“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s been nearly five months since I finally took the leap of faith & began my adventure into the world of blogging. As I’d intended, it’s been therapeutic as well as enjoyable for the most part. That’s not to say it’s been the least bit easy or even entirely comfortable for me to actually learn to speak my mind & voice my own opinions.
Most who knew me prior to my embarking upon this journey know that I’m constantly striving to be there for everyone—remaining the consummate happy-go-lucky cheerleader, somehow managing to be the pillar to lean on & the shoulder to cry on, ready on-call 24/7 with the right thing to say or do to pull someone else out of a slump, researching for hours or even days the answers they sought if I didn’t know right off the top of my head, helping to urge them on in their own personal battles or journeys, trying to give them the validation they sought for their point of view or actions whether I agreed or disagreed, or even spending money my family could ill-afford to spend in order to help a friend in need. I did my best never to offend anyone unless I was defending a loved one, at which point I have a tendency to become a fierce force to be reckoned with—the very personification of tooth, fang, & claw. In other words, for the most part, I was literally living the quote from Walt Disney’s movie, “Bambi”—“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Can you even begin to imagine how physically, spiritually, & emotionally draining it is maintaining that persona day in & day out—especially for someone like me who, as you’ve likely read on the ‘About Cari’ page of this site, has Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, along with several of the cohorts (including depression) that seem to tag along with those illnesses? Well, somewhere along the way of trying to maintain that persona, I’d lost an extremely important person in my life. Myself. While I regret none of the things I’ve done for others or the opinions I’ve previously kept to myself in order prevent an argument or hurting another’s feelings, I’ve come to the realization that, despite having done all those things for others, there is absolutely no one I can depend on to assist me in reclaiming the pieces of me that I’ve lost or shattered along the rocky tumble of this downward spiral except for myself.
Blogging is the path I’ve chosen to take in an attempt to pull myself out of the cavernous wasteland to which that downward spiral leads—a place which I’ve nicknamed ‘the dark place’. Sure, there are days when I’m only dangling my toes on the ledge of this seemingly bottomless abyss. Days during which I’m relatively content with life. However, for the better part of at least the past two years, the days when it seems as though I can’t even see a single shaft of daylight from the depths of that abyss, let alone a friend holding a rope to help pull me up that wasn’t attached to some personal need of their own, have far outnumbered those during which I can.
I’d contemplated starting a blog for nearly a year prior to actually making the leap five months ago into this vast unknown of publicly sharing my thoughts & opinions on various topics. I’ve been slightly heavy on the op-ed type pieces, but those have been both therapeutic for me as well as giving me hope of the possibility of being ‘discovered’ or hired to write freelance op-ed type articles.
In these past five months I’ve learned, however, through reading various other blogs & articles, that if I should ever attempt to make another leap into the realm of writing fiction novels—a thought that has crossed my mind from time to time throughout my life, but one that I’d shelved for the time being until I’d first gotten my feet wet by having my thoughts out in the open in the ‘blogosphere’—I’d be better off refraining from expressing any opinion that may be deemed controversial or offensive to someone for fear of losing a potential readership of a potential novel.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now I find myself at an impasse, albeit one I intend to turn into another crossroad in my journey. I’m virtually stalled as to where to go from here—finding myself constantly worrying about offending anyone & again playing a ‘what-if’ game in my head. I can either continue to write as I had been prior to stalling out & hope that, if I ever choose to write a novel, people will be appreciative of an author who’d always been honest & forthright in expressing her opinions back when she first got her start by blogging—an author they’d ‘gotten to know’, so to speak—or I can err on the side of caution & at least take a more balanced approach to my blog. What I absolutely cannot do is go back to being completely untrue to who I am by writing only happy-go-lucky things & showing no opinion whatsoever about things that may be controversial, but that matter to me. Considering that’s the unhealthy way I was living my life, I can hardly imagine it being a healthy or productive way to write, regardless of what the future may or may not hold.
Therefore, for better or for worse, I have chosen to not give up my self-expression entirely, but to at least take a more balanced approach to my blogging. If something arises that I’ve got a passionate opinion about, it’s likely I’m still going to write about it. However, the balance will come from something my Mom taught me a long time ago when I was having trouble with bullies in elementary & middle school. She’d let me vent about the bad things that had happened that day, try to help me work through them, & then require me to name three good things that had happened or that I’d learned that day.
Mom’s 3:1 ratio of positive versus negative was a good practice for my life back then & I’m hopeful it will be a good practice for my blog now. So, for every ‘controversial’ rant I may write, I will make every effort to write two to three articles about ‘good’ things—such as a happy memoir, a wonderful book I’ve read, friends I’ve made so far along this blogging journey, & the like.
“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
To those of you who have stood by me through the beginnings of this journey of writing my way out of my dark place, I humbly thank you & hope that you will remain by my side as I continue to learn, grow, evolve, & transform myself into something even more.
As always, your thoughts are appreciated. Blessed Be. ~ Cari ~