An open letter to readers and writers of blogs

I started this blog in 2011 because I wanted to create something, a space of my own to write about and photograph my interests, record my memories and connect with others. I promised myself that I would be authentic and honest, that I would honor my voice and my truths. My favorite writers and people, those I most admire and feel appreciative of, are those who do that, who live their lives without fear -or too much fear- of what others will say. Having spent many years trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be, say what I thought others wanted me to say, this blog was to be my haven for a contrary way of living. During the past three+ years, I have done just this. I have honed my voice, my writing skills and what comedic chops I have. I have written about what pains me as well as what thrills me, drives me batty, makes me burst with pride. I have figured out so, so much about myself and my rhythms, I know with deep conviction what I believe, what I respect, what I value. I also know the "what I don'ts" to all those. This is all inordinately fulfilling and enriching.

To put oneself out there, to put myself out there, is often scary. It takes courage and a desire to connect, both of which derive from a writerly sense of needing to share via the written word and a belief in the connections that come only when we are open and honest with each other. It has been remarkable to me just how many people - friend, acquaintance and stranger- have reached out to me with thanks, with gratitude for the very openness that at times seems so risky.

As does anyone who writes and shares publicly though, the negative, bad-vibey, condescending feedback can feel disproportionately large at times. It can make a writer's voice shrink from its mean glare, it can make us feel shamed or uncertain. I am lucky to have experienced very few of these comments but they trip me up. My stomach aches, I doubt what I'm doing, I pull back, and then...

And then I feel an anger and a redoubled determination to continue with my work. No one has to read anything I write, no one has to agree or even understand. At the end of the day, I write for me. I think many of us bloggers do. We write to make sense of, to understand our lives, the good and the bad. We write to remember it all, to become more familiar with ourselves. That we do so in a public forum is because we feel certain that there are others out there experiencing and struggling with the exact same things, wanting to read about exactly the plum tart we just made and devoured, dying to find yet another photo of a cat or a garden, looking to laugh alongside another person whose children are obsessed with butts or whose partner has the craziest pecadillos.

Not everyone is comfortable with sharing, but it's my way of better understanding life. It provides me comfort when times are tough, and yes, people, times are tough for each and every one of us at some or many times. No need to judge, no need to condescend.

To all the writers and bloggers forging ahead each day, I say Cheers!

To all the readers who support our endeavors, I say thank you!

And to the naysayers and negative joes who seem to delight in casting dark shadows, I say, Scram! Go rain on your own parade!