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.
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.