Blog addiction. I’ve written about it
, and it seems as though many others are suffering from it. Recently, i obsess
wrote about blog apathy, which is a serious malady that includes, as one symptom, the need of the blogger to feel liked and validated. I immediately felt that I fit the profile.
And it got me thinking. Why do
I blog? What addicts me to it, really? Why does it make me so happy to wake up each morning and see comments on my latest post, indicating that maybe just maybe someone is reading what I have to say and is possibly even slightly entertained by it?
To understand the psychology of it, I have to go back in time a bit and tell you a little about myself. Please indulge me if you will…
***fade to flashback***
There was once a child who loved to read and loved to write. She loved fantasy and adventure stories like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit, as well as stories about girls that she could identify with, such as Anne of Green Gables.
She would develop intimate ties to the characters, and when she got to the end of a book, she would often read the last page over and over, futility trying to hold on to the characters who, inevitably, would slip through her fingers and disappear. And she would cry, a little, because those characters had really become like close friends.
This child also liked to write. Though in truth, she wasn’t all that good at it. But still, she would pound away on her grandmother’s old typewriter and put the fantasies that swirled around in her head onto paper. She just knew that her stories were good enough to publish. Though truly they weren’t. But, still, she could dream of being a writer. And she did.
As the child grew older, her love of reading and writing intensified. Her favorite subject in school was English. She loved analyzing literature. She would write notes in the margins of her books, tracing themes, trying to discover the secret insights and truths that the authors were trying to convey.
When she entered college, she decided that she would study literature and spent four more years dissecting the works of the great authors. And she adored it.
When it was time to graduate, however, she realized that she had absolutely no idea what to do with her degree. She just knew she liked to write and she liked to read. And that was it.
Because she was also interested in public service, she ended up working for a small, non-profit organization. Her writing skills came in handy and, after proving herself, she was allowed to write glossy publications for the organization on a number of topics ranging from teen pregnancy to tobacco cessation. She loved that part of her job.
But then there was the other part of the job. The not so fun part. The part that had nothing at all to do with writing. The part which was terribly fast-paced, where she was made to manage staff and project deliverables and large events on timelines that were impossible to meet. The part where she had to regularly work evenings and weekends to get everything accomplished. The part where she realized that her work might not really be making much of an impact anyway, and yet it was taking over her life.
The pressure built for four years until, at the age of 26, she developed a stress-related thyroid disorder. She began to lose weight quickly. Her heart beat so rapidly that she became as jittery as a speed addict.
But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst was when she found out that she would not be able to have children as long as she suffered from the condition. And that scared the shit out of her because having children was what she had always wanted more than anything.
So in addition to seeking medical treatment, she also made some drastic changes to reduce her stress levels. Perhaps the most drastic of all--she quit her job and went to work for a government agency...as a fiscal analyst.
It was a desperate move. Becoming a fiscal analyst was certainly not her dream job, but it was the first opportunity at a non-stressful job that came her way so she jumped. And truthfully, she welcomed the anonymity of her new position in such a large agency. She was able to hide in the bowels of a bureaucracy so big that no one would notice her. No one would find her and pressure her to take on huge workloads or work long hours. Her job was the opposite of stressful. The sacrifice? The work was monotonous. It was boring. And sadly, it required no right brain activity whatsoever.
She had traded her pen for a calculator. It felt funny. It was not her. But she was stress-free and finally went into remission from her thyroid disorder. She became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy 8lb 2oz baby boy. She had acheived her goal of becoming physically healthy.
But in the meantime, she began to lose her identify. No one knew she loved to write or that she could
write. People knew her as a numbers person. A box checker. A creater of red tape. A regulator.
And that’s where she was three months ago when she found blogging. She approached it tentatively, even fearfully, for putting pen to paper again after three years felt oddly awkward and she was not sure what would flow out. And further, she was not sure if her writing would connect to others, which is what she secretly hoped for.
And so here she is, here I am, three months into blogging and realizing why I am addicted, why I need blogging and why I need you, my readers and fellow writer/artists.
Because for me, this is my lifeline, my one and only creative outlet. And you, my friends, whether you know it or not, are spurring me on to improve my writing by stopping by and leaving me comments and by modeling witty and insightful and emotional writing in your own blog posts, which I devour like I once did Anne of Green Gables. By doing these things, you
are challenging me to improve my writing. You are helping to construct my creative space. You are giving me the courage to write again. Because I'm not just some red tape regulator. I do
have something to share, something meaningful to add to the dialogue.
And I'm finding my way back to myself...through this blog. One post at a time.
I thank you for helping me do that.