It’s been one of those weeks, where several unrelated voices have set up a resonance in my head. First, Keiko’s post has had me thinking about the stones and the water. Then Mel wrote about blog identity and how it has the possibility to hold you back. And today, the internet coughed up an old post from Velveteen Mind about blogs closing. There are other factors too — my own recent navel-gazing, the kerfluffle from a few months ago, and some truths that I’ve been acknowledging privately.
There are days where I feel like the only voice I recognize in the community is my own.
I’m an old blogger. I’ve said it before, I think, I’ve been in this space for over 5 years, and another for a few years before that. That’s an eternity in internet time. I started blogging when blogging was unknown, when facebook was a private site for college kids, when twitter didn’t exist. I wrote when the community was small, when there were a few big voices and … practically no one else. My blogging cohort is pretty much gone, moved on to parenting or living childfree, with less and less need for a presence in the IF world. And I understand it. When IF is your identity, and your blog space is a reflection of that identity, and you finish with IF … what do you do with your space?
When Mini was born, I thought seriously about shutting this down. Call it post-partum hormones, call it an intense desire to forget about IF and move on, call it a sudden realization of the openness in my life including someone else who didn’t yet have a voice, call it the exhaustion associated with the reality of a newborn and his demands, call it a sense of loyalty to the readers and friends I’ve made along the way. But I couldn’t bring myself to write that final post, to close up shop and leave the ghosts rustling through the empty cupboards.
I am a stone.
I am secure, I am still, I am content to remain who I am and where I am. The rushing waters of the IF community surround me, engulf me some days, and I am okay with that. The voices babble around me, grains of truth wearing away my sharp edges, and I settle more firmly into my place as time passes.
I went through my blogroll a few months ago and started to prune. There are so many voices, so many spaces that once held someone dear to me that are now silent, vacant, empty. I reached out to one blogger on a whim, an email into the void, and she responded, thanking me for the connection and reassuring that she is doing well. But she doesn’t need her old space any more. Sometimes I wonder if I need those old spaces, the voices that inhabited them, more than the writer did.
I write here now because this is my outlet for meandering thoughts that have no audience in my daily life. Because I have friends here who bring me advice and perspective that my IRL friends do not have. Because I have a place where “I” am the entirety of my thoughts typed into an electronic screen, where I am not judged by my looks or my actions but only on the quality of my thinking and communication. Because I am scarred by IF and need the understanding and empathy of others who have been through it as I try to heal. Because writing is my meditation, my processing as I examine my own words, arguments, and responses from the perspective of someone outside of my head. Because the voices I encounter here have shaped how I see myself and how I see others and the lens through which I view the world. Because here, when I call out into the void, someone else calls back. Because here I can expose my vulnerability in safety. Because here, I don’t feel lost — I feel home.
Somewhere in my surfing, I read recently that your twenties are for self-discovery and your thirties are for self-exploration. That once you have figured out who you are, you have to then delve deeper into the meaning of your life, the universe, and everything. That’s where I am, and that is what I am doing. Exploring what it means to be me, this person that I found. Falling in love with myself, the beautiful bits and the ugly parts. This space, this voice — these are as much parts of who I am as my freckles and my anger and my feminism and my parenting philosophy and my love of red wine and margaritas and my sci-fi habit and my drive to control my world.
I am a stone, and I abide here.