Thursday, February 9, 2012

reflections of a blog in two parts: insight and history

doesn't that title make you think you're going to get some awesomely intelligent and insightful post?  hehe...fooled ya.  (maybe.)

i got an email today from cat, the doctoral student using my blog for her dissertation.  she asked me several questions about why i started blogging and how it has helped me.  before i knew it, i had written her a new copy of war and peace.  (go, me!)

and i really do know how to talk and talk and talk.  just ask my hubby.  he'd be happy to tell you how i never shut up. (and you can tell by the way i always put these extra parenthetical remarks at the end of most of my paragraphs that i just can't help myself.)

if you've been here with me from the beginning, or close to it, or have spent insane amount of time reading archives, you probably know the answers to these questions.  i'm not going to post what i wrote to her about when and why i started blogging.  (you can read more about that if you read my "about" page, the page called "my story," or the first month or two of my archives.  none of those are hyperlinked because they're on my sidebar and i'm to lazy to find the URLs for all of them.  sorry.)

but as for how it's helped me?

Blogging has most definitely been helpful, for several reasons.  Most of them selfish, I confess.  First, it's a great place to vent.  But not like venting to a journal.  I can vent on a blog, and someone else (maybe my best friend, maybe a complete stranger) can say, "hey!  Me too.  I understand."  I really felt (feel) listened to.  And every time someone leaves me a comment, I feel validated.  I feel worth something.  That is huge for me, when I've spent my whole life feeling worthless and invalidated.

It's also a great way of working through things.  I can go to my blog wound up so tight and so anxious I am hyperventilating, and leave twenty minutes later with a smile on my face.  It's a dumping ground.  I dump my baggage, I shut my computer and leave most of it there.  Talking about it really is helpful, but sometimes it's too hard or scary to say the words out loud.  Letting my fingers put it in print is not the same as voicing it.  I know it sounds strange, but maybe you understand.  Saying it makes it too real, almost like creating a tangible being with my words.  As if saying my abuser's name makes him appear before me.  It kind of does, actually, which might say something about me, I guess.  

A long time ago (when I was a teenager) I decided that if I had to live through hell, I might as well use it to make someone else's hell less terrifying.  I told a few people about what I was dealing with and found that several others had been through similar experiences.  Sharing mine helped them (and me) feel less alone, less isolated.  I perpetuated that with my blog, in a much broader sense.  Instead of telling a few select people in a very confidential way, I put it out on the internet for the whole world.  Granted, a lot of my readers don't know me, but almost everyone I know in real life has access to it as well, between twitter, facebook, my email, and word of mouth.  That was scary for me, but it was also liberating.  No more hiding anything.

The last reason is to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse.  Telling people about it.  Talking about statistics.  Putting the facts out there, right in their faces, where they can see that the chances of their daughter being molested is 1 in 4--and more than likely by someone that they know and trust.  If my talking about it makes a difference for one child, it's a huge thing.  Not only for that child, and that child's family, but also for me.  It helps me to think that maybe I'm making a difference for someone else.  Maybe I'm saving one person from having to live through what I've lived through.

her third question.  she asked me to look back through my posts and choose one or more to talk about and tell her what inspired me to write it.  (i haven't responded to that question yet.)

i looked through my archives tonight.  i'm not kidding, either, when i tell you i went through three years of posts.  some of them i just skipped over.  most of them i read.  (well, mostly read.)

and i cried.

i cried for myself, mostly, because in reading these posts full of despair, and confusion, depression, isolation, fear, and helplessness, i saw a shadow of my current self.  the shadow that i fear still lurks under the surface, as i saw last week with the sudden reappearance of a nightmare.  i also cried because i'm so grateful that i'm not having multiple flashbacks a day.  because i'm relieved that i'm not constantly struggling with suicidal thoughts.  and i cried because when i started this blog, little buddy was a baby...and i watched as an outsider while he and princess grew up in my posts.  time passes so quickly.

while i read through all of these posts, i saw comments from readers that i have missed, others whose blogs i felt a connection to.  friends...other survivors.  i miss them.  is that weird?  people i have never met, don't really know, but felt such a strong connection to.  (i swear sometime soon i am going to find their blogs again.  or are you reading, enola?  vicki?  bev?  patricia?  tara?  paula?  cheryl?  and a hundred others?)

it's been a roller coaster tonight.  but i think i narrowed it down to a few that i'd like to think about further.

the post about my teddy bear (which happens to be my most popular post as far as views goes...interesting)

a post about my nightmares

one of the art therapy activities i did, my life's road

lessons from a sparrow

a chapter closing

(guess i'm not too lazy to find those URLs....haha!)

what do you think?  do you have a favorite post?  those of you who have been around for a long time, even those of you who haven't, let me know which posts you like/love/hate or really speak to you.  or the ones that i better not talk about. 

totally random and unrelated sidenote: had to watch some stupid video today for my computer class about how to start a blog on blogger, upload media, create posts and use blog features.  i laughed.  then i aced the quiz.  (go, me!  again.)

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