writing and purpose: assessing this role

I was in middle school when I realized that writing had a true place in my heart. Bitter about a circumstance, too young to fully grasp the reality and too angry to see past the situation. I remember my mother telling me to write a letter to the person. Tell them everything, how you’re feeling, that your angry, tell them why. But, she said, you won’t ever actually send it, it’s just for you. 

I didn’t give it a second thought, I went to my room and I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote with reckless abandon, I knew my mother had said I wouldn’t actually send this, but in my heart I believed I would. I imagined the person opening the letter and reading my thoughts, my heart break, my sadness and being a changed person once the closing came. Pages filled quickly with words, charged with emotions that my mind didn’t understand how to process, yet. I went to bed that night feeling like I had left part of those emotions behind, I had found a true outlet.

In the end, when the letter was finalized, I had no desire to do anything more than fold the papers in half and give them home nestled safely between the pages of my diary. Those words weren’t written to change someone else, to reach someone else, they were penned by me and for me. Those feelings that I felt as a child are gone, it’s someone else’s story to tell now. The one thing that remains is my love for words and the role they play in sorting out my feelings and preserving my memories.

But here I sit, in a home I share with my family, with a very different story to tell.

Lately, I have found myself wondering why this blog even exists, what is it’s purpose? Because I spend a good amount of time, with the blinking cursor. Sometimes willing the words to come, digging deeper than I would like and literally putting my heart on display. Sometimes filling the space with other things instead of writing, simply because it’s easier to share a recipe than to share my heart.

I remember when I first started this blog, I had no real goal or plan. It just seemed like a good idea. Why not? I used this space as as in-depth baby book, a way to keep up with time as it was literally passing before my eyes. This blog made feel proud of myself as a mother, because I didn’t always print those pictures. Or scrapbook. Or keep up with her baby book like I should. But this blog, this tiny corner of the internet, housed our memories.

At first it was pictures of Braylen with short captions.  Then, letters to my precious girl in her monthly posts. Each day, each post, each word, made me feel a little more comfortable. That comfort eventually led to me using this space much like a journal. Putting it all out there, sharing details of our life, sharing feelings about motherhood and life. The blog quickly evolved, my readership grew and soon I was connecting with women from all over the country.

And a funny thing happened as I realized that as mothers, we are all different from one another. We may share the common bond of a child, but outside of that, there is little we agree on. I began picking myself apart, little by little. Avoiding topics that I thought might draw ugly comments from readers.  At some point, I grew weary of defending, of worrying, of keeping up. Of reading blogs and posts blasted across social media intended to tear other mothers down. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

Over the holiday, I took time to let this whole blog thing sink in. I thought long and hard as words like purpose and direction danced around my head. I decided that this isn’t a place for worry. And while I can’t change the blogosphere, I can control this little slice of the web. This space has become so much more to me over the years and I’m just getting started. That little girl who found comfort in writing is still very much a part of who I am.

As our life changes and this blog evolves, I’m not sure what it will look like in the coming year. My hope is that I will write a little more and worry a little less. I want to share funny stories about Braylen, so that I never forget. Sometimes a favorite product or a recipe. Maybe even a DIY project or two, as time allows. I want the things I share to be meaningful and relevant to our life.

I am blessed by each of you who read along and follow our journey. Thank you for always encouraging me with your comments, emails and kind words.

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Comments

  1. This is a beautiful post and I can relate to it so much! I was a writer in my “past life” (what I’ve started to call my teenage years!). I had a book published when I was a junior in high school. As life came at me and things changed and I grew, writing ended up meaning something different to me but meant the same, still. I write this blog instead of books now and it’s been fulfilling to me to be able to pen my words and speak from my heart, but like you said, these politics of mothers and “my way is the right way” and “can you believe these people are doing this wrong?” has weakened my spirit a little bit. I still try to trudge through and tell our story of our family because that’s all I can do, right?
    Lindsay @ youaretheroots.com recently posted..granola bites.My Profile

  2. I’m feeling a bit the same way. While I love participating in link-ups and sharing recipes/crafts that work, I want my space to be a place where the memories are held. I’ve even considered making it private to continue it once the kiddos are older. Some days it seems that our families are so out there!
    Jenn recently posted..Christmas 2012 — Santa ClausMy Profile

  3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading your blog! I always enjoy reading what you write. I am also a teacher, wife, and mother (two young boys ages 3 1/2 and 15 months).

  4. What a wonderful post. I think it is smart to reflect on yourself every once in a while, and I think your doing that with the blog is the same thing. It is your place to be selfish and control in your vision. Good for you!
    Whitney Worthington recently posted..25 things you did not know about meMy Profile

  5. I love your blog Jen and glad you allow us a glimpse of your heart and your life! I have been enjoying reading since Braylen was a baby, looking forward to what else you have in store!
    Karen At Home recently posted..Disney on Ice Rockin’ Ever After – Is Coming to Cleveland! ~ Enter to Win TicketsMy Profile

  6. I think it’s good to re-assess our goals and purpose from time to time…especially when feeling the weight of others’ opinion and “advice”. I love your blog because it’s simple and honest and real. Your love for Braylen and your family is evident in every single post. You certainly don’t need to defend yourself to people that don’t even really know you. Your decision to share your life and love with others has been a blessing to me…and, many others, I’m sure. Actually, because of your blog, I started my own… I’m terrible at scrapbooks and diary entries, but I wanted to record the precious and crazy moments of raising 2 ridiculously cute/smart/funny little boys :) I hope this year brings many good things to you and that you continue to write from your heart without fear of judgement or condemnation. God bless you!

  7. write from the heart and try not to worry what others think. Its your blog – all yours – so write whatever you want too.
    Looking forward to reading.
    kim recently posted..Monday ListiclesMy Profile

  8. Great post! I completely agree. You intended for this blog to be for you and your family, so that’s exactly what it should be use for. It’s difficult for anyone not to think about what others are going to say or think of you. I like how you said that it’s your little part of the internet you can control. Keep up the wonderful writing!
    Brittany recently posted..Saying GoodbyeMy Profile

  9. Dear friend I could not have phrased this better myself! You always find a way with your words though and it entices your audience even more so. This is a phenomenal blog- always one that I read, and I don’t comment enough (please forgive me) but you are a fantastic writer and maybe it is from all those years when you sat up in your room and just wrote, wrote, wrote! :) xo

  10. I couldn’t agree more with everything said above. I started to feel “beat down” by the blog world and I’ve been pretty mia around my blog. But I love it there. I love sharing my thoughts, I love being able to look back at old posts, I love having all my memories there. So I don’t think i’m done. I just want to get back to the heart of it all.

  11. In the struggle you revealed in writing this you DID share your heart openly. I read somewhere on one of your posts that you believe in God. Check out the blog “A Holy Experience”. You will find a kindred spirit in her writing and perhaps it will encourage you to continue to strive to share your sensitive, vulnerable side that reveals so much wisdom ;) ! You have a gift that others really benefit from! You are touching hearts and lives that you didn’t even know needed your gentle touch. And all that through your words :)

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