You know what? Blogging is work. I mean, it's work, like. . .in a good way. But still. It requires a level of commitment that is tough sometimes.
My blog has become a good friend. A loyal one, too, that patiently waits for me to finish my thoughts and complete my sentences. She doesn't limit me to certain word counts nor does it offend her when I drop the occasional F-bomb.
But again. Like any really meaningful relationship, it calls for some sacrifice. And that's hard when other parts of your life call for it, too.
Over the last six months or so, my life got even busier than it had been before. I began tinkering with writing a book along with a lot of other stuff in my professional and personal lives that have called for more of my time. So I'd start blog posts and leave them sitting like half eaten sandwiches in elementary school lunch boxes. Perfectly good to eat but, after a while, overshadowed by something else on the menu.
Per the stats, the readership went down. Significantly from what the counters showed me and, at first, I felt guilty about it. I would worry that I needed to write something but would argue with myself that I'd promised never to fold this into the list of life's burdensome demands. So yeah. With larger spaces between posts, the numbers crept down more. And here lately I'm realizing that ,for the most part, it has to be cool. Not cool as in "I don't care" but cool because it's just the way of this kind of world and a nice little reminder that writing has to come from a genuine, courageous and honest place. Not one that's forced or that clamors for comments or hits on a post.
Wait. I take that back. For those who blog for a living, they should consider that. But since I don't, I suppose it's good for grounding me a bit, you know? And as I think of it, that probably happens to a lot of bloggers who've been at this longer than me. And so. I've been pondering all of that. And I feel myself plugging back in to the reason I first felt so hungry to write here in the first place.
The other day I refreshed my stats and comments page before going to bed and saw a sagging three-digit number of hits for a twenty four hour period. And zero comments. Then I thought of some of my favorite blogs over the years and how they started to dwindle at some point. I checked in several times in a row and saw no activity and eventually just stopped checking. Just maybe, they exist somewhere again but since I no longer look, I don't know it.
I also recall how much time I've spent savoring the delicious words of so many of my fellow bloggers and how they'd become real, true friends, albeit virtual ones. On a lot of the days where I just can't finish out my whole thoughts into my own blog, I silently savor theirs. But when life gets really busy, even that is hard. So I lose my grasp on that part of the "blog world" as well.
I guess I'm just rambling about this because blogging is such an interesting reality. It's communal yet lonely at the same time. It's like talking to a bunch of friends and babbling in a corner by yourself simultaneously. Which evokes an equally pendulous set of emotions if you engage in it. I do think it's much realer than a lot of other forms of social media and, though more time consuming, a lot more rewarding.
For me, at least. On most days, that is.
So despite the complexities, I am feeling very grateful tonight. To this platform and to any person who has even read here a single time. Because all of it--the collective--has saved my life over and over and over again. It has helped me to remove many masks and pull the covers back on the me that hides from even myself. It has given me solace during my darkest days and a midnight canvas for bursting fireworks in vivid colors with each triumph. I've found refuge here when insecure, bored, afraid, confused, and conflicted. And on those days that started out with me flying on one gimpy wing, I turned to this, the written word, and found myself lifted high into the clouds on a brand new pair.
And soar, I do.
And so. Today I regroup. I return to my blog as a steadfast friend. . . just as I have since 2009. The one who forgives my imperfections and inconsistency. The one who was easy to fall in love with because of her paucity of rules and regulations and her gentle nudges to live a life filled with more intention and authenticity.
So I will write. No matter what. When I can. How I can. So I can.
Honestly? I write this blog to share the human aspects of medicine + teaching + work/life balance with others and myself -- and to honor the public hospital and her patients--but never at the expense of patient privacy or dignity.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
"One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends of how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
~ James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
"Do it for the story." ~ Antoinette Nguyen, MD, MPH
Details, names, time frames, etc. are always changed to protect anonymity. This may or may not be an amalgamation of true,quasi-true, or completely fictional events. But the lessons? They are always real and never, ever fictional. Got that?