Why did I begin writing this blog? Great question. So glad you asked. While my other blog, http://ritzelswrites.blogspot.com, crawls through the blogosphere with amazing slowness, like a NASCAR race in reverse, with carefully drafted essays about aspects of my life I would like to share with the three people who actually read it. Good stuff, I think, but not enough and I’m too much of a perfectionistic writer to publish anything that I do not deem worthy of that space. I wanted something different. Something that would require (at least in my own mind) that I post something almost every day.
The idea for this blog was hatched a year and a half ago. Yes, that is how slowly my mind must get the seeds for an idea, grow the beans, allow them to dry in the sun, roast them, send them across three continents, then grind those lovely beans into the perfect cup of writing for people to read. The grounds for an idea are not rushed in this brain of mine. Oh no. My mind is like molasses. In January. Left outdoors in Maine.
So, a year and a half ago my sister-in-law nominated me for one of those Facebook challenges. You know the ones. For seven days you do the thing, whatever the thing happens to be. Take a black-and-white photo of a different body part of your cat. Take a selfie with a different hat on backwards. Name your favorite lemur (I would totally ace that challenge without ever seeking the assistance of the Google gods). But this one was the Love Your Spouse Challenge, and while these challenges always smack of old-fashioned chain letters, this one was something in which I wanted to participate. First of all, I love my sister-in-law. I love my spouse. And I could come up with so many reasons why I love him that this challenge seemed easier than deciding which shoes I will wear each day. Birkenstocks or Skechers. Skechers or Birkenstocks. Really a no-brainer.
But I tend to be an overachiever, so I decided that for each of the seven days I would select a photo, or in some cases two photos, and focus in on one aspect of our relationship brought to life by the photos along with my words. I would think of the topic and select the photos in advance but not write the post. The writing became spontaneous bursts of creativity about our relationship. I loved it, I did it for seven days, and then it was over.
Then I had a thought. Why not apply this principle of loving one’s “whatever” to loving one’s life? Why not the Love My Life Challenge? After all, my life was trapped in a holding cell. I was terribly sad, in chronic pain (as usual), still grieving the loss of my father and a beloved cat (sadly, I can now add my mom to that list), and my weight was up. I felt powerless. All I wanted to do was sleep. The writing had helped, but then it was over.
But…if I loved my life would I be happy? If I loved my life would I feel joy? If I loved my life would I be free from the sadness and pain–both physical and emotional–that had weighed me down for decades?
If I loved my life would I at last be free? What if I did love my life? And what if writing was the key to getting myself on a happier journey than the depression train to Siberia?
So now I have begun to write. And as this blog is meant to be a chronicle of my struggles with both weight and chronic pain, I will toggle back and forth between the two until I land somewhere in the middle. This, I imagine, is where the answers lie.
As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Oh, man. I think I’m screwed.