or shall I say, “I didn’t know a good thing when I had it.”
At this spot in time I think/hope I can be more objective when I look back at online communication’s early days. I think we all can. The facts are these: I really started blogging in 2002 when everything in Internet Land was crazy, the Dot Boom had gone bust. Venture Capitalists were no longer throwing millions at fleeting thoughts. There was no Facebook; Google was around, but only used by nerds at that point, and a Twitter was something your heart did when it was in love.
On occasion I have mentioned that my very first blog actually began in 1998. Oh wait, technically it was 1997 when I wrote my first web piece on OS News (Dave’s technology website that still exists today). See, I worked at an early-stage startup and internet is what I did. Some sort of personal website only seemed a natural fit. It was my wedding blog. Dave had this fantastic idea to put all of our wedding information and special love thoughts online. I honestly doubted if anyone besides the handful of internet junkies would actually use the site. If they did, we promised that all of the information was there and that this online information would make things easier by streamlining our wedding agenda.
Thirteen years later, I can now tell you that I was correct. A handful of people did look at our wedding blog and most of the feedback we received went something like this: [insert a Midwestern Pre-school teacher voice here] “Oh geez, that is really, um [confused pause] sweet? Aren’t you concerned that just anyone (probably a pervert) could look at your website and show up at your wedding?” Not really, and really what Dave and I thought was, “well, if some random person finds our website, then the more the merrier [even a pervert, wink, wink].”
Fast forward a few years to 2002. Once again my lovely husband had the brilliant blogging idea. We had recently purchased at VW Eurovan Camper. Dave, the boys and I were going to spend a year on the road and Dave figured a blog would be the perfect way to let our family know where we were and at least when we made our post we would also let them know that we were still alive. I like how he thinks. We hit the road and occasionally posted from exotic locals such as Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Western Nevada.
Then one day, one of the many times we were back in Utah staying in a friend’s condo, all of our stuff in storage and feeling a little displaced with two delightful small children, I started writing. I began to use my blog as more or less my daily therapist. Each new day I had somewhere to go to let it all out.
It was great. It was new. It was my everyday outlet. My only rule is that before I published anything online that my husband and technical writing editor extraodinaire was required (begged) to edit each and every post. I had pressed send on too many hastily-crafted, barely-literate emails in my time (and paid the price in embarrassment) to have my dangling modifiers hung out to dry to the world. No. I would do my best to make sure my pieces were edited in hopes of only the very few would even notice my comma splice or homonym conundrum.
With grateful links to my website and word of mouth, momentum starting building and more than just my sisters and my mother-in-law were reading my website. I really did not understand the gift I was given. I had found a sweet spot that everyone but me seemed to know was there. Self doubt in full swing, I denied the fact that I was hitting my stride at the just the right time! Instead, I let myself get spooked. I let other people’s perceptions fill my head. I am not a jealous person, for instance. However when other people told me I was jealous, I listened and worked extra hard to prove I was not jealous. No, I was just silly. Silly for letting my head get filled with such nonsense. Instead of minding my own business and focusing on the thing I love to do, which is write, I let my head get filled with gossip, harsh criticism and insecurity.
I lost my momentum, walked away and stopped believing in myself. I did not know how good I had it and have had to forgive the past me for not seeing the gift I had been given.
It has taken me a lifetime to discover that I need to believe in myself. Back when I was writing full time, as much as I LOVED telling my stories I do not think I ever thought or believed I deserved a space in this world, let alone the internet world.
Growing up I believed in my beautiful thin and tall sisters. When I was way to young to be listening to such music, I believed in my rock star sister, who taught me about David Bowie and Alice Cooper. I believed in my awesome brother who all the girls loved. I believed in my other brother who always had the lead in the school play. I believed in my sweet mom, who everyone loves. I believed in my dad and I do not even know him. What I do know is every time I saw him he had a fridge stocked with special drinks, like V-8, and always a brand new fantastic car. (The Firebird — yes, the one with the bird on the hood — and Porsche were my favorites. ) He did not pay much child support or have anything to do with me, but with those expensive drinks and fancy new cars he must have been doing something right. I believed in him. I really did. Everyone in my family, my very big family, was completely awesome, just not me. Seriously, that is what I believed. And somehow my beliefs followed me into adulthood. Each and every time I feel some success, I feel someone deserves it more than me. Jealous? No. I will freaking die on a sword for you so you can succeed. I will cheer you all the way to Victory! I will scream the loudest for you. It is easier. Believing in myself, well, that has been more difficult.
Stopping and catching my breath has been good. Somehow, deciding to be present for my two amazing boys and incredible husband helped me see. Go figure. Sure, I know I walked away from opportunity. My momentum was moving forward and going somewhere fast. I honestly do not know where blog of yesterday would have taken me. I do know it was going somewhere and I do not take that for granted.
What I have now is today. My guess is that no longer are my readers many. The few of you that have found me or remain I am grateful for. If more come my way, all the better. Life is moving and while it moves forward my hope is that I carve out a space once again. This time, however, I promise to notice that it is there.