I wish I could say that I’m one of those people who has always been a writer – that I kept a diary as soon as I could hold a pen, that I have volumes of journals in which I recorded my teenage angst, that I’ve got drafts of ten novels sitting on my harddrive. But it’s not true. I’ve always been a reader – and I’ve always desperately wanted to be a writer. But every time I tried to write, even if it was just in a diary, I would be hyper-critical of every single word. I would inevitably tear it up and not try to write again for months.
So back in 2008 (I think??), when my amazing friend H started her blog, it planted an idea in my head. That maybe now that I was older, and had been through something really terrible and was having some serious trouble dealing with it, that I should try to write it out. It took me another year, but I started a blog and loved it immediately.
Every comment I received was a little ego boost. Every time I hit publish, especially on posts that were hard to write, I felt a little part of myself heal. Every time I wrote, I saw my writing improve and now it’s something I’m proud of.
But most importantly, I’ve made some very valuable connections through my writing. Some fellow bloggers have become friends. I read the words of others and wonder how they could have possibly gotten inside my head and wrote down exactly how I feel. As a parent, I read about other parents having the same struggles I do and I don’t feel like I’m failing my children miserably.
Navel gazing is an inherent part of blogging – you are, after all, creating an entire website with yourself as the subject. And I am not the kind of person who likes attention. So I always feel somewhat guilty when I write about some of the most personal aspects of my life. I worry that people feel like I’m writing it just to get comments, sympathy, or attention.
When I saw Write on Edge’s prompt for Tuesday, I knew exactly what would have to write. There was no other option for me. And I was worried it was melodramatic or indulgent. But I can promise you it was honest.
The response to that post blew me away. I started to respond to commenters individually but found myself unable to articulate what their comments meant to me. To write about the events of that day – which were traumatic and still incite a physical reaction in me when I think about them - and have such an outpouring of support and love by people who are (mostly) strangers … well. I was quite literally brought to tears.
So thank you. Thank you so very much to everyone who read or commented.
This is why I write. To connect, to hear other people’s stories, to know that there may just be something I’m good at after all. I have grand hopes (but no illusions) that I might some day be a “real” writer. But if it ever does happen, and I can reach just one person – if just one person is moved or changed by my words - I will consider that a success.