My blogoversary, my blogoversary, ferns, dancing, tons of people. Every pink flower west of the Mississippi. Blogoversary cake in the dining room and the NaComLeavMo cake... Hidden in the carport.
That was Shelby's wedding. And this in my blogoversary. I get these two occasions mixed up. All. The. Time.
My blogoversary is not bathed in blush or bashful, but my blog is two years old today. It is also almost the anniversary of my little planner and I am still lugging it around with me a year later. But it should get its own day to shine.
It is hard to remember what was started this year and what was merely a continuation. Show and Tell is definitely new as is IComLeavWe (which was called NaComLeavMo in its first incarnation). U.T.E.R.U.S. was started and we did our first big fundraising adventure. I kicked off the weekly Barren Advice column and a bunch of us have already chosen our new blogging names and added them to the Blogging Name Registry to mark the two year milestone. The collective Shop Mom or Pop was started last winter. The Public Living Room was utilized for online meetings and simultaneous television watching. Twelve and a Half Fighting Back took on activism projects. We had an international candy exchange. The largest project--Lost and Found and Connections Abound (LFCA or L & F)--not only began but got so large that it moved into its new space and has published almost 200 entries so far.
Other projects simply continued. The blogroll grew like a weed. The Creme de la Creme rolled around again as well as the Roundup Extravaganza. We kept meeting at the Virtual Lushary each month. The Barren Bitches read a lot of books. Entries were added to Operation Heads Up and new people volunteered for the Peer Counselor List. Secret Ode Days popped up out of nowhere.
I looked at the two years this blog has been in existence and used their overarching themes to determine the course this blog will take in its third year. This is different from the word that defines the entire blog which is "community." I think that word best describes the blog as a whole if it had to be boiled down to one word.
But, if you take each year on its own, the first year was best defined by the word "connections." I started the blog because I had always wanted a single space on the Internet that combined all the best aspects of the individual spaces. The information from the medical sites and the support from the bulletin boards and the fun projects from...well...camp. The connections were sometimes between two people or sometimes between a person and information. But so many of those early projects were about removing the isolation inherent in infertility. If you had an Internet connection, you had a community, not just a blog. I did this for myself, but I'm happy if it helped others too.
The word that defined the second year was "action." I have a definite antsy side to my personality. I don't sleep a lot. I don't remain still for very long. I don't like to talk about things--I like to see things happen. I live my entire life by Gandhi's adage "be the change you wish to see in the world" (albeit at a high speed with the theme word being "now"). So we changed things. We saw needs and we filled them. We fought the good fight. We made sure--to the best of our abilities--that more people got the support they needed. Thank you for this.
I am never sure what word defines the year until after it is over, but I'm entering this year with a single word to help guide me. I don't know if it is helpful or not to name it right now, but I'm going to place it out there as a thought. My defining term from now until next June is "listen." It's a hard thing to do--to truly listen to another person. To set aside the time to concentrate on someone else's thoughts without simultaneously considering your own. To practice a form of verbal relativism, listening while trying to place yourself in the other person's point of view rather than your own. Talking is easy. I have about 850 posts on this blog. Being silent. Reading. Actually hearing; internalizing someone else's words, tossing them around inside your head, allowing them to change your world. That is hard.
Already, the small projects that have planted seeds in year two are sprouting into year three. Show & Tell at its core is about listening to what is important to another person. Lost & Found is about sitting with someone's words and letting them know that you're listening and supporting them.
The thing that I have the most hope wrapped around is IComLeavWe. I would love for this idea to build and for comments to gather the same respect as blog posts. We honour blog posts all the time, but how many times do we honour comments? We lament not being able to post enough, but how many times do people also consider their lack of commenting? NaComLeavMo was admittedly hard. It became suffocatingly difficult to remember to comment a quota every single day for a full month. I hope that by making it weekly and making it often that people will drop in and out with an eye to what is happening in their own life. When the list opens next week on Tuesday, I hope people add themselves. When IComLeavWe rolls around (each month from the 21st to the 28th), I hope we see a huge spike in comments. Thoughtful comments. Comforting comments. And also...
Even when you don't have something to add, when you can't find the words to respond, I hope this year that it becomes socially acceptable and understood to simply write the phrase "I am listening" and post the comment under your name. What does this do? Sometimes, it helps to know that your words were read. That someone didn't click on and click off of your blog without processing your words. Sometimes it simply feels good to know that you're not alone, even if the other person doesn't have a solution or deep comfort. Some people may think this is lazy; a comment not worth the effort to leave or receive. But I think it can be very powerful to know that someone listened even if they have nothing to respond with in return. If all comments ran this course, I would need to rethink my stance on this, but right now, amid the other thoughts, I would love to hear the small "I am listenings;" especially on a post that you see does not have a lot of comments.
So happy anniversary, little blog. May this next year be one of deep listening, good community, enormous love, wonderful news, and only more kumbayaness. We cannot control so many things in our lives--the enormity of what we can't do sometimes leaves me speechless--but ensuring that no one feels alone: that is actually within our power. So it is my goal: to make sure that anyone I encounter knows that I have listened.