For the past several days, I have been thinking a lot about the life of this blog. It was born a little over three years ago, March 2015, in a seemingly random way. I was very depressed and alone. Without giving much thought to the matter, I just typed various phrases into Google, things like “I am so depressed and can’t go on like this” or “I am a disgusting and horrible person.” Then I would just read whatever came up. I supposed I was looking at some level to find I’m not alone, or to find some kind of help. What I ended up discovering was the world of mental health blogging. I didn’t even know it existed, much less that it would become such a lifeline for me through the difficult months ahead.
Now it seems that my blog has been killed, in an equally random way.
My son decides to take a Facebook quiz, and thanks to the world of big data, kaboom! my cover is blown. And no matter how many times I think it through, I always come to the same conclusion: this means the end of la quemada.
It can no longer be a public blog, because my son knows about it. He told me he bookmarked it, and he’s been asking me if I’ll make it public again because he wants to keep reading. I can’t live with that. Even though in some ways it shouldn’t matter, since now he pretty much knows everything, it does matter. Knowing that he will be reading it if it’s public, I will no longer write freely and honestly. I will always self-edit, knowing he’s peering over my shoulder. And if I don’t write the painful truth, what’s the point?
The other option is to keep it up as a private blog. I considered that. After all, some of the utility of the blog comes from having the opportunity to sit down and articulate what’s going on for me: an electronic journal, in essence. But what is really meaningful for me has been the support and validation and caring from readers. What an incredible community! I have gained so much from that support and from the opportunity to support others as well.
And the truth is, my access to that amazing community is greatly restricted with a private blog. I now have 12 people who have requested and received access to the private version of this blog. Knowing how bloggers come and go, or get busy, or get interested in other issues or other blogs, I know it won’t be possible to keep up a community or reach new people this way.
So the future of my blog is this… there is no real future. It’s a terminal diagnosis.
Sometime in the near future, I’ll let it go dormant. Since I just paid for my fourth year (I pay to get rid of the ads), I’ll let it sit here as a private blog for a few months, which will give me time to save material off of it that I want to keep. Sometime before next March, I’ll delete the whole thing.
I feel a bit sad to write those words. More than a bit, to be honest.
But before I let it go, I’m going to do something to celebrate it and all the good it’s brought me. I haven’t figured out yet what that will be (let me know if you have suggestions?). Some kind of blog farewell party, part graduation, part wake.
And here’s the part that gives me some comfort and hope: I’m going to start over with a new blog. Maybe it’s time. I’m at a different place. I no longer need to “believe the girl”–I believe her now, most of the time at least, and I try to take care of her and myself when Doubt creeps in. I’m at a different stage. Now my task is to use the skills I’ve been developing to continually tend to the deep wounds that will always be there, but that no longer need to run my life. Now my challenge is to build the life I want to live. I’m sure depression and anxiety and health problems and triggers and Effexor withdrawal and boundary issues will still be there, but I think they’ll look different.
Besides, la quemada means “the burnt one,” and I haven’t burned myself in over a year. I get the impulse sometimes, but I feel I have a lot of other options I can choose instead.
That’s all I know about it tonight. But knowing there will be something new following the end of this blog makes it easier to imagine letting it go.
CREDIT: Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash