If you had told me when I was 11 years old, writing my first public forum entry on my parents’ 386 that someday people would keep online journals where the world could see them, I would never have believed you. I would have laughed and said, “That’s so stupid! EVERYONE CAN READ IT!”
How do I know this for sure? It’s not just an active imagination. I know because my 11 year old self said so just a few weeks ago.
You see, I have Multiple Sclerosis which has caused a seizure disorder.
Recently, I spent 12 days in the hospital while doctors monitored me, put me on all kinds of meds, and ran more tests than I could count. To be fair, I was totally blitzed out of my mind on medication and having very large seizures every few minutes, so I think I could probably count to 12, solely thanks to the Sesame Street pinball song.
During this stay in the hospital, several strange things were happening to me. The strangest of them all was akin to time travel. You see, my brain reacts very differently to seizures than most people. I don’t generally lose consciousness or sentience, but when I do, I wake up totally disoriented, thinking I’m a different age, and wondering where the hell I am and why I feel so bad.
Sometimes I’m 8 years old, thinking I’ve upset the teachers at day care. I’m sure I’ve done something wrong because I feel just awful. I *must* be in the process of being punished.
Sometimes I’m 22, newly married, and want to know where my (now ex) husband is, and if he survived the car accident I *surely* have been in. My current boyfriend (who always looks dashing when I see him “for the first time” again) takes particular pleasure in letting me know that my ex is out of my life, and how much better things have gotten for me.
Sometimes I’m 19, think I’m still at Berklee College of Music, still playing drums, songwriting, and singing. When that happens, I usually assume I’m late for an exam. When I find out I’m 27, I get pissed that I “sold out” and yell about how I should have rock band and a CD out by now. (Hey, I’m not getting any more marketable or younger!)
Other times, I’m lucky enough to be between the ages of 11 and 13. During those times, I freak OUT about how awesome laptops are, because I always ask if I can log onto Shadowscape – the BBS I used to frequent all through middle and high school – and every time I am astounded (and sometimes a little scared) by my Blackberry Curve.
Last time I “was” 11, my mother tried to bring me back to the current timeline by talking with me about computers. (I still know facts, and remember feelings about things – so sometimes hearing theme songs to TV shows or talking about things that really excite me can bring me back to the current timeline.) She asked me if I had updated my blog. Of course, in 1992, there really was no such thing.
I looked at her incredulously and said, “Blog? That’s a weird word. What does that mean?”
“Well, sweetie, it’s a short version of ‘Weblog.’ It’s like a diary that you keep on the world wide web.”
Because I was one of the biggest nerds I knew growing up, I knew all about the web, but still preferred the local BBSes to IRC, ICQ, or the *very* young web. (You know – back when Prodigy and CompuServe were still viable competitors to America Online.)
I laughed out loud and said, “Mom, that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why would ANYONE put their diary on the internet? EVERYONE COULD READ IT! Seriously, you know me better than that.”
It was then that everyone in the room (including my neurologist) started laughing but me. That’s when they told me that I’ve been keeping a blog almost daily for the past 10 years of my life. Of course, it was a little bit of a shock, but when I came back into my 27 year old current mindset about five minutes later, I couldn’t help but think it was hilarious too.
I’ve been out of the hospital for 10 weeks now, recovering while coming up on anti-seizure medications. I can’t drive. I can’t swim. I can’t bike. Hell, I can’t even safely shower alone some days.
But I can read.
And I can blog.
For the last 6 years of my life, I’ve been active on LiveJournal. I’ve made more friends there than I ever could have hoped for or expected. They’ve seen me grow immensely – through graduating college, starting and ending several different businesses, getting married, getting divorced, building a new life, starting law school, being diagnosed with MS, graduating law school, and landing in the hospital during the last crucial weeks of bar exam preparation – so it wasn’t a huge surprise to anyone when I asked them the question that has been weighing very heavily on my mind: What now?
See, I’m the person who makes things happen. I’m always on the go. I’m always organizing events, hanging out with people, learning more, doing more – and now, at least in the immediate foreseeable future, there’s not a lot I can do – at least not much that I could think of.
So I asked my friends – the people I trust more than anyone in the world – and they came back with 3 very solid answers: become a life coach, just rest up for now and still become an attorney, or become a professional blogger.
Being a life coach when I’m trying so hard to figure my own life out didn’t seem to make much sense to me. Sure, I’m a good listener, and have a lot of good coping techniques and organizational techniques, but really – where do I get off thinking I should tell someone how to live, let alone tell them to pay me for it?
Resting up and still becoming an attorney is entirely reasonable. I *did* just go through 3 years of law school, and I *was* planning to start my own firm. The next bar exam is in February – plenty of time to prep without unnecessary stress. Odds are, I will take that test. Regardless of the decision I make with regards to that, I figured it wouldn’t stop me from exploring Option #3.
At first, the idea of trying to be a professional blogger seemed ludicrous. I’ve been doing it for so long that I don’t remember life without blogging… but it was then that I read a post on the Daily Tao community that “The master does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone.”
Writing doesn’t feel like a job to me. I even posted from the hospital as soon as I could. Blogging is just something I do. It’s part of who I am. Could this be my calling? Who knows? Certainly, not me – but if happiness exists when one lives in perfect integrity with themselves, it’s worth giving it a shot.
So here it is: my “professional” blog. Welcome to my life. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.