Yesterday, someone asked me if it ever felt uncomfortable writing about what's happening to me in such a public way, that anyone in the world curious enough to find my blog could come and look at my posts and see what was inside of me on a very intimate level. My answer to their concern was simple. I have to be honest with everything I'm going through. It helps me look back and see what has happened, how it's happened, how I've dealt with it, and most importantly, it stands as a stark reminder that my story isn't unique. It isn't some extraordinary account of a life filled with extraordinary events. I'm just a woman who's been abandoned and who is trying to put her life back together one piece at a time.
Think about it this way: taking stock in your life isn't easy. It's not meant to be. Ask yourself how hard is it to look in the mirror and accept the truth about what's deep inside you. Ask yourself what you want, ask yourself what you need, be frivolous for just one moment and think of what you'd really wish for in your life right now then look around and see how close your wish is to what you really have. Don't you ever think back about the events in your life and want to talk them through so you get an outside perspective? Don't you wish sometimes you could just let it all go and just get rid of all of the endless blather that happens in your head? That's what writing does for me. It's thirty minutes to an hour of just writing out all of the joys, the sorrows, the confusion and the pain of feeling left behind, but making sure that I remember that I'm not alone, that somewhere out there someone is going through the same things as I am. They're hurting, they're confused, but in all of that, for them to look just for a moment at someone else going through the same thing just might make the day a little easier. Haven't you ever heard the saying, "Misery loves company?"
To be honest, I think my fan base is rather small, look over in the corner, I have 16 people that follow along with me and I think I know all of them personally except for one or two. My blog is my way of sharing what's happening to me so they know I'm alright, that I can tell them my stories and not have to send out batteries of endless e-mails. All they have to do is click the link and they get to spend time with me. It's 15 minutes of laughing out loud together, it's them knowing that the woman they know is doing her best to understand her life and try to grow from her experiences. That others come to read along too is fine with me. I don't write about things that would make me uncomfortable if some random stranger walked up to me on the street and asked me about it. I don't totally drop my drawers you know, give me credit for being a little smarter than that. lol.
When I think of my professors coming in here and reading along, I think of it as a blessing in disguise. They get to see first hand how a student views the class. Whether they like me or not for it, it gives them an opportunity to look through my eyes and understand what kind of impression they make, how much I'm getting out of how and what they're teaching and well, I'm not always kind about it. Sometimes the truth hurts, but remember, it's MY version of the truth. No two people see things the exact same way, but at least they can see it from a different perspective so they know where they were strong and where they may have been a little weak from a mature student's point of view.
I'll be the first one to say I wish my history class would have had a bit more discussion going on during the lecture so I felt like I was actively learning, not just waiting to go into a discussion group where I felt like I was being brushed off and denied the chance to talk about the subject with him. My history professor is a fascinating man, he could probably talk for hours on one of my favorite subjects in the world, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. I read Marcus Aurelius every night before I go to sleep. When I'm confused, when I need an oracle of sorts, I grab the book, flip to a random page and take a single verse and see if it can't help me clean out all of the garbage in my head. Where would I be if Marcus hadn't written down what he was thinking and talking about his experiences and thanking all of the people who made a difference in his life? I wish I would have been inspired much sooner to just go see my professor and just talk about Marcus and the stoics for the many afternoons I spent bored during the two-hour break between history lecture and my IMC class because I am truly in love with the ancient world, I think it's fascinating. Don't believe me? Come knock on my door and I'll weigh you down with Marcus, Plato, tell you the story of why I gave away my hardcover edition of The Iliad and The Odyssey and show you all of my romance novels that are set in or pertain to Ancient Greece. Ever heard of Sherrilyn Kenyon? Look up her dark-hunters...my favorite story is "Night Play" and by the way, the main character of the book is named Vane Kattalakis and our main protagonist through the entire series is a man named Acheron Parthenopaeus. Can I get more Greek for you? Oh, let's just go one further. I know my Greek alphabet and I can, on demand, recite the whole damn thing. To sit for just a moment and talk to someone who not only understands the ancient world in a way I can never imagine, but to learn from that would have been priceless. It would have fed my spirit in so many wonderful ways. But with only one lecture to go, I guess my time has run out.
Look at my personal growth class. Four months ago I told everyone it was a damn lemon. Oh boy was I wrong, and when I do my semester wrap up, I get to apologize to Doc Cat because she literally reverse psychology'd us all and I will say without hesitation or intent to offend, that Doc Cat's Personal Growth class did more for me than I'll ever be able to repay her for. I told her just yesterday that if I could stay in her class for the rest of my life, I'd be so much better off. Look at how far I've come in just four months then try to tell me that it wasn't worth every penny I spent on tuition for it. If she wouldn't have taken the time to write and teach about her experiences, where would I be without her?
I write because I have to remember what's happened along the way. Abusing my body for so many years with substance abuse is not going to make aging easy on me, I already find myself forgetting things that a person my age shouldn't forget and I'll be honest, it scares me. Hopefully though, by putting my story in such a public format, maybe someone else may learn the lessons I learned too late. Maybe, someone will see something horrible that I do and realize that they do it themselves and may find a reason to change themselves for the better. I don't write it all down because I'm self-centered or egotistical, I write so that maybe I'll bring joy to someone's day, make them laugh out loud for just a moment and make their worries and cares seem a bit further away and just a bit more manageable.
As I said, my story isn't unique, but I look at it this way, when you read me, you can cut to the chase when you speak to me, you already know how my mind works and you don't have to guess. You will never have to wonder how I feel about someone, how I value the wonderful people in my life and you can see how an abused kid can rise from all of that pain and try to live their life as the best person they can possibly be.
Marcus Aurelius says, along with the rest of the stoics, that we have to obey our own natures. It's the teleological view that says we have to embrace our root purpose. A tiger cannot change it's stripes, and the amazing storytellers in this world couldn't give us the cheers, the tears and the solemn contemplation we all undertake if they didn't sit down to write in the first place.
So to answer the question posed at the beginning, "Isn't it uncomfortable to write about your life in such a public way?" No. It's just my nature and how I share my nutritional value with the world in the hopes that the cruel people of the world will stay their hand before they strike and injure another human being because they just may realize how what they do affects someone else. I write so you can look at the person sitting right next to you as you read, hug them a bit tighter, tell them you love them and appreciate them for who they are. Above all, I write so you can sit back, take a deep breath and be reminded to be grateful for what you have. For me, I write so I can remember.
One day, I want to write a book, but to put together anything, you have to strip the subject down to the bare bones and look at it for what it is and what it can offer the world.
So, to my dear friend who asked the question of "Why?" There's your answer.