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The Reason Behind the Reason

Today marks my two-year anniversary as a blogger. What a journey! This week, I’ve been thinking about the EyeJunkie adventure as it relates to my 2010 theme word, courage. Over the last few months, several friends and commenters on the site have made reference to openness and the courage required to express thoughts so transparently in this particular medium. Can you say world wide web? Emphasis on world. While I don’t necessarily see myself as courageous (hence the year-long posting pursuit), I do recognize that sharing one’s thoughts and life in any authentic way with the internet is not for the timid. It’s intimidating. It’s scary. And, yes, I think it can be a little presumptuous. I mean, what do you care, right?

I’ve actually been amazed by how much you care. By how much credence you’ve given to my sometimes haphazard thoughts. I know my own time constraints and schedule, and I’ve been amazed at how ready you’ve been to carve out however brief a space in yours for this blog. I’ve been honored by the comments–both here and on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve been inspired by how many of you have taken the time to send me a personal email about something you’ve read or seen here.

Still, courage? Contemplating whatever courage might be required to enter the blogosphere and the daunting task of interjecting my voice into the fray has me thinking about the reason I started this “thing” in the first place. And, the reason behind the reason I’ve realized since.

I had been contemplating this adventure for some time before I actually began. I’ve always enjoyed writing and journaling. This particular medium seemed (from an observer’s position) to be the perfect combination of both. I was pregnant with Baby Girl at the time and swimming in a sea of toddler antics, dirty diapers and waning second trimester stamina. I was immersed in the usual schedule of home-making and nursery preparations. I was keeping my head above water with a healthy design schedule at my day job. And, I was realizing that, for the first time in my life, I had virtually abandoned any personal creative pursuit.

For those of you who haven’t read all the fine print, my day job is with an advertising agency where I am a graphic designer. So, I use my creativity for a living. However, I’ve always somehow needed an outlet for exploring ideas in a more personal way. Whether through painting or poetry or book-making, expressing myself–usually through some combination of words and pictures–has always fueled energy and creativity in other areas of my life.

It began to dawn on me as I made it through the considerable energy drain of a third pregnancy paired with two toddlers that my children didn’t yet know that creative person, that writer, that painter, that maker of things. Somehow through complacency or busyness or sheer exhaustion, I had forsaken those pursuits. Then, I began to notice this odd on-line medium called blogging. I began to see this type of outlet as a way to incorporate those creative tendencies back into my life without the less than kid-friendly materials and space required for something like the watercolor painting or collage I was prone to. In early 2005, my parents gifted me with an exquisite little MacBook named Kermit. He opened the doors of reality on that little idea that had been germinating. I began brainstorming and making notes and sketches for how a personal blog might actually flesh out. You can read the evolution of “eyeJunkie” and the “adventures in paying attention” theme another time, but suffice it to say that one domain name, a web hosting account, and one WordPress download later, this blog was born.

“Hello, world.” That statement was enough to intimidate me for sure. It was the title of the test post WordPress Dude includes in every download of the application. It chrystalized the nature of this experiment pretty clearly–my words, my voice broadcast to the world for all manner of internet-goers to partake. Yikes.

My voice.

As I plugged along with writing and posting, EyeJunkie certainly filled the creative bill. It helped me accomplish that goal of a creative pursuit. Those readers who have been around for any length of time can attest that I’ve subjected the Junksters to all kinds of experiments and hare-brained ideas–graphics popping up here and there, series starting and fizzling, run-on sentences and fragments abounding. But, something else beyond a basic creative outlet has emerged for me in these two years.

Recently, I was writing some thoughts (something about underwear purchases or chili… don’t even ask) in an email to a friend who commented… “this sounds like an EJ post.” Wait a minute. EyeJunkie posts have a sound. That stuck. The comment made me realize the reason behind the reason that this blogging adventure matters to me. I’ve noticed a voice emerging. Mine. A consistency and willingness to speak. A thoughtful, but emphatic tone. An amalgum of emotion framed in a single sound. The sound of my own voice.

Through the months of blogging, I recognized that I had been in a period of my life for some time when I felt that my voice was being drowned out–perhaps by difficult relationships, distractions and interruptions, the absorption of care-giving and kid-loving, dailyness and just plain busyness. I found that my own voice was hushed and difficult to discern–even to myself–above (or below) the din. Through the act of writing and exposing thoughts to the world regardless of who may or may not be reading, I was finding my voice again. I realized again that I had something to say, and this venue gave me the inclination to say it. To find the courage to speak it. In my own voice.

Is transparency in this world brave? Perhaps. Is writing an authentic blog essay courageous? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve put courage into this body of nonsense as much as it’s put courage into me. Writing an EyeJunkie worthy of your attention has encouraged me to speak. In my own voice. If the question of courage is “where can I find it?”, for sure I’ve found at least a little within this cyber space. Thank you for listening to that process.

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