Tuesday, June 17, 2014
10th Birthday of My Blog!
Today my blog is 10 years old! I'm excited and proud because this blog represents my longest commitment and the creative outlet I've never abandoned. Since I started this blog I've been through two apartments, five jobs, been married and divorced, I've gotten down to 118 pounds and gone up to 180, but no matter what happens the blog endures.
Since that first post on Thursday, June 17, 2004, I actually picked up some readers. Thank you to everyone who has been reading. I'm very grateful to everyone who reads and I especially appreciate those who have commented. I feel kind of ridiculous for having named this blog "Chicana on the edge." It sounds pretentious and dramatic, but it's also even more appropriate for me now than in 2004. I just don't see things the way others do and that often puts me on the outer rim of conversations, social circles and friendships. I say things out loud that are "edgy" without realizing they are. This makes me even more grateful for the friends I do have, the ones who are okay with me having such beliefs as the homo sapien species is due for extinction, parenthood is a no-win risk, everyone is racist, and life isn't too short, often it's too long. I'm not saying any of my friends agree with any of these statements, but they can accept that they have a friend who believes them and that's good enough for me.
Ten years ago I started this blog because I'd just found out that a friend of mine had a blog and I figured if she could have a blog, why not me? I also read an article that said that one of the things that makes a good blogger is the habit of spending hours a day online. It asserted that if you're not already spending hours in front of a screen, you won't make time to do it just because of a blog and then your blog will languish. When I read that, I knew blogging was for me. What else did I have to do with my time in June 2004?
It turns out blogging must be more than having time to spend online because even though my free time has fluctuated greatly in the past ten years, I keep coming back to the blog. It's as if I have too much going on in my head and I have to let some of it out. I think of my blogging as a release valve on a pressure cooker, like men with too much iron giving blood, like shearing a sheep of its excess wool, like anything that builds up and has to be let out a little at a time. I also simply love to write. So even though it sounds very mid-aughts, I proudly say that I'm a blogger. I also like the word in Spanish: bloguera!
Here's a question for you: ten years ago, where did you think you'd be today? Ten years ago I thought I'd still be a performing and recording musician. I'm very much at peace with that not being the case. Music did what it needed to in my life and then I let it go. I've also lost what little tolerance I had for late nights and loud amplification. The musician life was never really for me.
Ten years ago I hoped that by now I would be happily married, having found the man who was just right for me. If not that, I hoped to be divorced. I'm serious. In 2004 I just wanted to lose my "single, never married" status and I was desperate enough to stop caring how it happened. Married or divorced, I would know that for once in my life I had managed to get a boy to marry me because that's how you determine your worth as an American woman -- by being married. Oh, it's terrible what American culture can do to a woman when combined with low self-esteem. So now that I have indeed been married and divorced, how do I feel about this one? I have to say I'm neutral on it. I'm not proud of achieving this goal because it was driven by such self-loathing, but I have to admit that I got the job done, unquestionably.
I look at my family members and friends who managed to sustain a bond with the same man for ten whole years, or twenty, or twenty-five and I wonder what that's like. It seems like there are some benefits there, like it must be nice to be with someone with whom you share such closeness. But I'm too smart (unfortunately) to believe that it's the luck of the draw or the hand of God that leads you to such a bond. I know we end up in the situations that we are drawn to and there just aren't a lot of us that are so healthy, whole and balanced that we end up in a wonderful long-term relationship that never stops dipping and bending as we grow, providing unconditional love and, if not complete understanding, complete acceptance, to the end of our lives. If you're capable of that, you do that. I was not.
So here I am. If you had told me ten years ago that in 2014 I'd be living alone after having been married for five years, I probably would have been okay with it. It sounds just like what I would do. But instead of music, writing is now my creative focus and I'm very happy with that development. It fits my temperament better because I like getting up early, having quiet days, and going to bed at 10 o'clock. Also, writing is what I've done since age 11; it's like breathing for me. This is who I am.
Now I'm supposed to say that even though I'm not where I expected to be at this point in my life, I'm better off than if I'd stayed with those dreams I outgrew. I'm supposed to say that I'm happy with where I am and I trust that the things that didn't happen weren't meant to be. Of course, I don't believe that meant to be and everything happens for a reason crap. It's a godless, random universe and stuff just happens.
Given that, I guess I've attained an acceptable place. I'll be 48 next month with a divorce under my belt, a book manuscript written, a totally great apartment and all the wonderful friends and family I want. I have very promising projects and goals underway, my self-esteem is a thousand god#$%@ times better than ten years ago and I've learned excellent tools for dealing with stress and the depression that still kicks up for me. (I'm also proud to NOT have the following: debt, a miserable job, children, or a relationship I can't figure out how to scrape off.) While I have to admit that I'm not making the money I want, I'm not in love and I still can't do that full plow pose, it's also true that I'm not dead yet. In many ways, I'm materially the same as ten years ago, but I like myself a lot better and I think that's worth the rest of it.