Ok, rumors may be a gross exaggeration. I’m not sure anyone is really reading this blog anymore; I’ve barely written anything in months. There would need to be an audience, for there to be rumors. And demise may be a stretch too. I haven’t written much, but I’m alive. And mostly well. Ok, this title may be a bait title. Or, it’s all true. The dictionary provides the following definition of demise: “• the end or failure of an enterprise or institution.” That’s not far off the mark when it comes to Tales From the Motherland. Demise is not too far off the mark, but one might argue that the word rumor stands as bait.
Let me shed some light on this issue and make a humble attempt to explain myself, for whoever shows up. I’ll start at the beginning… So if you’ve been around The Motherland for a while, this is your big chance to slip out quietly. Hit like at the bottom, and I’ll never know. Wink wink. For newcomers–– are there any out there; do I even show up in people’s links? This is how I got to this exaggerated demise.
I started this blog in June of 2011 when my eldest child was getting ready to fly–– not on a trip, not a plane, but from the nest. I was probably peri-menopausal (sorry, TMI, unless you’ve been here long enough to know that nothing is TMI), and I began to really question what I wanted from life. “Me” or “I” had become completely tangled with mom, wife, and I felt like a woman who’d become a cliché, as I surged toward empty nest and mid-life. I didn’t necessarily realize all of this at the time. I just knew that something had to give, and my mental health seemed to be on the absolute edge of the abyss. Not an exaggeration. The name Tales From the Motherland had been kicking around in my thoughts for years, and I’d heard about this thing blogging, but honestly, I knew almost nothing. Ok, that’s an exaggeration; I knew nothing. I Googled it all.
One day I’d Googled enough to get started and I signed up with Word Press and wrote my first post. No one read those first posts. I wrote them; I sent them out into the world, and crickets sang. But I felt better just putting it all down and watching it float off.
Shortly thereafter I ran away from home (as in packed my SUV with everything from rain boots, to food, a flashlight, books, a dressy outfit… in case I went to fancy place, and a full mishmash of things I thought I might need), and I spent 2 glorious weeks in Yellowstone–– a magical place that is perfect for finding peace and silence, and providing space to to dig into inner turmoil. It was divine. I met sexy fly fishermen, a mysterious old man at the top of a mountain, dined alone for those two weeks, and ate some balls. I got lost and was found.
Along the way I had a few–– and by few, I mean 1-3–– people read my posts. I won’t lie, it was a bummer. I wanted to be alone, but as I wrote those posts and sent them out, having no one to read them made my isolation seem that much more real. If you think this is an exaggeration, go back in my vault (on the right side of the main blog page) and check some of those early posts out. You will find likes and views by people who went back, like you, but in the beginning there weren’t even these guys. No one read them when they first came out. But, it was also one of the greatest adventures of my life! I came home refreshed and feeling fierce, and ready to blog.
Shortly after coming home, I wrote a post called The Grass Is Always Greener On Someone Else’s Head, a post that launched my blogging “career.” (The word career is definitely an exaggeration, but I’m running with it). It was Freshly Pressed, the predecessor to WordPress Discover, an honor. I didn’t even notice, because… well, frankly, I was used to not being read. Instead, I showed up at my 30th high school reunion and others told me that I was “famous!” I laughed. I cried. I was stunned. I looked up the word exaggeration. I read and answered every single comment, something I believe in and still do. It’s a lot easier now that my demise has come. Back then I hadn’t really dealt with comments. But at the time I would have responded to a thousand comments vs the 500 that came with that one blog post. I was that excited to just have others finally read my work.
Yada-yada-yada. From there I tumbled head first into the expansive world of blogging, with all its shiny moments and its pitfalls. It’s fun to put your visions and ideas out there and find an audience. It’s fun to connect with other bloggers and readers, who like what you do. I learned how to bring in readers; I figured out how to make each post more enticing. I wrote more often and engaged with other bloggers. I even made friends. Some of those friends were “famous” bloggers and I felt like I was lucky to be part of their group. And when you’re engaged in the comments, others skip over to your page to see what you’re about. Engagement begets more engagement. There are a lot of great bloggers out there and it’s well worth the work and commitment to get to know them. If you’re new to blogging, all the hype about connecting with other bloggers, it’s true. Don’t second guess the process; just do it.
There are folks out there who won’t like you or what you put out and that side can be draining. Trolls are real. There are family and friends who will not always understand or approve of what you put out there; that’s tough to balance and move around. I have two blogs, the other one, The Huntington Chronicles, is a much more intimate look at my family’s experience with Huntington Disease. My posts there have rattled some cages, and that feedback has not always been easy for me to deal with. I feel it’s my right to talk about my experiences with HD, and having family members who have it. I also know that there’s a tight line to walk with that. There are a lot of us out there who need to connect and find solidarity. But it’s also hard for my family members to always feel good about what I say. I don’t write there often, but when I do, it’s very real.
Here on TFTMotherland, my topics vary a lot more, and I find it easier to put my words out there. My kids are not always willing to let me share their stuff. I can’t use pictures for one; I have to change names sometimes; there are things that are totally off limits, and should be. I try really hard to respect their boundaries. I’ve long told younger bloggers–– those with younger kids, that it’s easy to write about our kids when they are small and either don’t know they are part of our groove, or like seeing their pictures on line, but when they get older that is much harder. I believe they have a right to say “this is off the record,” but it’s a buzzkill when I can’t share things that fill my world and then fill my head with words that want to find a place.
Any way, throw in some depression; some exceptionally dark days where I wasn’t sure about living let alone writing, then some serious health issues (that I continue to juggle) and a political/national climate that has shaken me for two years–– and my blog has suffered. It might surprise you to hear that I probably write a blog post in my head, nearly every day. I think of blog titles, articles I’d like to write, and things I’d like to satirize or comment on. I have 56 drafts in my draft folder, of posts that are entirely written, partially written, or merely have titles. I promise myself I will start writing again. I want to do it. I really do! Then a week goes by, a month and months, with nothing out there.
You don’t have to sooth me. Don’t cheer me on either. I’m fine. I’m not looking for reassurance, ego boosting, or the likes. I’m ok; I’m just putting it out there. I’m making another attempt to get this rodeo going again. I want back on my horse. I’m ready to do the 4th annual Attitude of Gratitude (contact me for details if you’re curious), and I’ll be contacting a bunch of you. Because, while I may have had my head in the sand, there are so many of you that are in my thoughts often. You are blog buddies. Whether I’ve met you or not in person (and oh what fun it’s been to connect with so many of you!), we have shared connection and I think of you. I miss my flash fiction friends over at Friday Fictioneers. I miss reading your words and engaging with your comments. I save your posts, but then it becomes another barrier to writing, and I become paralyzed. But, I’m getting back in the saddle. You’ll see.
So this post is a re-introduction to Dawn at Tales From the Motherland. This is me reaching out again. This is me telling you I’m working at this; I’m trying to ride that horse for real. I’ve got words to share. I’ve got experiences to put out there. I miss this, whether any one reads or not. I’m willing to start from the beginning, with my 10,000+ subscribers who don’t know I’m even out here (she said with a hint of sarcasm). I’m here and I’m not going away. If you walk away from this post with nothing else, know this: rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated.
Bonus for New bloggers: there are lots of hints here to getting your blogging mojo, but here’s the brief synopsis: be authentic (seriously); connect with other bloggers; respond to comments (why would I come back if you don’t even notice I was there?); know what you’re writing about; add pictures and fun links; link back to previous posts (man, this has been a virtual smorgasbord of my previous posts, luck you!); do some homework (Word press tutorials rock!), and be consistent– if you write, then disappear, so do your reads. Then, you too will have to write a post like this one, about your demise.
Stay tuned for the plugs below.
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