Let me start this off with a quick little story about how I got here… One quiet day at work, when I probably should have been doing something that actually pertained to what I was getting paid for – I discovered the blogosphere and all of the wonders it contains. Home Décor, Gardening, Couponing, Adoption Stories, Crafting, Refinishing Furniture…I’m sorry, but is there anything that you CAN’T find here?? I soon found myself surfing for hours at a time while I was in bed at night, and following all kinds of amazing blogs. My favorites folder was fillin’ up QUICK. (Hadn’t discovered RSS yet.) Then it hit me… I WANT ONE OF THESE! I NEEEEED one of these. Over the years, I’ve often thought, “I need to write a book… I should get out there and talk to people who are going through what I went through.” I have something to say, a story to tell… some experience to share – how did I not realize that a blog was my perfect platform?? A book is so overwhelming for an amateur writer such as myself. And so, 3 years ago my dream of a blog was born. Which might lead you to wonder, what took so long to get my first blog post ? Well, technically it’s not my first. I did start a personal blog that I used as a journal. It was private and mostly talked about the adoption of our son and what a blessing he has been in our lives and to our family (you’ll definitely hear more on this later). Anyway, I fell 100% in love with blogging…but even more than that – I fell in love with writing. And it’s obviously not because I have any natural talent for it. It’s about expressing myself in my own words and in my own way. It’s about taking a topic, or even a story that is important to me and putting down in words how I feel about it in my own voice. All these bloggers I follow are so amazing! After a couple posts, I feel like I know them. I wanted that. I wanted to reach people, to help people who are maybe dealing with similar things that I’ve been through. If I could even reach one person and help them “turn their lemons into lemonade” (this is me acknowledging the cliché here…) then my blog will be a success.
So while I was getting “Life, Lemons & Lemonade” all set up, I started writing. I wrote about anything that popped into my head and saved it all on my computer. I wanted to get a jump on creating some posts because all this time had gone by and I was always thinking, “oh that would be perfect for my blog.” I decided that instead of letting it slip my mind, I needed to just start writing it down. Well somewhere in the middle of all that, my best friend texted me and said “I am so glad you’re doing this! You’ve been talking about it forever!” (I have great friends. Super supportive and there for me, always.) I told her, “I know, I’m super excited! But here’s the thing… I’ve been writing and writing, and NOTHING about my story or even about Crohn’s Disease in general has hit the paper! Is that weird??” Her take on it was this: “It’s not that weird, because if you’re writing what’s on your mind, why would you write about Crohn’s? “It’s not like you sit around and think about your condition all day…so why would that be on your mind to write about?”
Wendi, you were so right, and there are not more perfect words that you could have said to me at that exact moment. (well technically you texted them, but that’s “talking” in this age right?) What I realized in that moment is, THAT is the exact reason why I am doing this. I DO have Crohn’s Disease, I AM a Cancer Survivor, I DO have an Ileostomy…. but none of those things define me. I don’t sit around and think about them all day. They didn’t make me an angry person, or a sad one. In fact, I would venture to say they had the opposite effect. Those “lemons” made me stronger, more appreciative and grateful for my life. Because of those hardships, I can see how short it really is, and I truly understand the meaning of “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Now, I know that 2 things are happening here: #1 – I must write naturally and always be myself. There’s no sense in pretending…I’m clearly no gifted writer. (By now, you’re goin’… “uh yeah, duh.”) So in order to let this blog be what it should be – I have to be me. Hey! I’m a poet. :o) #2 – I have a feeling I will learn much more in this endeavor than I could ever hope to teach, and I am really looking forward to that.
I walked away from that (text) conversation with Wendi feeling relieved. It’s okay that I am not writing post after post about Crohn’s, Cancer and Ileostomies right off the bat. The whole reason I wanted to write this blog, was to tell my story and hopefully touch someone who needs something or someone to relate to. Well, I figure I can’t do that if they don’t know me. Opening up in all aspects of my life is what’s going to let you in and allow you to understand who I am… and I hope that’s what will make the difference.
One morning, shortly after my conversation with Wendi, I was next door at my sister’s house and I was holding my baby niece, Kate. She had the TV on and we were just passively watching Rachael Ray as we discussed throwing our annual Christmas Cookie Swap, when Michael J. Fox came on as a guest. Of course, I know that he has Parkinson’s Disease…everybody knows that. Unfortunately though, we didn’t have cable at the time – don’t worry, we’ve recently remedied that. So, while I “knew” he had it… I’d apparently not seen him since he started showing symptoms. It totally upset me… I could just feel my heart breaking as the tears started to roll down my cheeks. I haven’t been that affected by a celebrity since Patrick Swayze died of Pancreatic Cancer. (Boy was I a hot mess that day…) Lindsey was taken aback by my reaction since seeing him was no surprise to her, but apparently I’m living under a rock. To see Michael J. Fox putting himself out there amidst a life-changing disease like Parkinson’s, raising awareness, and even filming a new show was so inspiring to me. That man is awesome and I admire him something fierce.
These are all small things. Maybe them occurring right in the middle of me finally getting my dream blog up and running is a coincidence, but I choose to take it as a sign that I’m in the right place at the right time… and that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I hope you’ll join me on my journey. I have no idea where it’ll take me… But I’m ready. I’m excited. And I pray everyday that this leads me to someone who can benefit from what I have to say.
I hope you’ll read and share My Story with anyone you think may benefit from hearing it. :)
** Leah **
Share the Love & Love the Shares