Why blog?

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.

hi i'm alex
(photo courtesy CL Buchanan Photography)

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?

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19 thoughts on “Why blog?

  1. I miss blogging. I have tried to go back to it, but my intentions never get far. As for why, I’m not even sure. It was just really fun.

      1. Kinda-sorta. I never actually deleted it, I just stopped writing in it very often, then finally not at all. I intended to start back up. Then, after I separated from my husband, I thought I’d create a whole new Xanga blog for journaling about that (less people & more private) but I just never could get back to it.

      2. See, I didn’t know you separated. How are things now? I miss the days of Xanga.

      3. We separated in August 2009. It was rough, but much better now. A peaceful life is really worth it all! I miss Xanga too. I liked being able to post whatever was on my mind because almost no one I knew IRL was connected to it. I also liked reading what others posted. It was such a mix, you never knew what you’d find!

  2. Loved your blog. I started blogging to cope with a severe burnout and found a lot of support through those blogs. Nowadays I blog about being me. Sometimes stupid, sometimes sad and often just my thoughts. So you might gather that I can relate and thats always a nice feeling. So thanks!

    1. It’s amazing how you can always find a group of people to lean on, isn’t it? I love that part.

  3. The first half of this post – about capturing the memories, leaving my best moments (and the ones over which I had to triumph) for my children. The fact that those words could ever mean something to others is so moving to me. xo

    1. I never even thought about it being something my kids may want to read. That’s a good point. I don’t often blog about them specifically, so hadn’t thought of that… good point. Lovely idea to think of them finding comfort or inspiration here.

  4. so very true eh. Last November when my husband’s best friend died suddenly, we were snapped back into reality, how short life is and to enjoy every moment to the fullest. We need remember what is really important.

    I found my first blog in 2005, I thought it was such a COOL way to “chat” with people who were on maternity leave and/or a Pastor’s Wife, like I was.

    I wasn’t alone.

    I started blogging in Jan 2006, as a way to capture memories and share the awesome going on in my life with my family who live nearly 5,000 kilometres away. Sharing my day-to-day stuff, “look ma, the kid is walking”, life lessons as the mom of 4, sermons I was preparing, and all the things they’d get to see if they were just down the road… it made the distance between us feel not so colossal.

    1. “I wasn’t alone” is what I absolutely love most about the stories of people blogging. It is precisely that point that makes it all so worthwhile. <3

  5. I just restarted blogging – first two posts since December. I feel like I’m starting something new in my personal experimentation with life, kid, and writing. I love that I can just move it in a new direction just because I want to. I’ve gone from caring if people read it and what they think to absolutely no expection whatsoever. It’s my playground, and I’m glad it waited for me. Glad you’re still at it!

  6. Thanks Alex! This is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.
    I’ve started a couple topic-specific blogs in the past but never kept up with them as I lost interest in the topics.
    I recently decided to just go with the flow…and stop worrying about what people will think of my opinions. I decided to throw out my opinions/thoughts/ideas onto my blog. For me, it was almost like a coming-out-of-my-shell type of thing. It feels good 🙂

  7. I blog to share what is going on in our crazy lives. Plus, it is an outlet for thoughts rambling around in my head.

  8. I started blogging because I was at home with a newborn and I was BORED. I know.. WHAT? well that’s where it started. The blog is a month younger than Akira. I also started it to share stories on how we travelled with a young one and how we were trying to maintain the urban lifestyle we enjoyed pre-baby.

  9. I started blogging in 1997, it didn’t have a name back then. I had been writing a zine for a few years before that, which was really blog, but photocopied and posted to people! I loved getting mail back then, real physical mail. When I started blogging, it was moving that writing online and I hand-coded a very basic HTML page every day or so. From zine writing to blogging, it’s always been about connecting with people really. I don’t do as much personal journalling as I used to, I just don’t feel comfortable with that any more. Now it’s more about sharing things I enjoy doing, food I enjoy making… I like researching things and I like reading other people’s curated selections of things they wear/eat/use, so my blog is a small contribution to that I suppose!

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