I've started to notice something the past little while as I read blogs. And I'm not sure how to say this, so I'll just start like this.
When I started blogging I had no thoughts beyond, "Oh that looks like fun, a chance to practice writing every day and maybe even some people will read it." And then I discovered, well, the blogosphere, in particular, mommy bloggers. When I found myself pregnant and virtually housebound a month or two later I turned to the computer for a chance for social connection. I laughed at the stories people told of their mistakes, fascinated by the ability to spin a bad day into a humorous tale. I commiserated when others shared their difficulties. I identified with those who felt overwhelmed. I felt less alone. Here were people who knew what it feels like to be a mom, a woman, and they are writing about it with skill and intelligence. I was totally hooked.
My blog became, largely, a place to express my angst, to process through my depression, the place where I let it all hang out. Remarkably, there were people who read, commiserated, and offered comments that helped me to feel less alone. I will be forever grateful to those women who took the time to notice, and care. Writing and reading carried me through one of the more difficult times of my life.
At first I was drawn to the bloggers whose voice was similar to mine. But gradually I started noticing other people, other women, most a great deal more mature than I, and I started to listen to their voices too. And I started to change. Seriously.
Sadly, some of my favorites are gone now, or I would point you there. Others are in my side bar. Essentially, reading them caused me to adjust my attitude. Instead of complaining about how difficult it was to be at home with children they were instead treasuring the moments that they had with them. Instead of waxing sarcastic about their spouse they were appreciative. While these women were not the only influence, their writing has influenced me, has changed me for the better, and by listening to their voices I have grown a up, a little.
What I have also noticed in the past few months is that I have little patience to read the types of blogs that I started out liking. Even those with a big readership that are skillfully written. Now it sounds a lot like whining, and I realize with a wince that I too was once a whiner on this blog albeit a less clever one.
I am not talking about women who have the courage to be vulnerable and transparent, and let people in to the difficult places in their lives as they write, by the way. I am talking about the people who seem to only have one track, and it's always complaining. Or those whose entire humor stems from sarcasm.
And yet, at the same time, I know that it was the people who were compassionate with me and my whining that helped me to move past it, to mature. So I too will try to be compassionate. I continue to be grateful for the circumstances and people who brought me through to a place with much more joy than where I was.
As I have been thinking this week about why I blog, what I want to do with this blog, those women whose voices influenced me keep coming to mind. I want to be like them. I also want this blog to be like my home is, the place where all the women in the neighborhood stop by to hang out. They don't mind the way my floor is littered with toys just before lunch, and they aren't looking for anyone other than a friend to chat with for a while, but my house is almost always open and we talk while our children play, about the mundane and the profound and everything in between. It's a place where people feel welcome.
I want this space to be a place where people feel welcome, feel free to be real and vulnerable, to share sorrows as well as triumphs, and also a place that helps us to take joy in the moments we are given, to see them as gifts rather than burdens. I want to be a blogger who encourages and inspires rather than simply commiserates.
Does that make sense?