Home > Blogging, Communication, Family, Friends, Writing, Youth > My platinum blog: 20 years of blogging

My platinum blog: 20 years of blogging

Hey, punk,

I was going to write “Dear Deborah” there, but realized that wouldn’t work for you, my June 23, 1995 self. You were so daring and bold that such a plain greeting would’ve chafed.

(I don’t mean to be sarcastic, by the way. It’s just that you’re so goshdarned cute in all your conviction you’re bad to the bone.)

Later today, you’re going to get bored. You’re going to wonder, “What can I do to make my webpage different than all the ones I’ve visited so far?” You’re going to contemplate starting a journal online (gasp!), and then just as quickly wonder if it’s a good idea.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.44.59 PM

It’s a great idea.

Now, hold your horses. I don’t mean you’ll be swimming in gold because you decide to add a .txt file journal to your hand-coded HTML site today. Some people will make money from writing journals online someday, but those people will not be you. You won’t have enough sense (or, most days, giggle fodder) for that, and that’s okay.

There’s something else you’ll take from it.

It’s a something that’s better than you can even dream of right now, in a world where pretty much only your siblings are your friends:

Connection.

I know, I know. Hard sell. Why would you want to be connected to anyone outside your home?

Right now you think people are kinda dicks. And, hey, some of them are, I grant you that. But there are a whole lot of people full of a whole lotta love out there. You can’t imagine them because all you know are people in a small perimeter in a smallish town in Oregon, but they are out there: people who will see you for more than your funny clothing and wrong-funny mom. They’ll see you for your heart. Your soul. Your love.

Oh, right. Right. I’m getting ahead of myself. You don’t believe in these things yet.

For years, you’ll type entries chronologically into .txt files. People will email you to say they’ve read your words and are excited/concerned/nervous for you, or just plain glad you’re out there. You’ll feel this crazy, heady rush of is-this-for-real when someone says they never expected to see something so human come out of computer. That’s the moment when it’ll be cinched for you that this little experiment, this “public journal,” is something you need to keep going.

It’s that connection.

Someone out there–outside of this house on West 11th, or your godmother’s house 20-some miles away–cares about you. Even a little. Imagine that.

Over time, the one or two people who care will become a dozen. And then a few more than a dozen.

You’ll meet a lady who’ll introduce you to your Los Angeles girlfriends. Because, you know, you’re going to move to L.A. for law school. That won’t just be something you said you wanted to do in your mom’s shoulder pads in your seventh grade video Language Arts interview.

(Crazy! I know, right?)

That lady will introduce you to your future husband.

(YES. You are going to get MARRIED. It is terrible and amazing all at once! Your husband will be nothing, in no way, not even a teensy-eensy bit like Dad was to Mom, which is a little part of why you married him. His love and patience will be a bigger part.)

You will shave your head with this rockin’ lady and her also rockin’ husband. Another lovely lady, to whom you’ll connect over her Dumpster- and kid-centric blog name, will be there shining her light and beaming all kinds of goofy love all over the universe.

Team Blissfully Bald

Team Blissfully Bald

(You’d probably be suspicious of her because no one is that good, but you’d be wrong. You can be good and confused and loving and aching all at once.)

You’ll tell your dad off, and then realize telling your dad off isn’t the story. Forgiving him is.

25Aug96

Your sons will wear clothing sent to them by friendly folks who read your public journal, which will then be referred to as a “blog,” short for “weblog.”

You’ll read your boys a book called I Love You the Purplest sent to you by a lady who knows you without ever once hugging you.

(YOU WILL HAVE BOYS. Plural. You will have KIDS, and they will be the most amazing blessing you have ever known. By then, you won’t think people who talk about “blessings” are touched in unpleasant ways.)

Does this look like a bad boy?

YOUR KIDS WILL ROCK YOU.

You will share words of gratitude from 42 different bloggers, and you will remember how grateful you are for how damned much things have changed.

You will find a community of people who don’t judge Mom after she’s dead, for her mental illness or for anything else. They’ll hold her in their hearts and understand that she is so much more than any wrongs she did. Even though you do things like get engaged and join a sorority to piss her off, you love her more than you will ever be able to tell anyone well, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of words you write. In your public journaling–or “blogging,” as it will come to be known–you will try your damndest, and take comfort knowing that these amazing people understand even when you don’t use just the right words.

(Yes, Mom was mentally ill, not just colorful. Yes, she will die of cancer and rob you of any hope that her brilliant love will shine on you again in the present. But she will visit you in dreams, and you will feel her every day.)

mom me n d

You’ll talk frequently with a lady who reminds you of Mom. It’ll piss you off and fill you with hope in turn, and sometimes all at once. You’ll talk occasionally with another lady who tells you how much you inspire her, apparently without having any concept how greatly her love inspires you.

You’ll meet one hometown lady for ice cream when you’re visiting your sister shortly after your second baby is born.

You’ll meet another lady who’ll be wrongly imprisoned, and whose husband will die while she’s wrongly imprisoned. You’ll lie in bed at night wishing you could find a way to ease her pain, and tell yourself you will do what you can when she is released. You and your sons will make paper flowers for her in the meantime.

You’ll meet all these people and more over the course of the twenty years that follow your deciding to post that public journal.

It will be phenomenal. It will remind you that, though you are but a speck of the universe, you and these friends and all the other people around you are born of stardust.

You are all small parts of something bigger, and amazing.

So when you later read entries like your very first one:

23Jun95

Or your second one:

27Jun95

Or this:

1Aug95

Or this:

7Oct95

Or any of your magazine‘s rambling editorial commentary written in public journal style and wonder, “Did I have to write that? Did I have to be so long-winded/rambly/unclear/juvenile?”

Yes. Yes, you did. You do. You need all of this to get all of the amazing places you’ll someday go.

You wouldn’t think of them as amazing, probably. But later you, the you of (around) June 23, 2015, will know much better … thanks to your tentative steps, 20 years earlier, into a whole new world.

So, please. Take those steps. Write that first entry. Don’t wait for the perfect words. Just write, and know that the world will open up to you because you did.

With so much love,
You, 20 years later

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  1. June 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    You know what’s funny? I was at a thrift store today and bought I Love You the Purplest today (without reading it first) I also got Protecting The Gift (they didn’t have The Gift of Fear)

    • June 17, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      YES! This makes me feel (i) on the right track and (ii) so, so, so very glad you found The Gift of Fear. I look forward to talking about it with you after you’ve read it. It’s … part of how I will ensure my kids know only in words many of the things we knew in childhood. Love you, sis.

  2. June 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Congratulations! This is amazing! This should feature of Freshly Pressed!

    • June 17, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you! I sat down intending to draft it for publishing next Tuesday, but … after I’d written it, I decided to just go ahead and post it now.

      I’m so glad I made it through everything before, leaving me a chance to sit here smiling and feel how good it is just to be here. 🙂

      • June 17, 2015 at 10:17 pm

        It is. I’ve only read this, but I strangely feel proud of you. I got a little teary at your accomplishment, at keeping up with your blog (even before it was called that) and letting it be this evolving document that is a significant part of your life for 20 years. It is such a unique accomplishment. Congratulations again.

  3. June 17, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    20 years is incredible! You were/are a real blogging pioneer!

    • June 17, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      I sometimes wish I’d been a little more considered about it, but … you know? It was part of what got me here. Part of how I survived. I’m glad for things turning out exactly how they did. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing kind words. ♥

  4. June 17, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Good job

  5. June 17, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Twenty years? Wow. Congratulations.
    I have less than a quarter of that under my belt – and wouldn’t be without it. I learn so much. I have laughed with other bloggers. Sometimes until I wept. I have cried with and for other bloggers. The warmth and the wonder of this community blows me away, enriches my world, and gives me hope on the dark days.

    • June 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      That’s what I was wondering as I wrote this: Would I have been here without that connection? I honestly can’t say I’m sure I would. I am so glad my silly whim kept me to put up that initial post, and then to keep on posting–rambly, long-winded posts with no discernible purpose–to help build that sense of connection. It’s carried me through so much. I’m so glad to understand people better through blogs, and to have had the life circumstances to have enabled that. I, too, am given–and have been given–so much hope on the daily.

  6. June 17, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I am just flabbergasted that you have been doing this for twenty years! TWENTY YEARS? That is a dang long time. 🙂

    • June 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Yep! I meant to stop in ’01, but a friend I made on a Buffy forum (yes, that much of a nerd!) said she loved my writing and enticed me to blog on someone else’s platform. Thus was my public journal continued, in such a way that I can say I’ve blogged 20 years without being able to call it a “blogoversary.” I’ve only had this blog for four or five years! 😀

  7. June 17, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Excellent words. I’m having so many feelings right now.
    Congratulations on your milestone!

    • June 17, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Thank you! I really did feel like I was writing to that old me, sitting typing on an older computer in my Mom’s kitchen nook. It felt so sweet and melancholy all at once, tho’ I an’t say “bittersweet” because there’s really not even one bit of bitter in it. ♥

  8. June 17, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Wow! What a long time! Congrats on your blogoversary. I’ve been at this less than a year, but yes, the connections. Amazing thing to find kindred spirits in all parts of the country and world.

    And I saw you mention that someone in a Buffy forum encouraged you to stick with it. How cool.

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you! My now-friend Briel connected with me after seeing me writing articles on a Buffy forum. I said I was done blogging; she suggested I move to quieter regions (with her) and give no one my new URL. I loved the freedom to lock posts, instead of constantly arguing with folks about how they shouldn’t read my blog if I asked them not to. Ha!

      I’m glad she pointed me to the alternative. Funny to imagine what might’ve been without that!

  9. June 18, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Happy 20 year anniversary! What an amazing journey!

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      It really has been! I think about it all now and it seems so funny. EFN, the ISP that continues to host my early webpage, began out of one of my mom’s friend’s friend’s living rooms. He was so into freedom (online and off) that he once let me crash with him so I could see my boyfriend during a period my mom had forbidden me from seeing my boyfriend. A couple decades later, I still remember awakening in his living room and thinking it all so very strange and fantastic. And then, as I connected to the internet–at speeds that would now make me pull out my hair!–on a loaner computer, how I was a small/early part of something that might end up being pretty big someday. I had no idea!

      • June 18, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        I think back to our first computer and how cool I thought it was… And you are right, what was amazingly fast and awesome back the would have us hairless in moments! 🙂

  10. June 18, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Thank you for writing those first words! Thank you for persevering through difficult times, major life changes, death, birth, and marriage. Thank you for being the writer who showed me that I, too, could be a writer.

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      These are some amazing words to read. After a crummy night’s sleep, they were better than coffee to keep me hurtling through this particular morning. Thank you so much. ♥

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      (J, by the way, still fits in the shirt you sent. He’s so much tinier than D at this point!)

  11. Deb
    June 18, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Congratulations. I cannot imagine 20 years. I guess I just marked 5 here on WP and that made me remember that I had a few before that elsewhere so I suppose time goes much faster than we realize because while we write, and CONNECT, we also are living our lives with all the joy and sorrow and mundane moments that are encompassed within these blogs. Connection is the key and this blog is one that I value having a connection with. Here’s to 20 more years 🙂

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      At the beginning, I wanted only to write and have others read. That didn’t hit the spot the way this does: reaching out beyond whomever and whatever’s within geographic reach to find Your People no matter where in the world their bodies reside. What an amazing thing! I aim to reply to all comments, but time and resource constraints sure are different now than when I first complained about dishwashing and schoolwork keeping me busy. 🙂

  12. June 18, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Happy Blogaversary, Deb. I can’t believe you’ve been doing this for 20 years – why, you basically invented the concept! I’m beyond delighted that I wandered into your place some years ago (not 20, but a few) and decided to stay. The heart, spirit and honesty in your writing is a gift.

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      As is the humor in yours! I’m glad for the many opportunities you offer for me to remember to not take myself–or life–too, too seriously. Your toilet in the middle of the countryside story comes to mind often. I’m so glad our paths crossed. I may have lost one pair of the pants you sent, but at least one remains. ♥

  13. June 18, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Wow – this is amazing! What a journey you have taken. I am very glad your 20 year ago self made the decision to start blogging.
    And I have to agree with you that it is all about the connections. There are such wonderful people out there and writing and sharing is such a true and personal way to connect and grow.

    • July 2, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      In the couple of weeks since posting this, I’ve had affirmed what feels like dozens of times over that the magic really is in the connection. Today especially, I read something that felt like I’d been bowled over … but in a good way? I knew I could’ve gone a lifetime without feeling that, were it not for blogs. Such sweetness in that.

  14. June 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, 20 years! That’s nuts.
    I am so grateful to be a very small part of this journey—and your online community. I love reading your thoughtful, personal, inspiring, inspired, honest words. Here’s to another few decades of “online journaling!”

    • July 2, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      I’m hoping for another couple, as well! It is so wild trying to imagine where I’ll be, given how much the “where” (in space and heart) has changed over the last couple of decades.

      I used to think I didn’t like change. Now … now, I see it’s good to be challenged, and to learn how to see–and be–new ways.

  15. June 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Really inspiring! I guess I will keep writing… 😉

  16. June 20, 2015 at 9:51 am

    20 years? My mind boggles a tad at the thought.
    So glad to have found your words — and had the chance to “meet” you through them — in time to celebrate this platinum anniversary!

  17. June 23, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Whoa! 20 years. What a wonderful thing, Deb. Glad to know you in the sphere.

  18. Karin Antal
    June 25, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Love this. Love you. Happy 20th. xoxoxo

  1. June 20, 2015 at 7:26 am
  2. June 22, 2015 at 5:12 am
  3. June 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm
  4. July 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm
  5. December 26, 2015 at 2:12 am
  6. January 30, 2016 at 12:12 pm
  7. February 3, 2016 at 4:12 am
  8. January 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm

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