A post caught my eye on Facebook this afternoon. It simply said "How has your blog changed your life?" and had a link to a blog post titled "My Blog Changed My Life" on Blogher.com. I often read Blogher blogs and always enjoy what I read.
I was particularly struck by this particular blog, however, because until the author got to the part about getting married and becoming a mom, the post could have been written by me. As I drove home from Lake Forest I thought about the post and pondered the question, "How has Little Merry Sunshine changed my life?"
Simply put, Little Merry Sunshine has not only changed my life, but it saved my life.
When I started writing, four years ago next Friday, I was unsure about my ability to write. I had no idea if I'd stick with it. I kept the first few posts secured, only opening up Little Merry Sunshine to those I trusted the most and who I believed would tell me honestly if it was even worth continuing or if I should just shut up and quit thinking I could write. They cheered me on, so opened LMS up to a larger audience.
I wrote about what inspired me, my adventures in gardening, lust, Betsey and Ross, politics, sports, family, and much more. I was nervous about opening myself up because I worried about people not liking what I wrote. Those who enjoy my writing and Little Merry Sunshine have stuck around, visit regularly and even subscribe to the blog. Those who don't, haven't been back. Oh well. But I was worried, and I still worry, about putting my vulnerabilities out there for all the world to see. It's a little like standing naked for inspection. I can't hide my flaws and I can't hide from the criticism, although trust me when I say the loudest critic is always me. But the best parts of me also have the opportunity to be viewed and celebrated.
Some people think bloggers are a joke, but I disagree. In spite of what some people may think, I frequently censor myself and have tossed out more blog posts than I care to think about. Some were partial posts, but others were complete and ready for publication. I tossed them out because they were either too personal and I was afraid to reveal so much or because the posts didn't live up to my standards.
Through blogging, I've had some of my beliefs challenged by people I respect and others challenged by some people just looking to pick a fight. I've engaged with the respectful ones and enjoyed the opportunities to grow. I've ignored the haters.
I've also gotten to know people I would never have known otherwise and I've reconnected with people I had long ago lost touch with. I discovered that Little Merry Sunshine has a far greater reach than I ever imagined, when I was contacted just last weekend by a former flame telling me he's a regular reader of LMS. The verdict is still out about how I feel about that. Honestly, I had sealed that can of worms and stored it neatly away and wasn't really prepared to have it abruptly opened again.
Little Merry Sunshine has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune and numerous published authors read it.
I write when I'm over-the-moon happy, but I've also written from the depths of overwhelming grief. When Nana died, writing Little Merry Sunshine (here and here) and Remembering Frances kept me going when I couldn't get out of bed and no one knew about it. And then when my heart got broken a month later, I wrote to get through that grief too. To say Little Merry Sunshine saved my life during the difficult times, is no exaggeration. Believe me, writing is
Little Merry Sunshine has made me more confident. It has helped me deal with my demons and even stop caring what others think so much. Friends and family have told me they are proud of me for some of the things I've written and the positions I've taken. I've become clearer on some of my lifelong dreams and dealt with giving others up.
If you haven't tried writing, give it a shot. It's cathartic and fun and you never know, you may just find a new passion.