I blog now at www.leahnoble.com/blog. I’d love to see you there!
Are you guys still here?
LOL. Hi! It’s me!
I just had one more thing to say (on this space at least, because let’s be honest, I’m going to “have something to say” ’til the breath leaves my body for good!).
So it’s been almost a month since I wrapped up this blog. I loved reading all the comments you wrote me about that, and in the time since that last post, I’ve been doing what I do, which is, you know, reflect, and write in my journal, and talk to people about stuff. Specifically, about this blog, and about what I accomplished with it, and about why I wrapped it up. All that good stuff.
So here’s what I wanted to write one last post about, and it’s what I realized in the last month from all that reflection: What I thought was me being burned out on blogging, and sharing, and social media, was actually me being burnt out on this brand. And “Dream Big Cape Breton” is a brand, I’ve realized, one that I created without really meaning to, and then held myself to embodying. And that was what no longer “fit” me, not necessarily social media.
Also, what’s cool, I discovered, about cutting out stuff from your schedule and plate, and allowing yourself space to explore new things, is that you uncover what it is you were really trying to do with the stuff you were doing before!
What I mean by that is that over the past month, and especially after going to Podcamp this past Sunday in Halifax and seeing firsthand how people there use Twitter like crazy to build community, (and then giving Twitter more of a try myself), is that I still really love conversations, community, social media, sharing. I just want to be able to do all those things as me. Just me. Leah Noble.
And, yeah, I live in Cape Breton, and I am still interested in being a voice in our community, yes, but I want there to be way more to me — Leah Noble — than just “Cape Breton” and “dreaming big.”
So all of that is to say that there’s a piece of my last post that I want to clarify, and that is that I am actually still comfortable in the role of community leader. I just needed to clarify for myself what that meant, and continues to mean. Because the truth is I love sharing. And I’m going to do it in some form while I’m alive. And social media is actually really fun, if I do it with intention, and awareness, and boundaries (because privacy and non-screen time is essential to mental health, too).
Anyway! You can find me on Instagram, in person out and about, and down the road, most likely, on a new blog. (Because honestly, I’ve been blogging since I was 18. That is twelve years, people! Pretty sure I’ll pop up in blogland again one day!)
(Edit: my new blog and website is here.)
And in all those places, I’ll be doing what I do: thinking things, changing my mind about things, and always, always, learning.
Creative projects, god love them, have a start, and they have an end.
Sometimes the end date is known from the beginning, and sometimes not. This creative project, i.e. the blog Dream Big Cape Breton, didn’t have a set end. When I started it almost three years ago on January 25, 2012, I was just giving something a shot. I was typing into what seemed like a void, and then saying on Facebook “Hey everyone! Here is this thing I am doing! Read it!”
And god love you, you all did. And I kept writing, and you kept reading, and this blog and the Facebook group took on a life of its own. It showed me what the hell I’m capable of (writing almost daily for almost three years), and what people were interested in reading about this place (everything!). I gave talks, I engaged in thousands of conversations in person, over email, and in Facebook comment threads. I interviewed over thirty people. I became a regular on the local CBC radio station Issue Panel. I thought and wrote and thought and wrote about this place. I designed cards and stickers and started a little side business selling those. I thought and wrote and thought and wrote some more.
It’s been an incredible three years. I absolutely do not regret all the work, all the energy, all the thinking and writing and thinking and writing.
But it’s time to wrap things up.
How do I know? Well, for one, I just do. I know it in the way any creative person knows when a project they’ve been working on and pouring themselves into is “done”. It’s almost an itchy feeling, like “OK, I can’t look at this anymore, I can’t extract one more single drop of creative love from this!” I really, really feel the need to move my creative energy on to something new.
But I’ll also say that in mid-November of 2014 I started to feel intensely private. Like, don’t-want-to-share-anything-about-myself-online kind of private. And that was a bit of a problem, because I had built an online presence, a persona, of myself, tied closely to the island where I live. And, to be honest, I’m also tired of talking about Cape Breton! I think it’s OK to admit that. I mean, I still live here, and I still love aspects of it, but there are aspects of the place that can really get me down and burn me out.
And when you’re seen as a “community youth leader,” as I was, I felt a lot of pressure to engage on all fronts, know about all the issues, and put all my energy into ‘making change happen’. Which ends up feeling like a huge sinkhole. And, yeah, likely I put a lot of that pressure on myself. I mean, nobody was coming to my door and knocking and saying, “Leah, do all these things!” Maybe someone else with a different personality would have balanced things differently, handled things differently. But at the end of the day, this is who I am and how I handled it.
So all of this together — the privacy, the itch for new creative projects, and the burnout on Cape Breton — was making me not feel joy about the blog project anymore. But I wasn’t ready to let it go, not yet. So, I took a blogging break for Christmas. And I thought a lot about it, took walks, talked to friends, and remembered from times past that an end of a project isn’t actually an end. It’s a transition into something else. Our skills are never wasted. They get repurposed into new projects. And that’s pretty brilliant!
So what’s next?
Well, for the blog, I think in time I’m going to change this website over into “www.leahnoble.com”, so that I can use it wherever I choose to live in the world. I’d like for it to house the archives of this blog, as well as my design and writing portfolio. I’m thinking about getting more serious about my creative business, but I want to step back from being a ‘leader’ or a ‘community voice’. Because I’m not comfortable in that role any more. The Internet is great for lots of reasons, but it’s also not-great in some ways, and I’m increasingly feeling that the insta-sharing we all do isn’t healthy, at least not for me. I want to feed my creative self, and that creative self is so ready to be more private, less “instant,” and more free.
I adore writing. That will remain. I adore positivity – and I’ll keep the Facebook group going so we can continue to use that space we’ve all made together, to share good things about where we live. But as for what my next creative endeavour is, I’m not sure yet! And that’s exciting, and scary… but mostly exciting.
Thanks, as always, for reading. You’ve blessed me with every page view, every share and every comment. There aren’t enough “thank you’s” for all you’ve given me, as readers. Be well! And I hope to see you down the road.
Photos are from the photo shoot I did last summer with my friend Morwenna Hancock. The post from that shoot is here.
Hey guys! Just a quick note to say I’m taking a break from blogging for the rest of the year. Happy Holidays! Take care and be safe!
I’ll keep this brief, because, hey, the Internet is full to the brim with opinions, and lengthy ones at that.
But, I do want to weigh in on this issue that’s really taken hold of the community where I now live, because, well, I can. That’s why I have a blog… so I can share my thoughts.
You can read all about the issue on the Facebook page for Downtown North Sydney, which is here. Full disclosure: I am a board member of the Business Improvement and Development Association, but we’re all allowed free speech.
So in brief: I initially felt very angry about how it seemed that local council was going to sell off an existing park and business space for a few industrial jobs that may or may not materialize.
Then I read lots of people’s opinions in the form of Facebook comments, and chatted a bit with a few people, and now… I’m still mostly angry. But also, willing to listen to the other side(s). I know we need jobs. I know we need industries.
I’ve also been busy with other things like work, making meals, and getting a bit of creative time to myself, so I haven’t been totally consumed with this issue (read: haven’t done much research into it). And so, I’m not well-read in all the various aspects of the situation. I don’t know the ins and outs, what motion was made when, and all that. I may not even go to the public meetings. (Just being totally honest here… I’m pretty tired of public meetings.) I’m not sure yet, though. I know it’s also important to take part in issues like this, and show up in your community.
What does make me happy about the whole thing is that people seem to give a shit. Whether they’re for or against it, at least they’re talking about it. So, there’s that.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on it for now!
I’m writing this at breakfast, 7:18 am. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to write about, but I know that I want to write something, anything, in this space. I miss it. Busyness is for the birds! So, I’m showing up, and I’m typing into the void. Here goes.
Last night I went to yoga. I hadn’t been to my regular class in several weeks. You know when you think, “oh, no biggie, I’ll just skip that thing, and make room for this other thing”? Only, the first thing is actually really important to you, and brings you back to yourself, every time? Well, that’s what I’d been doing. And after a few weeks it catches up with me and I realize my body is practically jumping up and down and yelling for some yoga.
I know this because I get so cranky I’m practically jumping up and down and yelling, for no good reason.
Anyway, I also wanted to write a bit about this time of year, and how the lack of daylight combined with the pressure/fun of the Holidays can affect me, and some of you… and I have also been thinking about writing about practical ways that I find hope for our community when the news gets depressing, but… it’s now 7:25, my bagel is done, and it’s time to get ready for work.
Thanks, as always, for listening. Have a great day!
I go outside.