I am working on an updated mission for this, my beloved TIGA blog, and it brings me to that most fundamental of all questions.
Why do I do this?
There are so many reasons. Writing is a solace, and a playground, but above all, it is my way through, my way to make sense of things, to navigate challenging moments and celebrate the lighter ones. Whether I am publishing words on a blog or in an essay or just jotting them down in my journal (or on the back of an ATM envelope), writing is always there. It never lets me down.
And here is something else that writing has taught me: darkness cannot survive the light. That’s why we share ourselves with others, whether through email, over coffee (or tea), in a meditation class or sitting side-by-side on a long car ride. That’s why I write.
Lately, a friend of mine wrote in an email:
“I’m doing my best not to get depressed by the situation at home, which, by the way, is a story for another time. Maybe I should start a blog on that and see if that helps?”
I wanted to shout YES, YES, YES YES! right over the internet.
Yes, we all need to find a way to share our loads. We’re not meant to bear them alone, and nowadays, it seems that all the conveniences of modern life conspire to isolate us. We don’t work together in communities as much as previous generations; we don’t tend to get to know our neighbours in the same way. How often have you attempted conversation with someone whose eyes are trained on a smart phone? It’s trite, but it’s reality. Our too-busy, too-fast world doesn’t afford us enough opportunities to share our tougher moments, Twitter nowithstanding, and increasingly, we tend to edit ourselves, leaving out the bits that aren’t so shiny and pretty, not letting the darker parts into the light. And then, if you’re not careful, the dark parts will start to get the better of you. I can tell you that from experience. For most of the last, oh, twenty-five years, I have built a bubble-wrap cocoon around myself that included precious little sharing of my burdens with others.
“Burdens?” you ask. “What burdens could you possibly have?”
Well, arguably, they mostly exist in my head, as you may have gathered from some of my more recent posts or if you happen to be familiar with cognitive psychology, mindfulness practices or Buddhism. And yes, I am blessed in countless ways, but as Laura Munson points out, even so, maybe “suffering is the new normal”.
Everyone has burdens. If you look at your neighbour with the perfect landscaping, or the super-bendy woman next to you in yoga class, or the successful actress or professional athlete, and you think they have perfect worry-free lives? Let me tell you something: its’ not true. We have no clue as to the suffering of other people. If we did, we wouldn’t be so quick to flip them the bird when they cut us off in traffic.
Bringing me back to where I started. Why do I do this? To shed some light, and to do it in writing because that is what works best for me, hands down. We all have our way; this happens to be mine. What’s yours?
PS: In the next few weeks, Both TIGA and Warrior Girl will have a shiny, bright new missions to light the way for the next hundred posts. Wish me luck!