Friday, April 10, 2009
Until about 6 months ago, I couldn't really tell you why I blog. Interestingly enough I've been at it for about 5 years now and you'd think after all that time I'd know. This week I had a look back at my archives and was clear about 2 things: that i used to swear a lot in posts and that i am incredibly thankful that I do this.
As a teenager I journalled pretty intensely, having got into it through an outdoor/experiential education program I took in high school which gave me an 'out of the box' school experience. It was part of our coursework to journal and, well, I never looked back. I feel like blogging is like journaling's cousin, with close family ties but very unique lives of their own. Its a place both to work through things and to embody space and put myself 'out there'. A place to be safe as well as vulnerable and sometimes just a way to work on showing up. Something that only really changed in the last while was that this became a way to connect with people.
Now, connecting with people hasn't really been my forte in the last few years. I'd gone into a depression a few years back and ever since then I've been in a bit of a bubble of solitude. I found it really hard to connect with people again, especially some friendships that already existed in my life. You see, I'm not the person I used to be. I used to be much more of a supportive friend, one to come to in crisis, one who'd do anything for you. But all of that giving got used up and there I was with an empty well and nothing left to give. So I sat at the bottom of the giving well for a while and tried to see if I could cry it full. That didn't work either so I climbed out of the well of emptiness, found a camera and started filling the well up with beauty, hope and self-understanding.
Since those days I've kept my friendship circle kind of small, feeling really awkward and unsure of how to connect with people. I mean really connect. What does that mean? How does that look or feel? What creates that? Am I really connecting with the friends I have? Is there really space for the authentic me in my friendships? Why do some connections happen instantly and others go at a snail's pace? I consumed myself with these questions for a while, as I still sat in my solo bubble.
And then I came to california...
Seriously, a change of scene does wonders for the soul. I swear I worry far less about things outside my control these days. I stopped worrying about connecting and started doing it. When I first arrived I was amazed at how powerful it felt to simply connect with strangers through kind smiles, how easy it was to strike up a conversation with people in the neighbourhood I'm staying in, how much of a community feeling there was. I've learned what an important part of connection this is. To feel seen and like a part of something, even when alone, gives me a place to begin.
One of the loveliest of treats in this trip has been connecting with some new friends. These ladies above just warm my heart right up. We went out for dinner at cafe gratitude this week and it was so nice to be in the company of such wise, creative, sassy, lovely women. Honestly, in connecting with two I haven't even pondered all of those former worries. Kate is writer, photographer and blogger and Valerie a photographer and all-round creative lady as well as a blog reader (and hopefully a blogger someday if we're lucky) and it just felt like we had some beautiful solid ground to begin connecting on. I'm totally sad that I'm leaving soon as it feels like we've just begun some seriously awesome friendships. Thankfully we still have some time to pack in lots of hanging out!
Thats what I'm realizing about this whole blogging thing. That its not just about me. Not at all. Its about telling my stories and discovering myself and what inspires me and putting it out there in the hopes that someone will relate to it and that we will each feel a little more seen or understood.
Not only have I made a few fabulous new friends, but have tracked down an incredible one from years back (caroliiiiiiiinnnnnne) and have been able to connect with fabulous women around the globe. In this time we live in where we have the means to create connection outside of the bubble of our own community, I can't help but think it makes life all the more richer.
When I used to read blog posts somewhat like this one I would totally feel jealous. Why is everyone out their in the blogging world becoming new best friends while I'm just sitting here alone? I feel like I'm coming to realize that connection is far more simple than I thought. Its really just about reaching out with openness, hope and authenticity and then experiencing the ways that paths do or don't intersect.
And being out of the bubble of solitude? It feels kind of like this afternoon when the sun came out after a week of rain and I put on my sundress and I just let it fall on my shoulders and remind me that everything comes around again and that winter always thaws into spring.