Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude

I don't even know what to say right now.

When I was a little girl, my parents gave my first (and only) a Lisa Frank Diary.  Anyone who was of that age group, or currently has kids probably fondly remembers those.  I actually gave one to the kiddo for her 9th birthday.  But that is my earliest memory of writing.  And as a matter of fact, I still have it somewhere in what my friends and the boyfriend-that-was dubbed "the creepy room", aka the small storage room in the back of my apartment.  I stumbled across it in a fit of purge-y rage a few years back and actually stopped to read it.  I was one dramatic little girl, but that is where I started writing. 

Following that, there were a string of "Book Fairs".  Every year my Elementary School would encourage students to write books and then have an open house where parents and friends came to read and comment on books.  It was fun and  major encouragement for a little girl who liked to write stories and draw pictures until one year I ventured into poetry.  That year, the Library Director chose to pull my book because there were some dark references which she felt to be clear evidence of "plagiarism" (there wasn't any, I was just a dark and morbid little girl).  Needless to say, I was crushed upon reading the note she included suggesting plagiarism (with some free criticism of my writing, a "professional's opinion" of me as a child and what I should/should not know or understand and the advice not to ever show it to anyone) when my book was returned weeks after the Book Fair.  Minus a stint as a teen during which I never shared my poetry, and one poem in my college Creative Writing class...I never wrote poetry again.

I also didn't write anything aside from journaling, school papers and essays again until High School when I decided to join the newspaper at the insistence of my favorite English teachers. I then spent my 2 years there working with the newspaper, a year and a half of which I edited it.  Then a stint in college where I was a "English Major by default", which I called myself due to the fact that I took English classes left and right that weren't offered at my high school, but did not have a declared major as I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

Which leads me to where I am now.  For many years, I ignored writing as a personal outlet.  A little over a year ago I began blogging on a fitness and weight-loss website about the things people were frequently asking about on the forums...a way to share the knowledge I was learning as I was slowing losing weight.  But I grew unhappy with feeling like I had to censor myself to just write about those things, and the other things I wanted to write about had no place there. 

I then started my first blog.  A short lived project where, unfortunately, I spewed a lot of the things I should have been writing about as a form of release for years.  I'm not going to lie...it was kind of negative and bitchy. 

When I started "More Than Cheese and Beer", the goal was to explore my inner growing Foodie, share those previous blogs I found to be informational and move past the stereotype that Midwest Cooking is just about Cheese and Beer (because sometimes, it feels that way).  The intent was never to really be "real", but after scooting around on the Internet and making some friends I realized how stifled I felt by the restrictions of being "non-offensive" and only writing about things that, while I have a passion for food, weren't my day to day and didn't really reflect me as a person.   More Than Cheese and Beer became truly that...MORE.

And so...here we are.  For years people encouraged me to write and for years, I pushed it off.  There is a level of fear every time I write and "publish" something...the most persistent and probing one being "Is anyone going to read this and actually understand where I'm coming from and what I'm trying to say?" and the second most persistent, "Will they Laugh?"

Believe it or not, it's important to me.  I like to relate.  I like to make people laugh.  If there is anything I've learned in my short time it's that...for the most part, we all share the same situations and the same bullshit.  While we all process and feel things differently, but we're all in it together.  There is no reason we can't crack a joke at the inevitable truths in life.  

Blah, blah, blah....I'm rambling.  Sorry.  What I'm trying to get to is, while I understand that numbers, social media, and "Likes" by way of Fuckerberg are incredibly fickle ways of gauging whether or not people are actually reading (and liking) what I write, it still feels like an incredible validation for something I'm now beginning to realize that I always wanted to do.

Being able to share, be silly, and fucking laugh about the bullshit that happens in this life and having people laugh and agree with me (or contribute details I've forgotten) is the most incredible feeling.  I've always believed that loneliness is not the absence of people, but rather the lack of people who understand you...at this moment, I don't think I've ever felt less lonely.  

Since starting down this path, I've met some incredible people.  People who inspire me to go ahead and be my authentic, swear-y, crude, sarcastic and awesome self.  In many ways, however, I've been afraid to put myself out there for fear of being as misunderstood as I sometimes feel in my every day life.  But then yesterday, something curious happened. 

During my new Sunday Confessions venture, a fellow blogger I've come to call a friend made her first confession....she loves me (Read full confessional HERE).  Me AND our fellow "Bloggy Friends" as I like to call them.  I was needlessly worried about being misunderstood; The fear that I would take on this faux "online personality" in people's minds wasn't valid and I realized this when she wrote this:

I love these women that I’ve never met.  Because I DO know them, and they know me.  We share our lives and commiserate with each other when it feels like no one else is listening.  I can post something bitchy and get a message offering to talk in less than 3 minutes.  And what is love if not offering to listen to someone else bitch and moan?
I love you, awesome nerds.  You all have really fat hearts, and that’s what counts.
To be understood, to be known, even just a little bit....it's an amazing feeling.  And I get that every time I get another Like, another positive comment, and with every bit of encouragement to keep going.

So, if you're still reading this....Thank You.  Thank you for reading and sharing what I write.  Thank you for the comments both on the blog and on Facebook.  Thank you for the encouraging words and understanding.  Thank you for being a part of this thing that is becoming a goal, a dream, and a passion for me.  Thank you for taking the time to know, laugh with, and hopefully understand (just a little) ME.


2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support. Thank you for being so very much more than cheese and beer. (Even though I have this cheddar beer soup that makes me feel like i have died and gone to heaven.....) Any way, thank YOU for being YOU.

    XOXO

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle. I might just have to steal that recipe from you!

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