I was contacted recently by a PhD student who is writing a thesis on, of all things, blogging.
He randomly contacted about 500 bloggers and asked for help in filling out a survey. The questions were targeted primarily at a person's motivation for blogging. I was eager to help him, envisioning my brilliant answers paving the way for a groundbreaking thesis.
I imagined it impressing his professors - so much so - that they would seek me out personally in order to dig deeper into the great, vast, intellectually superior territory that is my psyche. There would be a bestseller book written. The Today Show would be calling. I would have my moment in the sun.
Yeah, I know. Came down off that cloud real quick.
But it did give me pause to reflect on my motivations. Why do I blog? Why, after almost two years, do I still do this thing? Why do I log onto the internet and prattle on about my everyday life for friends, family, and strangers to read?
There is a part of me that does it so I don't feel alone. Knowing, at this exact minute, there are thousands of women across the country, doing exactly what I'm doing, makes me feel part of a greater cause. It makes it easier, somehow, to laugh at cleaning spaghettios off the ceiling, or dealing with the sick kids, knowing that others are doing it, too.
Because maybe, if we had to deal with it all on our own? We'd just go with our instincts, let out the crazy, and break down sobbing. Or take it out on our husbands because they innocently went to work instead of spending the day covered in a child's throw-up. But suddenly, there is an outlet for the crazy things that happen. And then it all somehow seems more manageable because of that.
Reading blogs also plays a role. Once in a while, I read a blog that makes my struggles seem small in comparison. Tears have been shed when I read about someones baby girl being diagnosed with cancer, or someone longing for babies that just don't seem to be coming her way. I feel a kinship with these women and feel blessed by their ability to share their stories with the rest of us.
I laugh daily with old friends who have moved away, and it is as though we still live in the same town. I see pictures of their kids and feel connected to their lives. This, too, is why I blog. These women are hugely important to me, and they are part of who I am. It's nice to not have to let that go, just because someone moves away.
I also blog so my kids will have a daily record of what they did and said. I do not look at it as a replacement for my journal, but a photographic supplement. The words in my journal will not be read by them until long after I am gone, but the blog? They can read that right now. They can know that even when they were hard, and even when I wasn't as good of a mom as I could have been, that they were loved.
The simplistic beauty that is our ordinary lives has been captured out loud. And to me, that is priceless. It's those everyday things that get forgotten. They were not scrapbooked or recorded until now. And lately, I find myself wanting to remember those things most of all. This is the good stuff. The sick kids, the spilled milk, the embarrassing stories, the silly time at the breakfast table. It's what is building our character, and shaping our lives.
I blog because I have a voice. It is not a voice that many people hear, but that does not make it any less important. Years from now, when I am old and gray, I want someone to know that I mattered. I want to feel that my life was lived well, with tears and with happiness. I want to remember the good days, the bad days, the struggles, and the ordinary perfection that was our little life.
I always want to remember what made me who I am.
We've all got a voice. The key is letting it out. I say let it out, blogging sistas. Let it out.
[Oh, and let us not forget that it's also a nice outlet for mercilessly mock your brother.]