Show Up. Tell Your Story.

I can’t say I recall ever wanting to be a writer.

Even when I was little and kept a journal (you know the ones with the lock and key) + wrote silly stories — I didn’t think of being a full-on writer one day.

But in 5th-grade that changed; I found a hunger in myself around writing. But it definitely didn’t look like a hunger at first, it looked like jealousy.

I mostly remember our teacher telling the class to write a creative story. There was a timed aspect to it, and damn did I feel in the flow when I was scribbling away on that paper.

When the timer went off, I actually felt proud of what I just wrote.

My innards felt all warm and fuzzy proud, but not proud enough to share it with the whole 5th-grade class. Baby steps, people.

The teacher starts asking for volunteers to read their story. And while I was super happy with what I just wrote (especially the ending), there was no way in classroom heaven I was going to read it aloud.

A couple brave souls read their cute stories and I thought, “Look at them go, but my story is better.”

And then a girl – known for her smarts, brass + front row seat in the classroom – stood up and read her story without missing a beat; she shared her story with full confidence.

The next thing I knew I thought I was listening to my own story because it was quite identical. But I had the ace in the hole I thought – her ending couldn’t top my ending.

Oh, but Keli, it did.

Because it was the same ending.

We both did the “And then little Johnny woke up from his dream.”

I was shocked + pissed at the same time. And it didn’t help that the teacher couldn’t stop gushing about her story, “So creative! I love the ending! Really good story!”

I wanted to grab my paper right there, stand up and show MY creativity gosh darn it.

Too late.

I stewed for a bit over that experience, but it made me realize if I care that much about my writing maybe I should show up and stand up more in my writing.

After that day, I wasn’t so afraid to put my writing out there – even though I still didn’t have dreams of being a writer. I just knew I never wanted to feel like I didn’t show up fully for something I actually was pretty decent at.

I did a lot of showing up for my writing in high school. I joined the school newspaper, took creative writing classes, wrote an essay for a scholarship (and won) and my senior year I was editor of the school newspaper.

I kept showing up even though I couldn’t connect the dots.

My dreams at that time were to move to California and get into acting (even though my only acting credit was reciting Steel Magnolias in my bathroom mirror while fake crying). I think my bigger dream was to just move to California + pursue a career as a talk show host, but who really knows.

Writing was never on my radar of how I was going to show up in the world. It was just something I was good at.

I wrote my way through every certification and degree I got in my 20’s. And once social media entered the picture, I wrote there, too.

When I launched my Health Coaching practice in 2012, I officially started a blog. Just because it came with my website.

I love expressing myself through words, but again, never thought of it as a career.

Except that is exactly what it has become: my writing has become my career.

I write articles on my website, I help small businesses and creatives write their websites and blogs and newsletter and social media content: I write for a living.

I get paid to write.

But that’s not how I always saw it because I’m not a published author (yet), or my articles don’t go viral and spread like wildfire through the Interwebs.

I just simply show up every day and write —

Write blogs.

Write content for clients.

Write emails.

I write my ass off and get paid to do it even though this was never my dream, but now, it feels like it’s always been a whisper of a dream I just didn’t take the time to listen to.

Maybe you’re wondering what the actual fuck you want to do with your life.

Maybe you’re criticizing yourself for not knowing your “purpose” (whatever that means).

Maybe you’re unsure of yourself because you thought you loved one thing but realized you actually really don’t love that one thing.

I’ve been there – and on days when I can’t get a decent sentence out to save my life – I’m very much still there.

I’m not sure of easy answers in life, but the one thing that’s usually worked for me is continuing to show up until something does make sense – until you can definitely say something is up your alley, or hell-to-the-no that’s not for you.

Show up.

Go first and share your story.  

Because if you don’t, you may never know what does or does not make your soul move in ways you didn’t know it could.

Love + Still Learning To Tell My Story,

Keli