Sometimes writing is a mutilation. The writer chooses a subject and rips it apart to investigate its innards, its weak spots. He cracks its bones and shreds its skin.
Sometimes writing is a salve. It soothes troubled spirits and minds. It may not heal, but it provides relief and respite.
Sometimes writing is a blood-letting. It trickles, and it gushes. It provides a relief and respite that is totally different -- painful and unnerving but weirdly soothing.
Writing is different things for different people at different times. Sometimes it's all four. Sometimes it's none.
But it's never easy. Not if it's meaningful. Not if it's true. At least not for me. Words may fill the page or the screen, and they may flow quickly, but they hardly ever flow easily.
This is my 300th post. I started writing here in May of 2010. Looking back on those first couple of posts, I don't recognize myself. They feel fake and peppy. They feel like something I thought someone would want to hear, not something I would want to say. Only 4 people read that first post, and I'm glad. I can most likely guess who those four people were, and they knew that wasn't really me either.
It was a starting point, though, and I don't think it took too long to find myself.
I value privacy. I am, by my very nature, a secret-keeper, and I am good -- with my own and with others'. I worship, shy and squirming, at the temple of modesty, and my nose tends to stay in my own business. So to put mine out there, in a public forum no less, has been a constant battle. To reveal my shortcomings, my embarrassments, my failings has been painful albeit helpful.
There have been times that I stood naked in my weakness, and there have been times I have tempered my words because it felt too much, too raw. I don't reread those posts often; some wounds just shouldn't be picked at.
But there have been times that someone found comfort in my discomfort, and that's not a bad thing. It's a human thing. None of us wants to be alone, and, as cliche as it sounds, if even one word made someone else feel less lousy, then it was the right word.
And there have been times when I was able to tell someone all the things I never had the chance to tell them, all the things I never took the time to tell them, all the things they should be celebrated for, all the beauty they held within the light. I revisit those posts often.
In those 299 posts, I've ranted and raged, cried and crumbled, sulked and snarked. I have also smiled and laughed and triumphed. I've uncovered the awkward and revealed the absurd. I've said hello to a few, and I've said goodbye to too many. I've written about my students and about my co-workers. I've written about the meaningless and the meaningful. I've written for my family. I've written for my friends.
More than anything, though, I've written for myself.
I've gone to the well 108 times in the last 4 months. A third of my posts in such a short time, and I wonder when it will be that I run out of words. I worry about that often, but I only know that it will not be today. My original goal was to write more, and in the past three and a half years, I've written more than I could have ever imagined, even with long stretches of silence where I could not bear to open my heart.
A few of you have been there since the beginning, when I was too scared to do more than just let my writing sit, waiting in the corner at the school dance.
A few more of you have joined along the way. Some I know well; some I barely know at all. In the time I've written, my site has had 27, 894 page views. Some blogs do that count in a month or a week or even sometimes a day. But I am not them, and they are not me.
It seems, to me, like a whole heck of a lot of love and attention for my little wallflower blog.
Thanks for asking me to dance every once in a while.