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Why I blog

We live in an amazing world. Everything is changing, and it is changing by the second.

More and more by the second, those with internet access have the ability to see what life is like for people around the world and in walks of life incredibly different from their own.

This is amazing, yes, but I think it can be terrifying, too. I see behind some fearful assertions questions like, “How the heck am I supposed to take in what someone else feels and believes if I don’t even know what I feel and believe yet? How am I supposed to answer questions today that couldn’t have existed outside science fiction a decade ago?”

I am exhilarated by the change. I’m thrilled to be living in this world where objective and subjective information is becoming ever more available, if I’m less thrilled by how easily the subjective is currently confused for the objective.

My fifteen-year-old self dialed up local bulletin boards in the early 1990s. She thought it was amazing to connect to dozens of strangers in her own community. After she created her own website in 1995, she was even more astonished when she began receiving emails from around the globe. She suddenly understood the world to be so much smaller than she’d realized!

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.44.59 PM

Fifteen-year-old me would be flabbergasted by 2016 reality, which is that people around the world will soon experience connectivity in ways we can’t fathom today. The horror lover in me finds this a little creepy, but most of me thinks the world will probably be less lonely and less exhausting as we learn to see the commonalities underlying all the apparent differences between people. 

This is all a very long preface to a comment whirling around my brain a couple weeks after reading the post instigating it. Blogger Tessa‘s daughter Eva lived a short but brilliant life. My world is larger, more understanding, and more full of love for reading Tessa’s candid words about parenting Eva, who will never be able to speak for herself about her own experiences.

The thought of Tessa’s voice being censored to honor others’ sensibilities frustrates and saddens me, though I recognize that those calls for self-censorship reflect the fact we live in a world of dynamic, ever-present change leading us to puzzling new questions daily. There are a million ways for any given person to answer each correctly with what she knows today, a truth that will and should remain in this complex, aggravating, breathtaking world of ours.

Eva lives forever in my heart. I will forever be grateful for how her mother’s immense love for her shone through her honest reflection about trying to navigate some of the challenges particular to raising her: not every child everywhere, but precious, unique Eva.

I love that I live in a world that enabled me to know Eva and Tessa despite their location half the world away from me. I love to know that Tessa is out there, reaching out to others otherwise apt to feel alone.


So if you really want to know why I blog, why I keep tapping out these posts read by a couple dozen people at a time, you’ll find the answer in my comment on Tessa’s post “There’s a battle going on.” As I wrote there,

I have a million things I want to say to this, but I can’t quite find the words for any. I’ll simply say instead that forcing others to alone endure hardships–no matter how lovingly they do so–alienates and isolates them. That makes a hard journey even harder. It also deprives them of the opportunity to connect with others who need to know they’re not alone in the kinds of experiences they’re having.

Earlier this week I thought how amazing it is that we can google just about any practical thing (“how to change your car’s front light,” “how to make nine-layer vegan lasagna,” etc.). I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who write those articles and post those videos. I wished I had some practical thing I could write articles about in this beautiful realm of knowledge sharing and mutually increased wisdom. I decided that my blog is how I do my part; it’s not a collection of specific, bulleted how-tos, but I think some pieces might occasionally help point someone the right direction. I have certainly been pointed the right direction by others.

I believe we benefit collectively by honestly sharing our experiences, when we feel it’s appropriate, even when those experiences center on someone else. There’s no telling who will be helped by the plain fact of their there-ness, which is way better, IMO, than withholding the story and denying someone desperately in need of community the strength derived from such community.

  1. January 30, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    It is my firm belief that things buried in the dark fester and grow.
    And we are ALL entitled to a paddle in the pity pool from time to time. Perhaps not a wallow, but certainly a splash and a paddle.
    Blogging has given a voice to the voiceless, and so many ears as well.
    I am intensely grateful that I found the blogosphere. I laugh with other bloggers, I weep with and for other bloggers. And know that I am not, you are not, we are not alone.

    • January 30, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      My mom was so, so very suspicious of the internet. She hated the very idea of it, though she’d sent me and my sister to a “computer oriented” school to ensure we’d be able to keep up with the world as it changed. Now, I can’t help but wonder how much more supported she might have felt, had she had her own communities outside the physical one in which she was centered to find a home and sense of support missing from her physical community.

      As an introvert, I struggle with the internet sometimes. And yet, by and large, I am grateful for all the knowledge, wisdom, and insight that has been granted me by my being connected.

      We are not alone, and that is bigger than any fleeting discomfort. ♥

  2. January 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Whatever your reasons… don’t ever stop, Deborah!

    • January 31, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Thanks, Hook! Sometimes I briefly consider walking away, but blogging is now so intrinsic to who I am that I can’t imagine any walkaway lasting very long. 🙂

  3. 1jaded1
    January 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    The internet has made this world smaller. In the old days of chat rooms I was at first amazed that people would be saying good morning when it was 11pm in my time zone. So awesome to meet people in different parts of the world and share experiences.

    In those same chat rooms we had antis that told us we weren’t real. That comment always made me seethe…I used to respond that ether didn’t type my words.

    In the end it is net positive.

    I’m glad you blog.

    • January 31, 2016 at 6:49 am

      Thank you for all of the above. I agree it’s net positive, which is somewhat surprising in light of how much negativity there is … and in light of how overwhelming it all can be beside that.

      My mom didn’t trust computers or the internet. She only saw the downside. For me, I sometimes feel pangs of what-if: What if she’d lived longer, or later, and had virtual community to fill in the spaces of the physical community she mostly lacked? I think she might have seen more clearly that there were pros as well as cons.

      • 1jaded1
        January 31, 2016 at 11:10 am

        I hope she would have. Thank you for sharing your Mom’s letter. In a way it is haunting. My mom still will not use a computer. She will ask me to look something up. Yay for google.

        Regarding Social Media, WP is as social as I get. As an introvert, my head would pop off if I did FB, Twitter, Pintrest and whatever else is out there. No.

        I’ve thought about leaving the community because of discontent. People are too fascinating, though. And again, the good outweighs the bad.

    • January 31, 2016 at 6:50 am

      I thought I’d uploaded a portion of one of her letters touching on her suspicion/disdain, and was correct.

  4. January 31, 2016 at 4:52 am

    The internet can be and should be such an amazing thing –a source of support and encouragement when it is needed. No one should have to stand alone, you are right about about that. I have found some amazing people; that I never would have connected with had it not been for blogging and the internet. Thank you for what you do here.

    • January 31, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your kind words. My life would be so, so very different without the relationships I’ve built beginning with bits of data being transferred across far-reaching networks. Whenever I think about that, I think especially of this post. I would never have known Nathan without local bulletin boards. I would not have met Anthony but for another online forum. Maybe my story would’ve been just as rad–in different ways–without either of those meetings, but the memory of all three of us together–starting with connections began online–is a precious one. And there are so many more such moments!

  5. January 31, 2016 at 6:30 am

    I’m glad you blog, too. And thank you for sharing Tessa’s story, too. It’s love and compassion that matter (oh and humor too) and if you look in the right places, that is what you’ll find in the “tubes.”

    • January 31, 2016 at 6:57 am

      Hear, hear!

      Further to the amazement that (in part) inspired this post, Li’l D asked today what happens to water in space. I said we should look it up … and, lo! There were videos of astronauts playing with water. Then, as if the how-tos I referenced in the post weren’t enough, we watched videos on how to wash hair in space, how to cook spinach in space, and how to make PB and honey sandwiches (hint: it doesn’t include crumby bread!). This led to questions about how shuttles get into space, so we watched videos of that, too. “Oooooh! Iss awesome!” shouted Littler J.

      I love it. Love it, love it, love: how we can be connected to each other here on the ground, and how we can now see into space through others’ willingness to share what they see from all the way out there.

      • January 31, 2016 at 7:02 am

        One of the most fun times I had with Jacob as a boy was when we looked up what causes farts. My eyes are watering just thinking about it!

  6. January 31, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I like what you’re saying here. I shudder to think how dull and awkward my life would be without the www. Connection and information make us all more whole.

    • February 6, 2016 at 7:23 am

      Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it, but overall, my life is definitely richer and my view broader thanks to it. 🙂

  7. January 31, 2016 at 10:51 am

    “More and more by the second, those with internet access have the ability to see what life is like for people around the world and in walks of life incredibly different from their own.” GREAT REASON!

    • February 6, 2016 at 7:24 am

      I think it’s my favorite thing about the internet! It’s neat to be able to share what I’m seeing, but better still to look through others’ eyes.

  8. February 1, 2016 at 3:43 am

    I think, though I walk away for short times now and then, we add our voices because our spirits have something important to add to the choir. Does that sound strange? Without this strange connective world my world would certainly be more dull and much smaller.

  1. February 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm

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