Please read to the end of this post. Because it takes me a while to get to my point. That's a head-scratcher, I know...
I have done a fair amount of speculating, sometimes even out loud here on this blog, about what is the point of blogging? When the sound of my own voice sounds tiresome, even to me, and I wonder if this is all just narcissistic navel gazing.
By now most of you are familiar with the story: I started the blog to promote my jewelry business, wrote exactly two posts about jewelry (actually, art) and then started writing about addiction and recovery. Within weeks a community had found me - a community of women (and some men) who identified with my story, were struggling or sober, or just compassionate people who wanted to offer words of encouragement.
Being open about my recovery on this blog brought me many completely unexpected opportunities (like Oprah, USA Today and Redbook) and changed my life in ways I could never have dreamed possible. It also helped me build up a readership (impersonally referred to as a 'platform') that boggles my mind to this day. And the friendships? OH, the friendships. I have found friends that are like oxygen to me; who fuel my soul.
I was running out of things to write about (at least in my mind) when my Dad died last June. Writing about losing him, grief and trying to move on after such a staggering loss was so healing for me. And once again, a community of people came out of the woodwork to offer empathy and support. It blew my mind, how many of you reached out to me, sent flowers, supportive emails, cards, words of hope.
I was this close to shutting the blog down last October. I was struggling personally, I was tired of my own voice, I just didn't feel that spark anymore. It did feel like narcissistic navel-gazing, and the day I write just to hear my own voice is the day I stop writing.
Last October, as I was literally crafting a post saying I was shutting it down - I found the lump in my neck and wrote a post about it. A few weeks later I was officially diagnosed with what I already knew was true: I had cancer.
Once again, so many people came forward, offered words of hope, support, encouragement. You offered your own stories; once again the community of people I needed to know found me.
Then it hit me, what makes my blog special, meaningful: YOU.
I'm slowly figuring out why I have kept up this blog. First, because it helps me. YOU help me. So much. Second, because there are causes close to my heart that I want to bring awareness to - like recovery and cancer.
I worry - because that's what I do - that the people who come here to read about recovery roll their eyes at the cancer posts, and vice-versa. I'm just going to get out of your heads and back into mine and write about what it meaningful to me.
Now that my youngest is heading into first grade, I'm thinking about what it is I want to "do" with my time. Building up my jewelry business is one. But finding ways to support the recovery and cancer communities actually tops the list. So you'll be hearing more about this - especially the cancer community - in the near future.
I'm hoping you'll support me in this. Even if you haven't been directly touched by cancer in some way - the odds are (sadly) that someday you will. Spreading the word about resources for those of us impacted by cancer helps everyone.
I had the pleasure of meeting the Executive Director of Friends Of Mel - a vibrant, inspiring woman who has helped so many with this organization. Local people (and, increasingly, across the country) are familiar with the story of the bracelet. If you're not, please go here to read about it. It's incredible.
What started as one courageous, funny, giving woman making bracelets for friends, family and nurses while she battled cancer turned into a multi-million dollar organization that helps SO many people. What many people don't know is where that money goes - for example, Friends of Mel is a sponsor of the Cancer Support Community I go to locally for yoga, for group therapy (and it offers SO many more resources than just those) - and it has literally saved my sanity.
There are so many more places like this that have received funds and support from Friends of Mel, and I will be writing more about them in the future, because this story just blows my mind; speaks to the difference just one person can make.
YOU are that just one person. You've helped me survive the death of my Dad, cancer and the daily struggles of life. You've been there to celebrate the successes, the small victories that keep us going.
I hope you'll come along with me as I endeavor to support some causes that mean a lot to me. I won't be asking you for money over and over. I'll be asking you to help raise awareness by spreading the word on your own facebook/twitter pages, help use social media for good.
And, of course, I'll still write about whatever is in my brain - kids, motherhood, serious, silly or navel gazing. I've come to terms with that. I just love to write.
I have noticed that posts like this one don't get a lot of comments. For a while it devastated me (OH, my precious ego) but then I'd see you posting the links on your FB pages, tweeting about it, spreading the word, and that's what matters. THANK YOU.
One last piece of business for you local people: there is an incredible conference called The Art of Life After Cancer coming up on September 15th at the Marriott, Quincy, in Massachusetts. But it's not just for survivors; if you have cancer, have had cancer, are a caregiver, were a caregiver or have been touched by cancer in some way, I can't recommend this conference enough. Click here for the link for more info, and to register (only $25). If this doesn't appeal to you personally will you please share this link on your FB pages? Especially if you're local? I am finding the challenges of life after cancer to be as difficult in many ways as life fighting cancer.
Thank you for all your help. Thank you for propping me up when I need it.
Thank you for being an incredible, supportive community with such huge hearts.