I sat down to write this and all I could think of, to begin with, was how terrible this year has been. It was only when I stopped to really think about it, and ask myself, has this year really been that bad? That I was able to reflect properly and I have to say it surprised me. A year has passed since Butterflies With Rainbows was created. Now when I first made the decision to create a blog page that was going to be accessible to the public I thought that there would be one or two people who would read what I write. That after a couple of months, maybe 6 months at the most I would find myself in a place where I would lose the motivation to keep it going. I had hopes that it would be more popular, that I would be able to keep it going, but there was not any confidence behind those hopes at the beginning. I had hoped that Butterflies With Rainbows would be a space where I could share experiences, and a journey that isn’t spoken about often, one that is full of highs, lows, bumps, twists, turns, not to mention laughter as well the excitement which can be included in the mix.
In the year that I have been active online, the social media accounts have been pretty active too. This has been an amazing experience and at times totally overwhelming a slightly unreal at times. If you don’t already know Butterflies with rainbows is on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Across the three there are over 2,000 people following the posts, interacting and sharing which is crazy. In the beginning, I never expected these numbers, I celebrated when I hit 50, and the numbers kept growing and every milestone was another massive celebration. Each time is still as unbelievable and surreal as the previous one. Along with these feelings of excitement comes the worry that it won’t be possible to keep up. I soon learned that this is a normal feeling and that it is ok to take some time out from sharing posts, and also that there is an amazing world of people out there if you are just brave enough to take that first step and go for it. I had never dreamed that the words I write would have been received as well as they have at times, the feedback has been so lovely. There have been times when my posts have been used for promotions and been shared far and wide, I am touched and humbled. With over 390 posts shared this year, I can honestly say that I have loved creating new posts, new phrases, new insights to share with everyone.
Along with all these small posts that swamp my social pages, there are obviously the main blog posts, so how have I come up with those over the year? There has not been a schedule for these, why? Quite simply because I have not wanted to set myself to a schedule that I could potentially mess up. Life can be so unpredictable and not having something ready to post when I needed it to would have been incredibly frustrating. Who knows if this will change over the next year, but for now this is working. So what it is that inspires the posts, how have we reached a year of them already? Has anyone else looked back at some of the earlier ones and thought wow? I write about many different things, and everything. I started to meet with other people who run accounts on Instagram, why? Because it made sense. Seriously, the impact people have through their posts is immense, and I wanted to meet the people behind the accounts. To learn and understand what it was that was inspiring them, that was giving them hope, and motivating them to keep going. The people I was able to have the privilege to meet were all just the kindest, nicest people ever. Every single person all striving to make the world a kinder place in their own little way, and it has been an epic journey. Meeting counselors, authors, hypnotherapists, coaches, and many other people all with one thing in common, helping others. Sharing these conversations with others through the blog has helped to raise awareness that there are real people behind these accounts, we aren’t robots, we are humans and we have stories too.
I write about my story, my journey with my rainbows. I guess this was the first inspiration for the blog. Sharing the journey we are on and raising awareness of the challenges we go through as a family, and as individuals so that others can maybe realise that it doesn’t have to be so lonely. It can be easier to put things down in words that speak but also want to share because it is lonely. There really isn’t that much support there for families in situations that we have found ourselves in, yet I know ours isn’t unique. So where do other families go for support? This is the advantage of our journey, it is never-ending, there always seems to be a new hurdle to navigate, a new challenge, and just as we think things are starting to settle down, it all crumbles all over again. From this came my letters of hope, I love these. Letters for my butterflies are the hardest but most rewarding things to write at times. I will randomly write these at short notice, these posts are very rarely planned. Always from the heart, and these will never stop. So if you ever need a letter of hope, or know someone who does let me know. (don’t forget personalised ones can be purchased through my Etsy shop).
Along with the number of posts that have been shared, and blogs that I have written, one of the most surreal things that I have seen is the places that my pages have been read in. I remember the first time seeing that someone from America, or New Zealand had read it and thinking that it was slightly mad. Then over the months, the list of countries grew. So with over 4.5 thousand visitors this year we have hit 43 different countries. Here is a quick graphic to show all the countries that have accessed the blog this year, can you spot yours?
So who is interested in getting some exciting news now? This year has bought some pretty big achievements for me. I am so proud that I completed my Novel Writing Diploma. I have mentioned in a few of my previous blogs about writing books, and ……………… I have a title! So I will be keeping you updated with the progress of ‘The beauty behind your scars.’ Over the next few months, this will be moving forward at quite a speed (I hope) as the chapters come together, and I search for an agent/publisher. As well as that I have become so much more confident as a mum. I do only have two of my rainbows home with me now, but we are learning more about each other, what we enjoy doing (normally involving chaos and noise) as well as what we don’t enjoy doing. Having met some of the most incredible people, even if it is just virtually, from all over the world who have helped encourage, inspire, and generally keep me going, these achievements over the year have been possible. Butterflies With Rainbows has kept going, and I have been able to beat so many personal battles and pick myself up after setbacks to keep taking new steps each day.
Setbacks happen, this is one thing that I’ve mentioned before. However, if we don’t learn from them then they will eventually bury us. This year has been full of setbacks, that is for sure. We started the year celebrating the return of my rainbows, sharing the word of how living away from them had made a huge impact (and so many other people shared my blackboard too which was mind-blowing) however ending the year with only two of my babies home, and having repainted my blackboard to start afresh. Learning how to be a parent to a family who is forced to be separate, is incredibly difficult, but can also be rewarding in its own way. I have had to learn to not only manage my own mental health but the mental health of one of my rainbows. To be able to juggle the care and safety of her while she is receiving treatment away from home. To teach another rainbow independence, while he has been thrust into the adult world before any of us were ready. All this while accepting now that in order to continue to recover from the abuse we all experienced it isn’t about just surviving each day. It is about getting through each day and being able to identify something that went well for us. So yes, it is easy to say 2021 has been full of heartache, tears, and hard times, but look at all the bloody brilliant things that have happened alongside them. If it wasn’t for those setbacks I wouldn’t have had experienced the kindness, love, and compassion from all those around. I wouldn’t have ever learned that there are some people who are just so nice that they will give you time, space, and a listening ear when you need it most. These are the role models and inspirational people that make the world a better place.
Taking all this into account, what does 2022 have in store? I am not one for new years resolutions, and I know that January is going to be challenging for us as a family, but with the plans for the year ahead, it’s going to look like a pretty exciting year. You’re going to hear more about ‘The beauty behind your scars’ as this develops and grows. You are going to hear about ‘Penny’, the main character in the first fiction novel I have been writing, a mysterious character with a past that comes back to haunt her at the most inconvenient of times. All this plus a career change and a house move, so why not! The shop is growing too, with many more products becoming available soon, including posters, bookmarks, bracelets, hoodies, and much much more.
As the years go, it has been pretty good. As we prepare for a very different Christmas, we can’t be together unfortunately, I will be visiting my rainbow in the unit she’s in for an hour and spending the day probably writing. Not everyone’s Christmas can be picture perfect, so however you are spending it I wish you well. I also wanted to say thank you to absolutely everyone who has played a part in making this year what it has been. There are too many people to name but I think you know who you are. If you have ever read, shared, or liked then that’s you. This year really has been one to remember. Also, BUTTERFLIES WITH RAINBOWS IS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!