Journaling vs. Blogging: Why I Blog
Sometimes I wonder why I blog instead of writing in a journal.
I wonder if you wonder that, too.
I mean, why put all this stuff out there, for anyone and everyone who has a mind to it to read? Big stuff, ugly stuff, painful stuff. Even to me, it sometimes seems strange.
Last night it hit me -- I blog because it helps me to survive.
That realization, hefty in its truth, surprised me. I didn't know and yet somehow always have known.
If I didn't blog first about very nearly having my whole self consumed by an eating disorder, and now about the death of my sweet daughter and the ongoing march of grief, I don't think that I could live and function in this world.
These things that have happened, that are happening to me, they are not small. They are not easy. And they are not easy to talk about. To bring up in casual conversation, to chat about church, or at the supermarket, or anywhere.
To answer one of my most dreaded questions of "How are you?" with the truth when I know that's not what's being asked seems cruel. But it hurts so much to lie.
I need to talk about these things, to process them. Even now, seven and more months after I first and last held my daughter, it sometimes seems impossible that it happened at all. Because babies dying, before birth? It's ludicrous. Laughable. A sick joke.
And somehow my reality.
So I must talk, must tell my story again and again and again. To tell it for the rest of my life, if that's what it takes to survive.
For some reason, the silent pages of my journal are not enough.
And let me be clear -- I have many sweet friends, both of the online and face-to-face variety, who ask "How are you?" and want to know the answer, really. I am unspeakably grateful for these friends. Thank you for listening to me, for giving me your grace and patience and time and ears.
But sometimes, I cannot talk about how I'm doing, or don't have the courage or energy to do so. And even when do, I don't want to overburden my friends with a load that they are eager to help shoulder, but that is mine (and God's) to carry.
And I do see a much-loved therapist. So there is that.
But I need more.
(That seems to be the story of my life right now -- I need and need and need. Perhaps this has always been my story, been all of our stories, and I never realized it until now?)
I need more than the journal pages, more than the weekly therapy sessions.
This blog, it allows me to belch whatever pain and poison from my soul that needs purging, safe in the knowing that I am not asking people to listen. That everyone who is here is reading because they want to, and not because I have leaned too heavily upon them. That my readers can quietly slip away if my noise becomes too much.
This feels safe.
And by writing here, in this safe place where anyone is welcome to come and stay or not stay, I am made able to function in the world.
I can go to barbecues and parties and smile and laugh and eat potato salad just like a normal human being. I can talk about things that don't have to do with death and death and death and be okay with that.
I can make the bed even though grief laughs at the inanity of it, and make jokes with my husband and feel lovely from time to time.
I can sing at church without dissolving into tears or panic (most Sundays, anyway).
I can enjoy the cuteness of the my friends' babies who are about the age Eve would have been if she had lived and not begrudge my friends this blessing.
I can find comfort in making plans for the future, for the life we might have with our rainbow son, even though I have learned too painfully that the future is not guaranteed.
Because I blog, I can walk in the world. Even if it is a limping walk, it is something -- something important and healing and good, I think.
Blogging is a gift. Perhaps it is the best gift I can give myself. And so I will give it and receive it, until the gift of it ebbs away.
If you blog, why do you do so?
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