Scary, Beautiful, Necessary Change.
I’ve been feeling a stirring, a restlessness, in my spirit, for some time now. Like I was ready for a change. A shift. A new direction. Not just in my writing but in my LIFE. I’ve been writing about singleness for six years now. I’ve explored it from just about every angle possible. I’ve written one self-published and three published books about it. I’ve loved sharing my heart with single woman (and men) about my journey as a single woman. I’ve learned to appreciate and even love my solo status…and I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to appreciate and love yours, too. I’ve written countless blogs and posted literally hundreds of thousands of tweets about single life. I’ve branded myself “The Single Woman” so emphatically that up until a couple of months ago, my own name (Mandy Hale) didn’t even appear on the homepage of my website.
And somewhere along the way, in the midst of all the writing and tweeting and blogging about single life, I lost something. My spark. My groove. My excitement about writing. I stopped writing from the heart and for the sake of art and started writing for likes. For shares. For approval. It’s only been in this past year or so that I’ve really felt pressure to write things that are pleasing to people instead of writing the things I feel inspired to write. It can be a challenge sometimes when you have hundreds of thousands of eyes on your daily posts to NOT feel like you have to please the masses…but that’s not how I started this platform and it’s not how I want to continue it.
Another thing I feel like I need to address is my focus on self-love. This past couple of weeks has turned everything I thought I knew about life on its head. Going through a major crisis with my family has been hugely eye-opening for me. As it turns out, life isn’t about “loving yourself first.” It’s about loving other people fiercely and tangibly and unconditionally. Certainly you should love yourself, but a self-focused life is a very empty life. A happy life is about loving God first and other people second. Putting the people you love and their needs ahead of your own. Showing up for people. Being there for people. Praying for people, yes…but also being a living, breathing answer to their prayer by SHOWING UP. Not sitting around wasting endless amounts of time focusing on yourself. Because I’ve found that when you step outside yourself and just show up for other people, loving yourself suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Self-love is a by-product of loving people well…it’s not and shouldn’t be the focus of your life. All of this, I know, is a bit of a departure from the platitudes I’ve posted and the stance I’ve taken and the outlook I’ve endorsed over the past six years. But I will readily admit that before last Monday, I was selfish. I was too self-focused. Up to that point, my life and my stuff and my needs and my evolution as a person had been my #1 focus…all in the name of “loving myself.” But no more. Showing up for my sister and taking care of my nieces round the clock and wiping noses and wiping bottoms and packing lunches and helping with homework and folding laundry…those simple, everyday tasks, done in the name of loving my sister and her family well…they changed me. They even empowered me by setting me free from the trappings of a self-centered life. I don’t want to live an easy, comfortable, self-indulgent life for even one more day. I don’t want to sit around and pat myself on the back and list off all the reasons why I should love myself. I want to be out there, on the front lines, in the trenches of life, showing up for people and listing off all the ways I can love them better.
So here’s where I’m at. I’m sure I’ll still write about single life some, but that’s not going to be my focus anymore. I’m going to write about life as not just a single woman…but life as a Christian woman. An aunt. A daughter. A sister. A lover of movies and art and TV and books and nature and Jesus. The happy moments, the sad moments, the mundane moments, and the magical moments. I’m going to write about whatever is on my heart, whether or not I think it will get a lot of likes or not. Because when I try and please all of you, I only succeed in pleasing none of you. There is definitely no joy to be had in trying to be pleasing. I’m going to stop posting meaningless platitudes that really don’t ring true for me simply because I know they might go viral on one of my feeds. And I’m stripping my platforms completely of the obsession with self-love. I want to project outward, to shift the focus to serving other people instead of ourselves.
Change is good, and necessary, and scary, and beautiful. And as I go through reworking this blog and my writing and social media platforms…I hope you’ll stick with me. I feel like some really good stuff is ahead. Honest stuff. Hard stuff. Healing stuff.
You already know The Single Woman…now I’m excited for you to get to know me, Mandy Hale, the single woman. The sometimes sad woman. The often silly woman. The saved woman. The sassy woman. The searching woman.
And maybe…God willing…in the process, you just might get to know yourself a little better, too.