Five years ago today, I published my first blog post on what used to be called Let ME Out!! Releasing Your Creative Self. I’ve since shortened the name to Let ME Out!! although most people say to me, “Oh, right! You’re from Let ME Out Creative.” Sometimes I correct them and sometimes I don’t because a) how flattering is it that they even know my blog! and b) was taken so I had to come up with something else. I threw in the word ‘creative’ because that’s a huge part of my brand. Thus, was born and so, officially, was my journey as a public writer. A writer with a confusing blog name. But a writer, nonetheless.

The support of my readers, and my hot fiery love affair with words have kept me going through the ups and downs of life. There were times I had to step away from my blog or reduce the time I spent here because of Life Stuff, but when I came back I was always welcomed by ‘the page’ and my readers.

Writing started off as my private safety net when I just wrote in a journal, a place I’d land when nowhere else felt comfortable or inviting. When I moved my words onto a public blog, I vowed to maintain my authenticity and vulnerability, and that feat alone has been worth the experience. Writing ‘out loud’ meant choosing my words for an audience, and looking back on the last five years, I learned that choosing ‘real’ sometimes meant choosing ‘scary’ but ALWAYS meant choosing right. If I can say one thing to novice or experienced bloggers, I’d say keep it real. It’s valued by your readers and at the end of the day, no matter what people think about you or your blog, you’ll be able to live with it. You may crawl under your covers in a fetal position to ward off the trolls and their comments, but the next morning you’ll start fresh, and you’ll still be a ‘you’ you can love.

Let ME Out!! has been like the proverbial toe dip in the water. It allowed me to test out my voice in front of a large audience. Kind of like clearing my throat in a microphone while on stage in a darkened theatre. Once the words started flowing, they kept right on going and spilled over into other avenues as well. Meanwhile, I kept defining and redefining what the blog was about, how I could help others with their creative release and authentic-life-building. Eventually I came to the conclusion that this blog was hugely about me building my own authentic life, giving myself permission for my own creativity. It has helped me answer poet Mary Oliver’s all-important call, “Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” Because as I’ve written here, I’ve unearthed and discovered those very things – the things I want to do with my time here. This blog has been a gift to me. I truly hope there has been even one time when this blog has also given you something precious.

As on any milestone, it’s important to look ahead. With the last few years being the foundation, my next will be about building and expanding, with your continued support. I promise to only bring you what aligns with the Let ME Out!! community’s values of authenticity, creativity and kindness through this growth.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been working like a little squirrel to secure sponsorships for the #LMOKindness program. This is where I proudly partner with businesses to bring random acts of kindness to deserving members of the community. It’s easy to nominate someone – simply fill out the form telling me why your friend/family member/colleague/etc deserves to be surprised with a little something to make his/her day! I look forward to helping businesses with their community giving intentions and spreading more kindness in this world.

I told myself I’d keep this short and sweet, and now I’m pushing those boundaries a bit, so I’ll sign off here with a huge THANK YOU for reading this and any of the other 456 blog posts. Thank you for ‘liking’ me and my work on Facebook, following me on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribing to get my blog posts straight to your email.

You are awesome.

taslim jaffer, let me out creative