Welcome. This is a transfer and continuation of our old blog, www.johnnieandangela.com. I have switched from Blogger to WordPress and our blog has changed names from Johnnie and Angela to a Lot & a Couple. I will be also opening an Etsy shop this year under the same new name. So what does “a Lot & a Couple” mean? We chose this name because of our daughter. When she was 2.5 years old and we would say to her, “I love you a lot,” she started replying “I love you a lot… and a couple.” It became her thing and she still says it. The name is not limiting which will allow me to take the blog and the shop in whatever direction they develop. This new blog still has some design and link issues that are a work in progress so please bear with me.
I started blogging the year we moved to South Korea for other people, for our family and friends, to learn about our life there. It turned into a photo travel blog for anyone and everyone, but more importantly, it turned into an incredible photo journal of our year there for us to look back on. When we moved to Hawaii, the blog became a pregnancy journal and then developed into C’s baby book. It remained a way for all of our family and friends to watch C grow since they were all so far away.
My health crumbled during our final six months in Hawaii so I stopped blogging. I didn’t have the energy or mental clarity to do it. When I finally wrote a post about the health struggles I was going through, I got some feedback saying that it was too negative and too personal to share. I got put down at a time I was feeling especially vulnerable, so I closed up and I started questioning the blog and myself. I had already hid so much in the past couple years, from the blog and from family and friends… my battle with postpartum depression and anxiety, my struggles with being a new mother, our very long and frustrating battle with C’s eczema, and all of my own health issues. I censored myself and what I shared, afraid of what others would think and how I would be perceived. I was afraid that I would get put down instead of being offered empathy and acceptance.
The truth is, I had not written authentically on the blog since C was born and realizing that, I suddenly felt like a fraud because I hid so much. I started thinking that maybe I shouldn’t blog at all if I couldn’t share the real me and the real things we go through. Then I wondered if people would even want to read about those things anyway? I wondered, in fact, why they would want to read anything I wrote at all, good or bad? It was a mental struggle on top of the physical health issues I was still dealing with. I know now that I should have been wondering why I was even worrying about whether or not people wanted to read my blog.
Closing up is something I’ve done well all my life – I’m not good at sharing feelings, I’m not good at opening up to people, I very rarely ask for help even if I need it. There were many times in my life… terrifyingly low, dark times… that I needed help, when I should’ve gotten help, but I didn’t because I believed that those negative things were the kinds of things you don’t share with other people. So I bottled everything up, let it consume me, and almost destroy me more than once. During those times, I felt like I was drowning but nobody knew because I didn’t feel like I could share what I was going through.
Acknowledging and sharing fears and unpleasant feelings is what disempowers them and allows you to heal, whereas avoiding them makes you feel like part of you isn’t normal, acceptable, or lovable. In the past few years, countless lifestyle blogs have appeared. Suddenly I was reading my feelings and my stories that someone else had the courage to write. They shared, they got help, they were healing, they were doing what I should have done. Why had I felt like it was not okay for me to share those same things?
If I had voiced my feelings and struggles, I’m certain that someone would have thrown me a life preserver. I’m also certain that I would have then seen just how many other people were also afloat on the same dark turbulent water. I would’ve known I wasn’t alone. I really needed to know that I wasn’t alone.
This time, I am restarting the blog for me, not for others. I’m blogging to have a written and visual journal of our life. I’m blogging to have a collection of writings and photos for C to read when she’s older. I’m blogging to record our life and the real me so that C can learn who I was and know what we went through and what we did. I want to write authentically and be that life preserver that I’m sure somebody else needs, especially if it’s ever C or someone I know who needs it.
I don’t know what direction this blog will take, but I want it to be real. I don’t even know who I am right now or what direction my life will take, but I’m ready to start making changes and finding out.
“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you are not,
I hope you have the strength to start over.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald