion. My way of sharing the journey from my point of view in the hopes that someone, somewhere out there, finds courage for their journey as well.

Finds the courage to speak their truth as an act of self-love. Realizing we are always stronger for the speaking and weaker for withholding the truth of who we are. Realizing our voices matter, no matter how we choose to express them, even when it seems like nobody is listening, because the truth is- somebody is ALWAYS listening.

Because we are all in this together, no matter hos much it sometimes seems that we aren’t. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. And when one of us loves, we are all a little better for it.