This is my hundredth blog post. A hundred is a big number. That’s a lot of words, a lot of thoughts. A lot of days. Back on 27th May (I’ve missed a few days, here and there) I announced to the world: So now I have a blog. This was my haltering attempt to put myself into the world, and to convince myself that I was worth putting into the world. That I am (present tense) worth putting into the world.
I have learned the following:
1. Having a blog is a big commitment. It’s sometimes easy – words flow and my thoughts make sense and I feel like what I’m doing is worthwhile. Often, though, it’s hard – I stare at an empty screen and the random words floating around in my head like so many aimless goldfish refuse to come together in any coherent pattern.
2. Sometimes, just sometimes, when I’m struggling, something happens to remind me that having a blog is actually worthwhile. Someone makes a comment, either on the blog itself (thanks, commenters!) or privately, and I am reminded anew why I do this. The fact that these comments – these little boosts of energy and commitment – come right when I’m struggling is perhaps reflective of something. What, I’m not sure yet. But I am reminded that I do this for a reason. And that it’s a good reason.
3. I am learning to feel. Having a blog is helping me to reflect on my feelings. And it forces me to articulate my feelings rationally and logically, because real people read them.
4. Having a blog is forcing me to be honest about my feelings. Again, because real people read them. And there’s nothing worse than reading nice neat pre-fabricated socially-acceptable politically-correct psuedo-emotions. If I’m putting it out there, then it has to be honest. And that means I have to be honest with myself.
5. Being honest also means standing up for myself. Standing up about what happened to me and what the consequences are. So often we are silent about the violence that takes place behind closed doors, within closed minds. This is my way of shouting (quietly, but shouting nonetheless): Yes, this happens. It happened to me. Statistically, it’s probably happening to someone you know, tonight, tomorrow night. And we are not alone. We think we are, but we aren’t.
6. I’m also being honest about my mental health. I work in the mental health field, and there’s still a stigma about mental illness. I have a mental illness. Just as the body breaks down under stress, so does the mind. I’m putting it back together again. It’s bloody hard. And painful and sometimes messy. Often inconvenient. But writing about it in the blog reminds me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
7. I’m learning not to be ashamed in general, either. I spent ten years learning that I’m worth nothing, I’m a waste of space, I’m useless and stupid and if anyone really gets to know me they’ll discover that too. And it turns out all those things aren’t true. It turns out I do have value, and that people still like me despite getting to know me. Putting myself out into the blogosphere, even in such a small way, forces me to live this knowledge, as well as just write about it.
8. I am worth putting into the world. I am worth being in the world. I don’t take up that much space compared to other human beings over the age of twelve (or so I’ve been told) but I deserve the space I take up. Every square inch of it. Including those virtual inches of it which exist as this blog.
9. It is very hard to type when the cat insists on sitting on the keyboard and head-butting my hand. But it’s a lovely problem to have.
10. I really can’t spell worth a damn, and the inventor of spell-check needs both a medal and then a good slap.
Not bad for the first hundred. Roll on century number two.