Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why I Blog

11/365 

Sometimes I wonder why I blog instead of writing in a journal.  

I wonder if you wonder that, too.

I mean, why put all this stuff out there, for anyone and everyone who has a mind to it to read?  Big stuff, ugly stuff, painful stuff.  Even to me, it sometimes seems strange. 

Last night it hit me -- I blog because it helps me to survive.

That realization, hefty in its truth, surprised me.   I didn't know and yet somehow always have known.

If I didn't blog first about very nearly having my whole self consumed by an eating disorder, and now about the death of my sweet daughter and the ongoing march of grief, I don't think that I could live and function in this world.

These things that have happened, that are happening to me, they are not small.  They are not easy.  And they are not easy to talk about.  To bring up in casual conversation, to chat about church, or at the supermarket, or anywhere.  

To answer one of my most dreaded questions of "How are you?" with the truth when I know that's not what's being asked seems cruel.  But it hurts so much to lie.

I need to talk about these things, to process them.  Even now, seven and more months after I first and last held my daughter, it sometimes seems impossible that it happened at all.  Because babies dying, before birth?  It's ludicrous.  Laughable.  A sick joke.  

And somehow my reality.

So I must talk, must tell my story again and again and again.  To tell it for the rest of my life, if that's what it takes to survive.

For some reason, the silent pages of my journal are not enough.  

And let me be clear -- I have many sweet friends, both of the online and face-to-face variety, who ask "How are you?" and want to know the answer, really.  I am unspeakably grateful for these friends.  Thank you for listening to me, for giving me your grace and patience and time and ears.

But sometimes, I cannot talk about how I'm doing, or don't have the courage or energy to do so.  And even when do, I don't want to overburden my friends with a load that they are eager to help shoulder, but that is mine (and God's) to carry.  

And I do see a much-loved therapist.  So there is that.

But I need more.  

(That seems to be the story of my life right now -- I need and need and need.  Perhaps this has always been my story, been all of our stories, and I never realized it until now?)

I need more than the journal pages, more than the weekly therapy sessions.

This blog, it allows me to belch whatever pain and poison from my soul that needs purging, safe in the knowing that I am not asking people to listen.  That everyone who is here is reading because they want to, and not because I have leaned too heavily upon them.  That my readers can quietly slip away if my noise becomes too much.  

This feels safe.

And by writing here, in this safe place where anyone is welcome to come and stay or not stay, I am made able to function in the world.

I can go to barbecues and parties and smile and laugh and eat potato salad just like a normal human being.  I can talk about things that don't have to do with death and death and death and be okay with that.  

I can make the bed even though grief laughs at the inanity of it, and make jokes with my husband and feel lovely from time to time.  

I can sing at church without dissolving into tears or panic (most Sundays, anyway).  

I can enjoy the cuteness of the my friends' babies who are about the age Eve would have been if she had lived and not begrudge my friends this blessing.  

I can find comfort in making plans for the future, for the life we might have with our rainbow son, even though I have learned too painfully that the future is not guaranteed.  

Because I blog, I can walk in the world.  Even if it is a limping walk, it is something -- something important and healing and good, I think.

Blogging is a gift.  Perhaps it is the best gift I can give myself.  And so I will give it and receive it, until the gift of it ebbs away.

If you blog, why do you do so?

* * *

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23 comments:

  1. For most of the very same reasons. It allows me to unpack and make sense of what is absolutely senseless. It gives me a record to look back on and prove we are surviving the unthinkable and attempting to thrive.

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    1. Oh yes, exactly! Making sense of the senseless...love that.

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  2. blogging, at first I did it to keep family and friends abreast of what was happening with me while in Montana. Now, I realize.....having a disability, blogging helps me process life in all its highs and lows, twists and turns. And let me tell you it's a rollercoaster ride. Even I've had days when I wonder, "when can I get off!?" But then I get this image in my head of The Lord riding next to me, and it's quite hilarious!

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    1. God with you on the roller coaster? Love that image, even while realizing that your roller coaster must be so much more crazy than I can know. <3

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    2. Love it, Jesus and me in the front row, arms up and yelling woo hoo what a ride! That's awesome! Thanks!

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  3. I blog as a way of leaving a mark on the world. In a hundred years, I'll be dust and so will everyone who knows me or ever knew me. I'll only be photographs and whatever marks I choose to make. Will my blog be around in a hundred years? No way, of course not. But it helps me not to feel so small, so insignificant.

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  4. Beth I so agree with this! I as just contemplating about blogging and the BLM community of bloggers because of the fraud that just occurred. I have to say I came to this same conclusion as I questioned myself. Sometimes I simply can not say in real life what I can write on my blog, it is just to painful. Emptying the pain into words helps so much and I love what you said about people choosing to to hear us. Wonderful post it is like you read my mind, or my unpublished blog post :)

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    1. I totally agree, Tesha -- so much of the stuff we write would be too horrible or painful or difficult to say...

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  5. I <3 u and your honesty and your beautiful way with words. XOXO. Cassie

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  6. Thanks for doing it cause you are helping others as you help yourself!

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  7. Yes! Yes! Yes! This says it exactly! This explains why I blog too. I sometimes hear that people find it strange to be so open as if the words belonged in a private journal. I hate when they say this it stunts my posting, it stalls my healing. I need a place like you to let it out so I have the energy to breath. Beautiful!!!

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    1. Yes, exactly! I think I would suffocate if I didn't have this blog.

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  8. Beth, I like you am healing, even at 66, from pains of childhood. A lost childhood, lost to abuse both emotional and verbal. I love to write and as a legal secretary spent a great deal of my life typing everything so writing in a journal is uncomfortable for me. Besides, if I write here on a blog, perhaps someone else will read my pain, my healing and my words might help them. It seems we are all writing for that elusive healing of something. I'm going to share a link to your site on my Facebook page and Twitter as I know some moms it's going to help tremendously. I mentor in a Mothers of Preschoolers group and are always looking for resources for our moms who are grieving the loss of a little one. Thanks so much for your courage and your words. Your writing is beautifully done!

    BTW, in addition to the site listed with this post, I have a second (Letters to Mama) at www.sherreyameyer.blogspot.com. This blog is more about my efforts at healing and giving my little girl self a voice.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sherrey! Heading over to check out your blog now, because my childhood was also eaten up by abuse and I'm always looking for new resources. Big hugs.

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  9. i love that you say blogging is a gift to yourself. this is so very true. it is an investment in myself, and my journey, and helps me let go of some of the many emotions and thoughts i have since losing my daughter. i put in on the blog, and then i feel like i can function better in "real life."

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  10. Beth, I love this! Yes, blogging has been so good for me too. I would get comments about "sharing" too much on FB, that people didn't want to read - so I love my blog. It is a place where I can write what I want and if people are interested they can read, and if not they don't have to! It's been SO healing for me! Blessings to you, dear friend!

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  11. The last couple of days I have wondered this too - why am I sharing my innermost thoughts in such a public way when previously I have been a guarded and private person? I have suffered a lot of major hurts in my life that I have had the burden of carrying. But as much as losing my son has hurt me, I don't consider him a burden.

    I didn't get to share a happy birth announcement, a million cheesy photos, his birthday parties or christening. I didn't get to have the stressed out conversations of motherhood.

    This blog is my way to share Finley and what his life means to me and just how badly his death affected me.

    I'm sure there are many people who don't want to know, but I don't care. I hope that by sharing, sharing and sharing some more my words will help in my healing, and maybe help someone to feel less alone. Perhaps give somebody else the courage to do the same.

    Also, like you, being able to share the deepest, darkest thoughts on my blog, allows me to have some sort of 'normal' existence beyond that of being a mother with no living children.

    Thank you for this post. I think it helped me to realise the reasons why I blog.

    Lisa
    http://dear-finley.blogspot.com

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  12. Because I feel the same way about people asking "how are You", I never ask. Instead I tell them how they are, you are bless or God love's you or I bless you. When I don't move fast enough and someone asks how I am I say stuff like, I'm doing all thing through Christ or I'm blessed or I'm hangin in there.
    All the service people ask (like checkers) because they "have to" so to make their day I try to say something creative like, fabulous, or stupendous. To speak positive over myself and get it into the air waves changes something in my brain chemistry and well...I start to believe it and respond with an uplifted emotion and I've no doubt made the checkers day.
    God loves His Girls.....
    la

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  13. Firstly I have NO idea if this post will work as I am truly technophobic. I have stumbled across your Blog & comments on my quest to discover insiprational Blogs to inspire me to write my own. I am in a very similar position of loss. I find the BIG thing difficult to discuss but at the same time impossible not to!.
    Life is hard but I am obviously tougher than I thought. Lovely words from all. X

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  14. Thank you for writing this. I feel like I am reading my own words.

    I blog because after we lost Olivia from an ectopic pregnancy, I was expected to be normal ... Go to a stranger's house for dinner the next day... Go on vacation that weekend with my in-laws... Go shopping as though I even cared about anything material. At the end of the day, I felt suffocated. I took a 3-hour shower, mostly sobbing on the floor of the tub, withstanding the hottest water I could muster. My body needed to hurt the way my heart did.

    I had this burning desire to tell Olivia's story, for her little, short life to MATTER. And I knew if I felt that way, other women must feel the same. And so I started blogging... Brutally honestly.

    And I actually found that after puking my emotions through my keyboard, I could actually look back at my experience and understand how I was feeling. It's as though I needed to see it all out there before I could actually deal with it.

    So I guess I blog because I breathe. I blog so I can keep breathing.

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"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King