I’ve been blogging publicly for just about a year now. I’ve been blogging privately (and semi-privately) since 2005. I started writing for me, to recount the experiences of mine that I knew others would appreciate, laugh about, or learn from, to process, and to vent. I’d always been a writer at heart, narrating my way through my daily life, but circumstances, adulthood, and having bills to pay lured me away.
My blog was small, but I had the best core of readers for which anyone could ask. They consistently enjoyed, commented, empathized, and supported me. It was suggested a few times that I ‘take my show on the road’, but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to, if I’d find an audience, or how to go about it, so the idea went where all good ideas go, the back burner.
Life happened again, through which I found myself newly married, pregnant, and then pregnant again, with twins, all within a span of fourteen months. When the tornado finally spit me out, I found I was bitter and lacking purpose. After having worked two jobs and/or been in school for the majority of my life, I was significantly unhappy with the stay-at-home mom gig. I wanted to work again, wear clothes again, maybe even leave the house again. But, through all those things I wanted, I needed to write. I needed to do something with my angst. I had to channel it somewhere.
My friend Lauren, not long after the twins were born, observed my difficulties, exhaustion, and frustration, and recommended I take a look at Scary Mommy‘s website, that she talked about the non-sugarcoated realities of being a parent. I had been (I’m embarrassed to say) completely unaware that a ‘blogging world’ existed prior to this, and from her website I learned about others, and so on and so forth, but through her site, I was totally comforted and validated in my feelings of frustration and imperfection. And validation, at that point in time, was priceless to me.
I was, oddly (and possibly fortuitously) enough, stricken by inspiration one evening, under the table, cleaning up one of a million strewn dinners. I got up from under the table, literally holding a handful of kernel corn, placed the corn on the table, and solemnly told my husband that I needed ‘to go upstairs and write something’. And I did.
When I finished, I felt a giant weight leave my shoulders. It was the most therapeutic thing I’d done for myself in ages. I immediately submitted it to Jill as a guest post offering. If I was feeling this way, I imagined others were, too. Much to my surprise (and delight), she agreed to post it. I was filled with joy and anticipation. It was the best I’d felt in months. The only issue was I’d only had my small, private blog. I wanted to write more, and had become inspired to find others who may have been slogging through similar circumstances.
I had about a month to work something out – create a blog, a website, a persona, something. So, in my few-and-far-between moments, that’s what I did. Not only did the process give me purpose, but it helped me solidify my identity – my new identity – as a wife, a mother, and a new parent of multiples in a family where no multiples existed. I dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s, and, within that month, I had set up a new, public website, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. I notified my nearest and dearest, including those who had stuck by and encouraged me from the beginning (Lauren, Brett, Kerri, and Lindsay, to name a few), asked, once again, for support, and began to create content.
I had also become a member of BlogHer during that month’s time. When I joined Twitter (a scary, unfamiliar, fast-moving world of hashtags and really short web addresses), everyone was talking about an upcoming, huge, fun, important-looking conference. Having been extremely new to the scene and still in a twin-induced fog, I paid attention – my interest was piqued for sure – but I had no time (or energy) to pursue it further. I continued to write and began sharing my posts with the BlogHer community.
A whopping four days after I wrote my very first post at Momma Be Thy Name, I wrote Why Our Parents Put Us To Shame and submitted it to BlogHer. When I received an email soon after, telling me that BlogHer would be featuring my post, I was shocked and quite pleased, but was not aware of what that actually meant. Turns out, that post struck a chord with people. Lots of people. A few days into my very first feature adventure, a woman from FoxNews.com emailed me, said she saw my post on BlogHer, and wanted to direct her readers to the post as well. Of course, I agreed. It was a whirlwind. I really had no idea what was going on, still waist-deep in an overflowing Diaper Genie, dirty laundry, a too-small apartment, and countless unsuccessful naptimes, but I went with it anyway.
I took the whole situation as a blessing, confirmation that I was, in fact, doing the right thing with this menagerie of a life. A few weeks later, WordPress, the site on which Momma Be Thy Name lives, notified me that Why Our Parents Put Us To Shame would be ‘Freshly Pressed’ (i.e., featured) as well. It was a very exciting (and very overwhelming) time.
By the time I had caught my breath, Loving Life Despite Myself was about to be posted at Scary Mommy. This post was of tremendous sentimental value to me, as it was the thing that brought me to this community, this new world, and opened my eyes to a life, and possibilities, I did not know existed.
After that month (can you believe all that happened in one month!?!), I had the excellent fortune of meeting some helpful, supportive, funny, and thoughtful individuals who have laughed (and cried) with me throughout much of this year. They have colored my landscape, made me smile, and lent helping hands. They helped me celebrate the holidays in a grand way during Momma’s 12 Days of Christmas. They reassured me that I’m not the only one who sometimes drops the balls trying to juggle this life. They encouraged me to drink heavily, and often. They helped me agonize (or try not to agonize) over decisions and to understand that things I am going through are normal. And, most significantly, they have inspired and encouraged me to continue writing, without which I don’t know where I’d be right now.
So here’s the part where I thank you for your love, support, favors (big and small), encouragement, laughs, advice, and shoulders to cry on. To you, Farrah and Greta, I am humbled by your empathy, optimism, approachability, and senses of humor. To Fadra and Julie, for your time, support, ears, and honesty. To Mommy Rotten and Janelle for your consistency, humor, for having kindred spirits. To Elan Morgan for several valuable nuggets of wisdom, resources, and for making available this powerful talk just when I needed it. And to Jenny the Bloggess for great humor, so uniquely sharing your journey, championing the underdog, and for helpin’ a sistah out.
A huge and significant thanks to the folks at BlogHer, especially BlogHer Family, for essentially being the backbone of support for my writing, and for everyone with whom I’ve had the pleasure of interacting including, through, and because of you over the past year.
And lastly, and most importantly, thanks to my friend Lauren and Jill of Scary Mommy. You may not know it, but because of you, my life is fueled no longer by the disdain of dirty diapers, but the passion of doing what I love. I probably owe you a coffee or something.