My kitchen table

IMG_4309 I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years, but this week I celebrate a year at Coffees & Commutes. This blog developed completely by chance, the result of circumstances that were disappointing and surprising. However, over the year I’ve discovered that Coffees & Commutes is the perfect example of one door closing and another opening to something better.

Blogging has truly been an evolution for me, a reflection of my real life. This place has been a sanctuary where I’ve felt safe to openly explore my vulnerabilities. While writing has been a beacon through my darkest struggles, the most startling outcome has been the acceptance and understanding of readers—readers who have become mentors and friends. My tribe.

A tribe is as a group of families claiming descent from a common ancestor, sharing a common culture, dialect, kinship if you will. Isn’t that what we have? Many of us come from the tribe of parenthood, but we are also a collection of individuals who understand and share the value of each other’s perspectives and reflections on life. We are vulnerable together, we trust each other. We connect in meaningful ways.

I write primarily about my personal struggles and thoughts on life. Sometimes that feels uncomfortable. I question my compulsion to share my private struggles so publicly here. At best I feel it’s self-indulgent, at worst narcissistic. Is there value in writing and sharing it? Certainly there is for me. But couldn’t a journal offer that just as well as this blog? A year later, I continue to carefully reflect on my motivations.

———————-

Last week I read a post at Late Enough where Alex discussed the value of ‘ordinary opinions.’ She wrote:

I find myself hiding in my ordinary life. Wrapping myself in the day-to-day so I don’t have to find an opinion on Egypt or health care or Planned Parenthood. I find myself less likely to speak up and out.

She described how her writing has moved away from being a discussion of her opinions about important, worldly issues, and evolved into a more narrow discussion on motherhood, wrapped up in an expression of her day-to-day life. She admits that:

While I’m not really the only one, I believe in the importance of blogs to tell the stories of our lives. To give meaning and comfort and laughter and hope. But I also realized that I would give up this blog if it meant health care for everyone. I would give up Twitter for equal pay for women.

Her post resonated with me and I’ve been thinking about it ever since, especially as I reach the anniversary of this blog.

———————–

I remember feeling what Alex describes after the birth of my first son. It became particularly acute as my mind began to stretch and waken after months of sleeplessness. I felt like I had been hibernating from social issues, from awareness of things happening around me. I was so focused on my family, I lost touch with the world.

Before children I was more vocal, and frankly more confident in my voice. Today I feel too uninformed to comment on many issues. As we grow up, and become parents, we are inclined to focus inward. I believe it’s natural and healthy. We begin to recognize that our greatest impact will be in our own kitchens, living rooms or, arguably in what we write on our blogs.

This is my kitchen table. The place where chance can happen and decisions can be made. The discourse here, or at your place, or on countless other blogs, can change the face of the future. These networks link us together in ways we never could before. This change takes root in discussion, in sharing stories, and in our willingness to be vulnerable together. It comes from celebrating our successes and offering kindness in failure and misfortune.

That’s a powerful thing.

So thank you, for pulling up a chair to my kitchen table over the past year. For sharing a warm cup of coffee and offering support in ways that have made a difference in my life. Your kindness has been humbling. Let’s continue to pass it along.

Image: ‘IMG_4309‘  by Sarah Ross Photography via a Creative Commons licence.
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28 thoughts on “My kitchen table

  1. Corinne says:

    I love the kitchen table image you’ve given us of your space… that is what it feels like.
    Congrats on a year Christine!!

  2. Stacia says:

    I’ve loved starting many a morning at your kitchen table, and you know you’ll always have a place at mine. Congrats on one year, and here’s to many more!

  3. Congrats on one year! Christine, you have inspired me with your words. I am grateful that you choose to share your personal journey with all of us. Here’s to many more years!

  4. Christa says:

    Congratulations on one year!

    And sometimes, it feels like coffee at your kitchen table, that’s true. Other times it feels more like sitting in the car and commuting with you. I’ve always thought your blog was named perfectly!

  5. Lindsey says:

    What a powerful manifesto and assertion of voice. I don’t think you’re timid or someHow uninformed – to the contrary. You inspire me by saying that what we are all doing here can change the world. Oh how I hope you are right!!! xo

    • Christine says:

      Indeed so do I. I think we do it one person at a time, at least I hope so. I know this place, here and when I visit others, has changed me in so many ways.

  6. Nicki says:

    Happy year here at Coffees & Commutes! I so know the feeling of hiding behind my “table” to not get involved in local, state, federal or global events and issues. I also know the feeling of sharing too much. Is it narcissistic or is it just helping sort through thoughts?

    You keep doing what you do! I love your writing, your table and you!!

  7. I, for one, will always want to come sit at your table! Happy almost 3 years!

  8. Nothing like that cup of coffee around the kitchen table with friends (um, when the kitchen table is cleared off, that is).

    It’s the community that is the gift we never anticipate, Christine. And what a gift it is. Happy anniversary.

  9. Lady Mama says:

    Happy One Year! I often find myself hibernating from what’s going on around the world too. I think the other reason I hide is because I’ve become a lot more sensitive since becoming a parent – sometimes feels like everything I read about affects me in some way, where it didn’t before. Probably because I have brought people into this world and so everything carries more meaning now.

    • Christine says:

      Without question I agree. I feel like I can handle less now, and frankly don’t want to know as much as I used to. Sometimes ignorance is bliss – particularly if it minimizes the worry we already feel so strongly.

  10. Amber says:

    Your kitchen table is a very comfortable place to be. Thank you for inviting all of us to partake of the delicious feast your words provide.

  11. I relate very much to the questions of whether blogging is narcissistic or self-indulgent. But I think, more than anything, that it is a way to connect with our tribe, as you call it. And sometimes, it is with people thousands of miles away, with backgrounds and lifestyles different from our own, that we most connect. Without extended kinship networks in our own towns, we sometimes need the internet to bridge the distance.

    • Christine says:

      For me it has truly been the most amazing part of blogging, reaching out and finding other women who understand and think like me. I cannot express how much of a gift it has been.

  12. Congrats on this anniversary, Christine! I always look forward to reading your posts.

  13. Belinda says:

    Christine, what you do here when you write about things that may seem too personal is a way of naming what many of us feel but aren’t always able to put into words. Your voice is strong and worth hearing. Thank you for sharing all that you do.

  14. Kate says:

    You know I adore this metaphor. May we change the world, through our open and loving tables!

    Congrats in a year here!

  15. ayala says:

    Christine, congrats. Than you for sharing your journey with us.

  16. Melissa says:

    Congrats Christine! Wow one year already. You are an inspiration to me and many people. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us. It means more to us than you may realize.

    I look forward to morning cup of coffee with you.
    Friends Always, Mel 🙂

  17. amotherworld says:

    Congrats on one year, Christine! I always enjoy reading your posts and look forward to reading more!

  18. Kelly says:

    Yes. So much yes. I am a better mother for blogging and all that comes with it.

  19. Cecilia says:

    Christine, I met you over at Justine’s blog when I was guest posting about husbands and marriage a couple of weeks ago. I just had a chance to swing by, and everything I have read so far resonates so deeply with me – from the depression to the inwardness you’ve felt since becoming a mother. I have one child and he is turning 7, and it has only been recently that I’ve finally felt any desire to “expand” outward a bit. It was only then that I realized how out of touch I have been all these years. But there must be an evolutionary reason for that. By sort of shutting the world out these last 6 years, I could give my son the mothering he needed as he started his life. I love your writing!

  20. Lovely thoughts here, Christine. I’m so glad that you’ve found a tribe here. I’m so glad that one year later you’re pleased with your decision to share your story, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable.

    I am intrigued by what you said about being more vocal before you had children. I suspect this is a common experience. Before we become parents there are few actual ramifications of voicing our opinions. But as we sit at the helm of a ship ferrying little people through life we must be more careful. We must speak thoughtfully. We must know exactly what we mean when we open our mouths. There are few greater things at stake in life than the molding of a young child. Perhaps you feel shy or weak for quieting your voice. But I think you’re just being more careful. And I think that’s a wonderful trait to have as a mother.

  21. Chantal says:

    Congratulations on your year! Out of what seemed to be a stumbling block came this beautiful, powerful blog!

  22. Karen says:

    I can hardly describe how wonderful it is to read your perspective on this. I have felt more and more guilty about my ignorance of current events on any scale. I do feel a responsibility to be aware, but putting it into this kind of perspective is freeing. I can have an awareness without needing to know all details. And hopefully my focus on my family (and yours and so many other parents out there) will have a greater positive impact on all our futures.

  23. […] probably represents all of these, but in particular I blog to give shape to my nebulous thoughts, to find my tribe, and to contribute my voice to a public discourse of ideas—a vast, modern day salon of sorts. […]

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