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Why I blog

I started originally on LJ years ago, because gconnor told me about it and I was active on Usenet and it seemed a pretty cool idea, a way to keep a more permanent record of my thoughts and I thought I should write more. And my friend Mary Anne kept a online diary. But I didn't actually write regularly at all. I didn't have a blog voice. I couldn't figure out what to write about. And when I did write entries, I got maybe one comment from gconnor. So I had all the fear of writing in public with none of the feedback.

Then when Special K was born, I joined an online bboard and I used that to record things about her. I became part of a great community, and met folks like whymommy but it wasn't permanent. The posts got erased after a period of time. But I found my voice then.

Then Little T was born and it was all too much and I stopped doing much of anything online. Other things like email or even newsgroups and bboards required me to respond within a certain period of time or the conversation had moved on and I have periods where all I can respond to are my family's needs. And then I came back to blogging. I needed a place to record my thoughts and what was happening with me and Little T, because it was too much to hold in my head. And frankly I was getting really tired of talking about it with my family and friends. It's all so grim and depressing and I get asked many of the same questions and the answers are never easy. Talking about it exhausts me and these are not problems that get better with talking. But I do want people in my life to know what's going on. And blogging offered an easy way for some of my friends to know. And it also helped me be a bit more vulnerable and ask for help. I have a hard time asking for help. I've gotten better in the past 18 months because I've had to.

Then I discovered that it actually helped a few other people as well on occasion. I discovered that writing about my personal truth was actually what my writing was about. I found the courage to start submitting stuff for publication. I started writing my non-fiction book. That book is still there waiting for me when I can swim. I'm not drowning now, but I'm treading water pretty fast. Yes, I write more carelessly than I do in my other writing, because I don't edit it as much. I edit once, maybe twice, and that's it.

I discovered that on LJ I can give people advice/comments/support when I have time and not respond when I don't. This works great for me. On other online forums, I feel this pressure to respond all the time. I'm not saying this pressure comes from anywhere but inside of me, but I still feel it.

I've always had online friends. I'm gregarious and I like meeting people wherever I find them. When possible, I prefer to meet people face to face. However I've entered a weird period of my life where I tend to avoid parties, or any gatherings of more than a few people, because well-meaning people ask me about Little T after months of not seeing me and I never have good news. I used to love parties. I find that talking with people who have read my LJ makes conversation far easier. I do want to talk, but about something else than Little T's medical issues. Anything else. And yet Little T's medical issues are an enormous part of my life that unfortunately intrude on many mundane aspects of my life, even why I'm there with him, so if you don't understand what's going on, you'll get lost.

So I think right now LJ fills this important need I have to keep connected, keep feeling part of a community, keep feeling I'm helping people in some small way, but keeping it within the very small amount of time and effort and energy I have to devote to anything beyond my family.

All this was in response to a post by jpallan who basically asked why do you blog? "Do you write more carelessly" Do you feel this is an appproriate way to start relationships of any kind? Implicit in these questions and in her reply was: How did you get started in the first place? Are you a social person in the real world? How is your socialising in the LJ/blogosphere different from your socialising in the real world?

At the end, she said ". . . watch this post get zero comments." That's my fear too. But here I go. Here's my answer. Please share yours with me.

Comments

( 18 notes — Leave a note )
yes_justice
Mar. 18th, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
We should meet up face to face sometime. I'd love that.
yes_justice
Mar. 19th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
Keep me in mind if you have a party or something, you & family have a (small) place to land in Alameda anytime you're around.

cheers.
waterowl
Mar. 22nd, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the invite! I used to have parties pretty regularly, but we haven't had a party for anyone over the age of 4 in a long time. Hopefully someday.
yes_justice
Mar. 23rd, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Hahaha. I think a four year old party is probally my true mentality!

Anyway, definately look me up if your in the Alameda area - 510-337-9444.

I'd love to say hi j in the meat world (instead of online) and meet your family.
jpallan
Mar. 18th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
Well, I already answered, but I'm glad I posed an interesting question.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 18th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Many thoughts, no time right now to get them from brain to screen. I'll try to remember to come back later and respond to this.

::hugs::
plantgirl
Mar. 18th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Whoops, that was me.
waterowl
Mar. 22nd, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
I'd love to hear your answer :)
poets_hand
Mar. 18th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
I started blogging as a way to share the beauty of life and motherhood, and the beautiful wisdom of my children. I've developed a community here, and enjoy responding to other's posts. I also enjoy writing about what's going on in my life and hearing others' viewpoints.

Most of my LJ friends are also gifted writers, intelligent, very well spoken, and inspire me in more ways than I can count.
waterowl
Mar. 22nd, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you have a lovely LJ community. :)
jennyrob
Mar. 19th, 2006 11:22 pm (UTC)
speaking the truth
Speaking the truth about one's life is a very powerful thing. It can be downright transforming, for those speaking, and for those listening.

What I've learned from speaking the truth these last few years is that sometimes I slip into a wonderful state where I don't try to make things into a story. Things don't always have reasons, and they don't always follow a trajectory. They just are.

But, of course, people's brains are wired to make sense out of things, and sometimes things *do* relate to one another.

Still, personal truth doesn't require an explanation.
waterowl
Mar. 22nd, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
Re: speaking the truth
I think accepting the reality of one's life is a good thing. I believe that everything has a reason and a trajectory. But sometimes the reasons and trajectories have absolutely nothing to do with me. Sometimes they're beyond my comprehension or my control. And the only person I can control is myself.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 20th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
From Ilene
I needed a place to record my thoughts and what was happening with me and Little T, because it was too much to hold in my head. And frankly I was getting really tired of talking about it with my family and friends. It's all so grim and depressing and I get asked many of the same questions and the answers are never easy. Talking about it exhausts me and these are not problems that get better with talking. But I do want people in my life to know what's going on....


Thida,
If someone asked me why I blog, I'd want to quote you. When Charlotte was diagnosed (in utero) we started an email list to a group of friends. The group grew, people forwarded the email, and I got too many responses. I was busy pretending I had a regular, normal pregnancy. But I wanted to keep our circle of caring people involved & informed. My mother suggested a blog.

And what I have gotten from blogging? Well, I'd quote you again:
Then I discovered that it actually helped a few other people as well on occasion. I discovered that writing about my personal truth was actually what my writing was about. I found the courage to start submitting stuff for publication.

Without question, you have helped me. You've helped me find perspective. You've helped me realize the courage I can find in writing about my personal truth. And, believe it or not, you remind me to get back to my own writing (also children's stories, also non-fiction) when I can dfind time.

Perhaps one day our special little kids can get all smiley together in person. It is rather amazing, isn't it, that little ones with such traumain their lives can be so smiley and happy.

Hugs and thanks so much for sharing this,
Ilene

waterowl
Mar. 22nd, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
Re: From Ilene
I'm so glad I've helped you, Illene!
gconnor
Mar. 23rd, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
I do like reading your blog, even the not-fun bits.

As of late my answer to "why do you blog" would probably be "well actually I don't" since I haven't really written anything I felt strongly about in quite a while. But I like reading everyone else's writing, and I guess that will do for now.

I think I have felt like my life is "on hold" for quite some time, and it will probably continue to be that way until M gets the depression under some measure of control. As of now the feeling of hopelessness and lethargy is contagious. Not to the point of being depressed myself, just "blah" a lot of the time. Ah well.

Thanks for sharing bits of your life story. I miss seeing you but that's not unique... I have not been paying much attention to any friends or family lately.

Be well!
waterowl
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:12 am (UTC)
Lots of hugs! I've put off replying in the hopes of having something more thoughtful and constructive to say than get help. But please get help from a good doctor. Depression is disease just as much diabetes. M needs help. You need help. I can't say I've been clinically depressed. But I've been depressed for a short time due to pregnancy and postpartum in the darkest times with Little T. It's awful. I can't imagine feeling that way all the time. It sucked down my whole family and no one really functioned. Once it was so bad I considered taking drugs. But I was told that it wasn't my brain chemistry, it was post-partum hormones and that my life was awful. So I was offered hormones.

I also know from personal experience taking mind-altering drugs is extremely frustrating and I've only taken them at the mildest doses and least mood altering possible for my movement disorder. I gave up, because the rewards didn't outweigh the side-effects, but for M to have her life back would mean the world. It sounds like it would be worth it to keep trying and trying.

First step is to get a good doctor. Like all professions there are good ones and bad ones. A good one will take the time to listen and understand all of M's problems. No doubt her diabetes and social fears contribute to her depression. It's possible that the drugs she's taking for her other medical conditions may also contribute or interact badly with each other. Good luck!
gconnor
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC)
Thanks for the well-wishes. It helps. And you are totally right.

Actually, M doesn't have diabetes, but our cat sophie does. Thank God that's not reversed, Sophie seems to be coping a lot better than Miche is. Though we did find out that M has spina bifida which helps to explain her chronic back symptoms.

Thanks again, and be well. I hope everything goes well with T, we'll be thinking of him (and you)
waterowl
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
Ouch! I'm so sorry she has spina bifida. And I'm embarrased to confuse Sophie and M! Though I blame C since he told me and of course I believed him. But what I was trying to say that having chronic serious medical conditions is correlated with being clinically depressed.
( 18 notes — Leave a note )

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