IBM, Chevrolet and Whirlpool all celebrated their 100th birthdays in 2011. A few days ago, Arizona celebrated being a part of the United States for 100 years. In October 2080, I will celebrate 100 years of living and will probably be granted one of those oh-so-hard-to-obtain TV interviews on which I will share aged wisdom (I’m sure you can hardly wait for that six o clock broadcast). Today is not as grand a day as any of that but it does hold something worthy of notation: this is my 100th blog post.
I’ve kept diaries and journals all my life. They are some of my most treasured possessions today. In them, I recorded basically what I did each day. Later, I began writing down verbatim any conversation I had with someone that instinct told me I’d want to remember. It is really fun to go back and re-read them. In honor of this dubious “achievement” of which bloggers anxiously look forward to, I spent a portion of Valentine’s Day night re-reading my own diaries. Then, I moved on to reading a portion of this blog. When I began “blogging,” I didn’t call it that: I called it journaling. In my head, it was just a different way to keep a diary. Except I no longer talked about the mundane events of each day–instead, I was writing about my inner most thoughts, and ideas. I didn’t think about reaching an “audience,” I didn’t think about it being a way to attract or interact with readers of the books: it was, more or less, a private thing. I made the posts public because the idea that someone—ANYONE—read them made me feel like I was “getting everything out.” All my past demons about which I still cannot really talk comfortably, I was getting them out, I was making it known. It didn’t matter that I had no idea who was reading what post, or if it was spammers randomly clicking that made my stats continually go higher and higher. I had no idea. I didn’t really care. It didn’t really matter: knowing that someone clicked on my blog convinced me I was working towards healing. I wasn’t holding anything back anymore, I was saying what I needed to say and I was being true to myself.
In person, I’m not really an open book. I’d like to be. I wish I was. But, honestly, I have thoughts that make sharing my internal dialogue and ideas which others may find disturbing difficult. I really have issues with bothering other people, and my ideas of what bothers them pretty much includes any statement that’s not accompanied by a smile. I am a happy go lucky, perfectly healthy and normal teacher, volunteer, mom. End of story.
Except, of course, no woman is that simple.
Blogging gives me a way to be myself, and it’s something that I’ve come to care deeply about. As time progressed and I began getting more and more hits to the blogs, people started emailing me telling me they’d read the books based on such and such blog post…. well, it should have made me feel honored. And it did. But it also created somewhat of a fear because I did not want to write the blogs for other people: I wanted it to remain a healing mechanism for me personally. I wanted it to stay a diary. So, I made a promise to myself that, no matter who I may have known was reading it, I wasn’t going to edit anything. If I wrote a post that may have made someone uncomfortable, I promised myself that I would be respectful, that I would honestly answer any question that was raised—but I would keep it. I gave myself permission to respect my own thoughts and opinions and ideas and feelings within the boundaries of this journaling journey. More than the fact that this is my 100th post, I am proud that I have stayed true to that promise.
Giving myself permission to be me, even if it’s only through this blog, is a major step for me: one that I probably wouldn’t have done even as recently as college. It has helped me learn how to actually verbalize some of those demons and face the ones I about which I cannot talk openly. It has also allowed me to express joy, pride and success. It’s given me the space to say, “yes, I am proud of those books’ without feeling like I’m being selfish, or arrogant. It has given me the space to say, “yes, my girls are the cornerstone of my daily life, and I love it that way.” It has given space to truth, unabashed honesty. When I’ve read posts like “A Day with My Characters”, I’ve laughed out loud and been moved by tenderness. When I’ve read serious posts, I’ve cried.
For my birthday this year, I had the entire blog bound into a book. I wanted it to be preserved as a lasting legacy for my daughters; something that, just in case I’m -not- here in October 2080, they will have something to read, remember: a tool by which they will be able to understand who their mother really was. I document my life for their sakes—but I also document it for me. It is probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever given to myself.
I have well over a hundred full length novels, most of which span 1000 handwritten pages or more. Writing 100 blogs, to me, isn’t that big of an accomplishment. And yet—it is because it’s more personal than even a book, and because it’s the one avenue by which I’ve allowed myself to explore the nooks and crannies of my own heart and of why I am who I am. I am thankful for the readers, I am thankful for the emails and the often heartbreaking stories that remind not only the reader but myself that none of us are alone, and none of us are aliens, no matter what lies shame, abuse or depression whisper. I am humbled to have any regular readers of this blog at all. Even more, though, I am just grateful for the opportunity to write.