I have had a lot of blogs over the years, the most popular one being a personal blog that I eventually deleted after listening to the Conventional Wisdom that says that especially professionals should not be too transparent in the online world. Might damage our professional reputation, you know. And for someone like me, that is a distinct danger. My metaphorical slip is generally showing, if you know what I mean.
So I tried to create blogs centered around things for which I had a passion. Like whole, raw foods, and the health care system, and my career as a family nurse practitioner. The problem is that there are a lot of things about which I feel passionate – many of which have no logical association with the others.
I have been floundering, recently, feeling like I was wandering through some weird flatland, not exactly sure of where I wanted to go, let alone where I was. Unsure of my identity, my place in the grand scheme of things, how I was supposed to clothe myself, what I was supposed to eat, what issues I was supposed to care most deeply about, and even – alas – how I was supposed to feel about any of that unknowing.
“They” – those great unnamed experts out there – say that the best and most-read blogs are those who have a niche – you know. They’re about travel, or food, or Portuguese water dogs, or, uh, healthcare. But I was thinking that what I need at this point in my life is not readers to hear me but for me, alone, to have a place to speak. Even if no one ever hears me. To not speak, for me, has been malignant, and wearing, and aging.
Today I typed the phrase “I’m floundering” in the Google search bar (a fun little way to distract your mind sometimes) It led me, as you might expect, hither and yon, but it did lead me to the story of Sumedha Khanna, a physician who worked with the WHO for many years, and now focuses on individual and collective women’s health issues – physical, mental, and spiritual health. On one of the pages of her website, I read the following quote:
When we enter a forest phase in our lives, we enter a period of wandering and a time of potential soul growth. In the forest it is possible to reconnect with our own innate nature, to meet what we have kept in the shadows and what we have been kept from knowing or acknowledging about ourselves. Here it is possible to find out what we have been cut off from, to “re-member” a once vital aspect of ourselves. We may uncover a wellspring of creativity that has been hidden for decades. Most of all, once in the forest, we must find within ourselves whatever we need to survive. —Jean Shinoda Bolen, Crossing to Avalon
I think the thought that struck me in this passage was that it is OK to wander, in fact, it is expected to wander in midlife; and that wandering is fruitful and productive and good – not something to freak out about, and attempt to distract oneself from, and attempt to figure out.
Because a lot of what we see when we look at other people, either IRL (in “real life”) or online, is very one- or two-dimensional. We read the writings of mommy bloggers and believe that they, in their child-rearing years, have everything all figured out. At the very least, they have a firm identity as, well, mommies. As I did, when my children were young.
Fashion bloggers know what they’re doing when it comes to looking cool every time they leave the house. Travel bloggers not only go to cool places, but they know their way around in very cool places. Foodie bloggers, somehow, create very cool dishes when I am looking around for chips when I finally drag my butt home from work.
But I wander. Because I’m at a time in my life when my children are adults, and my parents are all gone. My spiritual beliefs are a fluid and dynamic thing. I love my work, but it wears me to a frazzle and hurts my idealistic little heart sometimes. I adore my husband, but I don’t want to be in his hip pocket all day everyday.
I care passionately about social justice and I am in love to the point of giddiness with people and their stories, their courage and their strengths. I think the little human beings who happen to be my grandchildren are amazing, creative, magical little creatures that inspire awe and delight in me. And I love beautiful things – even if no one else sees beauty in them.
So, I created for myself a space in which I could speak, and if you are here, I warn you that I cannot predict the topics on which I will speak. I may speak about my beloved son, whose actions landed himself in prison, and I am just as likely to crate word vignettes about people for whom the lack of access to healthcare is nothing less than genocide. I may laugh about how my friends all bring me T-shirts and doodads about Red Solo Cups, and my fondness for margaritas. I may rhapsodize about my friends, who are talented, hard-loving, loyal-to-the-bone people that have marched with me into the fires of hell and never noticed the heat. Or I may describe the charming details of the flu. Who knows?
I may not interest anyone else, but I am coming to know that I am a tapestry on two feet, with a snag here and probably a cigarette burn or two there. What I say may not matter in the grand scheme of things (whatever that is), but it very much matters that I have a place in which to say them. Exhaling is just as important as inhaling.