Time Warp Tuesday: Blogging and Belonging

It’s that time again! Time for the Time Warp!

This week’s theme is “blogging,” a topic I suggested and have evidently written a lot about. A quick search through my archives made that abundantly clear – it we really hard for me to pick a single entry to look back on.

In the end I chose a piece that I really like, and that was actually syndicated on BlogHer a while back (though I did nothing to promote it – I’m not sure why – I think the whole thing kind of freaked me out). It didn’t get much attention here (or on BlogHer for that matter) so I thought I’d revisit it. Especially since I have something to say on the matter.

The piece is called Once Upon a Blog. Why don’t you go check it out. It’s cool. I’ll wait. 😉

I wrote that piece almost six months ago, when I was feeling a bit down about blogging. It wasn’t that I was down really, I was just unsure of where I was going. I’d been blogging for almost two years at the point, I was approaching 500 published posts. I was watching friends get put on well trafficked best-of lists or branching out into other venues on the Internet. As I contemplated the places that people can go with their blogs – and realized I would likely not follow in their footsteps – I wondered what my end game should be. Would I keep writing just for the love of it? Was that even possible? I had tasted the sweet nectar of recognition (200 hits in one day!) and it was hard to keep writing knowing I may never gain a bigger following. When time was so precious and scarce, I just wasn’t sure I could validate my commitment here.

The whole point of that piece was that I wasn’t sure why I was writing anymore. I wasn’t (and still am not) suffering through a great tragedy in my life. I didn’t (and don’t) necessarily need the support of others. While I continued to (and still do) love to write for writing’s sake, I just wasn’t sure it was worth it. I just wasn’t sure what I was doing here.

I’m still not, to be honest. It’s been six months and I still can’t articulate why I return here, day after day, to put myself out there in such a raw and honest way. I honestly am not sure why I continue blogging. I guess the only thing that has changed since I wrote that piece is that I’m okay with not being sure. I no longer feel the need to have an end game, a goal to work towards and accomplish.

I think I starting wondering about an end game in the first place because I still don’t feel like I really belong in this community. If I did, I think being a part of it would be enough. But I don’t feel like I belong. I’m not infertile. I’ve only ever experienced one early pregnancy loss. And while I can wax philosophical about how my mother’s (and by being her daughter, my own) experiences affected me, about how I was shaped by the loss of my sisters, both older and younger, by my brothers who were born dead, the truth is they are really my mother’s story, not mine. I go around writing posts, like yesterday’s, that might ring true with infertiles but they are based on different experiences.

While an IFer might break down at a “whoops” pregnancy announcement because they know that will probably never happen to them, because they had to fight tooth and nail to achieve their own pregnancy (or are still fighting), I would cry at it because if I accidentally got pregnant my partner would be mortified. Our house would be full of anger, resentment and fear, not joy. I never thought a pregnancy would be something we would need to avoid at all costs until a very specific window, during which time we’d struggle to achieve it. I just didn’t think that is what family building would be like. That sentiment might ring true with others in the ALI, but my experience is not the same as being physically unable to get or stay pregnant, of having to spend all your savings on the chance, and not even a good one, of having a baby. It’s not the same. And I’m reminded of it every single day when I read others’ posts and feel like a fake, a fraud.

I often wonder if I would feel this way if I were blogging in a different community, if the simple community would be enough if I were read by mommy-bloggers (god I hate that term) who are chronicling their lives with children. Not that I want to do that. I’m sure I could if I really wanted to, but I don’t. The truth is I feel more a fraud there than here. Actually, “fraud” is not the right term. It’s more like I feel I don’t belong. I have little to say to mommy-bloggers. That which first drew me to the IF community colors my perspective so completely that the “mommy-blogger” arena feels far less authentic to me than this one.

It’s interesting that this discussion about why I blog morphed into a discussion about my blogging community. The two are obviously closely intertwined, maybe even more so than I realize. I guess I went off on this tangent because right now I’m blogging for the community more than anything else. I don’t want to write a book and I hardly ever check my stats anymore, but I look forward to people’s comments on my posts, to commenting on the posts of other people. I guess that is why I decided to stay in the Land of Blog. At least for the time being.

6 responses

  1. I really meant to write on this topic, and I totally forgot! Need to get back to Time Warping.

    When I started my blog, I had a 2-year-old. Infertility was pretty much in my past, and as I wasn’t planning on trying for another for awhile, I didn’t think about it much. And yet I knew this was the community I wanted to be a part of. At first Mel didn’t want to list me on her blogroll because my blog had nothing about IF on it. So I added some – I had to be here. My blog will never have a lot of readers, but I am so grateful for the ones I have – like you. 🙂

    There are all kinds of struggles related to pregnancy and childbearing. And there are those who get that and those who don’t. I think in general, bloggers in the ALI community are more introspective rather than just “wow, look at my kid!”

    I’m going nowhere with this comment and it’s turning into a post. Just wanted to say you’re not the only one who feels that way.

  2. I love this community, too … I feel like this is my tribe, even though I don’t talk much about infertility and loss any more. I’m not really active in food blogger circles, because I think about more than just food. I’m not a mommy blogger … I hardly ever talk about my kids. Mel’s blogroll is the only place where I feel I belong, even if I don’t really belong. Does that make sense?

    And for me, blogging is also about community and connection … otherwise, I’d have a journal. 🙂

  3. I feel like $&@# that I didn’t know when that post was syndicated. I would have pimped the crap out of it! I’m going to go on BlogHer now and find it.

    It’s a wonderful post, and really raises a lot of questions: can any of us make it as bloggers only (no, it seems), should we try, and where does it end? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, nor does my blog have a point (or it won’t after Jan 1, 2012). I agree with Justine that I just don’t fit anywhere but the ALI community.

  4. “I guess the only thing that has changed since I wrote that piece is that I’m okay with not being sure. I no longer feel the need to have an end game, a goal to work towards and accomplish.”

    Awhile back I heard an expression that I just love, its a bit cheesy, but it works for me, “joy is in the journey!”

    I appreciate that you no longer feel the need to have an end game and that you are content to write and share here for the sake of writing and sharing here (and connecting with others), not because you are necessarily trying to accomplish something.

    I am glad that blogging has given you such a great sense of community and I am sorry that right now you are struggling some with where and if you belong as a writer.

    I have never really thought about trying to be a part of other communities of bloggers. Not to say that I haven’t ever read and commented outside of our ALI Community, but since this is where I started, it has always just felt right and comfortable for me.

    I don’t have a lot more to say about this topic, but really enjoyed the post you chose to reflect on this week and what you have shared about your life and experience since you wrote it. Thank you again for being such a great supporter of Time Warp Tuesdays (and me)! I look forward to visiting, reading and commenting on your blog the weeks you participate (which is more often than not) and in the new year I want to try get to your blog more often, to read and comment (aside from Time Warping).

    Though I know we aren’t as close as some of you and your besty bloggy friends (I don’t read, comment and tweet nearly enough to keep up), I am still grateful that somehow we entered each other’s worlds, as I really appreciate what you write and share here and am glad that end game or not, you intend to keep blogging for yourself and for the community that respects and adores you and your writing so much! xoxo

  5. Finding this community was a godsend. And, like you, I’m no longer a perfect fit because I’m not TTC and I feel I’ve moved passed the point where IF matters.

    But. I know the neighborhood. I remember what all that feels like. I am parenting after IF.

    And I get to meet way cool and articulate women like you and your commenters.

    This is a special community. I blog because of it, and I’m glad you do, too.

  6. How funny, since I wasn’t able to read blogs in the last week or so, I had no idea you had posted this the day before my post about somewhat the same thing. I had even written that in 5 minutes because I knew if I didn’t get it out, it was going to disrupt the work I needed to get done. I know I said it on the original post (which I loved to read again, btw), that I’m so glad you blog in this community. And like I said on my post the day after this one, I don’t think of you as a fraud because you understand this pain. And that understanding separates you from the majority of other women out there. And that’s enough in my eyes for you to be in this community. Like other people have said, there’s certainly no pain olympics.

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