I haven't written a post in nearly 10 days. I read something that made me stop and question why I was writing a blog. Most bloggers have a particular crusade or business or something they want to teach and that's why they blog – to attempt to make a dent in the public's awareness of their ideas or product or message they are teaching. I read a blog called Courage 2 Create by a young writer, Ollin Morales. His blog, in less than a year, was judged one of the top 10 blogs in the country. There are a lot of blogs – probably hundreds of thousands – and yet his was in the cream of the blog crop. He wrote a post asking other bloggers "Why" they were writing, and encouraged them to answer that question. He told his reasons and they include some very philosophical answers, other than his obvious one, to teach people how to write. I began to question "Why?" and it took me quite awhile to sort through the reasons.
Before I started the blog, I hedged around for a long time. Stalling and stalling. So I looked at that and asked why I did that. I was scared to put my real thoughts and feelings out there. I've written for years and have published very little. It was the same fear that stopped me. I didn't fear rejection; I feared being read and known.
I had kept a deep, dark secret for decades. I even kept me from knowing it. I repressed a memory and it became a habit to hide, even from myself. It was difficult to overcome that habit, just as it was hard to confront the secret finally and start untangling that. If anything, I think that is my main reason for writing this blog – to purge myself of this mental habit of hiding me and what I think and feel. It seems strange to say that, but that is the point, yes?
Another reason I write the blog is to encourage all of you to use writing to unearth anything uncomfortable for you and to heal from it through writing privately or publicly. I stress the importance to student writers to hold their writing private so they can be free to express whatever it is they feel, whether it is hatred, love, desire for revenge, and other feelings that might be judged as anti-social. You need the freedom of your privacy to grow and confront yourself. I started writing daily 20 years ago and never stopped. I didn't intend to write for this long, but it is still working for me. I work out issues in my journal first and then bring them out in the open to the appropriate person. But I also write little stories and poetry in my journal, too. I record those and share them. It is with my journal and my writing, though, that I allow myself to be my most vulnerable.
With the onset of liver disease I felt I had something I could share with others. I had discovered, or uncovered, that many, many people suffer from a multitude of chronic illnesses. Their daily lives are impinged upon, stressed out by all the different ways that people's lives can be cramped and limited by a daily set of symptoms and remedies. I have learned to live with the fatigue of PSC and make space for it. I know if I have a really good day, the next day I may not repeat that at all but be very tired. I have to give into it. Some days I feel like doing nothing at all, and I have learned to let that be. It goes against my grain. I had a lot of energy before liver disease intervened. Others have lived with their chronic diseases or disabilities since childhood. That would be extremely difficult but I am certain they have learned to both compensate for and accept these constraints. Some of the most inspiring people I've met have chronic and even terminal illnesses, and they have developed an unbelievably happy outlook on life. I'm not one of them. I struggle with depression and go up and down with it. But I write for them with the same compassion as anyone else with a chronic disease or disability.
That's about the "why" of it for me. It helps to know why I'm writing this blog. Maybe I won't write about going to IKEA for the first time – or I will and I'll add that I felt glad that I made a trip that was physically hard for me, but that I was so excited about it I ignored my tiredness. I hope you keep reading. And writing your own stories.