Joining me tonight is Shirley Maya from The Art of Fearless Living. Shirley describes herself and a ‘blogger and single mother’ living in Malaysia whose life revolves around her daughter, writing and publishing. She comments in her posts that “words are dear to my heart” and her blog is full of stories and poetry. Shirley shares her blog with guest bloggers at times and also writes of her personal journey through life. Shirley is not afraid to be herself as shown in this post The Fearless Face and she explores her spirituality in posts such as Do not judge, just love. I’m sure Shirley’s blog will have something for everyone.
Hi Shirley! Welcome to the couch. I hope you don’t mind the streamers and balloons but since this is my 200th post, I decided to make our chat a little celebration! It’s great that you are able to join me to chat about blogging. Your blog is a wealth of information and personal insights that you bravely share with the world. Tell me what started you in the blogging world?
It began as a “Journal” and my “personal compass” to document my journey into becoming Fearless Shirley. It was a good way to track, and keep myself in line. Also, it was and is my haven – a place I could go to “unload” without being judged, and just be myself. I think this is not uncommon for many fellow bloggers. Just having a sacred space to call one’s own, and be allowed to remain as we are, without apology, justification or explanation. Then, the blog started to take a life of its own. And people began to discover the blog. I, too, began to learn about other blogs and bloggers. Now, the sharing and learning became an integral part of my motivation for blogging.
Sounds fantastic. Yes, I believe that for many of us, we expose ourselves on the pages of our blogs. So how long ago did you begin blogging?
The blog was created in November 2009 but I did not seriously blog until end of 2012 – as in “religiously” and consistently. To be frank, I am a complete I.T. “Dumb Blonde”. So, it took me a long time before I even figured out what is what, and which “buttons” to NEVER press. A frustratingly steep learning curve, to say the least!
That’s too funny. I am sure you aren’t the first (and you won’t be the last) to have difficulty in working things out. You have a wide variety of categories on your blog however do you have any particular theme that permeates your blogging?
As it is entitled, The Art of Fearless Living – it does essentially revolve around the fears that have infested my mind and took up residence for most of my life. So, in facing and slaying those issues, fears and demons, I share what I have come to learn about myself, or about that particular fear and the “take-away” from it. However, the blog currently consists of my poetry erotica, short fiction, travels and adventures, as well as my observations on love, sex and relationships from the perspective of an Asian single mother. It is rather wide, I know. When I started blogging, many kind bloggers advised me to focus on a theme, or a niche. But I just could not, because my life and interests are very diverse. Just like the issues I face too 😉
I think that’s fair enough. It’s hard sometimes to stay true to a particular theme at times. Do you believe you have gained anything from blogging?
Tremendously! And that is putting it mildly. Firstly, I value the priceless connections made through this medium. I have been so blessed with meeting ‘like-minded’ fellow bloggers, writers, poets and etc. Even the readers or fans have been incredibly supportive. I have learnt so much in the process. My perspective of life, love, people, the world and etc have truly been “enlarged” and deepened. I am beyond grateful. There is such a wealth of talent in this online community – both the creators and the readers.
You won’t find any argument from me in that respect. The blogging community is full of wonderful people. Many of my readers blog to assist in dealing with challenges in their lives. Tell me, do you have any challenges that blogging is helping you in dealing with?
Yes, several. But I shall share two of them with you today.
1) I was a very private person. And in some ways, I still am. Yet, I am not anonymous. My name, my face and every info shared in the blog are REAL. They mirror my life, what I do and how I live. I do not hide behind another persona as some bloggers do. Here, I am not judging those who do. I can apperciate why they do. As I advocate the “art of fearless living”, I have to walk the talk and practise what I “preach”. If I had it my way, I’d be a hermit. Literally. Especially, after my divorce in 2002. I went into a self-imposed “exile”. I did not emerge until late 2005. You see, I really don’t like socialising, and I quite detest going out of my house. Above all, I hate interviews (you’ll be laughing here). So, blogging did and does help me break that intense desire to be “reclusive”. It forces me to open up, share more, and learn about others in return.
2) I am tempted to say I was lazy to the core, but from time to time, laziness still rears its ugly head at me. Just to spite me, I am sure. If I had it my way – I would not get out of bed. I was so lazy that I even hated the times I had to get up from my bed in order to go to the bathroom and pee. Yes, its sloth of the worst kind. So, blogging consistently was one way of breaking that damned laziness. Apart from the regular blogging, I also maintain a Facebook Fan page, Twitter, and Pinterest. Also, I am challenging myself to finish a book of erotic poetry and a short fiction this year. Thus, I am kept quite busy these days. Laziness is fast becoming an old memory. Fingers crossed.
You certainly keep yourself very busy. I don’t know how you keep up with things. How often do you get the opportunity to blog?
Twice to three times a week. But I do write every day, research, read, scour the net, and work on other things related to writing. I prepare the blog ahead of time, because I am anal about spelling errors, and presentation. As my travel plans are quite hectic as well, I seriously do have to plan my blog ahead of time.
You sound incredibly organised. I wish I could manage to blog more than one to two posts ahead at times. 😉 Where do you find the most inspiration for your blog posts?
I know this sounds cliche, but it is the truth – I find inspiration everywhere. From my fathomless pit of fears and issues, to everything I read, see or experienced during my travels. It can be a picture, an aroma, a gesture, anything, really. Lately, I have found much inspiration from fellow bloggers and their writing. The learning never ends, and the same applies to inspiration – as long as our minds remain open and willing 🙂
You would certainly not be alone in finding inspiration everywhere. There are many, many others just like you.
Many people have a quote or mantra that they apply to their lives. Do you have one also?
As my blog is about the art of fearless living, my life mantra is fear-related – We can choose to live in an open space of freedom, or reside within the gilded walls of our fears. It’s always our choice, and our choice alone. Outside of that frightful prison is where everything or anything is possible. Possibly, even our greatest potential. Inside the walls of prison, we shall remain small and our wings will be clipped.
I find the visual imagery of your poetic words very cool. Thanks for sharing that. Tell me what you find appealing when reading other blogs?
Their writings, their thoughts, their different perspectives and their honesty. I find brutal honesty extremely sexy and appealing. So, anything that’s written from their hearts, I am hooked. No B.S and embellishments – just straight talk.
I believe that many of the bloggers out there are extremely open and honest in their writing.
I have enjoyed chatting with you very much this evening. Do you have anything else that you wish to share in closing?
Just to clarify a little more about my Art of Fearless Living – it is not so much about jumping off planes, or scaling Mount Everest. Although it could very well include those. Fear does different things to different people. For some, it may the fear of telling the truth, while others have no problems with it. So, it is very personal.
The fearlessness I advocate demands courage from within – to conquer the mountains inside our minds, the limitations we’ve placed on ourselves, or our narrow views on people and life. It is about the fears that stop us from living our lives to the fullest, or even the lives we dream of.
Here, please do not confuse fearlessness with recklessness. Recklessness implies a kind of disrespect to humanity, and hints of irresponsibility to oneself and others. The fearlessness I refer to is about taking back control of our lives, owning both the good and bad, but doing something positive about them. Because everything we fear and the tools to conquer those very fear are all inside us.
The fearless journey may begin from within, but it will take us to places we will never imagine possible. Once those walls of fear are broken down, we will see a brand new world bloom right before our very eyes. It will most certainly be life-changing.
Like I always say at the end of my blog post – start your own brand of fearless living and love the life you live.
Thank you so much for your inspirational words Shirley. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you this evening. 🙂
Thank you, Sue, for being such a gracious host and allowing me to park myself at your couch. I hope I didn’t scare any of your pets. I know, Asian ladies don’t usually laugh that “heartily”. Thank you all for reading as well. It has been such an honour and delight. I better be off before I make myself too comfortable in this couch. See you all online 🙂
Thank you so much Shirley. I’m sure the Diva wasn’t scared at all 🙂