I wrote this on my old blog, a farewell to that little online space I’ve loved.
Dear Old Blog,
I saw your name today for the first time in months. livelaughgrow.blogspot.com It was written in a very special place, inside the pages of a dear friend’s freshly printed book. A real book! With our names in it!
Which got me thinking about how I never really said goodbye to you, and I need to.
The first place I was ever brave enough to publish my thoughts online was a xanga.com site during college. I remember how powerful it felt to put my words into cyberspace, even though almost no one knew they were there. The potential for someone to discover them was exhilarating. It made me careful, but not cautious. I could write things there that I would never say to a real person.
Swayed as I am by public opinion, I followed the masses from xanga to blogger, where I found you. I remember picking just the right name for you, like a child. And on my honor, I chose your name before placards and keychains everywhere were emblazoned with the words “Live Laugh Love.” It was My Idea, and the right third word was: grow. Because that’s what I was doing with you. You were a safe place for me to grow as a writer and a person. I met other writers that way. Got my heart broken (as usual). You introduced me to my husband, sort of, in that the words you kept safe for me were the first parts of my heart he was able to see once he knew I existed. I never imagined I was telling my husband about myself when I told you, but it made this place all the more sacred.
The last post I ever wrote was about summer, pregnancy, and David. I was just emerging from some of the deepest loneliness of my life, and I celebrated by coming to you. That’s always been how I know I’m ok. If I can write about it, I’m ok. When I have abandoned the pen and page I know for certain: there is drowning and no life boat in sight.
I’m sort of glad I didn’t know that would be my last Real Post, because there would’ve been so much pressure. What would I write about? How would I say it just so, so it was final and right? But writing about sunshine while my firstborn son grew fingers and lungs inside me: that was right. I just wouldn’t have found it if I had been looking.
This same thing happened to me one other time. During my most uncomfortable years between college and learning how to be a twenty-something, I found safety in a friend’s home. Really, it was his parents. They lived in a house with an addition that was added on to that was then added on to. There were at least 6 cars in the driveway at all times, half of which were in various stages of disrepair. And the driveway? It was dirt, with giant craters and sharp rocks on the ready to puncture any low-profile car’s oil pan (mine). But that didn’t stop me from pulling my car, ever-so-carefully, into the driveway, knowing that inside I would find family, good food, and love. They loved me.
As with most of the stories from this season of my life, this one was complicated by unrequited love and the awkwardness that enters immediately when someone’s mother is more interested in your being there than the son ever would be. In the twisted story I told in those months, the night he came to tell his parents he had a girlfriend was the same night I became stranded at their house and had to spend the night. In his room (since it was empty). I remember lying under his loft bed, small reminders of his presence and absence around me. A few clothes, the smell of his cologne, his Bible, all Not Mine. At all. I cried. I slept. I did not rest.
A few weeks (or was it days? I don’t remember) later, I was folding laundry (theirs) with their Mom. We were chatting, like we always did, making piles as we went of each son’s shirts and socks and underwear. Somehow we came to talking about how one day would be our last day visiting like that, because we both secretly knew I needed to make room for the Girlfriend, and that my own heart needed space to breathe again. We both cried, talking about this. It would be so sad, that Last Day. If only daughters could be successfully added without the permission of a son, I thought. I would add myself. But it couldn’t be done. So we cried. I drove to my apartment that day, thinking about the way the continents were shifting.
And I never went back.
It wasn’t like I meant to leave forever. It just sort of happened. I didn’t say goodbye, because I didn’t know I needed to. Like here.
Anyway, so I guess I’m finally saying that goodbye, to both of you. And thank you. I know I have been changed for the better.