A year ago, I staked a claim to a tiny sliver of the Internet because I needed a reason to write and a place to do it.
I wanted to create a community, maybe give hope to infertile couples, and I wanted to mess around with photos too. But mostly I needed to tell stories and get back to daily writing without taking a full-time job (and bankrupting us with childcare costs to do it).
I'd been thinking of it for ages, really, and I wasted a fair amount of time trying to come up with my "hook." I didn't know much about blogs, admittedly. I thought I needed a gimmick like that woman from "Julie and Julia." Or a talent. Or a cause.
I hemmed and hawed for months before I realized my procrastination was fueled by fear.
I misplaced my brain sometime between the birth of my first and fourth child. And I felt like my voice- the part of me that sings when I tune out the noise and weave words into stories - was buried beneath teetering mounds of unfolded laundry, shitty diapers, crusty dishes and toys.
I told myself I wouldn't have anything to write about, certainly nothing anyone wants to read.
Then I had an unexpected conversation with a high school classmate I hadn't seen in 20 years and never knew well. Soo Young Lee is a writer herself now, an artist and mother and ultimately, my inspiration to return to words.
In the corner of a dark, rowdy bar, we talked intimately about writing and raising babies and the struggle to do both. It was the first time in a long time that I felt passionate when I spoke. I went home with a love renewed and a voice unearthed.
This blog launched 27 days later.
And thank God for that. This humble little spot of the web read by friends and family, friends of friends and lately, a smattering of strangers too, reconnected me with me.
Weeks after that first post, I realized I was thinking again. Not just about what to make for dinner or how to cross the street with four kids without getting mown down by impatient drivers. I was lingering on language and emotions now, friendships, books and politics. Making connections and considering broad views. I wasn't just solving crises, I was thinking "what if."
I didn't feel like a mom zombie anymore. I felt "engaged." With my own life and the life around me.
I cannot overstate how transformative this simple spot has been.
In the last year, I went through menopause and thought I was losing my mind. Writing about the internal tumult anchored me. I watched my oldest, my soulmate in many regards, go off to school and I worked through the loss over a series of essays.
I recall reading once that people blog for different reasons - some to work their shit out. Oh, man, did I work some shit out.
I also got a job offer, was asked to collaborate on a book, traveled to New York City, made new friends, discovered kick-ass photographers and found a treasure trove of heart-stopping, hilarious, inspirational writing.
It's been an exhilarating start of a journey that I hope takes me to new cities, stokes new emotions and kinship, brings unexpected blessings and liberates new voices.
Thank you so much for reading along with me, for your encouragement and kind words. I hear from you in the comments, on the sidewalk, at the park, in personal e-mails. And I love every single encounter.
While I consider the blog a special place of my own, I envision it less as a bedroom for one than a farm table for many. I hope that in the coming year, I can foster more of a sense of community in the comments. So that when you come here, you don't just hear my story but her's and her's and his and their's.
Before I look ahead, though, I must stop now and say "Happy Birthday, blog" and a gigantic, heartfelt "Thank you" to my high school friend, Soo, without whom there wouldn't be a birthday to toast. Soo, I owe you the moon. And my mind.