The support I get from friends, my friends who employ a certain level of diligence to reading my blog entries, still continues to astound me. I am amazed that people still take the time to read the often nonsensical musings I happen to put together in a moment of inspiration and often times desperation. Nevertheless, they read on and comment with both fervor and grace.
I began blogging as a form a therapy to get me through the tough times I was experiencing 3 years ago. I could always rely on my blank ‘New Document’ in MS Word when there was no one to which I could turn. No matter what I said or thought, no matter how quickly or painstakingly slow I typed, my electronic sheet of paper and the laptop in which it lived allowed me to vent, cry, yell and scream without having to deal with any negative feedback or nagging static. Like the character John Coffey in “The Green Mile”, I could have whatever was ailing me taken out, and I would be healed of my pain, if only for one night.
I remember my earlier blogs being a mixture of attempts at witty, insightful humor and raw, unabashed emotion. It was a sensory experience that raced across a broad spectrum of feelings and thoughts. Self doubt and loathing one minute, humble gratefulness the next. It was, in many ways, chaotic, yet it was real and true and honest. In many ways, it was the most honest I’d ever been and probably ever will be again.
My only experience working in publications was in college. I was the advertising manager for Tulane’s weekly newspaper “The Hullabaloo”. Although my job required me to deal with selling ad space, producing the ad specs and making sure there was no filler come press time, I was allowed on occasion to write for a hardly-recurring column in the paper. I would submit 500 words and have it returned to me by the paper’s editor with ‘notes’ and ‘suggestions’ and ‘advice’ on how to make the column ‘readable’. It was a humbling experience, but one from which I learned so much.
Today, my editor is me. I read and re-read every word I produce with the less than dexterous fluidity of every keystroke. I sit back and analyze what I am saying versus what I am really trying to say. I think about who may read my blog and how I vary my direction based on the audience. “What if my mom were to read this? I can’t say that!” I highlight full paragraphs and press Delete. I pound on the Backspace button because even though I feel it and even though I typed it, I can’t possible post it. I am concerned not only with the grammatical structure of a sentence, but also with the political stability of my network of friends. Most importantly, I am concerned with what Lee might think.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I like to think I remain honest and true with what I write and how I write it. The difference, however, between my blogs in 2004 and those of today is that before I used to write in order to explore, express and confront my feelings. I was alone with no one readily available to me. Sure I had plenty of friends, many in whom I confided from time to time my issues, fears and concerns; however none of them were there in the middle of the night when the rage bordered on lunacy and the anguish was exhausting.
Today, I have an angel that is my therapist. I have an angel that is my editor-in-chief. More importantly, I have an angel that is my best friend and is with me always. She held my hand during those dark nights and helped me exorcise the demons that before had nowhere to go but on the pages of my early blogs. She cleared my head and helped me see things in a new perspective. In a Nutshell, she helped me Change My Mind. : )
As a result, I feel I now write with a greater sense of clarity and comfort. Sure there will always be struggles and debates and differing opinions on various topics of conversation. But for the most part, the rage, fear and anguish are all gone. I still write for myself, yet I find I also write – or should I say express – for those who cannot. I am comfortable with my life being pretty much an open book. I know, however, there are many out there who keep their toils and tribulations hidden and tucked away from their friends and the people who love them.
I had a friend tell me recently that I was able to ‘blog out loud’ what she had been feeling but was never able to verbalize on her own, and that doing so was helpful to her. It was a humbling comment and one that made me feel honored to be able to affect her in such a positive way. I know I could not have done so without the strength, guidance and support of my sometimes boss and always partner ….. that angel who I like to call Lee.