Oh, not Y, but why? Now I see.

Why? A question I ask myself a lot about all sorts of shizzle, but @SunnivaAnne has asked me why I blog and why I share my thoughts in this way. Her post explaining why she blogs is simply brilliant and I urge you to take a look. Her blog is, and always has been, sublime. It was one of the inspirations for me starting and is as delicious as the person who writes it.

Any road up. Why do I blog?

I started my old blog back in September 2011, when life was very different. At that time I was a full-time, stay at home dad to two children, and as such I guess I started writing a ‘parent blog’. I didn’t know how to start, but reading other people’s blogs gave me inspiration and a way forward. Reading blogs still does that. When I struggle to find a way through something or lose a handle on life, reading what others write, hearing their voices and their stories help me through.

Someone once told me that parent blogs are all the same. We all write about the same things, I was told. Perhaps. But while some of the experiences we go through as parents are very similar, our stories are all very different. While we may all be in the same boat, our journeys are varied, extraordinary and special.

When I first started blogging I was given two pieces of advice by people who had been blogging for some time as I really didn’t know how to begin. @notsoslummy advised me to write for myself, and @motherventing suggested that I write from the heart. These two pieces of advice are how I blog, but this doesn’t explain why? Why do I do it?

At first I started blogging to chronicle some of the things that went on during a day and a night with my children. I blogged about being a full-time parent, about the loneliness that you can experience at times, but also about the joy of seeing your children grow up. The fact that every day is delightfully different. Frustrating at times, of course, but enlightening, tiring, relentless yet at the same time rewarding, fun, exciting and always full of love and laughs. I blogged because time flies when you’re having fun, and sometimes you forget that the days indoors having a picnic because it’s raining outside, or the afternoons when your children helped you make a cake, are just as momentous as their first words or first steps. Time flies and I didn’t want to forget a single moment of this time with my children, this time I was lucky enough to be able to spend with them, this time that was so precious to me.

Then depression hit me, and my life changed massively. My wife and I decided to divorce and I moved from our house, and lost my job as a stay at home dad. I blogged about this and how this was affecting me, which was very badly at times.

I blogged about this because I was terribly scared. I was being eaten alive by thoughts and feelings I couldn’t understand. I understood my depression, sure. Well, as much as I could, but these feelings were more than just being depressed. They were feelings of worthlessness beyond anything I’d felt before. I blogged to get all these thoughts out and to clear my head. Expelliamus! Did it work? In some ways yes, but then things got much worse.

I blogged about thoughts of suicide and how I’d rationalised perfectly in my head that the beautiful world my children were creating was being soiled and destroyed by my existence within it. And how their life would be so much better without me in it to fuck it all up.

The comments I received on this post were from people I’d never met. They’d understood my pain and offered me their support and advice, shared their stories of people in their lives who’d felt this way and had made the decision to kill themselves, and how life wasn’t better with these people not in it. How, in every sense, life was so much worse.

These comments helped me get help, and helped me try to work through these feelings. The comments I’ve received on some blog posts have, without a shred of doubt, helped me survive some terrible times. Words from people I’ve never met, reaching out to help heal a broken heart, and remind me that, despite darkness, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve met some of these people and they’ve become good friends. Meeting people who I know through blogging is a surreal experience, but one which I’d recommend. When you meet them for the first time it’s like meeting an old friend, or it is for me. I know I’ve made friends through blogging, people I would never have met without it, and this has helped me overcome confidence and self-esteem issues, and helped me get back on track and I’m looking forward to meeting more friends I haven’t met yet.

It’s not all been brilliant though. I’ve misjudged things and have hurt people. I pulled my old blog because a family member read my posts and was hurt by some of the things I’d written. I pulled it, closed it and lost all my posts. This family member called me a few weeks later and asked why I’d stopped blogging. I explained and apologised about getting things so wrong, but they told me to continue as, actually, they thought it was really good and it was obviously helping me through some shit times. And so I did. And so here we are.

I’ve been lucky to have had a couple of blog posts published in proper book things, and also something published in a magazine. I’ve been invited to speak at blogging conferences and even nominated for a couple of awards. I hope my children will be proud of this. The time we spent together was the inspiration behind me starting to blog and for that to be recognised and appreciated by others will, I hope, fill them with a sense of pride.

I’ve thought about stopping but I know I’ll carry on blogging. It’s cheaper than therapy and works in the same way sometimes. And as life changes so will my blog. I’ll blog and blog and one day, when I’m very dead, my children will be able to read my words, and read about what life was like. They’ll learn things about me that perhaps they never knew, and find out things that I forgot to tell them while I was alive. Obviously I hope my children will always know how much I loved them by my actions but hopefully they’ll read all this one day and feel again my unyielding love for them. I hope they’ll think that I was a good man. And I hope they’ll understand how they helped me become a better one.

Why do you blog? Why don’t you blog? Any thoughts and experiences would be most welcome. I’d like to ask the rather incredible @dustandlove the same question, and truly believe that his post on this subject will be as sublime as everything else he writes, so, if you haven’t already, please do take a look at his blog. It’s truly brilliant.

Thanks again to @SunnivaAnne for asking me this question and thanks to each and every one of you for reading. I kiss you on both cheeks.

15 responses to “Why?

  1. Empathise with lots of this. I blog because writing is my only talent…as in, I can’t dance or paint or sing. When I write a post that I’m really happy with it gives me a huge buzz. It’s an outlet for my mind which I often feel is going to burst. I always say that because I feel better after blogging something, it almost doesn’t matter if nobody reads it. But the fact that people do, is pretty cool too.
    Keep on blogging

  2. Wow. Fantastic blog Spencer. As per I have tears in my eyes. I can feel your love for your children jumping out of the page. I hope T & K do get the opportunity to read your blogs one day, I’m sure they will be very touched and proud.

    For me, it’s why don’t I blog. It’s a decision that I review sometimes but I always come back to the same conclusion, I don’t want to invite lots of people into my life and into my inner most thoughts. For me, life with my family is a pretty private affair, my close friends know if I have any issues & I need help with but generally I rely on hubs. Most of the time I sort out my own issues & thoughts.

    Also I worry a lot about the effect my words would have on my extended family. Like with all groups of people, sometimes one of them pisses you off. For me, I either speak to them directly and we sort it out or more likely I just get over it & forget about it. Some might say that I take the easy approach, really do it just to keep the peace. When I was young I would wade straight in but now I let it slide. I don’t want strangers judging people I love based on my words, especially when I’m going to forget about it & probably regret what I wrote in a moment of anger, frustration or depression.

    On top of that I don’t have the time or the technical skills I need to give a blog the tender loving care it needs 🙂

    Maybe if my life changed dramatically, I would change my mind.

    • Thanks for the comment. I know we’ve talked about this before and this suits you best. I’m not sure I’ll get many comments about why someone doesn’t blog, but your comment is a really interesting one.
      Thanks for reading, always. Its truly appreciated.

  3. How great to have a dad that documents his life for him and his kids. I’d love to have the opportunity to know my dad’s thoughts let alone read them on a page! Brilliant for you.
    Similarly, I blog because I’m scared of forgetting the tiny moments, in our very busy and hectic lives, that really really matter. I want my boys to know how I couldn’t ever live without them, and most of the time the chance to really tell them that has gone in a heartbeat, because there are so many other things to get done in a day. I hope it makes me a better parent, and I also hope eventually it helps them to become better parents.

  4. I found your blog via BritMums. Gosh, this is such a moving, poignant post. Thanks for sharing. The sense of support and community is staggering. I’m just starting to make ‘blogger friends’ and it’s very humbling.

    My blog’s maybe an oddity in the ‘mummy blogger’ world as I no longer blog directly about my family/personal experience as I think I would feel too exposed. I have done in the past but I had to think v carefully about who reads it, & for various reasons, I discontinued my old blog. Now, I blog about parenting books, what I think of them, how they have influenced me and I invite other parents to come and share their thoughts.

    • Thanks for reading. I think it’s interesting how blogs, or how one blogs, changes. Some people have stopped their blogs or put them on hold for a bit while they re-evaluate it’s effects or what it means to them. I hope you enjoy what you blog about now? Sounds great!

  5. I blog because I have an irrepressible compulsion to write and because, somehow, assessing domestic minutiae as blog material can give enervating routines a significance – even a beauty – that I would never have seen in them before. PS When next those thoughts of suicide strike you, remember this: staying alive when you feel worthless is the selfless act; not the self-annihilation is not. A mother-friend of mine died because she felt her family would be better off without her and it’s ruined her children’s lives.

  6. Pingback: A list of things you can and can’t do while wearing a baby in a sling « Applehood and Father Pie·

  7. I started blogging as I was finding it difficult to adjust to life as a SAHM. It helped me through a difficult time. A year on, I do it as I like the idea of leaving a memoir of sorts. (Although as yet I haven’t told anyone in my real life about it.) I loved reading this post and your reasons for blogging. Your voice shines through. Wonderful.

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