Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blogging is weird (and a new design)

I didn't really know that I was redesigning my blog until I found myself on Etsy last night, perusing templates, and my husband said "You should get that one," and then I did. And now here it is. The same words with a different look. Imperfect, but sufficient, a lot like me. And simple like me too, leaving room for the words (because it has always been about the words, first and foremost) to speak for themselves. And underneath all that, my new blog design says, "I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. I've got some inexplicable sense of commitment to this strange thing I've created, though I don't even know what it is or why I'm doing it."

I've been at this blogging thing (in its current, more intentional form) an entire year now. And I am continually astounded by how this space has evolved over that time. I began safely, with topics and posts that were polite and easy: recipes, a book review, learning to run a 5k, and a couple baby-related DIYs in the excitement of new motherhood. Some of these early posts you can't even find here now, as divergent as they are from the present mission (as I vaguely understand it) of this space. Then, eventually, I began writing the words that were then burning to get out of me, about birth, my struggle with breastfeeding, and our family's unexpected and painful experience in the NICU, because I couldn't not write them, because I would go crazy if I didn't.

Then, then, I stumbled upon an entire community of writers who were wrestling out loud with some of the same faith issues I had been struggling with. I found Deeper Story, which led me down a complete blogosphere rabbit hole, where I came across incredibly talented writers like Sarah Bessey and Addie Zierman and D.L Mayfield and on and on and on. Eventually, I got the courage to slowly, carefully, come out of the closet about the doubt I had been struggling with for the past five years. Somewhere around this point, I fell in love with writing for its own sake. That's when I decided to sign up for Elora's Story 101 course, which introduced me to some of the most courageous, feisty, poetic women I have ever had the honor of knowing. Joining that community was like a cannonball of brave to my heart. My words have been growing braver and braver ever since, and I haven't looked back.

Though it seems like a distant memory now, I remember a year ago, when I was typing away at simple little recipes as if I cared at all about cooking, telling myself that I would do this for a year, stay committed for a year, just to keep my hand in the writing game as a new mom. If it was still nothing by then, I could give it up. Well I certainly didn't stay committed to recipes, but I don't think I could pull myself away from this space and the community I've found through it if I tried. Which is why I went ahead and made some updates, because this blog and I are in it for the long haul, for better or worse.

I do still find it fairly disconcerting though, that gigantic circular picture of myself up above, the image of me staring down at my own little words all about my own little life. Believe it or not, I've never been very comfortable calling attention to myself, introvert that I am, and it's all so terribly narcissistic, isn't it, blogging? But all I can say is that I feel called to this, to writing about my own little life in my own little space here. And for reasons I can't explain, don't understand, and though I admit it has been incredibly healing for me, it doesn't feel narcissistic at all. Each time I write a post, it feels like I am scrolling up my words, stuffing them in a bottle, and hurling them out into the sea, hoping some day the right person on the other side of the ocean will receive them. It doesn't feel like a call for help. It feels a gift. It feels like a life preserver that I am flinging from my imperfect, humble little boat, saying "Here! Come! Come and be safe, be alive, be free for awhile." And because I have known the power of others' words to do that in my own life, and because I believe in even the smallest chance of my words being that to someone else, I'm going to keep doing this, as weird as it is.


  1. Alyssa, I love the blog redesign! You are giving me courage to "take the plunge" and start my own. Thank you for putting yourself out there, explaining your process. And please, keep writing.

    1. Yes! Stina I would love to read more of your words. Keep me updated! And thanks for the encouragement. Always appreciated.