Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why I Blog

No voice equals no choice. No choice equals no power. From now on, I want to be heard.
~Dave C.
I had an interesting comment from XBox4NappyRashon one of my posts last week, about whether or not I blog in order to have traffic. Or something to that effect, I don't remember the exact words but that was the gist of it. He also said something about how it is sometimes hard to read my post BECAUSE I am so angry, which I found interesting. It never fails to surprise me-though it shouldn't, really-how people in general don't like to deal with any of those so-called negative emotions like anger, hurt, disappointment, sadness. I think it is, for me, not so much about being angry (though I am) or trying to be "in your face" with it (though, again, I suppose I am); instead, it is about being 36 years old and finally deciding that I am tired of not having a voice. I am weary of living my life based on someone else's expectations of me, and I am tired of allowing myself to be a victim, of hearing that person inside my head ( and we all have one of those. If you have more than one extra person in your head, you might need help, but I think one is okay) cry out "That's not right!" but being too afraid to say it out loud.
Just a little history (and this is not blaming, this is fact): I am the youngest of four daughters, and was my dad's last hope for a son. They were all so sure that I WAS a boy, in fact, that all of the clothes I wore for the first few months of my life were boy clothes. So pretty much from birth, I knew that I wasn't what what either expected or, frankly, wanted. I never could make up for that, of course, and while my parents never came right out and SAID it, the subtle disappointment in me was always there. My mom and dad got divorced when I was very young, before age 3, I think, and mom subsequently married several other men in succession (to date, I think the count is 6 or 7, though in her mind, two of them don't count. Okay, yeah.). So to say we were dysfunctional is putting it mildly. There was a lot of violence, a lot of different kinds of abuse, and basically it was akin to hell-for ALL of us. My defense was to do what was expected: be quiet, not cause trouble of any kind, not let anyone see my crying or hurt or sad in any way. I learned early on that the best, most effective way to escape notice was to be invisible. It didn't always work, but well enough that I kept using that defense for years and years and years. 'Nuff said.
And as an adult-especially a recovering adult with children, a daughter, I want better. I want each of my children to feel like they have a voice, that they deserve to be heard. I want to teach them that emotions are feelings, not actions, and that they are allowed to feel anger and hurt and be able to cry when and if necessary; it doesn't mean they are bad or wrong for feeling any particular way. I don't ever want to see my daughter shrink down into nothing the way I did, out of fear. I don't want my sons to grow up thinking that only pussies feel hurt and sad, because that turns into anger and aggression, which creates an entirely different set of problems, not only for them but for the people-the women-with whom they come into contact.
So what does this have to do with blogging? Because I have seen the comments, and I have heard other great, strong, beautiful women say things like, "I GET that. I FEEL like that." So yeah, I have a voice, and there are a few people who are listening. If I can be one of the ones who can stand up and say out loud "This isn't right!" then maybe more of us will. I am certainly no Martin Luther King, speaking for the downtrodden and calling for some major movement; I am speaking for me, and for every other person who doesn't feel like what they say matters-because that directly translates into the feeling that WE don't matter.
I see it all of the time; a woman I know who glances sidelong at her husband, gauging his reaction to her words or, on a bad day, simply choosing to not speak. Out of fear. I see one of the kindest, most gentle and loving men I know, posture and swear because to say, "You really hurt my feelings" is somehow a sign of weakness. I know kids who flinch when mom gets up too fast because she just might be going for them, and I know, KNOW, that what she is teaching them is that they don't have a voice, or even an identity.
And this is for me, because it makes me feel better. I have used writing as a tool for a long time, because to write about things helps me process them, to make some sort of sense of things that on the surface have no sense. It just so happens that I have found a medium in the bloggy world that suits it, because I think that more people feel the way I do than not-they just don't write about it. They don't talk about those secret feelings inside that are deemed unacceptable by the world at large, but they have them-and maybe, just maybe, by writing about my feelings and thoughts-the good and the bad-I will maybe let one other person know that she/he isn't alone. Nor will I feel so alone.
The thing is, I am not doing myself any favors-or the world around me-by pretending to be doing better than I am. I-we-can't change things unless we are honest about what needs changed, in our lives and in the world. For years and years, I was a drunk; I drank so that I wouldn't hurt anymore, so that I could shut up those feelings which the world told me were wrong. I don't have to do that anymore; by embracing my inner bitch, so to speak, and saying "This is how I feel," I get to heal parts of myself that I never even knew were damaged. I get to look at my kids and know love, and joy, right along with the more ugly aspects of parenting like frustration and guilt and anger. I get to notice that the willows finally have leaves on them, and get to cry when I hear a song that touches me. I get to stop and close my eyes and have a talk with The Big Guy and tell Him thank you, and mean it. And as hard as it is to believe, I am actually less angry than I was a year ago-because the more I talk about it, the better I get.
Yep, that's why I blog-so I can get better, find the balance that April talks about. So I can finally have a voice that is mine.


Tara R. said...

There have been times when the only place I have to vent is on my blog. It's not that I can't vent to Hubs, but sometimes HE IS the problem or he can't fix what I'm angry about and I don't want to take it out on him. Here, other parents, women, whoever, will do just what you said, reach out and say 'been there, done that,' and it's okay to be mad, bitter, hurt. This is a release valve that I can use so that I won't be angry around the ones I love so much.

April said...

Wow - 2nd blog today that mentioned me and my balance motto. Talk about feeling validated!!
I don't know if I told you this or not, but for what it's worth, my therapist has also validated the effectiveness of blogging as a form of therapy. It is helping, it does help - particularly when you blog about what's honest, what's real - the good and the bad. You're so right on with this post, and I share all your same sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Rock it out, girlfriend!! Glad you're a part of Blogland ~ it wouldn't be the same without you.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I wasn't intending to be critical of your writing at all, it IS difficult to read because it is harsh.

But that's the very same reason why I DO read it.

This post is a perfect example.

You should be proud.

CableGirl said...

Undeniably writing is one of the best forms of therapy I have yet to discover. There is just something so cathartic about getting it out there, finding a voice for things that you wouldn't want to or couldn't say. And more than that, there's something quite validating in the action of writing that just doesn't exist in speech.

I do agree with XBox4Nappyrash. Your blog is sometimes hard to read, just like sometimes the truth is hard to take. I think that it is your raw honesty that keeps people coming back. I know it's what gets me... well, that and your great dry sense of humor. :)

FreedomFirst said...

You're exactly right, and I don't just say that so you will feel better. I do not believe in always looking on the positive, because I firmly believe that denying the negative only makes it (the negative) grow stronger. As you know, I have also recently stopped trying to put a positive spin on everything, because in looking back at my nearly six years of marriage, it has backfired in my face as much as it has helped. And it has helped, at times. But not always. I am also trying to find that balance, the place where I can be myself and communicate to the people around me what I need from them, and not just worry about whether or not I am giving them what they need from me. Relationships of every kind have to be a two-way street. And I feel, like you said, that no one does anyone around them a favor by hiding their true feelings. Life is tough. That's a fact. If we are to be strong enough to make it through, we must accept that and be willing to fight our way past the obstacles. Pretending they aren't there is counterproductive.

BusyDad said...

That is a damn good reason to blog. And for some of us, a damn good reason to read it.

LunaNik said...

On that other "moms community" we belong to (you know the one I'm talkin' about), I once called you the voice of reason. I stand by those words. You dare to say the words that are on the tip of everyone else's tongue but they fear to let them cross their lips. You keep it real. Totally and completely real. You don't sugar coat anything and for that I adore you. You are an inspiration to women everywhere. We should not be silent. We should not hold anything back. We should speak our minds and we should say what's in our hearts. Thank you, Kori, for being part of the blogosphere.

hugabug1 said...

I agree that your blog is very difficult to get through at times. I find myself taking a break sometimes and coming back later to finish reading. The things you write (you have a tremendous gift with words, by the way) are so raw and powerful. It's like spending time going for a walk in your shoes and I sometimes physically wince as I'm reading....

However, this is the very reason I keep coming back. I sometimes need a dose of a reality other than my own to keep me grounded. Keep doing what you do....you're affecting lives in ways you can't imagine.

JT said...

I blog because at least somewhere I can be honest. It just happens to be in a public forum, where everyone can judge. And ya know what? I like that. Because it's people I don't know, who aren't living my life, who have no clue what it is I deal with. And I don't care.
I've been going through and reading all of your golden oldies, and sad to say, I agree with a lot of it. Single Mom? Been there, done that. Kid outside of marriage, kids in a marriage, assholes for X's, stupid power/guilt trips, no child support, yadda yadda ya, been there done that. My family is Mennonite, I'm not, they don't approve, so yeah, got that to.
So you know what Kori? Keep telling it. People are going to be able to relate or not, and that's their choice.
I do have to tell you tho' there's hope. Years of assholes, years of bad, I finally found a good one. He's a single father himself, one of the good dads (mostly) with an X that equates to my last 1. I met him on accident, planned on just having a little fun, and it turned into 5 years later. So it can happen, and it can happen in a great way. So keep your eyes open, you may still be surprised.