Sunday, March 18, 2012

Explanation

My intent in writing this isn't to divulge every detail that you never cared to know nor is it to have you pull up a chair alongside me on my pity pot, but I think there are some things that might give a little insight to the recent back and forth in my blog with making it private and then public again.  I realize this is very long-winded but I think it will make the picture a little clearer.

I'll start from where I think would be a good place to start.  As I'm sure many mothers can relate, the birth of my fourth child brought with it some pretty big changes- more busyness, less sleep, more to do, and less time to do it in.  That also came along with a period of readjusting and redefining myself to adapt to my circumstances.  During that readjustment process (which for some reason seems to have taken a LONG time this go round) a number of things have dropped off my plate in the process- some deliberately, others not so much like regular exercising, sound sleep, yadda, yadda.  It's the story of almost every mom anywhere in the world.  

But the other night as I was struggling to fall asleep yet again at 2am, I thought, “What has happened to me?”  It's not just the big things- it's the little things too.  My organizational skills, my ability to set a goal and follow through with it, my time management skills, my self-discipline- they all seem to be ghostly remnants from a former life.  What were once strengths are now desperate weaknesses. I no longer find time for friendships or things that in the past had kept me not only afloat, but swimming.  From the outside very little may seem to have changed, but from the inside, at times I can barely recognize myself.  

While things were (and still are) hard in some ways, there are many things that have kept me going.  I've discovered a passion for photography (that's a word I generally avoid using but I've found that it really has become a passion).  I've enjoyed being a wife and a mother more than I ever have before.  Reading the scriptures has brought them to life in a way they never have before.  

And then there is my blog- one of the few things that keeps me feeling connected to the outside world (when you live in Suburbia, Idaho with four kids ages 7 and under, that's not always an easy thing to find).  It challenges me to process my thoughts and to verbalize what it is that makes me tick.  There's something about the process of verbalizing my thoughts that demystifies them.  I put my finger on whatever elusive concept it is I struggle to make sense of.  Old people do Sudoku and crossword puzzles to ward off insanity… I blog.

When I started my blog, I started it with the intent of creating a connection with other people.  I feel connected and close to people when I read their blogs so I hoped this would do the same for other people that lived for away or even perhaps that lived near by.

I realized before I started that in some ways stepping foot into the blogging world can be like stepping foot back into high school and I braced myself for it.  The popularity contests, keeping up with so and so who seems to have it all together, and the criticism that comes along with it- it’s all out there in the blogging world.  

But I decided that what I was doing was first and foremost for me.  If somewhere along the way people decided they wanted to read my blog, then so be it.  I promised myself I would never recruit readers nor would I allow myself to feel badly if no one commented on what I had written.  As much as I enjoyed the feedback, I couldn’t let that be my primary motivator.

As time went on, I realized some of the things I had said had rubbed some people the wrong way and hurt some feelings.  I realize that yes, there have been some very insensitive things I have said and I've beat myself up over it time and time again.  I've stayed awake at night for hours agonizing over this or that thing I said, wishing I could go back in time and shut my big, stupid mouth.  

The more time went on, the more I found myself stressing over things I posted, at times fretting for days over whether what I wrote would be misconstrued or misinterpreted and then come back to bite me in the butt.

Finally I decided I had had enough.  One more thing to stress and lose sleep over was the last thing I needed- so I made my blog private.  As I started going through the process of sending out personal invites to read my blog, I had a realization.  If I was trying to avoid hurt feelings, purposefully excluding and shutting people out wasn't going to help my case- it would only make things worse.  The only way to avoid any further problems, as far as I could see, was to make it completely private, visible only to me and no one else.

At the risk of sounding overly theatrical, after I made that decision, something inside me fell apart. I felt like one of the last remaining remnants of my former self had just been laid to rest.  I literally felt like someone had just died, and that person was me. I cried like a baby for the rest of the day.  I couldn't even think about it without crying. (Yes, this is where I’d be rolling my eyes too)

That's when I realized that my tears weren't about the blog.  It was the feeling that I had just sealed the coffin on the person I used to be.  And what hurt the most was that I like who I used to be and felt I had just given up on her.  But darn her, she has stayed just outside of my grasp for over a year.  What else was I supposed to do?

So I called up a friend who is one of my go-to people for advice.  Once again, I started bawling like a freakin' baby.  I told her that I felt like I had just given up on one of the last remaining pieces of who I used to be.  I was failing miserably at any and all attempts to reconstruct my former self.  I was done.  I was checking out.  And then she did something that startled me.  She started crying too, on the other side of the line.  Her tears made me realize that this loss wasn't only mine.  My throwing in of the towel, not just of the blog but of everything else, affected others around me too and they are people that I care about deeply.  

I had fallen victim to the very thing I had sworn off that plagues not only bloggers but so many others as well, and that is the need for approval.  I was so pathetically lacking in self approval that I couldn't handle the thought of others not approving of me either, and this blog is very much a reflection of me.

So here's my point (finally).  I have never, nor will I ever solicit readers for my blog. I will never have giveaways to entice readers or even have the “followers” icon on my sidebar.  Your choice to read my blog is entirely yours.  Most of my closest friends don't read my blog and that's perfectly fine with me.  I try very hard to speak honestly without offending, even though I’m not always successful.  There is a fine line between being direct and honest, and being a tactless butthead, and that is a line I try hard not to cross, even though unfortunately I will probably still fail from time to time.  I will still love you and we can still have a good relationship if you do not read my blog.  Who knows, it may even make our relationship better if you don’t.   The relationships I have with my family and friends are in the end what buoy me up…not my blog, but there is a sense of self that I have to maintain so I won’t lose my mind.

I hope this is the last blog post that I’ll fret over, as I certainly have.  

12 comments:

Cher said...

i know you weren't talking about me cuz we are mainly virtual friends these days :), but if it's any consolation i have never found any offense in any of your posts. i'm not sure what posts you're even talking about that may have been taken the wrong way. i find all your posts intelligent and enlightening and even if i don't agree, who cares? i like to hear other people's points of view. and i really like connecting with you this way; learning so much about you!
so, i'm glad that you will keep it public and keep on blogging. it's worth it! especially for your own creative outlet and sanity.

jenbwaite said...

I have a confession to make... I have been reading your blog for a while now. I'm Cher's little sister, Jen. You probably don't remember me from Chile because I was about 4 or 5. But, I love reading your blog because I feel like I am getting prepped for when I am a mom. You always have such wise things to say. I like reading your blog because I feel like I LEARN, and it's not a waste of my time. So thank you for allowing me to peek in on your life. :)

Liz Johnson said...

I'm so sorry that all of this has happened to you! And I'm really glad that you haven't stopped blogging - I love reading your thoughts, and there's so much of what you say that echoes exactly how I've been feeling. I'm glad we can be "close" again even if we're 1500 miles away and haven't seen each other in years.

I have often felt that if I'm blogging for any reason other than myself, I'm doing it wrong. I started blogging for that same reason - a creative outlet to engage with people besides my kids, and to process my thoughts. And when I found out my mother-in-law was reading it, I really freaked out, because I've said some pretty crazy stuff on there and the day I found this out, I had written a haiku about my saggy boobs (hahaha). But I, like you, had to make a deliberate choice not to care. It was my blog, and my space, and it was there for me, not for other people. So I salute you in keeping it up, and I hope to see lots more posts!!! Hugs from Indiana!!!

Merrick Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merrick Family said...

Thanks, Cher! I've loved keeping up with you too through your blog. I consider us more than virtual friends since you were one of my BFF's for so many years of my childhood. You better keep up the blogging too because I love your blog.

Merrick Family said...

Thanks, Liz. I appreciate your kind thoughts. I have absolutely loved reading your blog and find myself laughing out loud as I read it. It would be a very sad thing if Liz was ever diluted. So keep it up- posts on saggy boobs and everything else!

Merrick Family said...

See what I mean? I speak before I think way too often. I forgot that Cher doesn't use their real names and I goofed on my reply. So I'll try again- Of course I remember you! I love your family! It would be fun for our families to get together again sometime!

AllisonK said...

An interesting week indeed. My thoughts were along a different vein, but still closely related. Glad you decided to keep it open.

Nashina and Nate Jagielski said...

I have never commented on your blog, or many for that fact. I don't even have one myself. Although i am an avid journal writer/picture taker. But I really enjoy reading yours. I live in Idaho Falls. I am a friend of Cristina's (loved the gorgeous pics you did of her)and found your blog through hers. I went to Ecuador with her. I admire you in so many ways: I admire the mother you are..your frank and candid feelings, your desire to be the best mother you can be(I loved your advise to your sons/daughters posts...I agree whole-heartedly)your genuine and down-to-earth attitude, your beauty and grace,(you seem to have great syle and such natural beauty, your love of running and being fit(and being honest when love handles and belly pooches(speaking for myself) are just not the style we're really wanting to rock..but alas we are mothers and its a season in life right, love the one body that we got right?!), your passion for life and your talents in writing among other things. You seem so great and if I lived where-ever you live I would love to go on a run and just talk and hash out the ins-and-outs of motherhood, of trying to uncover the beautiful soul with-in us...even that inner diva, and just laugh! Thanks for the good reads ;)
P.S. Growing up, I lived about a block away from your Grandpa Blaine Hawkes in St. Anthony. He was an exemplary man and so easy to love. He had a way of making everyone around him feel so important and special. I had the priveledge of knowing both Grandmas too. I learned soo much from those ladies that really formed the person I am today. Salt-of-the-earth people I tell ya!

Merrick Family said...

Wow...what nice things to say! Thank you! I appreciate it. I've also found people through blogging that I've thought, "Hmmm...if we met in real life, I think we could be good friends." That's great that you grew up in St. Anthony. Maybe we crossed paths a time or two and didn't even know it. Yes, my grandparents were wonderful people and I love my Grandma Jane as well very much. She's an amazing lady. Thanks again for the kind words.

Fortunes said...

I love reading your blog. And the thing is...it's your blog, so just put whatever you please :) I use my blog as my scrapbook, because that is the only was it gets done. And give yourself a hug from me because I think you're awesome!

Merrick Family said...

Thanks, Miss Julia. We definitely need to get together. I would love to see you and meet your little guys! I can't believe how you get more beautiful with each passing year! Jeremy is one lucky dog I must say.