Yesterday I went live with this new site you see before you. I’d been working on it pretty steady for quite a long time. After it launched, I kind of expected balloons to fall from the sky in celebration. But they didn’t, so I just got my laundry together and went to the laverie.
After the ecstasy, the laundry. I get it now.
I built this site myself. (Buy me a balloon.) The learning curve was steep. I had to learn foreign concepts like Self-Hosted and Plugins and Responsive Themes. Every time I became frustrated, I’d leave. I’d actually physically leave my computer and walk for hours around Paris trying to simultaneously forget my website and figure out what I’d done wrong.
But last week I had a cold, which meant when I got frustrated, I couldn’t walk away. I had to just sit here in my Kleenex nest and unravel the web mess I had made. Twice I had meltdowns and had to call in my friend Laurel from Illuminating Souls who talked me through it. Not only is she a wizard in the realm of sidebars and widgets, she’s also brilliantly intuitive, a spokesperson for the angelic realm… and on occasion, she plays the Negotiator when people like me are willing to jump off the ledge of self-hosting and fall back into Blogspot.
“I’m gonna do it, Laurel. I’m going to trash this whole stupid site and forget the whole idea.”
“No you’re not,” she’d say. “You’re already miles ahead of where you were.”
“But my sidebars are a TRAVESTY.”
“They are not a travesty. And look how you imported all your blog posts. Amazing!”
“Ugh, yes, THAT nightmare. The images are a DISASTER ZONE.”
“They are not a disaster zone.”
Dramatically sighing, I’d continue, “I know this is a stupid question but how do I…”
And then she’d say the best thing ever:
“No, that’s not a stupid question.”
This statement works miracles.
It’s not a stupid question, even when we feel it really might be the stupidest question ever. It’s a question that requires an answer. That’s all. No judgement necessary.
The moment she said my question was not, in fact, a stupid question, I felt braver to ask the next stupid question, to which she responded.
“No, that’s not a stupid question either.”
“Are you sure? Are you just saying that and will go to you friends later to say, ‘Listen to the questions she had. I mean, come on!'”
Like she has some IT possé that gets together at the local saloon to make fun of non-techy folk like myself. No, there would be none of that. Because once she answered the question, I understood why the question wasn’t stupid. It WAS complicated and I DID need help and I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND and someone had to help me MAKE THE LEAP. And I wouldn’t have made the leap if I hadn’t asked the question in the first place.
It was like the time I was looking for Baking Powder in Paris and was finally told by Serge, the proprietor of the wonderful TournBride restaurant, that you cannot buy Baking Powder in a market in Paris. You must buy it from a bakery or restaurant. Who tells you these things? It’s not on the menu. Then my friend Melanie whipped out a Ziploc bag (you can’t buy those here either but she had just returned from Canada with a stash) and he filled it with Baking Powder from his kitchen. I walked home with the powder feeling like a gangsta.
Anyway, the point is that learning isn’t easy, whether you’re learning how to build a website or discover where to buy Baking Powder in Paris. And in order to learn, sometimes we have to ask what may seem like stupid questions.
But when someone says that your question was not, in fact, stupid… the heavens open and you praise the sky, arms held high THANK YOU GOD!
If you’re like my mother who wants to throw the computer in the ditch every other week because you can’t get onto Skype, watch this video. You’ll feel better about how much you already know.