We are all bloggers for a reason. In one way or another most of us have difficulty expressing ourselves in real life. Some of us struggle with health issues, both mental and physical. Some of us lack confidence, some of us are socially awkward, and some of us just feel an inability to connect with people we interact with every day. One of the best parts of writing online is knowing there is a community of people out there who get how it feels to be alone and who might also feel different than everybody else.
As pet bloggers, it’s easy, too easy, to hide behind our words and our animals. Many writers even share their stories in the voices of their furry ones, putting that little bit of distance between themselves and their readers. I understand the drive behind that. It enables connection without giving away too much. We tell ourselves it is all about our pets, that people only comment and care because they like looking at photos of our more adorable counterparts.
I am here to tell you right now that this is simply not true. Even if you are writing in the voice of Patches or Callie or Thor, we all know it is you underneath. We all care what you have to say. Sure, we love your animals, but we come back to your blog because we want to learn more about you, the writer behind the fuzzball. You are the one with whom I cry when you have to visit the emergency vet; you are the one with whom I laugh when your dog scales the kitchen cupboards. Pet blogging may be about the animals on the surface, but scratch it a little and you’ll find it’s all about the human connection.
And we have one righteous community full of worthy humans, don’t you think?
Since the majority of us are women, I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there for judgment by the great unknown. Society doesn’t make it easy on us. No matter what we look like, we know it’s not good enough. I have yet to meet a single woman who is okay with how she appears in photographs. A woman will see a photo of herself and automatically wrinkle her nose before making a disparaging comment about her skin, weight, hair, eyes, pick-your-body-part-of-choice. Every. Single. Time.
I’m completely guilty of this. Just take a look up at that photo on the right there, the one of me holding Shiva. I think it is a terrible picture. My hair looks flat, I am leaning at a weird angle, the sun is unflattering, I look like I have a double-chin, and don’t even get me started on my eyebrows. But the thing is? I remember when that picture was taken. It was last summer. We had just moved in to our house in Bedford, Nova Scotia and we were hanging out on a rare sunny day in our private backyard. I remember feeling happy that day, relaxed. There was nothing else for me to do but enjoy the moment. As much as I despise the way I look in the picture, I am also glad the day was captured.
This is why I leave it up there. Sure, I could swap it for a picture in which I feel I look more presentable, but that photo is of an authentic moment between me and Shiva. It is what this website is all about. And so it remains.
This is why on December 18, 2013 I hope you will join me and fellow bloggers Go Pet Friendly, I Still Want More Puppies, Kol’s Notes, No Dog About It, The Daily Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies, CindyLu’s Muse, Life With Desmond, Bringing Up Bella, Heart Like A Dog, Peggy’s Pet Place, and NEPA Pets in the Grand Unmasking. We want to see a picture of you - with or without your furry one – and learn more about the creative mind behind the words on the screen.
I encourage you to be as free as possible with your photo-taking. If having your picture taken makes you uncomfortable try to relax, play with your pet, go to a location you love. Try not to think so much about the camera and think more about having a good time. If make-up makes you feel better, that’s fine. If you have a favourite outfit or a favourite hairstyle, go for it. Take a selfie (and I recommend this link for some wicked tips) or have a friend or loved one capture a candid moment. I assure you, no matter what you think, you are going to look gorgeous.
But we also want to know the details. The juicy bits. To get you started, here are some questions we’d love for you to answer. On the big day of the blog hop, feel free to tackle as many as you’d like, and definitely don’t hesitate to throw in a few questions of your own. The more you are willing to divulge, the better!
What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Who’s your favorite actor?
What’s one thing you have to do every day?
What makes you feel fabulous?
What do you wish you were more skilled at?
What’s your favorite holiday?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What one word would people who know you use to describe you?
If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you? What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
How is your pet most like you?
What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
Once you have your photo and put together your answers, make sure to link up on the linky tool! I certainly don’t want to miss out on anything you have to stay. And I can’t wait to be able to put a beautiful face to a familiar name.
Grab the badge and join in! I will warn you, participation may end in gaining many new friends who share the same fears. It’s a risk you’ll have to be willing to take. Don’t forget, if you give yourself permission to be unapologetically you, it encourages others to do the same and who knows what the fall out might be…