Nearly 10 years ago I started blogging. It was another space in another time. I had things that needed saying and found a way to say them, to shout them into the vacuum of the internet where they had a life outside my head. Initially, I wanted validation, I wanted the community I saw blossoming on other blogs. I felt so invisible in my own life and I wanted desperately to be seen.
It started out as a craft blog, but with no time or space to be creative, or to even be myself, I blogged about what was happening in my life. Sometimes it was sunshine and roses, and sometimes swirling clouds rained darkness. There was a lot of the latter. I chronicled four years of failures and triumphs, break ups and new love, diagnoses and treatments – the makings of food, crafts and my early years as a mother.
I went back there tonight, to find a short story I’d once written, wondering if I might submit it for a women writers publication. It was there, nestled between recipes, thoughts, and snippets of every day; moments of my life that I’d almost forgotten. But what I discovered was far more than any short story.
On those forgotten pages of a lifetime ago, I found my voice. I found unencumbered authenticity. I found joy and sadness and 4 years of my journey in black and white, 4 years of my childrens’ lives, 4 years of my evolution as a human and a mother and writer. I didn’t care who read it or didn’t. I didn’t care about page views or hits or pictures in my posts. I didn’t care about what days more people read blog posts. I didn’t write for anyone else. I just wrote. Some days I didn’t. I was just there, in those posts, a million words or 10 words, there I was.
Those words wrapped around me like a perfectly tattered blanket. It felt like coming home.
I felt a cognitive dissonance washing over me. Where did I go?
I ended that blog because someone I knew was reading who, at that time, I didn’t want having a birds eye view into my life anymore. When I started blogging here I felt free again, but then my goals shifted a little. I thought about building my writing career; thought about this blog being something that editors would be able to reference when they wanted to know about my ‘work’. Those familiar feelings of wanting to ‘fit in’, to be accepted, and to be validated crept in and took over. I started censoring myself again, my true voice but a small whisper. And then, as it happens on the PUBLIC internet, that same person from my past found their way here and I just shut it all down until I could get my mental shit together enough to come back.
As I read those snippets of my life from ‘before’, I began to feel even more fully the impact of giving away my power to an ideal, to an unknown, to fear. Yet as much as I feel sadness at the lost opportunity to have recorded the last 6 years, I realize that I still have now. My voice never went anywhere, I just hushed it and made it sit quietly in a corner while I tried to fit who I was into a tidy pigeon hole. I have an opportunity, right now, to take this space and reclaim it one more time, in an even deeper and more fulfilling way.
I don’t have it all figured out and I never will. But being real means not hushing myself, it means stepping into my life and living it, out loud, as real and authentically as I can. And right now that means speaking my truth here, in my way, even if I’m the only one listening.