Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Wondering on Wednesday: Self reflection-do you like what you see?

I started blogging because I needed some place to release a creative muse, and I was trying to avoid a late-night chocolate binge. I know Shout isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, or coffee, or wine. Hell, it’s certainly not everyone’s idea of a good, stiff drink. I’ve gone back and forth with myself to create a love/hate relationship with blogging. Every day I think about shutting the damn thing down, but I won’t. It’s become a part of me.

After about 30 days of blogging, my goal-oriented self started to determinedly question the purpose of Shout. I’ve always felt like this space should be dedicated to something more than my motherly musings or personal insanities, and that something should be niche specific. I’ve never been able to put my finger on that something, or that niche, and I’ve continued to muddy my way through several hundred posts with no clear purpose. I know many of us blog for the community, the fun, the search for a lighter, humorous moment, or we often say, I write for me. I love those pursuits too. Whatever you desire, I’m quite sure you can find it in the land of blog.

I’ve started to think of this place as an ongoing conversation with friends. Similar to meeting for a cup of leaded java in the local coffee shop, we jump from topic to topic. We question, inspire and support. We contemplate issues related to parenting, family dynamics, interpersonal communications, social norms and dilemmas, and varied other subjects that find their way from my mind to my keyboard to your screen. There are days when I write well and there are days when I throw up a picture of my child and pretend it’s a post. Most of the time my efforts net somewhere in the middle. Shout has a small audience. Most days that’s just fine. Some days I wonder why. I take it personally; shoot my Achilles heel and stomp bloodied all over my writer’s confidence.

I know it’s boring to read a blogger in crisis-waving her fist and questioning her intent. I’m not doing that. There’s a point here, it’s just taking me a minute to get to it. The process of writing for Shout has become sweet in itself, but every writer wants an audience. I happen to be a rather altruistic personality, sometimes naive, too often sarcastic, but always contemplative and full of desire to create change and to learn. I love debate and the process of communication, but most important I’m rather passionate about a few things and Shout has helped me to better discover myself, with your help.

Blog awards are like little hugs floating around out there and every now and then I’m lucky enough to bump into one. Like hugging a stranger, blog awards make me nervous though. Well, that’s not entirely true. I love receiving them—it’s a nod of acceptance, a point of bliss…actuality that someone really is reading labors of love. It feeds my writer’s appetite for audience. Just as I can never choose a favorite movie or song, the act of passing awards along to other bloggers always leaves me feeling inadequate, and that’s what makes me nervous.

noblesse_oblige_award23Monday, Smart Mouth Broad presented an award to me and several other bloggers that included some interesting directions, and it intrigues me.

The recipient of this award is recognized for the following:
1) The Blogger manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervades amongst different cultures and beliefs.
2) The Blog contents inspire; strives to encourage, and offers solutions.
3) There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture, Sciences, and Beliefs.
4) The Blog is refreshing and creative.
5) The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking.

The Blogger who receives this award will need to perform the following steps:
1) Create a Post with a mention and link to the person who presented the Noblesse Oblige Award.
2) The Award Conditions must be displayed at the Post.
3) Write a short article about what the Blog has thus far achieved – preferably citing one or more older posts to support.
4) The Blogger must present the Noblesse Oblige Award in concurrence with the Award conditions.
5) Blogger must display the Award at any location at the Blog.

Of course being my sarcastic, self-depreciating self, my first instinct was to blow that part about achievement off and find some way to turn that little idea into a joke. But this morning I started thinking about it in a different light. I actually have achieved several things by writing for Shout and this is a great opportunity to remind myself that I’m making a tiny difference in my small part of the world and in my own life. That adds up to something. That matters to me, and really that’s why I write.

It’s not all been peaches. We had a rather significant dual in our immediate family over some early posts I wrote about people in my step family. My brother has stopped talking to me because of my blog, and it’s been more than a year. I miss him, but I’m going to keep writing.

With hindsight’s help and in no particular order, here are a couple of things that I’m pretty proud of and why I’ll keep blogging, regardless of audience size or family shenanigans. These are the kinds of things that make me tick.

  • Writing here has helped me make peace with my infertility, and it has fostered friendships with people who share the same demons—people I’d never have met otherwise.
  • Bare Naked, a 3-part series on family violence is one of the most-read pieces on Shout. More than three thousand people have read it, and extremely gratifying to me—many, many, many people have landed on the articles with Google searches for things like… my husband won’t stop shouting at me or I can’t control my anger toward my wife and I’ve seen them click through to the pages of Men Stopping Violence for resource links and help.
  • I’ve received multiple emails saying I’ve touched someone’s life, made them think or to say thanks for my honesty about adultery, family violence, child sexual abuse, or infertility, and often the person has gone on to share with me their own story of grief or resolutions. I cherish those connections. They humble me, and I’m honored by your trust.
  • I’ve already had multiple search engine hits on the posts for the Beautiful Like Me project as people look for information about helping children develop self esteem and embrace differences, which reminds me—we really need to add a list of resources to the project page.
  • I’ve gained so much more than I’ve given and I’ve learned a tremendous amount. The people who stop by here always give me something to think about. I love that about you.
  • Shout was a catalyst for my mom starting in therapy. No joke. I keep telling her I’m going to get her a T-shirt that reads, My daughter blogs so I’m seeing a shrink. Some of the conversations and things I’ve written about here on Shout opened a dialogue she and I needed to have for a long time, and as a result we’re closer, more bonded, and she’s doing some necessary things for herself. I’m incredibly proud of her for that, and really honored that she continues to read even when she probably wants to reach through the computer and strangle me (like right now).

I think most important to me, writing here has given me a voice. It’s a small voice and it rambles and starts and stops and sings off tune, but it’s a voice. More than just saying Life is too short to be quiet, I’m writing it, and that matters to me. I truly believe from my head to my toes that when one voice speaks, others join and collectively we make a positive difference in each others lives by the simple act of having conversations.

My family taught me to play my cards close, to keep secrets and to keep dirty laundry neatly tucked out of view. I know those were unintentional messages, but they were rampant. I know the exact opposite is what sets us free, creates change and fosters courage. Thanks for taking these little journeys with me, and thanks to Smart Mouth Broad for providing an opportunity for self reflection. Today, I’m pretty happy to be a blogger and to be in such good company. I’m honored that you read what I write and that you care enough to comment or email or to simply ponder with me.

I’m Wondering on Wednesday: When was the last time you were presented an opportunity for self reflection, and did you like what you see?

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16 comments to Wondering on Wednesday: Self reflection-do you like what you see?

  • donna

    I self reflect a lot these days and I am just now beginning to like what I see. I am very proud of you! There have been a few times that I have wanted to reach through and strangle you, that part is true, but on the whole spectrum of it all I am proud of what you have to say. I love reading the blog and look forward to it almost every morning. It has helped me see all the things that I had to and still have to work on. Thank You. Even though it does hurt sometimes. So wondering on Wednesday, you once again have made us all stop and think about all the important stuff.

  • Every two weeks on Monday is an opportunity for self-reflection… I didn’t use to like what I saw when I looked into the mirror. I worked hard and fought for a long time to appreciate my own reflection.

    Tricia, you are a great blogger and I love stopping by. You have made a difference and inspired me to make a difference too.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Sushi Grade Award

  • I like your mom!
    ANYWAY, you are always self reflective I would say.
    As for myself? I always want to be nicer. As nice as can be. I try.

    garys last blog post..the bumper sticker project

  • Tricia

    @Donna: Thanks! I’m so glad you look forward to reading, even when you want to slap me :o ) You are beautiful and I’m so glad you’re my mom! Now, if you really do want to slap me, I’m itching for you to come for a visit…

    @WickedStepMom: The bi-weekly posts really challenge me. They make me think about things I’d rather not, and look at myself in ways I’d rather avoid. Thanks for that.

    @Gary: I like my mom too!! You are incredibly nice, and you always make me smile. I’m trying to be nicer…as I get older, being nice means more to me than I used to realize.

  • I absolutely love the blogging community. It’s been a great outlet for me over the past several months. I hope I can keep it up, and hope you do too!

    HeatherPrides last blog post..Duck Salad

  • Tricia: I love your voice, off key, loud, soft, however — it always touches me!

    Donna – can I send you a hug! I want to smack her sometimes too, Ms. Tricia has a way to make me always explore just was I was trying to avoid!!!!!! But I love her!

    As for me: there are days when I see that I am not the mom that I want to be, and I need to work on this all the time! Blogging helps because sometimes it is nice to know that others have these struggles and to see what others do!!

    Amy @ Five Flower Moms last blog post..To-do Tuesday — Working Hard or Hardly Working?

  • Jan

    I’m glad you posted the things your blog has accomplished – there are many more, but those will do for a start.

    Everyone who reads your blog is likely to take something different away from it. Personally, for me, the nicest thing your blog has accomplished is that it has allowed me to find you and become your friend.

    Jans last blog post..Breathe…Breathe In the Air…

  • Tricia

    @Heather: I hope you keep it up too. I love the Short Bus.

    @Amy: Really? You want to slap me too? I’m not surprised, but I think we may have to start a line. Thanks for what you wrote and for continuing the debates with me, even off line. David would be proud of our bantering.

    @Jan: Thank you. There are a gazillion reasons why I wear a puffy, pink heart on my sleeve for the Sushi Bar author, and finding you is an extremely high point in my life. This is turning into a love fest isn’t it. Normally it takes two glasses of wine before I get mushy. See what you do to me :o )

  • Blogging really is a pore cleanser. Without the blog community I’d probably be walking around talking to myself all of the time.

    Self-reflection is my career. I have a Doctorate in Lisa. I’m not all that interesting, so sometimes I have to create my own drama in order to have something exciting to reflect on. All in all, I think blogging helps keep me honest with myself. It’s also easier to be honest with others. Although you all are very real to me, your cyberness keeps you at a enough of an emotional distance where it is easier to take risks and share things in a candid way. It really is the best way to learn from others…having a candid exchange. It’s too bad we can’t consistently achieve that type of dialogue in real life.

    Lisa Ps last blog post..Swiper the Fox

  • Tricia

    @Lisa P: I love the analogy of a pore cleanser. Perhaps blogging is an economical facial? I’m working on having straight, honest dialogue in real life and since my whole family secretly stalks my blog…what I write here often becomes dinner table fodder, or my phone rings…

  • I’m so glad my mom does not know how to turn on a computer, let alone go on the internet.

    Loved reading about your blog’s beginnings. I love your writing.

    Pseudos last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

  • Wow, I really really liked this post. Blogging does so much. I haven’t spent a lot of time on your blog (YET) but I really like what I’ve seen. And to have so many people looking for something and find it with you . . . that’s amazing. (Our most common search term, on the other hand, is ‘hamster sex’.) Keep blogging! Thank you!

    Elaine at Lipstickdailys last blog post..Me and My Shoes

  • Again, awe and respect. No words to describe you.

    As you know, I totally blew off the task of naming what my blog has accomplished because seriously, it’s just a fun thing for me. But what you do here, I sometimes have to wait days just to give it the time I need to really read what you have to say. You, my friend, are AWESOME!

    And…..people will come, Tricia. People will most definitely come (I couldnt’ resist) But it’s true. Keep writing. People will come.

    Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..THE MAKING OF A BIKER CHICK – Cody, Wyoming

  • Tricia

    @Pseudo: THANKS! I’ve kind of started to think that a family who blogs together stays together :o )

    @Elaine: Hamster Sex? I really need to go through your archives.

    @Smart Mouth Broad: Your blog has created a really wonderful community, don’t sell yourself short on that. Thanks for what you wrote. I’m really touched, and I hope you’re right.

  • Gaw….I’m so great with awards, I can’t believe you didn’t pass this along to me! LOL just kidding…..and thank you thank you because i already got it from “somebody” but i can’t remember who. *wink*

    Muah….I love your blog no matter what it’s theme.

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..The Mattress Tango

  • I love blogging for so many reasons … one of which is the fact everyone has their own reason for being here in the blogosphere. By reading and sharing each other’s lives I think it provides us all an opportunity to grow.

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