Blog! Crash! Burn!

It’s funny how I can dish out advice from the heart, but cannot listen to my own advice. Yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers, A. Hab hit the wall, frustrated with the pressures of Post A Day 2011. This was part of my response to her “Give yourself a break, if you don’t want to post, don’t post. There are no Post a Day Police who will arrest you if you don’t post.”

Well, today I don’t want to post. I feel empty and dried up, with nothing to say. And yet, do I listen to my own advice? NO! I feel like I absolutely have to post. And not only do I have to post, but I have to write the most brilliant post ever! (Which, I assure, this one will probably not be.)

Why? Because yesterday was, of course, the day that I got the most hits ever in one day.  Now I know this should be something I celebrate, but the reality is that I feel more like this:

In order to explain this, I will attempt to answer Mark’s (aka The Idiot) question to me from the other day. He asked “In what way has your view of blogging changed (either positive or negative) since you first started blogging?”

The more I blog, the more confused I become about blogging. I started this as a place to help me write more, and in the hopes that a few people would actually read what I have to say. I’ve done that. I write daily and I have a few faithful followers who read my posts as often as they can stand to hear me blathering on.

Then blogging took on a new role. I’ve discovered a group of people who have interesting stories and share the world in similar ways that I do, through words, pictures, music, or whatever other form inspires them. Through blogging I have found a community, which is pretty special. I enjoy visiting with these friends regularly and hopefully giving them thoughtful responses to their posts. I enjoy discovering fabulous voices and stories that make me feel something and respond. I love the people who make me laugh! I love the stories that make me cry! I even love the stories that make me angry and want to tear my hair out and go marching on Washington or elsewhere to battle the injustices of the world around us. I am awed by the talent and beauty in this world; by the people who make language sing or the artists who bring color to the world on a daily basis.

I have also been truly humbled by this community. I know I can write. I know that I have always had a flair for putting words on the page. But now I know that there are so many people who do it better than I do, and I learn from them on a daily basis. I only hope that I have been growing as a writer by following those who share more eloquently than I can.

I have also discovered that I am not alone in the struggles that I face in all aspects of my life: as an academic, an aspiring writer, a mother, an artist, a friend, a woman, a 40-something, a person who cares about this world, a daughter, and so on. The list could go on forever. Every day I find someone who has faced the same issues with more or less grace than I have, and I learn from them too.

But, I still don’t understand blogging. Sometimes I become overwhelmed by the power of other people’s blogs. I have days where I feel jealous at the success of other blogs (and then I get angry at myself for being jealous). There are days that I see no purpose to blogging, and feel like this is purely a place for egos to fuel each other. Those are the days when I struggle the hardest to write. There are days where I pour my heart and soul into a post, only to have that post ignored and only read by one devoted follower. There are days where I whip a post together, thinking it is meaningless drivel, only to discover numbers rising and more comments than I have had before. Yesterday’s post was somewhere between the two–not meaningless drivel in the sense that meeting my now husband was a significant moment in my life, but not something I expected (especially on a weekend) to attract much attention in the blogging world.

I am beginning to think I have absolutely no clue what makes a good post. Seriously. I’ve stated before that there are times I read the Freshly Pressed posts and think to myself  “That is a horribly written post. Why did they choose that one?” Honestly, I am more likely to read posts recommended by bloggers that I like than Freshly Pressed posts anymore (unless the title is especially intriguing–there are a couple of posts today that I will read for sure). So, I no longer have my sight set on achieving Freshly Pressed status. (Of course, I’ll relish it if it comes, but I have no idea how to achieve it so I can no longer think about it anymore). All I can do is write, and hope that my little blog has a purpose that I don’t yet clearly understand. Thanks for reading.

Why do you blog? Why do I blog? Does anybody know?

The Persistent Power of Perfectionism

A nebulous form with multiple eyes,  many arms,  a thousand voices, and a powerful brain holds the ultimate power of destruction by persistently introducing self-doubt into my brain.

Why does it have many eyes? So that it can see into every possible venue where I might feel insecure. It can look at everything I’m doing and catch the tiniest error, even ones nobody else can see. It sees all so it can pounce early.

Why does it have many arms? It can catch and hold me wherever I am. If I fight back, it grips me harder. If I sneak away, one of its long arms can stretch and grab ahold. It can seduce me to, with the comfort of a hug, if it so choses.

Why does it have many voices? Different voices have different effects at different times. Sometimes it speaks in my dreams, sometimes while I am awake. Sometimes the voice is my own. Sometimes it is a voice from my past, or even someone from my present. Some of them are loud, some of them repetitive, all of them manipulative.

Why does it have a powerful brain? It must so that it knows the best way to strike. It reads my mind and then choses the right voice, the right words, the most effective way to win.

But here’s the thing.  I know it exists now. And, I may not know how yet, but I know this monster can be defeated. I am going to fight, and I am going to overcome it. I will not let it win this time. That is my new truth.

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