12: Blogiversary Thoughts on How We Learn from Each Other

Way back in the beginning of my blogging career, no one told me that I would learn far more than I would teach.

Much of blogging — particularly in the beginning — feels a bit one-sided.

Someone once told me that with a blog I was “in a position to inform.” This made me feel as if I should put together a terms of reference and an ethics board before publishing a post about my latest reality show obsession. Despite its somewhat high mindedness, that statement has lurked in my brain for years, reminding me that when I put information on my blog, I have a responsibility. To post accurate information, to use proper attribution, and in general follow the rules I was taught in university. Because if a reader were to learn something through information I share, I’d better do my best to make sure it isn’t fake news.

The point of having readers is to produce stuff that they can read. Otherwise why would they come to your site? So although you know that blogging is a conversation, there often is a sense that you are the person in charge (if you will) of that conversation. That without your posts, the conversation wouldn’t happen. At least not around you — there’s plenty of other conversation on the Internet.
But conversation involves at the very least two people. If it didn’t, it’d be called a monologue. And there are gems in that conversation.

Over the last 12 years, I have been so very lucky in finding a lovely bunch of friends whom I have never met in person. This doesn’t matter at all and certainly doesn’t make our friendship any less deep. I learned this after last year’s medical adventure when several told me they’d thought seriously about hopping on a plane to sit by my bedside in the ICU.

In the past 12 years, I’ve found my tribe, a community in which a very deep part of me belongs. A part that was alone for a very long time.

And over the 12 years since I first started this blog, I have learned so much. I am a different person today that I was back then and much of that is due to the conversations I’ve had with you, the wonderful people who read my blog. With friends, both online and off. And in the conversations held on the websites of others.

Should you decide to read this blog from the beginning (that’s not an actual suggestion), you’d find a recurring theme. There are a lot of posts in which I talk about my frustration about not getting a lot done, of my chronic illness getting in the way of writing books, answering email, and vanquishing The List. Repeatedly, I’ve claimed to learn a different perspective, that I and my body together get to decide what gets done. Basically, that The List is not the boss of me. And repeatedly, I then proceed to prove myself wrong. Repeat at nauseam.

But it turns out that maybe I am just a very slow learner, at least in this area.

Self-care is the hot new concept all over the Internet and especially in the chronic illness community. I am notoriously bad at it, which is hysterically funny considering I wrote an entire book containing self-care tips.

And then something interesting happened. I was exhausted last week — completely and utterly drained. So I wrote my Producer and let her know that I wasn’t going to meet a deadline and we’d have to see about possible rejigging of priorities this week. Because I knew that if I didn’t step back right that minute, I’d get sick again and even further behind. And then I spent several days sleeping, reading, and watching YouTube videos. This is definite progress.

The fact that I’m posting this today, instead of my actual 12th Blogiverary on May 5 is, I think, another sign that I am learning. Both Thursday and Friday, I spent quite some time thinking about writing a post for the 5th. Then I went back to my book, my bed, and YouTube.

And I couldn’t have done it without you. Because of the conversations we’ve had, I’m finally learning to actually and truly let me and my body decide.

Thank you for that.


Kirsten said…
I love you so much! Thank you for sharing!
Rick Phillips said…
Happy Blogaversary!! You have raised the bar.

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