3/16/11

of course

After lunch and before Asher's nap, and after dinner and before bedtime, we have cleanup time. I'm not one of those you-have-to-clean-as-you-go-throughout-the-day moms. Maybe I'm just too lazy to stay on top of that, so we do it twice a day. It works for us.

Today as I was walking through each room before lunch, picking up strewn about clothes and Legos while the boys cleaned up the toy room, I noticed the difference in the sound my feet bring to the hardwood floors. It's louder than before. I'm heavier. My ever-growing belly (and other areas) weigh more and more by the pregnant day.

There was a strange comfort in the sound. thud thud thud.
There I am. I'm here. Doing this. I can hear me, I must be here.

So often a person can feel kind of invisible, just trapped in their own home and mind.

This made me think of a conversation I had over Twitter with my friend Lyz yesterday. She said she almost panicked when she couldn't find me. That's because if a person types in the previous .com (url) for this blog or has it bookmarked or clicks on my link in a sidebar or a profile page of mine or something, they're getting an error message. This blog no longer magically appears. (I explained in my last post about losing my domain. Subscribers via RSS or email are still able to find me, that's the good news, but non-subscribers who try to visit in any other way have no luck--long story.)

Anyway. I jokingly tweeted back to Lyz:
"I DID panic. I'M LOSING MYSELF, I said. But I still exist. I think? I mean, if 80% of readers can't find me, I still exist, RIGHT?"

And then she responded with her typical hilarity:
"Doesn't the saying go "People can find my website, therefore I am."

Of course, this was silly banter, and also of course, this got me thinking more philosophical thoughts (this time about narcissism and online identity), since that's how my thoughts roll--they refuse to stay light.

I'll admit, this whole website thing has been bothering me. I'm fighting some pretty ridiculous thoughts, stomping my loud puffy feet. I'll think things like, Over four years of growing a readership and now no one can find me! This is of course ridiculous and irrational because the comments on the last post will prove that many people COULD actually find me. And! Do I really write here only to "grow a readership?" I think not. But when something like this happens, that single-minded kind of narcissism is tempting for a blogger and I can admit that.

Before I was writing here, the words were building in me and then I found this place to voice them, to be heard. Like I'd been pregnant with words and then I walked around and I cleaned them up and emptied them out, my feet sounding off across invisible interweb waves. You see, there is a beautiful and powerful kinship in being heard in this way, this way that is what my friend Ann calls bearing witness. My stories are here and when people come to read them, something happens, something in the mingle of the witness. Maybe I can't see you and I don't know what all of your reactions are, but there is something in knowing that a crowd, however big or small, is out there in the void. Your witness steals some of the power from my pain and amplifies my joy.

:::::

As I said in my last post, Sarah has been working on this website mess for me and has therefore been moving me to Wordpress from Blogger. (Because why not? I'm kind of starting over anyway.) She was moving the comments yesterday and while all of your words were transferring from one host to another, Sarah said "it's on comment 9,000 out of 20,000."

I couldn't wrap my mind or heart around that.

20,000 comments. There have been 20,000 moments in which someone took the time to let me know they heard me. What a gift.

Then I thought about Sarah, the way she is so often my sounding board, on the receiving end of my stories, my rants, of so many many of my words. I thought about the way she's my friend because we met in this online space and how that has turned from, Huh, she's cool, to Wow, I think this far away person may have become one of my best friends. We witness each other's words, Sarah and I, in and out of the blog world. We, just two people, are listening to each other walk around the house.

I guess what I'm saying is, of course it's okay if not everyone can find my blog as it gains a new address. Because I have irreplaceable ears and hearts in my life. That's different than a crowd, but not less. Which is something all bloggers need to remember about blogging. The numbers really are just numbers. What matters is that the words are getting out, released, unfurled, relieving us and making us feel less alone with them. They go from stirring circles around and around in just one place, to stirring circles in many places. We don't even ever get to know where they end. We speak, and even more importantly, we get to be a part of the crowd that receives, that hears. And being a part of a crowd that hears, big or small, is one of the most important jobs in our relationships, online or off. To listen to people, to really listen to them, like they're a good book or a captivating movie, that is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give.

Magically, when we give that gift, it brings us the same rewards in exchange. I read Ann's post about bearing witness yesterday and even though it is not about blogging (it's about so much more), it gave me what I needed as I heard her. It helped me to remember that I have the honor of bearing witness to footsteps heavy or soft and that in doing so, I serve the people that I hear.

That
truth means more to me than numbers. Of course.





14 clicked right here to comment:

Christy said...

Wow - 20,000 indeed! I didn't even know the number of comments were kept track of by blogger!

And I totally get it. Totally.

Well said, my friend! Hope you're feeling well today!

Brianna said...

"Your witness steals some of the power from my pain and amplifies my joy."

This is SO true and it's a beautiful thing.

Bri

anymommy said...

Of course. What a perfect title for this and yet sometimes we need someone lovely to remind us of these truths. I'm in the middle of my own move to wordpress and on my sillier days I'm sad about numbers and "losing people," etc., if I'm honest, but you just nailed the response my brain hasn't teased out yet.

Ann Imig said...

Beautiful.

I love that you were pregnant with words. I was too, but my way of saying it--in my very first blog post--was that if I couldn't have another baby I needed something else to quiet these ovaries.

DID THE TRICK!

xo

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I keep meaning to comment on your lost url post (and also keep meaning to check my own expiration) and yeah. Heather, you have "it" and you know what, the people that need and want to find you, will.

They got here somehow in the first place, right? I am so thankful for knowing you, too.

Steph

Cathy said...

Of course people want the numbers. They are writing to write and to connect. I was an observer, then a reader, now a writer. What I've noticed is that once Sarah does your site, you are "officially" in it to be in it. Good job.

Lyz said...

Darn you. Your wisdom and grace has totally put my frustration into perspective. Lousy perspective. :) Thank you.

Sarah P. Miller said...

"...the mingle of the witness." YES.

Wow. Yes.

Jill said...

I'm so glad I found you again ... not that I lost you. Just misplaced for awhile ...

Becky said...

I found you and you ARE HERE!!

xoxo

Jen said...

Big smile! Sarah is pretty great, right?!

Amy @ Never-True Tales said...

'Bout time you joined us on WP! You'll be so glad!

Lisa said...

I'm still finding you and I like how you described what it is to have someone out there in the void.

Brenna Stout @Online PhD UK said...

I would simply agree. Listening is a gift. It’s easy to talk and share about everything to other people. But the hardest part is to be able to listen, to understand and appreciate, right? Others pretend as if they really understand what you are going through. I’m glad you have a genuine friend despite the despite between both of you. Keep up with the friendship and teamwork!

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