Recently I saw the movie Into the Wild. The title of this post is the message I came away with from that film. Christopher McCandless wrote the above quote in the movie upon realizing this at the end of his life. That profound realization on his part made me think he did not die in vain. This was proven to me when he made that connection between his own happiness and how it is essential to share it with others for it to be real... how profound is that?
A couple of years ago my sister-in-law aka Quasi-Mom sent me an invitation to visit her blog. Her invitation made me feel special, that it was important to her that I read her blog. I knew that she had been blogging but I was a bit spastic using my computer. Most of the time if I found her blog I would inadvertently hit the wrong button never being able to find it again without help from someone else. So inadvertently her invitation made me feel like it was imperative that I make more of an effort to properly learn how to use my computer as well.
My brother & QM have been together for what seems like forever but sadly they live far away so I don't get to see them much. If you spend anytime at Quasi-Mom's blog, you will see that it is like an ode to her children and her family.
This works out perfectly for me because I feel like I am privy to the goings on over at their house. I get to find out the main events in their life on a daily basis. I feel like I am a part of their family. The fact that a bunch of strangers who read her blog may feel this way too does not diminish the fact that I AM actually a part of her family-as in blood relative. OK maybe not specifically to Quasi, but to her children who share my bloodlines & in so doing (in my mind) bind me to Quasi in a way that can never be refuted.
The truth is though, that even if we weren't bound this way, we are soul sisters nonetheless and it is mainly because of her blogging. Something tells me I may not be the only one who feels this way about Quasi. As she opens up about her faith, motherhood, and her self, she expresses thoughts and feelings that many women can relate too. It's nice to know as a mom trying to be good in all ways that there are other girls in the world just like you. Through my connection to Quasi I have connected with many other people through their blogs including people I know as well as people I don't know.
Quasi's blog also makes me feel connected to my brother & their children in a way I otherwise would not be if QM didn't share their life with us. I can also say this is most likely true for the extended members of my family as well. Given the fact that QM is my relative I think the feeling of kinship may be stronger than my other web based relationships but I must say that through blogging and reading other people's blogs I feel a greater kinship with the rest of humanity in general. It amazes me that I am able to connect to hundreds of people that I may only have a couple of things in common with yet because of that common interest we are able to do so. Blogging in general seems to foster looking at how we as humans can get along as opposed to how we don't get along.
In working on my own blog I have noticed a genuine attempt on Blogger's part to make information in general accessible to all who seek it. Not only are all of the services they offer to a new blogger free, they seem to go out of their way to make their site user friendly. For someone like me who is not at all computer savvy, that says a lot. I can't help but feel that because of these factors Blogger sets the tone for what goes on at Blogger. I am sure I would be naive to assume all is rosy in every blog at Blogger but from what I have read I haven't found any negative blogs. Maybe it's as simple as like attracting like.
Whatever the case may be, this type of sharing is what I think is so cool about the blogosphere. It promotes a sense of inclusion as opposed to separateness or exclusion. Simply put, blogging makes us feel "connected" if not through a familial experience like my own it connects us through our shared experiences with one another. You don't have to be a blood relative to Quasi to feel connected to her.
What I have also discovered upon faithfully following Quasi is that she is a very smart, creative, spiritually hip momma who has an eye for what is happening in our culture. Just to give you an example, "Mommy blogs" are getting a lot of press as of late. Not only did she come up with the coolest name for her blog, from what I can tell she has also been blogging for at least three years.
Most admirably though, she likes to grow and this is what ultimately inspired me to start my own blog.
I originally thought I could never blog about my life, I am too private. I don't like telling people I don't know... pretty much anything. Than I realized that wasn't really true. As I thought about it I discovered that I do like to share my experiences, especially ones where I have found a solution that might possibly help others. In fact most everyone I know has an urge to help their fellows in one way or another. It could be sharing information about how to detox their bodies, or it could be something designed to make you laugh or cry. Sometimes you may need a good cry.
As I continued to read Quasi & other peoples blogs I began to notice how cool it was that many many people were sharing information this way and they have been doing so for quite awhile.
In pondering the idea of my own blog, I also thought that, you know, it could be up to me as to how I tell my stories. I could reveal as much or as little as I like. Most importantly though, I had a tremendous desire inside me to write. It was a desire I felt that I needed to take action on. I started to notice it when I first started using a computer about six or so years ago. When that computer crashed and I lost letters I had been writing for two years to a close friend, I was devastated. I was devastated because I had enjoyed writing those letters as much as I enjoyed my friendship with the person with whom I was writing too.
At one point Quasi herself told me I should start a blog. For a long time before that my husband and son encouraged me to write as well.
Then last November I came to a turning point in my life. I felt that I had to do something about my health both mentally and physically. I came across a post from a blog that I had read about on Quasi's blog (of course). It was here that Dooce referred to another blogger as doing a very brave thing. Immediately I had to read further as I am always intrigued by other people's bravery. What I read on this blog got me to thinking, I could do this. I could be brave, & I could write about it too. And if I write about it maybe I might encourage someone else which in turn may encourage me or if that doesn't happen, maybe I will just continue to encourage myself!
So on November 12th I started writing Lily Hydrangeas Anonymous Blog. I sent it to as many people I could think of. My oldest brother responded right away writing only, "Lily Hydrangea"?
He has never failed to make me laugh out loud.
So 100 posts later what has happened since I have started writing this blog? First and foremost I get to write everyday. This has been a blessing for me because I have found it to be a new passion of mine and I feel like I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to write about!
Secondly, my health has improved-( I know- maybe that should have been first). I've committed to a weight loss program and lost 8.2 pounds. I still have more to lose but I honestly couldn't tell you how much that is. For some reason my thinking has changed on this which I believe might be a side effect from my blogging. I do care very much about being successful losing weight but I also think I have learned it's about my whole being or being whole that counts. It's a day to day goal for me, not a specific weight loss goal that I am trying to reach so much as, what am I doing right here right now? It is more like an awareness that has opened up inside me begging the question, am I doing the right thing for me today? Am I taking care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually today? Am I living a conscious life? If I am not, what is one thing that I could do right now to turn my day around? Usually that one thing would be writing a post for my blog.
Ultimately I have to wonder-will I ever be successful?...as a writer I mean.
That's another thing that is cool about this whole blogging thing, if you keep coming back here you will get to see what happens in almost real time!
Mostly I feel like I am doing something fun and I am learning and connecting to others in the process of doing so. In other words, Happiness is only real when shared.
I hope you are enjoying my blog as much as I am.
If anyone is reading this, thank you & a special thanks to Quasi too.
"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." -Patti Smith