I like birthdays and New Year's and remembrance days. Upon them I like to look both backward and forward. What was going on a year ago and two and three? What did I think and feel? What did I do? What did I want and did I achieve it? What lies ahead? Am I happy or at least satisfied for the most part? What can I do to enjoy a better experience? Is it time to let go of certain things? One wise advisor says to me frequently, "Can you just change the way you do one thing? Even if you don't land on the perfect solution, just try to do it differently." To what things might I apply that right now? A few feet across the room from me stands a much-loved decorative plaque. "Learn From Yesterday," it gently reminds me. OK, I'll try to do that.
It was New Year's Eve and we were visiting during a long walk that became memorable mostly because we were almost killed in a crosswalk by a gigantic SUV that likely wouldn't have been as jarred by our bodies as it would have by a speed bump. My companion leaped into the air and slapped the passenger side window while shouting an expletive, while pulling me out of harm's way by the arm. When the driver slowed a few yards ahead it was not to apologize, but to call the Badger a potty mouth. But I digress. He'd been telling me that he had begun to write for a blog and he was about to publish it. I'd heard the term before, but I had not yet explored the blogosphere and I asked him to tell me about it. After a few miles, I commented, "I think I get it. You're journaling, like you've journaled all your life. But publicly. Other people can say something about it, too. And there are some unknown bazillions of other people out there doing this, some of whom will attract one's attention because of what they post about. " He said that I'd caught it.
When he published and pointed that out to me, I had to learn how to even get to his blog and I read. I learned to navigate the site and - yes! - that sidebar was fascinating and led me to other blogs, mainly those of other cyclists. He was right! That woman called The Old Bag in Minnesota was funny and smart and engaging. Hmm. The cyclist called Wheel Dancer seemed to be connected with The Old Bag. I found Doozyanner in a logical progression from The Old Bag's blog - I feel like I know Doozy in person and understand a good deal about her, although I am not a cyclist. And so it went. I signed on as a follower wherever I felt a connection or interest and learned about making comments. It didn't take me long to ask him, "How do you do it? Is it anything like when I create a website in DreamWeaver?" "Much, much easier," he said. Hmm. I found my way to Blogger and noodled around a little. The templates came in all sorts of colors. I am moved by color. Color speaks to me. I am also moved to speak, to tell my story. I've always loved to write ~ letters, stories, journals, instruction manuals, post-hearing briefs, even very clunky poetry. Maybe this was my forum. Hmm.
I spent a long time thinking about what I would write. I'm a walker. But I didn't want to write a blog relating my adventures in walking. I manage a small business, but I had no intention of writing a blog about business matters. I'm a lifelong creative person currently in a longstanding period of constipation in that area, so I had no wonderful wares to show and tell about. I've been told one wants to write about what she knows and loves. Hmm. I am a human being and I know about many things human, both good and bad, joyful and tragic. I love to interact with other humans, absorbing and reflecting some of what they are about and hoping they will do the same with my essence. I can talk about many different things and express my thoughts and feelings about them. I know how to Google images to use for illustrative purposes. I love music of many types and I'm familiar with YouTube to share the music on my blog. "What if I'm fully me on my blog, not presenting just one of my interests? What if I just present as a whole person, with all that means, like one meets at a party or takes out to share dinner?" Hmm. Seinfeldian. A blog about nothing. Would it work? Would it interest anyone? Would I connect with any others?
To any endeavor I engage in, I bring my own particular brand of hinky. I'm odd about the certain things I'm odd about. I told the reader I'm human. I approached blogging with a great deal of consideration about many of its elements. I had a few stumbling blocks. Among the larger ones was my aversion to using my real name or photograph. Uh-uh, I was not going to reveal those. Please don't ask. I wasn't having it. And I would moderate comments. I had a reasonable expectation that someone I didn't care to welcome to my blog would appear. I didn't want public surprises, so I'd use the filter of moderation. My blog name and face were easy to land on. After I spent more than 20 years living in Lemon Grove, and using lemony references to myself and my family, I became a lime when I escaped. LimesNow was easy, and the limes/chilies/olives image fit me for all kinds of reasons. I was ready to roll!
I selected a template and polished my Blogger profile like touching up one's resume. I struggled for a few days trying to land on what my maiden voyage should look like. I didn't know how one made her debut on the blogosphere stage. I didn't know if there were rules and etiquette or what they entailed, if they existed. I made it much too complicated and taxing. Sometimes I do that. Finally, I asked, "May I use some of your photos to illustrate my blog posts, with credit, of course?" "Sure!" came the reply. So I wrote a little piece about 'tend friends and connecting with others across time and space. I put it up as my first post, not without some trepidation. I put out a couple of very shy invitations on other blogs. And what do you know? Bloggers talked to me. Hey! The Badger and Wheel Dancer and The Old Bag on my blog. I had to figure out how to drop their comments in, but I learned quickly. This was fun!
By my second post I was including "In my ears right now" and "Something that charmed me" because I felt it made interaction with me and my blog more personal. I believe these little glimpses give more details about the me of right now. I'm going to write a post or two about blogging and what it has done for me. How the writing has affected me, and how the comments have impacted me. I want to tell how connecting with others has felt. I want to share some of what I've learned from blogging and from yesterday. I want to say the little girl was pretty smart for carrying her 'tend friends around with her. It's damned fulfilling! After some months, I showed my face and gave my name. I've rejected comments extremely rarely, despite having some bloggers come aboard who rattled me by their very presence. I relaxed my demand of myself to write and post each and every day. Hi! I'm Leslie ~ Les to my friends. Happy birthday to my blog.
In my ears right now: Join me in the car with the little girl again, please. Except she's older now and I don't drive a mommy van any longer. As she had spent a lifetime listening to the music I love, I felt it was fair to play her music 50% of the time. It gave me an appreciation of 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys and Pink not common to people of my age. The kid knew how to spend time in a car! It's not remarkable video - just a late 1990s boy band. But the song is nice.
Something that charmed me: Reviewing the year has charmed me and continues to do so. It's been one of the rockiest periods of time, ever. And I've learned many, many things about myself. Most of those things learned are qualities I like in other people, so maybe I'd just better like them in myself, too. I've not spent a lifetime highly admiring of myself. Maybe it's time to start that, just a little bit. As I muse about the blogging year, I'm going to create a virtual charm bracelet celebrating things I've learned.
Here's my first charm. It is a shield representing a mighty warrior. I've learned I'm fierce. I learned I only think I will collapse. In reality, I am hard and strong and resilient. I can write about difficult things and I can withstand things no one should be expected to tolerate. I can forgive as many times as that is deserved. And that charms me, too.
Some photo credits, with appreciation of a great group of bloggers: Kathryn Feigal, J. D. Morehouse, The Old Bag, Wheel Dancer, Doozyanner and LimesNow