Sunday, June 14, 2015

Stopping ... And Starting

Once upon a time, many years ago, I started a blog.

It was fun.

I mean, I guess it was also work? But it was fun. 

Here's what blogging did for me: it gave me a voice. It gave me an outlet. It created friendships. It created some super awkward situations a couple of times, but I figured out how to negotiate through those and (I hope) became a little more savvy.

Here's what it has never done: made me famous or rich. There are people that happens for, and that's incredibly awesome. I have never generated any income from my writing. I don't have a secret book deal -- and since I hate ads, I'm not making revenue that way.

I have never cared. Not once. That wasn't why I started writing; I started writing because writing brings me joy.

Which probably makes you wonder why I kind of stopped.


When I started this blog, I worked from home. Working from home has some major perks, like never wearing shoes and unlimited access to coffee and snacks and having Facebook open all day and having the time to write a blog. In my case, those perks came with a challenging employer and no personal life, but whatever.

Eventually the "whatever" became intolerable and I had to find another job -- my (admittedly shaky) mental health demanded it. 

So I did. But now I had to wear shoes and cut back my coffee obsession and eat fewer snacks and couldn't be on Facebook during the day and ... I didn't have time to write.

I couldn't figure out how to make time for it either; when I tried, it felt like ... Work.

That was a problem.


Another problem was a friend of mine. You know how I said I don't do it for the money or fame because... There isn't any?

For a friend of mine... Someone I like a lot ... There is. It's wonderful. I'm thrilled for him.

Or I was until the day we found ourselves at a party where he was being introduced to people as an important writer and I wasn't being introduced to anyone at all. 

He had asked me for help when he was getting started, and I was happy to do it. I'll always be happy that I assisted him in any way, because he's a bona fide rock star.

But suddenly he was a writer. And I was ... Not even worth introducing.*

That was... Not exactly a problem?

But it wasn't NOT a problem.


Somewhere along the way I lost my joy. Every time I picked up a tablet or my laptop or even my phone and tried to find it again, it was with crossed fingers and the hope that this time the words would come and I would remember how much I used to love this thing that is pretty much the only thing I've ever felt good at.

I would occasionally get near it, which was... Well, it sucked a little because almost getting there is not the same as actually getting there. It's like peering at an amusement park through a fence but never going in and riding the rides. It's disappointing.

After a while, I stopped looking through the fence.


I'd started thinking, lately, that I might have some things I wanted to talk about. A lot has happened in the two years since I stopped blogging daily. I'd like to talk about some of it, I thought. I might have some things to say.

 Another thing that began happening -- just recently -- is that people (other than my mom) began asking about the blogging and telling me they missed it.

Which made me realize: I missed it too. I missed looking at the screen. I missed watching the words assemble as I typed. I missed thinking about how to say what I wanted to say.

I missed it.

I got out my laptop, took a breath, and began writing.

And just like that, it was making me happy.


You have to make time for the people, places, and things you love. You have to work it in. I think my biggest problem is that I wasn't willing to let go of some things I thought I was supposed to do in order to do what I wanted to do. I couldn't give myself permission to let the dishes sit for an hour while I did the thing I loved. I think too many of us do that and, in doing so, begin to endure life rather than live it.

We're not here to suffer through our days. We're here to dance and laugh and sing through them.

And sometimes, we're here to write.

*i don't believe this was intentional but it was crushing.

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