On Steemit, I go by the handle @dollarsandsense. Browse through my feed, and you’ll find an account filled with 46 posts and 700 comments, give or take. Glance up at the top of my profile page, and you’ll see I’m from New England in the United States. The date “April 2018” will catch your eye as you see that I joined not so long ago. And then you’ll find a short description which says: I’m one of those annoying people who is “still finding their voice.”
That’s all you’ll glean from my profile page. But you want to know more. You want me to talk about me. The man behind the curtain. This guy who wants a free ticket to Steemfest 3. Who is he really?
Well, if you check out one of my more recent posts, you’ll see I end it with the footer “@DollarsAndSense is a father, veteran, participant in the rat race, freelance writer, and volunteer EMT.” But you want to go even deeper than that, right? “Sincerity and candor” was the request, correct?
If I go ahead peel back the curtain the entire way, you will find a very insecure man. A guy who craves approval. A dude who just wants to be liked and to get along. A person who is afraid to speak his mind in public because of the consequences that could come from an unfiltered opinion.
A 30-something who wanted to be one of the cool kids so badly in middle school that he sacrificed his grades and a few good friendships in a futile pursuit of popularity. A former college student who grew up during his time on campus as he realized he didn’t need anyone else’s approval but his own to be happy. A veteran who realized during his time as a soldier that he actually didn’t approve, and wondered if he’d ever approved, of who he was. A father who found meaning and purpose in raising a child. A Christian who let his faith take a backseat for far too long and is now trying to rearrange his priorities.
And today, a man who is still trying to find his voice.
Writing is something I have always enjoyed. I was always good at it, too. I remember taking a test in high school after we finished reading The Scarlet Letter. My friend read every word of that book, but struggled with his writing. I read a chapter or two at most, but paid attention in class during discussions. When the test was handed out, I saw that it was some character matching followed by a mammoth essay. I scored a 98% on that exam. My friend got a C.
I’ve had to write a lot in most of the jobs I’ve held over the years. I was an officer in the Army, which was mostly paperwork. I send dozens of e-mails an hour at my job today. I’ve done a bit of freelance writing and posted to a personal blog here and there, but nothing like what I’ve produced in my last few months on Steemit. This place is finally helping me find my voice.
I’ve gotten to experiment with several different kinds of content. I’ve gotten to weigh in on some pretty heavy conversations about topics I am too afraid to talk about in person. I’ve learned more about myself and what I enjoy, as well as forced myself to examine what I believe and reassess where I find personal value.
I have swapped out mindless Netflix binge-watching each evening with writing time on Steemit and I feel immensely more satisfied with myself because of it. I’ve joined the community #steemitbloggers and I try to submit an entry into the Comedy Open Mic contest each week. I’ve made several friends, one of which I would definitely keep in touch with if either of us ever left the platform.
I am writing this particular post because I want to attend Steemfest. I would like to go partially because of the adventure of it all as well as the chance to meet other members of the community in person. I am looking forward to exploring a place I’ve never been, with people I’ve never met. Most of all, though, I see it as a chance for personal reflection and soul-searching. Life with a toddler and a full-time job leaves precious little room for that. The opportunity on a transatlantic adventure to ponder who I am, what I should be doing on Steemit, and where my voice belongs… that is the real prize here.
There are a few obstacles in my path, some practical and others mental. Being away from my son for a week would be a challenge, but it’s something I can overcome. Summoning the courage to tackle the difficult questions is another trial in this journey. Much easier just to download a few movies or read during my alone time. But if I’m given this opportunity, I will make the most of it.
How would I improve the Steemiverse overall? Well, I have a UI project in mind, and I’ve actually started working on it. Trouble is, I don’t have the programming skills to do it justice. If I do make it to Kraków, my goal would be to find a programmer to work with on rolling out a prototype of my design.
So there you have it: my contest entry (link to contest). Probably a little too personal and revealing at times, but hey, it’s refreshing to be honest once in a while. Thanks to the team at @blocktrades, @thewritersblock, and @anomadsoul for the opportunity to win this prize, but also thank you for challenging me to open up about myself and inch one step closer to finding that voice of mine.
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