In May 2005, I took a tentative but determined dip into the world of blogging.
Kir’s Corner (eventually The Kir Corner) was born and during the next five years it truly was a place where “love, life , infertility and then motherhood…met”. The corner where I invited my friends in and told stories about my inability to get pregnant, where I shared stories, quotes and anecdotes about my marriage, my struggle and my all too painful and all too heartbreaking yearning to become a mom.
In 2010 I added fiction to my repertoire and in 2013 launched a second blog specifically to highlight my fiction.
Some days my posts were about transvaginal ultrasounds, sperm counts and egg retrievals and other days it was about my friendships with other women like me or a funny story about how scheduled my sex life was becoming, but it was always my space, fair and square, and it gave me a safe haven where I could write away my fears and share my joys.
Through the years blogging has opened my life and my heart. Once I started writing I realized how much the art of wanting to share stories and words has always been a part of my DNA and writing was a gift I had been blessed with.
In celebration of their 10th anniversary the staff at BlogHer asked us to share what blogging means to us.
Brought me a village
My internet friends are real. They are women who have been infertile with me, women who have held my hands (virtually and in real life) through some of the best and worst times of my life. In all my life I know that if I need a kind word, a kick in the ass or both simultaneously that I have a powerful, incredible, supportive gang of people behind me who believe in me when I can’t summon that emotion for myself.
Plus they’ve taught me how to be part of a village, reminding me that when you give with an open heart you get back more than you could have ever dreamed of. (My last three birthday celebrations have been the sweetest of my life)
When I feel my heart getting heavy or my dreams diminishing I simply reach for my tribe. They are the greatest gift the internet has given me.
Reminded me it isn’t all about me
It wasn’t shocking, since I’ve never thought this life was all about me, however I saw firsthand how it calculated in real life as our small blogging communities grew and opened to include every voice and opinion.
Even as an infertile, mid 30’s married woman who did IVF to get pregnant with fraternal twins and went on bed rest for almost 14 weeks to then go on to deliver babies who spent time in the NICU, I wasn’t special.
I had large amounts of company online and off, people who had gone through what I had and more.
Reassuring me that my story wasn’t the only one of its kind but it still deserved to be told.
I learned early on: “There’s room for everyone in the pool.”
People Can Be Mean
I’m a softie; an honest to god, flesh –and- blood optimist. No more so than back in 2005. Even in the middle of my heartbreaking yearning to be a mom, I believed in the goodness of the universe and continued to trust blindly.
I never really had any trolls come calling, perhaps because I never got big enough of important enough to invite it but over the years as blogging let more of the world in, the world arrived with hate, venom and unsolicited opinions.
I’ve spent most of my life being told, “You have too kind a heart. People are not always going to be like you.” I’ve spent many days and weeks mulling over that statement when I face someone that disappoints or hurts me in real life or here inside my screen.
Just like in real life the people in our screens are human beings (well most of them) and they come with flaws. They can misrepresent, lie, condescend, hurt your feelings and try to break your spirit.
When this happens, see #1 and go find your tribe.
Also remember there are people who will be your lifelines and your greatest support system. Don’t let the mean people diminish that fact.
Offered me a place to tell my stories
Since I was a little girl one of my favorite things has been to talk and share stories. I can sit for hours at a table swapping tales and nodding heads. It is a place where I feel most alive.
I think one of the reasons that I love television and books so much is their ability to draw me into a story and teach me about other people.
I want to know who you are, why you are, what brought you here.
When I started blogging it was not only to tell my story but it was to encourage a dialogue much like the ones I had in my chat groups at the time.
Many people will tell you “write for yourself” but it’s never been that for me, I write (then and now) to tell you about my life, to know I’m not alone, to show you you’re not alone either. Blogging has given me that freedom and a place to tell my stories whether they are memoir or fiction.
It offered me a place to BE UNAFRAID.
(which brings me to…)
Rekindled my love of fiction
In 2010 I followed a fellow infertile friend’s blog over to THE RED DRESS CLUB and realized how much I had missed spinning the webs of fiction. I don’t know if I can ever thank the editors and the writers I met for all the lessons they taught me, the support and advice they gave me, the encouragement they offered as I made my way from blogger to writer.
They read my stories, they invested in my characters (and me) and are the reason I still write today.
In allowing me to become a part of their communities they became my friends, my critics and my most important teachers.
When I started my second blog: KirstenAPiccini.com, which is where my fictions lives now, I felt like a dream had come true. I had made a mark on the world with my stories.
Revealed what my strengths are:
Just like in every group or community you become a part of, you take on a role. Blogging confirmed my type B personality and allowed my extroverted abilities to shine.
I built communities, I celebrated other bloggers with my blog series “Proud Mommy Moments” and I found that when I wrote about my own infertility or shared deep personal revelations it led to BlogHer Syndication.
I loved being a follower and I rejoiced in supporting others, helping to support or pimp their works and projects. I was told over and over, how my cheerleading on behalf of others was an important thread through the fabric of our community. I learned the power of the comment and spent time getting to know the people I was reading.
I’ve been published, I’ve read for Listen To Your Mother and been part of a speaking panel at BlogHer and through it all I have come to know myself more and more with each experience.
You’re going to feel jealousy sometimes, you’re going to want to quit blogging and ask yourself why you do it at all from time to time and you’re going to look around at what everyone else around you and feel very inadeqaute, but that’s normal.
For me, I do it because I love my communities. From my infertile tribe, to my mommy/daddy blogger friends, to the authors (famous and almost-so) and the humorists, I am simply humbled by the gift of being able to read their words.
Blogging is going to show you what you’re good at…and once you find out, go be your best self at it.
I Never Got Famous
I still don’t have a HuffPost byline, a piece on mamalode, a Voice of the Year or NYTimes bestseller next to my name (maybe someday? ) and when I go to blogging conferences just as many people know me as those who don’t.
But I don’t care. The fact that I’m not famous in any traditional sense doesn’t diminish anything I’ve written or the tiny space I take up in the blogging world. (Plus I’ve hugged a lot of famous people. Bonus!)
Getting famous wasn’t the plan back in 2005 and it still isn’t. I simply wanted to a place to share my journey through infertility treatments when my only prayer was to become a mother.
The guest posts that followed, the small accolades and the enormous community that I’m now a part of now is the sweet spot of sharing my stories. Blogging has enhanced and saved my life more times than I can count.
Thank you, so much, for allowing me to do that for nine years (and counting)!
Grab your own Selfiebration badge at BlogHer
and write about your own blogging journey.
I am also joining Michele and Mel , my favorite condiments and FRIENDS,
who host Ketchup with Us
(and for June any numbered post..WIN/WIN ladies??)