My Nine Year Anniversary of Blogging

I recently realized that today is my nine year anniversary of blogging. That's right I've been blogging relatively consistently in one place or another for nine years. It was sort of shocking for me to realize that it's been that long since I first started publicly sharing my thoughts, ideas and experiences. My first blogging experience was on xanga. The year was 2002. I had recently moved back home after a year at Vanguard University in California. My friend and roommate from Vanguard, Kerry, talked me into starting it as a way to stay in touch with her and other friends from Vanguard since they were all using xanga. I remember being sort of skeptical about it, thinking I wouldn't know what to write and why would anyone want to read what I'd share. But Kerry convinced me and I decided to give it a try. The first few entries I was so unsure what to write I just shared quotes I liked at the time. This is the first one I shared, "Becoming a Person means that the individual moves toward being, knowingly and acceptingly, the process which he inwardly and actually is. He moves away from being what he is not, from being a facade. He is not trying to be more than he is, with the attendant feelings of insecurity or bombastic defensiveness. He is not trying to be less than he is, with the attendant feelings of guilt or self-depreciation. He is increasingly listening to the deepest recesses of his psychological and emotional being, and finds himself increasingly willing to be, with greater accuracy and depth, that self which he most truly is." - Carl Rogers Little did I know at the time the role that blogging would play in my own Becoming.

After those first few posts of quotes I tried sharing more about what I was doing and experiences I was having, but I knew relatively quickly that wasn't for me. Although I would continue to occasionally share those types of daily details they would never be the central focus of my blogging experience.

It was so interesting to skim back through those early posts and watch as I struggled to find my blogging voice. What was it that I wanted to document and share? I experimented... I shared quotes, I shared details of my day, I shared questions I was asking, I shared poems I was writing, I shared my meandering wonderings. I blogged my questions, my doubts, my realizations and epiphanies. The writing is mostly stream of consciousness with little to no editing or formatting. But, slowly little by little that blog helped me to find my voice and my love for blogging.

Discovering blogging was like discovering a whole new way of processing for me. I'd always loved writing and always kept journals, but for some reason hand written journals were always rather uninspiring for me. I was never able to find my voice through them.

I often process the question, "why do I blog?" and I've written a little about some of that processing before, but I think I'm starting to figure out little by little the reasons I blog and why I fell in love with it nine years ago and have stuck with it till today.

I blog partly as a way to process through things I'm thinking about, but if that was the only reason to blog then a private journal would meet that need perfectly, and for me journals never came close. For me blogging is only partly about processing, it's more largely about putting out into the world something that I myself would like to find and read. I write about my own personal processes, struggles, experiences, and hopes, but I write it not just for myself, I write it in the hope that someone else who's going through the same thing, whose had the same thoughts, whose made the same desperate pleas or celebrated the same victories will find it, breath a sigh of relief and say "I'm not the only one."

Sometimes as I learn about something new I write to solidify my learning and teach it to others. Sometimes as I wrestle with a question I write to process my question and get advice and input from others. Sometimes as I have a new realization about myself I write to know myself better and so that others can know me better too. Sometimes I write for myself, sometimes I write for the self I was, and the self I will be. Sometimes I write for others, for those who are where I was, who are where I am or will be where I am going.

I write partly for the joy of writing but the joy of writing was never enough to keep me writing consistently. I think I like blogging for much the same reason that I enjoy public speaking. It not only enables me to process and develop myself it also gives me a platform for sharing my voice with the world (even if it's only ever a small portion of the world). Blogging feeds the side of me that wanted to be a writer, the side of me that wanted to be a poet, the side of me that wanted to be an actress, and the side of me that wanted to be a pastor. Through blogging I can be a little bit of all those things and also nothing more than a struggling mommy. I can be me and something more than me as well.

I can't imagine my life without blogging as a creative outlet and I will always owe Kerry a great doubt for introducing me to the world of the blogosphere. Thank you, friend!

Happy nine year anniversary to me! I feel very curious where the next nine years of blogging will take me. I wonder where I'll be and who I'll be then.

I'll close with another quote that I shared on those early blogs: "The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. 'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'"

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman