Whenever I start to talk about blogging, I always mention that I began blogging back in August 2003, because, holy crap, seven years is a long time in blog years. I also mention it, because I want to cement the fact that this is a part of my life. I didn't just sit down and open up a Diaryland weblog to sob about a break-up and then disappear.
I am here. This is part of what I do.
Blogging has managed to insinuate its way into my life in ways I never would have predicted almost seven years ago. From where it was once a pastime I rarely thought about when I was away from the computer, it has become another part of my regular personal, social, and work lives, and it has altered the way I see the world, others, and myself. It has so far shaped the majority of my third decade.
Blogging has changed who I am.
I first began writing when I was seven years old in Mrs. Martin's grade four class, and the rush of crafting that first story propelled me into years of creative writing. I was terrible at first, and high school brought out some of the worst, most earnest drama in my poetry journals, but I was in love with it. Writing granted me a freedom that I found nowhere else.
I allowed the writing to go, though, over the years. I stopped believing in its transformative power. I stopped believing that it mattered. I stopped believing that my abilities could extend beyond scribbling out a few lines about who I had lunch with in a journal. Before the Palinode introduced me to a few early weblogs (see: Luvabeans, Mimi Smartypants) and hooked me up with a Diaryland account, my creativity had ground down to nothing. My confidence in myself to pursue my own goals had all but disappeared. Without a strong creative outlet, I was a hollow thing. I was starved.
When blogging came into my life, though, I started writing again. I may have written about work and cleaning the house and lunch, but I wrote, and the hollow parts that had once been so filled with creation when I was a kid filled again. I began to see myself, to know myself. The stranger I had become fleshed out, and I became recognizable in a way that I had not been for many years.
This sounds very dramatic. It wasn't. It was a slow process that happened over the first few years of my blogging and not in one passionate stroke of realization. Creativity opened up old wounds, and it had the potential to create new ones, so I hesitantly inched back to myself. It was so difficult at times that I thought about giving up on all things creative again and again. It brought me closer to who I was, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to be this person. I worried about the public nature of the space in which I wrote. I questioned why any of it mattered at all. Still, I kept at it, because without a creative outlet, I was lost, and it hurt more to be that lost than it did to be where I was.
Eventually my fears about self-knowledge and the public arena of blogging backed down a little, and I came out about my queerness, albeit clumsily. I wrote about my experience with cancer. I have been honest about my struggle with depression and the like. I shared of myself, and, as I did so, I learned to care for myself, and, dare I say, enjoy myself, in ways that I never could before.
The consequences of this kind of journey, though, are not always pretty. It is difficult to change, even if it is only from being broken to being less broken. Suddenly, parts of my life that I so wanted to fit just didn't anymore. I didn't share this on my weblog at the time due to the state of my employment and my wanting to keep my writing and work life separate, but I fell apart two years ago. I landed in a doctor's office weeping and begging for medication. I quit my job. I sat under a blanket for what was probably the greater part of six months. I went to therapy. I stopped flossing. Shit's serious when you stop flossing. I was a hopeless, weeping mess hiding under a blanket who rarely bathed.
Blogging helped to take me there, too.
Along with all of the good things that opening up to a creative life had given me, it had also brought me to the lowest period I had experienced as an adult. I couldn't be the person I had been before, but I felt like I didn't have anyone else to be. I felt as though I had been laid to waste.
I had not been laid to waste, though. My creative renewal had changed me enough to carry me through. It had changed what I expected for myself, what I wanted for myself. It had opened up a sense of possibility I had once all but lost. I slowly picked myself up, shuffled off my quilt-cave, and began to mould a life for myself that I could more than live with. At the end of the day, my graphic design, writing, blogging, et al do not leave me wealthy (yet), but, as long as I have food in my cupboard, my success is measured in happiness.
Blogging has played no small part in teaching me to honour myself — my queerness, my psychological differences, my creativity, and my very life — and, although I still have a long way to go, I am here, feet firm and brave, in a way that I never knew possible when I floundered creatively rootless prior to August 2003.
It is not the only part of the creative puzzle that has brought me here, but it laid the foundation of all that has followed since August 2003.
Thank you, Palinode, for showing me the way.
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