coco kelley

Things I’m Afraid To Tell You…

Every once in a while around here I like to start (or end) the week with a little bit about me – my plans for the weekend, upcoming trips or what I’m working on. Maybe throw in a motivating quote to get the week going. But today… today is going to be different, my friends. And a little wordy (so grab your coffee and stick with me here).

A couple of weeks ago a handful of amazing bloggers started what I’d like to think of as a mini-movement in the form of a post entitled “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”. In an effort to pull back the curtain of our happy, pretty little lives and talk about the reality of being bloggers, wives, not wives, moms, not moms, women, designers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, these bloggers all wrote their own posts revealing a little of their fears, insecurities and struggles. And I was thrilled.

See, for months now I’ve had posts started in my drafts folder that tackled this subject a bit. But every time I started them two things would happen (which are totally happening right this moment). 1) I’d stop and start editing. “This is too long! This is too crazy! This is more information than people care about!” I’d think to myself. Delete, delete, delete. 2) The moment I’d finally start writing about all of these things, I didn’t know where to stop. There are so many personal things I could talk about. So many thoughts about blogging and being an entrepreneur. So many struggles and adventures being a single gal making things happen for herself. So I’d stop.

But then I’d keep having these conversations – with many of the bloggers who joined in on the first round of this challenge – about being authentic and how we’ve lost that closeness that we used to have when us ‘older’ bloggers first started. In fact, I received a comment after my Alt post in the beginning of this year that really really made me think about this. An anonymous reader said “One thing I would love to read more about: you! Who are you? What are you up to? What projects are you working on? I used to subscribe but don’t anymore (I check in though!) because I don’t get enough “connection” with your voice anymore. We are all excited to see things shake up around here – especially since you are one of the “originals!”

So here it is, you guys. I’m bringin’ more Cass back. And you might think I’m a crazy, dramatic, whiner. Or you might see yourself in a little bit of my struggles. And I certainly hope you’ll celebrate with me when there are victories.

Things I’m Afraid to Tell You… (and many more to come)

1. I am alone a LOT. It’s something I love and hate. Does this mean that I’m lonely? Occasionally. I miss having coworkers, or roommates from time to time. But, I remember back when I lived with my ex-boyfriend, how much pressure there was to always be present in the relationship while trying to grow a small business and blog every day. Oh, did I mention I had a full time job at the time? He tried to be supportive, but honestly, he wasn’t very understanding of where I was with my life then. And I didn’t know how to give any more of myself. So now that I’m in a really good place with my blog and career, I’m insanely conscious of making time for friends and family – always trying to find that balance. But, I think I’m also really wary of dating because it’s hard to find guys who understand that I’m still going to need to work my ass off for a little longer until I’m ready to settle into a relationship. And as I creep towards my mid-30’s, I know that this is something I need to work on. Because I certainly don’t want to be single forever! Which leads to #2 (and #3…)

2. I get jealous. Jealousy is such a horrid, unproductive emotion, but it’s there. And the one thing I am truly jealous of are the ladies out there who have supportive husbands to lean on. Or even better – husbands that are incredibly involved in and help them to build their businesses. Luckily I don’t get jealous in a crazy, downward spiral kind of way. Many of these gals are my friends, and the good thing is that they know how lucky they are (if they didn’t I’d slap them silly!). Having that other person at the end of the day to share things with, to lean on, to help you grow and to make you turn your laptop off… that is priceless. I’m quite envious of the relationships I see that really function as a team, and I hope I’m lucky enough one day to have one.

3. I’m struggling to balance it all. When people ask what I do for a living, I kinda laugh and start rattling of a list. Well, I have a blog, so I maintain that – two posts a day every day during the week, plus managing advertising, insane amounts of emails, ongoing projects and more. Then I’m also the Market Editor at Rue Magazine, which takes a good chunk of time every month. I also have interior design clients which keep me busy…. on top of a lot of travel for speaking engagements or events… Are we exhausted yet? I am. You guys… I am completely exhausted. To the point of tears sometimes. To the point of forgetting to pay rent and bills and having a stack of paperwork and receipts under my desk in a brown paper bag that date back to January that I still need to file. To the point of being completely happy and yet totally pissed that on a Friday night all I want to do is stay in and watch a movie and not think about work for two hours. And, guess what? I’M TIRED OF IT. I want a freaking weekend that doesn’t involve me trying to catch up on something. I know I am blessed – insanely blessed – to be where I am, but man has it been hard work. And I’ve been juggling blogging with something else for five years now. And I. Am. Tired.

4. I work in a world that’s very materialistic. And (sometimes) I hate it. Let’s switch the subject, just a teensy bit for a second. When I started blogging, it was to create a place where I could collect ideas, resources, things I aspired to have, places I aspired to live. I was cultivating a lifestyle that I admired and loved. I never claimed to actually live this life, or that I could afford it. Because I can’t. I come from a pretty humble background (not poor, but middle class for sure), and I don’t really understand a world where people can drop ridiculous amounts of money on the latest ‘it’ bag or shoes that cost more than some people make in a month. And yet, I blog about lots of those things. And I design homes for people who will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to decorate with materials that I absolutely drool over, and I’m so glad they do, because it pays my bills. But it’s also insane. So I want to make it really clear where I stand, because I know that a lot of the things I blog about are not reality for most people. Appreciate what you have – at whatever level that is. Surround yourself with beautiful things at whatever level you can afford. And know at the end of the day that none of the material stuff matters. But it sure is nice to look at.

5. There’s so much more. Remember when I said earlier that once I start these posts, I don’t know where to stop? I could keep going. I haven’t told you about myself politically (fairly liberal) or spiritually (still figuring that out most days). Or how I have huge fears of failure and what people think that keep me from taking risks I should. Or how my biggest regret in life is building up way too much debt in my 20’s. Or how much I think blogging has changed in the past five years (for better or for worse). But let’s just save that for another day, shall we?

Overall, I’m pretty darn happy with my life. I get to do what I want and make a living off of it – which amazes me every day. I’m constantly working, but that’s because I don’t settle for mediocrity – so I know I put that on myself. I’ve reached a point at which I’m able to take more time off here and there, which is awesome. And I have the best friends and family a girl could ask for. So you know what? It’s really is all good most of the time. But, it’s also important that we as bloggers put out a realistic representation of our own lives once in a while. So, check out all the others joining in on the “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” posts today for a little dose of reality. I know I’ll be reading them all!

Meg: MIMI+MEG (thank you for organizing round two!) / Christine: Court & Hudson / Caitlin: Sacramento Street / Roxy: My Cup of Te / Crystal: Blog / Ashlina: The Decorista / Katie: Modern Eve / Erin: Apartment 34 / Erica: Design Blahg / Victoria: Vmac & Cheese / Christine: Miles to Style / Franki: Life in a Venti Cup  / Sue: The Zhush / Erika: Radiant Republic / Gabrielle: Savvy Home / Mackenzie Horan: Design Darling / Monika: The Doctor’s Closet / Naomi: Design Manifest / Tobe: Because It’s Awesome / Becca: {extra}ordinary wonders / Lynzy: Sparkling Footsteps / Hitha: Hitha On The Go / Sarah: Note To Self / Liz: So Much To Smile About / Sarah: Blogstar / Alissa: The Goods Design / Jessie: Style & Pepper / Erika: Small Shop Studio  / AV: Long Distance Loving / Maggie: Maggie Rose Blog / Nicole: The City Girl In Me / Priscilla: The Best Laid Plans / Jen: Concrete Jungle DC / Janelle: Food Fashion Fitness / Natalie: East Coast Chic

AND a huge thanks to Jess for her initial post, and to Ez for starting the movement!