When I first began blogging in 2005, it was a natural switch from sending out mass emails as a way to keep people informed about what was going on in my health. I had just had my gallbladder removed and was in the midst of what remains one of the worst years of my life. I kept my blog private and wasn't worried about what other people thought.
I wrote consistently and often very vulnerably about my life with chronic illness. By 2014, I had improved enough to go out a bit more and started dating. I also started doing some small fundraising for Dr. Rowe.
The frequency of my posts decreased dramatically until I wasn't blogging at all.
My excuses for not blogging became:
"I'm busy being out enjoying life in ways I haven't been able to."
"I'd rather be hanging out with friends or getting out in nature than home on my computer after all of these years of that being my only outlet."
"Being on the computer is really difficult for me--it causes me pain and brain fog--and I just don't want to deal with that."
"Rowe's Research Runners is a 'replacement' for blogging."
While I think there is some validity to these feelings, they were also convenient excuses for why I wasn't writing. Yes, it has been amazing to get out and do so many things that I hadn't been able to do for so many years. Yes, being on the computer is HARD. Yes, RRR started to take a lot of time and energy.
But what I think really created these excuses for not writing was two-fold: 1. SHAME, and 2. GUILT.
As I started dating, I began to worry that my honest portrayal of chronic illness would scare away any potential partners. I stopped being proud of my writing or even asking partners to read my blog. I didn't know how to date with chronic illness or how to share my truth with potential partners--even when I dated them for many months.
Second, I've become increasingly focused on maintaining the best physical health I can. This feels easier, more tangible and like I can 'justify' the time I put into it--going to endless appointments for PT, massage, doctors, etc. In the process, I've sorely neglected prioritizing my mental and spiritual health--to the point that the pandemic showed me how burned out I was truly feeling. Being chronically ill often makes me feel selfish and guilty for the burdens it places on others, so I used any and all energy I did have to try to compensate for that feeling. I haven't been doing my physical health any favors.
I'll explore shame, guilt, dating while chronically ill, and burning out as I continue to write. My goal is to keep posts here shorter and more digestible than they often were on adancinglight.blogspot.com. Hopefully this will also make it easier for me to create the time, space and energy to write on a regular basis.
Thank you to everyone who continued to ask me to write, encouraged me to tell my story, told my my story had value, and showed such support for my new website. Our endless conversations showed me the value of writing again. Without you, I know that I would not have given this a go again. A special thank you to Jenny Solberg Murphy whose message was like the Emily Dickinson quote "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops at all." Her belief in me sat perched in my soul for a very long time--waiting until my soul was ready.