For a while I toyed with the idea of shutting up shop on my blog – and seriously considered just closing it all down.
I’d downloaded an archive of all my posts and was looking at the cost of keeping it going (it’s not free when you share as many photos as I do) vs the benefits of carrying on – and at the time the money didn’t seem worth it.
I was skint and it was an expense I didn’t want.
After all – it costs more than a year of Netflix to keep my blog going – and at least with Netflix you get lots of nice things to watch.
However, at the time I also felt quite down about some aspects of my life, and becuase they weren’t areas that I like talking about in public I felt as if a creative drought had begun to consume me.
I wasn’t suffering from writer’s block. It was more like writer’s constipation.
There was actually a lot to say – but the truth was that I couldn’t or wouldn’t put it into words.
I guess the old addage of depression being rage turned inwards is true – because I keep finding again and again that when I can’t (or maybe more specifically won’t) be honest in print that it has an impact on me over and above what caused my mood dip in the first place.
The fact is that the Netflix subscription is a great example – because spending money on that instead of WordPress represents consumption as opposed to creation.
I’m sure that we can all be accused of forgetting ourselves from time to time, and losing sight of how we came to the places in which we exist – happily or otherwise – and I’m no exception.
This morning I looked back over my ‘About’ page, and I realised that it had been over a year and a half since I last updated it.
Whilst I was tinkering with some of the wording and updating a couple of links I started thinking about who I was in the very first picture on that page, and when I constructed my very first post.
January has been a great month for me to be honest – and becuase the new year started with a renewed sense of optimism and positivity I’ve written a lot more posts than I have in a while. I can feel the benefits of this output deep down in the core of my being – unlike the man sitting on the edge of that chair in Starbucks.
He was an unhappy consumer who binged on everything from food to Netflix and created nothing.
I’ve never posted an unedited version of that photo – but the man sitting next to me in January 2015 is my Dad. He too was struggling and continued to do so for some time afterwards.
Like me folding my arms to cover my stomach (fighting a losing battle with reality) his coat was doing the job of hiding the area he felt the most self conscious about.
It’s fair to say that whilst I was by far the most out of control we were both on the wrong side of our healthy BMI’s.
Last week I posted a different picture from when I went to visit him in Aberystwyth – and although it may seem like I’m veering away from my original topic it’s very relevant.
Although our relationship as father and son hasn’t always been the most communicative and we don’t always see eye to eye (particularly with regard to religion and politics) I know that my father loves me – and that has grown deeper and more present due to me writing this blog.
He reads each and every single one and shares them with his best friend.
Not only has the personal catharsis of working throughmy thoughts helped me – it’s helped him and his friend) too, and I know (becuase he’s told me) that his weight loss is directly connected to my own.
It’s not just about the impact that my openness in this site has on others mind you.
I do have a tendency to think of everyone else’s needs and feelings before my own – but not this time. On this occasion what I’m writing about and celebrating is personal.
There are times that I need to remember where I was when I wrote my very first post almost four years ago in February 2016 – and although I felt a sense of optimism I had no idea what the future held.
I hadn’t realised at that point how much I loved to write and share my life with others. At my core I was a man only weeks removed from alcoholism and still held onto a certainty that I would probably still die well before my time.
I’d failed to make the changes I needed to so many times before – and always ended up back where I’d started both heavier and often a lot drunker.
I didn’t know if I could make the changes that I needed to and I had no idea how the mechanisms that would keep me on the straight and narrow in life would work – or even what they would be.
I just started writing and never stopped.
When I read my posts again (and I do a lot becuause I treat this as a diary) I found myself staring back from the pages that I’d constructed. Surprisingly I began to like the man I was becoming as well as understanding who he was and what I needed to fix in life.
Often I had no idea (like today) what it was I’d be writing when I sat down to type. It just happened, and almost without exception when I closed the browser window at the end of editing and fiddling with a post I felt not only purged, but as if I understood myself just a little bit more.
If you’d told the man sitting in the picture next to his father that in a year’s time he’d be paying to give his innermost thoughts to other people, and spending hours and hours of his life every week doing so then I’m sure he’d have laughed you out of the room.
However – here I am again, still feeling the need to share – and for some reason doing that in full knowledge that I cannot control people’s opinion or perception of me once I’ve done it.
They will make their own minds up about who I am and whether my words are worth their time – but in some ways a readership is immaterial. It’s nice to know that others like my blog and flattering that they still keep coming back for more – but they probably don’t do so thinking ‘what I’m reading saved this man’s life.’
I guess fundamentally that’s what it comes down to.
This blog saved my life.
It came before almost everything good that happened to me and it’s been with me through the successes and failures along the way.
I’ve poured my heart and soul into being as honest and as open as I can possibly be (without telling the world my PIN number) and it’s become so ingrained in my identity that I can no longer stop.
I’m edging closer and closer to having written one million words – and that’s pretty incredible.
In fact it would be rude not to get to that number – so that will be my goal.
I’ll force nothing that I don’t need or don’t want to say. I’ll carry on writing from the heart, trying to understand myself and help other people like me and chip away until I’m there.
I’m gonna do it!
See you at a million!