Today is my two year "blogiversary!" And I love to celebrate, so I brought cupcakes (as promised).
I know, I know, you're thinking, Girl, have you really been blogging for two years? Yep, it kinda surprises me, too when I think about it.
You might even be thinking,Why don't you have more followers? Why aren't you more famous? Have you even met THE Bloggess? I know, I know. I've done what I can when I can. In general, I'm kind of a "fly-under-the-radar" type gal. That's the great thing about blogging - you can be as big or as little as you want to be, according to how hard you try. And considering that I still don't know squat about most things related to the Internet, I think I've done pretty well.
But really, I have been "blogging" for a longer time than just two years. I was blogging before blogging was even blogging. So blog that! (Whaaaat?)
When I was ten, my best friend gave me a diary for Christmas. One of my first entries was so compelling, so raw, such true-to-life stuff that if there had been such things as blogs back then, I would have immediately gone viral.
A sampling of some of my early work:
January 23, 1981
Today I got up, ate breakfast, went to my brother's basketball game, then came home and played. Kind of a boring day.
Riveting stuff, I'm telling you. And it just kept getting better from there. From the day I got my period for the first time ("I got 'IT' today.") to junior high lists of who "was going" with whom, to teenage angst-filled Friday night rants when I didn't get invited to the party, my emotions and thoughts poured onto the page.
It was a place I could put my most private thoughts (obvs) - my nastiest rants about other people and my most hate-filled diatribes against myself. My journals were where I could pour out every detail of my life, going over and over the things that happened as if trying to permanently scratch them into my memory.
In college and after, my journals became more creative, a place where I could spell out my observations about the world, about life and love. I wrote creatively in my twenties. I have a binder of poems and short stories and children's book ideas. Sadly, I never did anything with any of it. I didn't know what to do, where to go with it, and couldn't think of anyone who would want to read it.
The last notebook I have as a journal is dated January 1, 2004, the day after my twins were born. That one notebook spans the years until 2010. With twins and then another one the year after, and another one who quickly followed, and then the cancer, there was just never enough time to write. The year 2009 has one word in it: SUCKS! And 2010 contains two words: SUCKS MORE!
I think that about sums up those two years. June 10th, 2010 to January 11, 2011 was a dark time for me. The summer after Joey died, I had serious difficulty getting out of bed every day. And then when I found out I was pregnant, I was scared and angry. And a bit lost.
I needed something to do with all of the feelings I was having. I needed a place to get feedback without having to carry on an actual conversation. After writing on Caring Bridge during Joey's illness and being able to express myself, get my feelings out, and actually have people tell me how inspiring they were, I knew I needed to write again. If not for me, but Joey.
It was a cold winter day, the second snow day in a row. We were all going crazy, so I escaped into my computer without really knowing what I was doing and without ever having read any blog except for Dooce.
I didn't know starting a blog would be so easy.
As a first entry, I simply said:
"I don't know why I
decided this was the time. Why this was the time I would do something
I had always wanted to do (well, since 2004 anyway). Why this was
the time to start a blog. Why now as I was sitting here with my three
sons, home from school for snow day #2, lost in a haze of too much t.v., too
much togetherness, too much arguing. Why now?
I've always wanted to write. I couldn't do it in
high school. After all, at my all-female, Catholic high school, only the "cool
girls" took journalism~and I wasn't one of those.
In college, it was my best friend's desire to be a
journalist, not mine.
And in my
life after school, I was filling my time as a teacher and searching for my
prince, so I could begin "the rest of my life."
But the desire was always there. So much so, in
fact, I kept a binder full of anything I had ever written~poetry inspired by
love, short stories inspired by nothing more than boredom, musings on any number
of life's situations in which I found myself.
It wasn't until a diagnosis rocked my world in April
of 2009 that I learned that I really had a voice and a story to tell that people
would listen and respond to.
why not now...isn't it time?"
And I think the only people who read it were the 5 or 6 people I told that I had done it - best friends and best relatives, people whom I knew would understand why.
And now, obviously more people are reading and following, more are understanding where I'm coming from. More people are "getting it."
I'm just doing my thing - doing what I have to do to get out of bed every day and take care of myself so I can take care of my family. I don't want to push myself on anyone or ask my legions of real life Facebook friends for the gazillionth time would they please follow my page on Facebook if they are not already?
If people don't get it, they just don't. I can't make them understand what it is that I am doing. Some days, I don't even understand what it is that I am doing. Am I a "mommy blogger?" Or am I a voice for women? I know I am not snarky or funny, and I will NEVER be a craft or food blogger. So what is it that has drawn my tiny legion of followers here?
Is it some rubber-necking reaction to the story of my son's death from cancer? Too horribly fascinating and real, too "so-freaking-glad-that's-not me"?
Is it that I admit I need help, that I take antidepressants, and I freely confess to that?
Is it that I say my life and my parenting isn't perfect, but that I try to convince myself there is a silver lining?
Or, is it simply the reason that my best friend from first grade keeps coming back to me? Because I am nice and loyal and unchanging and people appreciate that? It's true. I am very loyal to several other blogger friends, and they've been loyal to me as well.
That's part of this thing, too. It is not just writing and shutting the computer and walking away. It is interacting and commenting and developing relationships with people who I would never have met otherwise. Women who I might not ever be friends with in real life. But we have all done this thing where we have put ourselves "out there" on the Internet and said "these are our stories, our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our successes, our tragedies, and our triumphs."
And we understand each other.
And that is such a powerful thing.
It is a sorority of sorts (with a few frat guy dads thrown in). One that I resent sometimes, some teeny little times. But mostly, I love it, and every day I can't wait to hear what these people have to say. It's crazy, but it has lifted me up in a way that I needed so badly.
People who know me can say all manner of supportive things to me. But, come on, that's kind of our job as friends, right? But when perfect strangers tell you that your writing moved them to tears, it's humbling and inspiring.
I'm not really sure where this next year will take me as far as writing. I know you can continue to follow me over at Her View From Home and at Huffington Post Parents - I'll always let you know when I have something there. Beyond that, I'm just so happy to be in the company of some amazingly inspirational people. Maybe some of their greatness will rub off on me.
Thanks to all the friends, cyber and actual, who have been following me and lifting me up. And thanks to all the new people who have trusted me enough to spend part of your day with me. I appreciate you.
Now hurry up and grab one of those cupcakes before they're all gone!