Today marks one year anniversary of this blog. After blogging privately for years with fear of sharing “too much”, I finally gathered enough courage one year ago to begin sharing my stories and experiences in the public sphere. To celebrate Mommy Diary’s First Anniversary, I’d like to share a story about why I began blogging and how Mommy Diary came about.
Why Did I Begin Blogging?
I was always an avid reader and prolific writer since childhood and kept volumes of journals where I write down anything- from random thoughts, to daily recaps to anxieties, hopes and dreams. I did this voluntarily and privately without feeling the need to share my “secrets” with anyone else. It was a great way to keep my ideas and thoughts flowing without worrying about criticism, dissension or feedback- both positive and negative.
After many years of writing privately, it became boring and most notably, lonely. My “Dear Diary’s” that were once self-reflective and therapeutic began to feel more self-indulgent and self-seeking. My writings were begging to be released, asking to be read by more people- to touch, influence, stir, provoke and connect.
As I was sharing these thoughts with my dear friend Nancy Meier, she suggested I began blogging again, this time publicly. She understood my deeper passion for writing and knew my anxieties and fears as well. (We used to exchange countless letters in Junior High. We wrote so much, we eventually began using a notebook.) Ultimately, she is the one who gave me the extra nudge that I needed and for that, I’m forever grateful.
What if my writing wasn’t good enough? There are so many amazing writers out there. What if people find out too much about me and begin to judge me and my family? What if this, what if that?
She pretty much helped to put an end to such irrational fears and just do it. After all, vulnerability is fear that all writers have to overcome, right?
My First Post
My very first post was about my journey into motherhood as there was no other story that played a more significant role in my life as a 30-something woman.
I told my husband that I was setting up a blog, and he was kind enough to watch the kids and support my decision without questioning, which would’ve made my insecurity even worse. I walked into the writing nook in my bedroom and didn’t come out for two days. I bought a domain, set up this website and began writing, writing and writing with just a few breaks to eat and use the restroom.
Any writer can tell you that writing can induce the most cathartic experience. As I sat in my room and began recapping my 8-9 years of motherhood and marriage, I traveled through such strong emotions and cried many tears. The words and stories just kept flowing. By then I knew I had made the right decision no matter what people may say or think. I was doing exactly what I was meant to do.
You can read my very first post here.
Coming Out of My Writerly Closet
As a person who studied and taught literature, I understand the meaning and power of language, both theoretically and emotionally. Perhaps this scholarly understanding is what kept me from writing for so long- I was thinking too much into it and thinking too hard about it.
Years of literary training made me too critical, too analytical and too theoretical about every word, every sentence, every thought. Don’t get me wrong, the training was invaluable to my journey as a writer but now it was time to go back to the basics and begin writing from the heart.
Once the blog was set up, it was time to share it with others beginning with my friends and family.
I sat there with an unpublished Facebook post for hours. My heart began pounding and I was feeling intense anxiety symptoms.
Now people will know about my special needs child. Now they will know my past 8-9 years of marriage and motherhood was full of pain and ordeals. Now they will know a deeper side of me that they wouldn’t have known otherwise. Now they will see who I really am.
I felt naked and vulnerable. But I clicked the “publish” button anyway. I came this far, it was too late to turn back. It was done. I closed my eyes and said a little prayer.
I didn’t check my Facebook for hours after that. I was too nervous and fearful. I felt vulnerable and there was no turning back. What scared me most was sharing my oldest daughter’s story of special needs, early intervention and countless doctor visits. I knew it can help some families out there, but there was also that worry about “sharing too much.”
Then comments began to roll in, mostly from close friends and colleagues. Most of them were kind words of encouragement, support and love. I felt excited and freed from my fears. Of course it’s not always about positive feedback, but such warmth and support really helps especially during those uncertain and vulnerable moments.
Today I know that writing is not meant to be done in secret, it’s meant to connect. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if all the great writers in history decided not to share their writings with the public? If Maya Angelou never shared her stories of rape, if Virginia Woolf never discussed her unhappy marriage, if Sylvia Plath never explored her deeply rooted daddy issues, if Jack Kerouac was too scared to be himself?
Why Mommy Diary?
I decided on the name Mommy Diary because I wanted a name that can encompass all my experiences under one name. Although being a niche writer is most marketable nowadays (i.e. DIY blogger, Fashion blogger, Food blogger) I had to stay true to myself. I’ll never stop being a mommy and I’ll never stop writing honest reflections- therefore the simple words, Mommy Diary.
Even a year later I still love this name, because it’s a name that will grow with me over time. I plan to collect stories on this blog for many years. It’s simple and timeless, and it grows with me every day.
So Where Am I Today?
I owe many accomplishments to this blog. Through Mommy Diary, I’m able to brainstorm, freewrite, and share my thoughts and passions. The more I write, the more I realize how much I enjoy writing to share and connect. I still jot in my journals here and there, but I really love blogging- reading comments and connecting with other bloggers.
I love blogging because it satisfies my writing hunger and helps me to connect with others. To me, blogging isn’t simply about writing personally- it’s about sharing stories that add value to others’ lives and teaching us that our stories aren’t that different after all.
It bridges gaps and connects once strangers as friends. It blurs boundaries and builds relationships. It’s such an amazing and powerful tool and I wish more people (even non-bloggers) will understand its weight and value.
In less than a year, Mommy Diary helped me to become a regular Huffington Post contributor and spread my writings to faraway places I never thought I can reach. One article was even translated into portuguese and garnered thousands of likes. I got to dedicate a heartfelt post to celebrate my daughter’s 10 year birthday titled Ten Things I Learned From My Special Needs Child.
Most importantly, I got to share stories, connect with other women and deepen my journey as a writer. It also taught me valuable know-hows and lessons that I would not have learned by keeping my blog private.
Thanks to my blog, I learned many exciting tools and today I’m working on a fun project that’s scheduled to launch in June. More details to come.
Thank you so much for reading, following and commenting. Thank you for being there. Without you I wouldn’t be here and my journey as a mother and writer would continue to feel so lonely.
Thanks to you, I no longer feel lonely. I feel like I have friends who understand a deeper side of me, the other side of my seemingly perfect life. I’m grateful I can now connect with other souls that resonate with mine. I feel more whole.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU— and I hope I can continue to write here until my hair turns gray.