I’m not going to write a huge introduction to this piece. I don’t think it needs it, and I don’t know what I’d say. I just want to say that if any of you feel like the writer of this piece did, don’t. You don’t need to. I hope her story explains why….
I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, but I haven’t been able to find the right words. You see, I owe you all something: an apology and a huge thank you.

I started reading this blog back in 2010, when it was still Any Other Wedding. I loved its tone and I loved the attitudes of the commentors. Even though I wasn’t engaged, or married, I could see a wonderful community was forming and I wanted to be a part of it. I made a few tentative comments, read every post and decided that when I finally do get engaged, this is the place I want to go to every single day for a piece of sanity.

About a year and a half ago, something inside of me changed. Instead of seeing a place where I felt I could belong, I looked around and saw brilliant, vibrant, wonderful women and decided you couldn’t want a dull wallflower like me butting in. My comments felt clumsy and unintelligent in comparison to the witty, smart comments made by everyone else.

So I stopped reading.

But I missed you.

I missed the wonderful posts, the clever comments, the sense of community. As I slowly emerged from the depressive state I now realise I was in, I thought I’d try and come back. However, before I did so, I felt I needed to explain my actions, even though I’m sure no one really noticed I’d gone. So, what amounted to about 20 minutes of bravery (followed by a few hours of regret) I wrote a post, flung it across the internet with no introduction. Anna K responded with incredibly kind words and a few weeks later, it was up on this blog in a BCD post

Hi, everyone. I’m Crysta. I’m the one that felt unworthy.

I was on holiday when the post went up. I sat at in front of my breakfast and read your response. It was incredible. Never mind the heat of the Spanish sunshine, all I could feel was the warmth and support of your words. I felt incredibly humbled, and it was all I could do not to sit and cry. I also felt more than a little ashamed that I’d turned away from you all.

I am sorry I doubted you. I am sorry I rejected you, thinking it was better to quietly go away before someone pointed out I didn’t belong.

Your words encouraged me to do things I never felt brave enough to do before. In December I got on a train to Manchester, where I met the wonderful Anna K, Mahj, Bella and Zan. In March I went to Any Other Hen Do. I’ve been to London to meet Bex and Sheffield to meet Laura. I’ve talked to strangers on twitter, and have email conversations with a few of you, too.

You, all of you, gave me the courage to do this. Every time I felt nervous or scared I remembered your comments back in August, and they gave me strength. I no longer feel alone because of you.

So thank you. Every last one of you.

Thank you Clare, Anna and Aisling for this blog that has drawn together the most incredible community on the internet. Thank you to all who reached out to me in the comments of that post. In the past 6 months I’ve emerged from the state I was in this time last year and become the happy, bubbly person I had lost somewhere along the way.

Sometimes a small, but kind, action can change someone’s life for the better Without any exaggeration, I can say that you certainly changed mine.

I honestly can’t thank you all enough.

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Life, Wise Women
33 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted May 7, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    While I couldn’t agree more about how amazingly supportive and positive this community is, can I also say that you did this yourself. The thing I love about the AOW community is that it’s difficult to have barriers or affectations, so people just end up liking you because you’re you – and that bit is all down to your innate awesomeness, not anyone else’s. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. I think the majority of people who come on here have felt those feelings of unworthiness to some degree or another, about some area of their lives. It’s such a relief when the sunlight finally comes in again.


    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      It really is great when the sunlight appears again. I think what I meant was, whenever I start to feel the same way I did last year, I read those comments and it helps to chase those thoughts away. The lovely way everyone responded also makes meeting everyone a lot less intimidating, too.

  2. Posted May 7, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Crying on the train alert! Crying on the train alert!

    Crysta, you are wonderful. The reason everyone responded to you with such love and warmth and support is not because we are wonderful but because YOU are. And you never need to apologise for th way you feel, I’m just so so glad you don’t feel unworthy anymore. And I can’t wait to meet you.

    K xx

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Katie. I can’t wait to meet you, either!

      • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        At Race for Life?! I’ll be the jogging aubergine hugging everyone inappropriately.

        K x

        • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Yes! I’ll be there, giving my best impression of an out of breath tomato!

  3. Vivienne
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I remember reading your original post and tried to find my comment, but couldn’t. Reading through the amazing responses of the girls, I think I felt I had nothing more to contribute. Which is silly, given the subject! Everyone can be themselves here, it’s the beauty of aow and we are lucky that our diversity only serves to makes us stronger as a community

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      There are so many places on the internet where I’ve watched people’s views be dismissed, and arguments start up over the silliest of things. And it’s horrible to see. This place, where we can disagree politely with one another one day, and support each other the next is absolutely wonderful. It’s one of my favourite places on the internet.

  4. Chirsty
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Crysta you are fantastic. Fan. Bloody. Tastic. Don’t forget it. Ever. For everything you have achieved and for all of where you are now compared to where you were and a whole lot in between.

    And you are not alone. Far FAR from it. I too feel like an imposter here: I’m not married, I’m not engaged, I’m not even very sure of my current relationship much of the time. I don’t feel particularly smart, or funny, and I often feel guilty for being pretty ignorant on current affairs, or not being able to find an opinion on a subject that someone posting or commenting on has so much knowledge and passion about.

    I know I can be pretty great at projecting all the confidence but it doesn’t mean I always feel it. But this might give yo a giggle: when I met you at AOHen, and on my daily ingesting of Twitter (muchos reading: minimum tweeting) you, in my eyes, were right there in the group of women that I was and am in awe of. The convos, the Twitter banter, the meet ups: you made that happen. I have watched and thought: ‘So many awesome women’. And you were right in there.

    You are there: )
    So much love.

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I’ll confess, I felt the same way about you at AOHen! I saw you as funny, confident and firmly belonging in the group we were with. It’s funny how perceptions people have of us are often very different from the perceptions we have of ourselves. Thank you, so much, for this comment. It’s good to be reminded of how other people see you once in a while.

  5. Bex (GingerBee)
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Oh C! Totally agree with P and K et al, you did this. You were brave enough to want the sun again. And believe me I get how hard that can me! My life wouldn’t be the same without you in it, I know we’ve only met once but I also know we will meet so many more times. You are wonderful. Amazing. Brave. Wise. Patient. Loving. Funny. Creative. Talented. Caring. Supportive. BRILLIANT! (Massive fan girl there!! Sorry!) you looked for the sun and you got it. You deserve it! So much love xxxx

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, B. You know I feel the same way. I’ll see you (and any other Race for Life people) in June!

    • Gwen
      Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      That’s a beautiful line there: “you were brave enough to want to feel the sun again”.

  6. Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I was scare dof not being worthy of AOW before I got married and now kick myself for all the wasted time I could have spent getting to know you all even better. But am so glad you wrote this. I think you are super nice and wicked cool so like the others have said this all came from you as you are ace. x

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Siobhan. You are pretty awesome yourself! I kick myself that I stopped reading when I did, because in those intervening months this blog emerged as something utterly amazing and I missed so much of it. I’m just very glad that I came back!

  7. Posted May 7, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I think you’re awesome for tackling those feelings head on and making the meetups, conversation and support happen – now you can enjoy where all that will take you. Such an inspiration – I wish I’d been able to come to AOHen but I do hope we get to meet sometime!

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Oh, we will! I’ll be coming to as many meet ups as I can, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting people “in real life”.

  8. Posted May 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I have tears in my eyes reading this, your inspirational story and all the heart touching replies. It’s incredibly hard as an adult to make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there, but you have been brave and proactive and it’s wonderful to read about your resulting happiness. I look forward to the day when an AOW meet up coincides with my holidays back home so that I can meet many of you. x

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      I recently watched a TED talk which talked about the power of vulnerability, and how people who embrace vulnerability tend to feel more worthy. It’s a pretty powerful talk and it made me realise how much we often hold back of ourselves, and how that affects us. It is incredibly hard, but I’m so glad I wrote the first post, and made myself feel vulnerable, because the rewards have been amazing.

      If you let people know when you’re next in the UK, I’m sure there will be a few people (including me!) more than happy to meet up and say hi, even if there isn’t an official meet up.

  9. Aine
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    This. THIS. Exactly why I read and (occasionally) comment and hope to have budget and schedule come together so I can join in with one of the AOW meet ups.

  10. Sami
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    This post (and the one befroe about being unworthy) is exactly how i feel. I rarely comment… But i feel a bit inspired to come to the next meet up…Would you have a relative stranger?

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Of COURSE we would! x

    • Gwen
      Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes being a woman involves all sorts of strange emotions that guys don’t seem to have, and I can completely understand what you mean about feeling unworthy. I am the youngest (26) in my friendship group – many of my friends are starting to get married and have babies, and I’ve been feeling a bit lonely and unworthy, like I have nothing to contribute anymore and my opinions don’t matter to them because I’m young/not married/not a mother. It’s daft but it’s a real feeling nonetheless. I really admire you for putting your hand up and saying “that was me”. You are inspiring me to be more honest and open, and to push myself into getting to know this community a bit more :)

      • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        I have those feelings all the time. I am often guilty of looking at life as a tick box exercise (Go to uni: tick. Get a boyfriend: tick. Buy a house) and when these things aren’t ticked by a certain stage, I end up feeling like a failure, like I’m being left behind. I’m starting to realise there is no perfect time for anything, that life isn’t about ticking boxes, and that by pushing for these things, I was missing out on a lot and making myself unhappy. Please get to know this community more. Everyone here is so utterly wonderful!

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Sami, I know it often seems like there’s a close knit community here, and that perhaps your comments may be out of place, but you aren’t unworthy and I’m sure anything you say here will be appreciated. It can be a little intimidating seeing the same people commenting, and chatting with one another. I used to think that I was intruding in the conversation if I commented. Now I realise that everyone here is more than happy to welcome new voices, and very keen to include “newbies”. If you come to an event, you’ll be welcomed with open arms!

  11. Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh C. You are amazing, so very amazing. Brunch soon, I promise xxx

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      As are you! And yes, brunch, once everything has calmed down for you.

  12. Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!

    P.S. I hope your son didn’t reach the cake :P

  13. Sharon
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Crysta, thank you so much for writing this post and the previous one. They are both brilliant and proof of your awesomeness. I have talked myself out of previous meet ups and nearly talked myself out of the AOW race for life at the weekend, but this post has come at just the right time, thank you xxx

    • Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      I nearly didn’t go to Manchester, but was gently encouraged to go by Lara. I’m so glad I did, everyone was so incredibly lovely and welcoming. Once you get the initial meet up over with, it’s so much easier to go to the next one!

  14. Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    C you are so worthy :) you have summed up a bit of how I felt about reaching into this lovely community but I’ve been trying to comment much more recently and the community on here is just amazing.

    I’m so pleased you have found such wonderful ladies to share things with x

  15. Rach M
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh Crysta. You are awesome. As is this blog. I utterly love it and it makes my day, every day. To anyone feeling nervous of commenting or of meeting up (for the record I have never been to a meet up yet – can’t wait to come to one after I’m back in the UK), remember this already-well-used quote of W.B. Yeats or whoever:

    “There are no strangers here, only friends you have yet to meet.”

    I met Bella for the first time 2 weeks ago and I swear it was like we were old friends. This community is absolutely gorgeous, supportive, encouraging and welcoming. We can chew the fat, talk politics, bare our souls and admire the pretty, all in one fell swoop. Personally I can’t wait for the in-person belly-laughs, grabbing onto each other before you fall out of your heels laughing, tasting of cake and drinking of cocktails. AOWsome.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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