I went to a funeral today. A woman who had lived a good many years passed away after what her family called, “A dance with cancer”. With much grace, love and hope, she tried to beat the disease, but as is often the case, cancer was the victor, and today her family said their final goodbyes. She was a friend to many, a mother, grandmother, and though I did not know her personally, I felt honoured to be present at her funeral because everyone there had such incredibly beautiful things to say about her, such wonderful memories.
Funerals snap me back to reality; they remind me that what matters are the relationships we build, the connections we make, the goodness, happiness and light we spread. Really, when it’s our final curtain call, nothing else will matter but these things.
Of course this made me reflect on the way I live life, and evaluate my choices. Am I doing the right things? Am I creating these memories for my family and friends? How can I leave a positive mark on the world? What will people say about me at my funeral?
It’s all so morbid, I know. But from it comes positivity: it made me think of the important connections I’ve made in person and online, and I feel so thankful for the communities of which I’m a part in both. It made me think of all the reasons I blog here, and all the reasons I want to write, and how I hope my words make an impact on other peoples’ lives.
When I first started blogging (around 2002), none of my friends really knew what the word meant. It was a fringe weirdo-nerd thing to do, and I sort of enjoyed that. A girl I worked with told me I should “totally start a blog” and so I totally did. I’d been on message boards for many years, and liked the idea of my own personal space online where I could write.
I had a blog on Xanga, and at first, I blogged to stave off the absolute boredom of my job. I loved that with just a few sentences, I could connect with other people around the globe, and connect I did. I had a rather large following there, and I loved the feeling of posting something random and having near-strangers respond, comment and converse. It was like magic! It was easy to navigate through Xanga and meet other bloggers, and to this day, I remain in contact with a lot of the very first people I met through that blog.
After awhile people started sending me gifts, and would photograph Ryan and me when we were away on vacation — that was certainly strange, but I have to admit I liked the semi-celebrity status for awhile. Sure, there were also the haters, death threats and party-poopers, but for the most part it was all fun and games. I’d built up this bizarre public image of myself, and I liked playing the part for awhile. But years went by, and I grew tired of it. Of myself. I wasn’t finding it to be a creative outlet for me anymore, I spent most of my time living up to the caricature of myself I’d designed, and I was annoyed by my own ego. So after I had the kids, I gave up that blog for good. I walked away from the readership, the name, everything. Shook it free, and moved on.
For years I didn’t blog at all, but I’d frequently find myself saying, “Oh, I don’t blog, but if I did, I’d definitely talk about that!”. I said it so often that I felt melancholy over not being a part of the blogger scene any more. It had grown so much and changed so drastically, that I had no idea how to get back into it, but I knew I wanted to try. I missed having a place to write all the things that run through my head where someone else may stumble upon them. I missed having a place to vet my ideas and find people with common voices and interests. I missed the community.
So that’s how this blog started: I Don’t Blog (but if I did…). While I’m still finding my footing in the “new” blogging world, I’m happy I returned, happy that it’s the real me I get to put to my virtual pages. My blog is where I’m most at home, where I feel comfortable writing, and sharing. This is my safe place. And despite having a small, quiet audience, I take comfort knowing that sometimes the words I string together connect with someone else in the world.
I love the window into peoples’ lives that blogging offers. We have the opportunity to learn so much about other people in ways they’d probably never discuss face-to-face thanks to blogs. We get to learn things about one another, learn from each other, absorb new experiences. We get to connect. And in the end, it’s these connections we’ll remember.
I hear some say that blogging is dead, but no, it’s not dead. It’s still here, like spring after the winter. You just have to dig a little farther for the fresh greenery.
Why do you blog?