It’s Not An ‘About Me’ Page – It’s A ‘What I Do’ Page

I finally finished that ‘About Me’ Page. Woo! It wasn’t easy, though. I sat with it for a week, at least, and that’s not counting the week I pointedly ignored it and pretended I didn’t have to think about it. What’s the hurry? But once I put down a goal to get it done, I started talking myself through it. In my journal and in my blog post editor, like I was already talking to you–one step closer to published, but still safe in a draft. And now that it’s done I thought, hey, maybe this could be useful to someone else? We all have methods, tried and true, that work for us. There is also a ton of advice floating around out there, and WordPress has its own gig with really good advice. But sometimes we just get stuck and then a little repetition won’t hurt (which you might notice, if you read on). So, without further ado, I give you my process (with a few added extras, like photos, because I love sharing photos).


It’s not an ‘About Me’ page. It’s a ‘What I Do’ page. Okay.

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Blogging. In one way or another we use social media to express ourselves and open our doors to the world. We talk about our day, our joys, disappointments, achievements–we pass commentaries on whatever we are reacting to in that particular moment. And show people what we had for lunch–perfectly arranged and filtered or an explosive health smoothie.

 

blender
Apples, ginger, beetroot, and carrots. Yum.

Basically it comes down to sharing something about ourselves. I do it, we all do it. So why is it so difficult to write an ‘About Me’ page? It’s not like I am afraid of telling people about myself. Hey, I am blogging. About my life. About myself. And I have been using social media on and off for years (although I used to freak out about what I wrote and then obsess over it for days. Fun times. Not.).

But. Creating this ‘About Me’ page, then. So bloody difficult. I get all squirmy and come up with all the things that are more important–which, granted, they may very well be.

 

kantareller
Chanterelles are very important.

So when I told my partner about it the other night and he replied, “You’re not talking about who you are but what you are doing and showing photos of your pale self on a mountain top–perhaps get a tan this summer?” (Okay, he didn’t say all that. Not in those exact terms. And not all in one go.) Anyway. I’m not talking about who I am but what I am doing… Duh. Which, you know, is what reflects who we are. Additionally, it sure is the general gist of the advice they give on writing those ‘About Me’ pages.

Who we are, then, is no simple case of line up a few traits and that’s it. But it’s not difficult, either, since I have published a couple of posts now in which I have already started giving little glimpes into who I am and what I do. No. This may be a case of not knowing which parts characterise me as a whole but mostly it’s about not knowing how to tell it.

Let’s get to the bottom of this by asking some questions and making a list! (I do this all the time in my journal but repetition doesn’t hurt.)

  • Why am I even creating this ‘About me’ page to begin with?
  • What do I focus on to accomplish that?
  • Where do I start?
  • And how do I structure it?

So why am I doing it? Because we are curious beings and those ‘About Me’ pages are one of the first things I look at after reading a blog post that left me wanting to know more about the person behind it.

What, then, is it that I want to find out when I go to read about someone? All the things. Well–tricky. What are some of those all the things? To get somewhere, I have to limit myself. So, let’s say five things.

  • Where are they from?
  • Why did they create a blog?
  • What will I find if I start rummaging around their archives? (Unless, of course, it’s obviously about showcasing their photography because, hello, photographs all in my face, so in this case I might want to know what kind of photographs, how long have they been at it, and what inspired them to pick up a camera?)
  • Common ground or wildly different philosophies?
  • Honesty. Opinions. We all have them but not all of us (myself included) dare to always give them a voice. But if I have read an article that lead me to the author, I am not much concerned with if I agree or not, I’m not there to judge; I am intrigued, I became curious, and I just want to know more about how this person perceives the world.

Great! So now I have managed to break it down a little. I have some pointers. But where do I start? I begin by answering those questions I myself have when I search out someone’s ‘About Me’ page. And the way I do that best is in my journal. Or with a mindmap, which is still a very new concept to me but could stand practice. (Edit: In this case, however, I kept peeking at the blog post draft you are reading right now and started writing. In another blog post draft. Confused yet? I saved it without publishing and kept writing a little every day, then edited and finally asked my partner to read it. It always helps having someone else read the stuff we write to catch things–like flow, whereas I am concerned. I tend to get a little carried away with words and overly complicated sentences.)

Lastly, structure. Is there really a right or wrong way of doing it? Maybe the structure should be tied into my first point in the list: Why am I doing it? As I write I get clarity; it should be personal and reflect the content, just like the blog should reflect why I am writing it. Once again, I remember seeing these similar words when I read about advice and pointers. But, once again, it doesn’t hurt with a little bit of repetition. All for the sake of clarity.


 

So there you have it. If any of this helps you out when you’re stuck with writing then that’s great! If it has left you terribly confused–I apologise. This is one of the many reasons why I keep a journal. I confuse me all the time. But thank you for reading anyway. And if you have any tips and tricks up your sleeve, I’d love to hear! In any case, happy blogging!

Cake
Because, you know, cake suits every occasion.
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The Unintentional Prelude

Even though I moved back home to Finland to rejoin my family in December last year, I still haven’t unpacked all the boxes of stuff I brought with me. So when I started working on the blog post wherein I’ll share Loke’s and my 9-hour hike, I thought I would go through my journals to see what I might have written that day. It took me a while but I found it eventually… and got stuck reading what past-me had to say. I’m laughing at myself because I just mentioned the lacking organisational and time management skills in my previous post. It makes me think of this image I saw once, of counting sheep when trying to go to sleep, and it ends up with hey, Macarena!

So now I have hit a bit of a hey-macarena situation with my blog post. I intended to just add an excerpt from my journal entry, but one thing lead to another, and suddenly I had poured out a ton of words before even getting to the actual hike. So instead of deleting those words, I am posting them as a fitting example of my process. Let’s call it The Unintentional Prelude.

June 20, 2015

Dear present-me,

Hiked the High Coast trail today! Got a total of 32 km! I am not sure how I am still alive. Or sitting up. Poor Loke is totally pooped. But it sure was nice. More than nice. Awesome, even. I am so proud of myself for doing the entire 1st course of the High Coast trail! Oh. And BOY am I glad I invested in those Meindl hiking boots. Without them, my feet would be chopped pork.

I wish I would have had a diary excerpt to share from when my parents first moved us–my siblings and me–from a Stockholm suburb up to this area in 1989. Not that I really kept a journal back then. I was eight years old and I hadn’t found my love for words yet. Suffice to say, younger-me did not share my enthusiasm and love for Ångermanland, the northern province of Sweden in which the High Coast is located. To my young self it was dark, remote, and I knew no one, at first. All my friends were a world away. Winters seeped through the creaking walls of the old house, and outside the cover of snow seemed taller than I was (enough to bury our car at times). I didn’t dislike nature, but the loss of my friends and the world I knew muddled my impressions.

From old photographs and stories my parents have told, I know my father took me out on smaller hikes to pick berries and mushrooms already as a baby–I rode along in a sling on his back. And later on, as my siblings arrived and we got older and could use our own legs, we stumbled around in his footsteps, climbed large rocks, hunted insects and explored the undergrowth. We would help each other to lift smaller boulders to watch in fascination the intricate patterns created beneath by all manner of critters and little lizards. Once we found a snake sunning itself. Another time we crossed paths with elk calfs. It is safe to say my love for nature has long been cultivated in me, and I in it.

PastAdventures
At my request, Mom dug up some photos. Bless her.

When I came back to Härnösand in autumn 2014–and every other time through the years, really–I always remembered our family hikes with fondness. I took every opportunity I could to go back to those places we visited as children, coaxing whoever available along as well I could, but the one place that had the greater pull was a cabin built and maintained by a local outdoor organisation. It’s open all year round and is free to use by anyone. Nestled on a bare cliff on top of a ridge it gazes out over the amazing landscape that signifies the World Heritage of the High Coast.

View from Tuäggenstugan
Did you know that due to the post-glacial rebound, the High Coast rises 8 mm annually? And it will continue to do so for generations to come, gradually slowing down.

The trek up to Tuäggenstugan, as the cabin is called in Swedish, is situated a few minutes drive from a small village by the name of Ramvik, about 30 km northwest of Härnösand. My father still lives there in that creaky house I called home from the age of 8 to the age of 13 (and sporadically in later years).

IMG_0681
The house used to be pink once, and white-beige-ish before that. The two smaller windows were once shop-sized windows. The house’s bottom floor held a sewing and fabrics shop in the earlier 1900’s – 1950.

My father’s house–almost only a stone’s throw away from water–faces Ångermanälven, a 463 km long river. The name originates from Old Norse–anger–which seems to have various meanings, such as tight/narrow, and names of lakes and bays have contained some form of the word anger. Mostly in Norway, but also in Sweden. In this case maybe it refers to that the province of Ångermanland is full of fjord-like (fjord-ish?) formations, although by far not comparative to our neighbour’s majestic fjords.

If you looked closely at the photo taken from Tuäggenstugan you could see the pylons in the distance (tiny, tiny). That is a suspension bridge–Höga Kusten bron–which was inaugurated 20 years ago, now, this year. Before it was built you had to take a ferry to the other side, or drive another 15 or so kilometers further north to cross. Next to the High Coast bridge on the other side of the river, atop some cliffs, sits the High Coast Hotel–where they serve absolutely delicious food–and that is where my hike began. The hike this post was supposed to be about. Er, oops?

Regardless of taking a little detour, these sneaky extra words still tie into all the reasons why this place means so much to me. Which is something the younger-me, as I mentioned earlier, never would have thought she would one day say. As I write this, and truly think about it, I find myself smiling; the place I once couldn’t get far enough away from is the very place that much later would have such a big impact on my personal growth and, ultimately, my mental health. I won’t go into details or dedicate any major words to that here, and get sidetracked again, but when I left Finland over two years ago I was suffering from deep depression and anxiety, social phobia, PTSD–and, now, let me tell you that all that has changed.

Bliss
Feel the moment… just this moment.