Nobody starts a blog with any idea what the hell they’re doing.
I begin with blissful ignorance, fresh off a patenting forum, having to ask my mate Sarie how to insert a hyperlink and in a state of intimidated awe when I saw blog awards… awards. Obviously, the bloggers who bestowed them on others where a huge big deal… why else would they be giving out awards? (Just a note on blog awards- they are awesome. As we know, they mean…. not much at all, really, but they are as good a meme as any other. And memes- blog games- are the shizzle when you first start out blogging. First off, you meet other bloggers and begin to be part of that community. Second, they are a Godsend on the days (weeks?) when you are struggling to come up with yet another idea for a blog post.)
I stumbled through and around and about the blogosphere, bumping into people, probably stepping on toes, leaving comments anywhereIi could and developing a persona I hadn’t had to use for a while– Miss Community Spirit *cue pompoms*. I participated in everything, I learnt as I went. I f*cked up and blogged about it, I did cool stuff and blogged about that too. I wrote stuff that was funny, and unfunny. In fact, I made the mistake of deleting some of the funniest, crudest posts I’d ever written (Bad Humpty, any Retro Jellybeans….?He rocked). I lost a Follower and was devastated. I wrote one of the best posts I’ve ever published– one that resonates with me so strangely now, in the After- within the first few weeks of blogging.
If you’re new to this part of the internet… welcome. It’s a strange, enlightening place to be. You’ll find yourself disheartened occasionally. Don’t take anything too personally. If you keep a sense of humor and remember that this is the Internet, not real life, the benefits outweigh the downfalls. Most of the time.
And here, perception is everything. Trust me.
When I first begin Random Ramblings of a SAHM– not knowing that most people had no idea what that acronym stood for, unless they’d spent a lot of time on parenting forums; or that that was, possibly, the longest and most cumbersome blog name in the history of the www– the Aussie blogosphere was still kind of the same place it is now… only totally different.
|RRSAHM circa June 2010|
Through the eyes of Lori the new Aussie mummy blogger, circa early 2010… Suger was huge, Holly was everywhere, Eden was already a big deal in the US but we’d never heard of her, the MadMother kicked everyone’s butts, every time, in a weekly blogging challenge that I think has fallen by the wayside– sad, but check out Eden’s Fresh Horses for the same kind of random, post–inspiring stuff; I was nervous linking up to the Muse Wars for the first time because Mel had 132 followers and that was stacks (by the way, for any of you who like to write creatively, the Muse Wars is returning here to RSSAHM in the next few weeks… same jellybean channel. Stay tuned.); Brenda was the only blogger I knew of who made any money; and WoogsWorld hadn’t even poked her head onto the web. (In fact, I remember Woogs first ever post on the DP forums- which was, back then, the Aussie Mummy Blogger forums, asking about buying a domain name. And I would have put good money on it that her and Sawhole were the same person…. right up until I saw them in the same room, at the same time.)
I had 31 followers when Brenda– 674 followers– asked me to guest post for her. I actually thought I would hyperventilate or pee myself before I got to answer the email.
I got an email about something called the Top 50 Bloggers when I’d been blogging for about three months, and I didn’t think anything of it. In fact, I think I thought that there must only be about fifty blogs in Australia… scraping the bottom of the barrel, evidently.
There was, that first year, a bit of animosity after the Top 50 list was released. I get that…. if I hadn’t been on it, I would have been… devastated. I actually would have cried- seriously, I’m not even being sarcastic. I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen three years running, one of only two blogs– me and Bern. (I think. I’m probably wrong. Correct me, please.) Every year, I know there’s an undercurrent of hurt feelings that rolls in after the list is announced. I understand it. One year– probably next year, my luck has to run out soon– I’ll feel that tang of disappointment too. It’s the way humans work. (What we call human nature is actually human habit– Jewel Kilcher).
The blogging events that happen on a regular basis now where non–existent two years ago. I think the first big one was when the Sydney–based Top 50 in 2010 were invited to Taronga Zoo. That day
remains in my memory as one of the best I ever spent as a family with my husband still with us… there seems to be so few of those, memories of pleasant events that include all four of us, and this one is strongest. I remember holding Tony’s hand and trying not to skip as I whispered to him “That’s Fat Mum Slim!!!! Omigod!! Right there, in front of us!!!” Because Chantelle was then, and still is now, an uber–blogger… and one of the sweetest, most genuine people you could meet.
I also met Zoey that day, recognizing her only because I saw pictures of Riley daily– seeing Riley had the bizarre quality of meeting someone infamous that you’ve only ever seen in print. I didn’t know what to make of Zoey; or the other big Aussie blogger at the time, Veronica from Sleepless Nights… because neither of them had a Follower box to tell me how popular they were.
Ahhh… the Follower box. I’d like to say that I’ve never paid attention to it, that it doesn’t matter… but I’d be lying. Its mattered… it matters. I love the bloody thing. Before I understood stats or anal–ytics or hit rates, it was the indicator whether I was blogging well, or not well. (Numbers went up– doing well! Numbers stagnant– meh. Needs improvement.)
Tony– who loved to stir me– laughed at me when I first began blogging, and told me he’d buy me dinner if it I hit one hundred followers. When he died, he owed me four meals out. Now it’s more like thirteen. Not that it matters, because in the next few days I’m migrating this blog to WordPress. Which will mean nada to you guys reading, but is causing me major panic attacks, Epbot–style. And not least because I’ll lose my Follower box. The Google God reckons its being phased out anyway… that does nothing to decrease my anxiety.
|RRSAHM circa March 2011….|
How will people know I’m awesome if there isn’t something here that tells them that already…?
I know– insecure, much? Welcome to my head. This blog went for being a fun hobby to my lifeline, my safety net, my source of self esteem.
The afternoon the sky fell in, I was on my computer when Tony came home from work. I had no bigger plans for that afternoon than writing a blog post– FlogYoBlog Friday, probably themed around the New Year… new year, same sh*t, that kind of thing.
Instead, my world fell apart. And my blog became… everything. The only stable thing I had in a reality that had become, if nothing else, inherently unstable.
You may think I’m being melodramatic when I say I wouldn’t have survived without it. I assure you I’m not.
I don’t remember a lot of what I wrote in the weeks following Tony’s death, or the first three months in Paradise. I read some of them back, occasionally, and it hurts to even remember the space I was, how much pain I was in (how did I do that, how did I even survive that…?). I watched myself win awards and write articles from a distance– while one Lori cowered and screamed, still partly in the laneway at the back of her Purple House; the other was competent and efficient and still had something she was good at.
I had this blog, and I had a constant source of replenishment for my bruised, battered self esteem. Again, this isn’t melodrama– this blog is everything to me. That may strike you as sad and somewhat treacherous psychological territory to tread… but it is truth.
|Awesome button by Danimezza… yes, I know you want one.|
I’m actually writing this post as my entry for the prize part of the Kidspot Top 50 for this year, 2012. The prize is a ticket to BlogHer’12 in NYC. I want to go, for so many reasons… mainly to celebrate. To stand on top of a freaking big hill and breath the fresh air and rest on my backpack full of useless rocks for a moment and enjoy it.
If I reach top five, we’ll all have to deal with me posting a handful of posts about Ford. Tony, being a Holden kind of guy, would be rolling in his metaphorical grave…. he’ll just have to deal with it too.
I’m supposed to tell you in this post what it is that makes me different from other bloggers, from the other blogs in the Top 50. I guess the ‘blogging–through–a–suicide–thing’ is right up there on the list of good reasons.
But, in truth…. I’m no different, no better, than any other blogger; and RRSAHM is not that much different from any other blog. We’re all storytellers. We all take our tiny corners of the Internet and transform them into scrapbooks of ourselves, our passions, slices of our lives on show. The best bets, the worst bits, the boring bits. All the stuff that makes us real.
I started a blog, and I learnt as I went along, making mistakes and getting things right and sometimes not knowing which it was I’d done. I write, have written, every day for two years now. And be it through practice or pain (and some days I feel like Robert Johnson, selling my soul to the devil for a talent such as this..), I’ve improved. Through practice, most people do.
In reality– while I never underestimate how lucky I am to have the readers I have, and I’m always grateful for the opportunities this place brings me– I’m no different to any of other millions of bloggers out there. We all just so what we do. I just happen to have a story to tell that not many people have heard a version of bef
ore, and I’ve been blessed with the ability to tell it well. I’m an exceedingly lucky woman that I have so many people engaged in my life, in my narrative; so many people who want to know how this all turns out as much as I do.
Just another blogger... if the Internet broke tomorrow, I’d just have to go back to writing in my journal. Maybe– hopefully not– I’d go back to just not writing at all, the way I did before I became a blogger… but at least this time round I’d know what I was missing.
The point to this post…? I’m not sure there is one. But I would truly appreciate any and every vote you can give me. Standing at the summit for a bit, enjoying the view from New York City… it’d be a very nice place to be.