Why a Blog (and not a journal)? – in three parts
I love the Internet. I’ve loved it since I got my first email address in 1992 and built my first web site in 1994.
Meatspace is not always comfortable for an introvert like me, but I have met friends, colleagues, partners, and a whole whack of other fascinating people online. Some of these connections have moved from “virtual” to “real” life. Many haven’t. Either way is a-ok.
Blogging seems like a good way to keep meeting people. This blog doesn’t have a focus or theme, beyond being open to all the things that interest me, that I am curious about, that I hope to learn, or that piss me off. The backbone for now is book reviews, simply because I read a lot, and committing to doing a short review of every book I read will keep me at the keyboard. So the book reviews are my blogging discipline, but the posts will roam around social justice, feminism, big dogs, making art, writing, trying to think about the world and my place in it, embracing my anger and using it to create change, any shade of purple, drawing and painting, big trees, DJing, growing veggies, learning new things (latest new things: knitting and photography and digital photo editing–a slow slog but I really want to learn them!), weaving, dog training, queer theories, being happily single, mental health (especially depression and anxiety), stigma reduction and harm reduction, women in music, migrants, culture, anarchism, permaculture, making music, and whatever else pops up.
There are so many things I want to know more about and do research on and read people’s opinions about! One of my blogging goals is to keep learning from others.
For much of my childhood, a dominant message was that I should be seen and not heard, that my opinions were unimportant and unwelcome, that my ideas were foolish, that my dreams were ridiculous, and that my interests were frivolous and unsuitable for the proper human tasks of following a profession, making money, and acquiring status.
I feel so very lucky to have overcome a lot of the damage those messages caused me, but one thing I still struggle with is my right to speak out loud. Often, I don’t really believe I am allowed to speak, and when I do speak, I often have to manage significant anxiety before, during, and afterward. One way I deal with this is by not speaking first, but rather by “barking back”—reacting to things around me. I am like my Brindle Dog who reacts to so many things with anxiety and suspicion, but who actually thrives on friendly interactions and new experiences.
I’m blogging to start reaching out in the world again, after years of lying fallow. I want to create a relatively safe place to say what I want to say, and to connect with other people, and sometimes just to throw my rants out into the world because to swallow them silently is like poison.
Barbara Kingsolver wrote “Let me be a good animal today.”
You know that voice deep in the belly, the gut instinct, your intuition? It is so hard sometimes to hear it clearly, and harder yet to heed it in a world that doesn’t take it seriously. I am not a religious or spiritual person. I am an atheist who cares deeply about compost. The belief that I have is in the rightness of what I call my “good animal voice.” The practice connected to that belief is the effort to live my life well, with compassion and empathy and consideration, with an understanding of the past and a concern for the future, with every effort to listen very closely to my good animal voice and understand that even when everything is overwhelming, I can do the next little thing, take the next step that leads toward health and wholeness. I try every day to be a good animal.
I fail, of course. I fail miserably every fucking day. Every hour, it sometimes feels like. But I keep trying, and I keep learning, and when people are interested, I try to teach what I’ve learned. I pick myself up and shake myself off like the dogs, and go on both barking back at the world and listening to the voice deep down telling me which way to go next.
I look forward to meeting others—maybe you—on this spiraling road.
This post was written as the first assignment from Blogging 101: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post on your blog. Then I realised it was the About page I was trying to write. So here it is! It still exists as a post because I didn’t want to lose the lovely comments!