Ten Years Later



What am I doing with a blog?
 
That’s what I asked myself in my very first post on The Seated View. Which was ten years ago today. I also thought (briefly) that I didn’t have much to say.

Almost 1500 posts later, I think we know the answer to that one.

So, what did I do with a blog?

Ten years ago, I was a few months into rebuilding my life from a pile of rubble and ashes. I still had very little energy, the weakness of being really sick with an intense RA flare permeating all of me and my life. Yet, the joy of this second chance permeates the posts of that first month on the blog. 


When I think of where I was in May 2005 and then look at where I am now, it brings an awed stillness within. My current concept of having very little energy is light-years from what it was back then when I could barely drag myself through the day. My stamina, my strength, my range have all grown exponentially and are still growing.

On the surface, The Seated View is about many things — life with RA, fibro, chronic pain, disability, great movies and books, family, a teensy photography obsession, and more. They’re all connected, though. Connected to a central thread of advocacy. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it is more subtle. Always, it comes back to sharing my life with chronic illness and disability. To end the silence imposed on people like me, to reach out to others, to build community.

Which is a fancy way of saying that The Seated View is a place where I think out loud and talk to my friends.

This blog has brought me a multitude of gifts. Writing practice that eventually led to a book or two, some awards, my dream job (I celebrated seven years with HealthCentral last month!), opportunities to advocate for accessibility, healthcare equality, and fine-tuning my skill with a camera.

A wholly unexpected gift — and the one that really truly matters — is something else entirely.

I have lived most of my life without knowing others like me. When I was a child, I was the one who had the most severe case of juvenile arthritis. When I left hospital at 16, I went into the “normal” world where there were no one like me. And I stayed there, finding wonderful friends who were like me in many ways, but none of them had RA or a disability. And it didn’t matter, because you don’t make friends based on what you are, but on who you are.

Except it turns out that it did matter, after all. RA is a basic part of me, it’s one of the pieces that built my core. And it wasn’t until I went online and started meeting others who in that central way were like me, that I realized something had been missing. It was — and continues to be — a profound and overwhelming thing.

I found my tribe online after a lifetime of being alone with RA and disability.


This blog is still alive and thriving because I feel at home online in a very unique way. And it’s because of my tribe. They don’t all have a chronic illness or disability, though. Because just like in real life, you make friends because of who you are, not what you are. My tribe is also filled with knitters, photographers, goofy people, bookworms, Tink freaks, and many others. And it is a joy to talk to you all.

Life has been very, very good to me. About a month ago, Kirsten — who I met through the blog way back in the beginning — said “you were so unhappy all those years ago … and now you are living in the sun!” Her words have stuck with me, because they are so true.

This blog started with joy and even with some dips here and there, the joy is still here. This is the place where I share that and where I receive so much joy back. Because of my tribe.

Because of you, the sun shines brightly here.


Thank you for being with me these past ten years. Let’s see what the next ten bring.
   

Comments

Tillykke! 10 years allowing me to follow you more closely than otherwise posisible, thanks Sister in Ca.
Kirsten said…
Here we are, ten years later! We must be in our late 20's or something, eh?
I'm looking at your photograph on the wall, the one of the pool, remember? Still great.
Hello Lene,

Thank you for sharing and advocating for everyone for these past ten years!
Anonymous said…
We love you, too!

Judith in Ottawa