I come to my blog when I want to write. Or when I don't want to but feel I have to. Or when I feel like if I don't I will explode. When I have something to say, when I have something to share, when I have something to contribute.
I am not alone. Millions of people blog. Even more people write. Why? Because it helps them. Maya Angelo said “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” For me that has always been true. If I keep something in until I feel I am going to burst, I write it out until it leaves me alone. Or until I feel I have made peace with it. Until I feel I can breathe again.
Friends tell me I have a knack for it. When it comes to getting my feelings from inside my head and heart out onto this screen through my fingers, that I am "good" at it. Passionate. Talented.
I have never had trouble writing from my heart. Educational essays, research pieces, proper journalism type pieces yes, I struggle more with. But personal stuff from my heart, no. That has always come naturally to me, like it does to many others. And I am grateful for that. Ernest Hemingway says “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That's what I do. My fingers bleed my thoughts as they tumble out of my head and/or my heart.
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ”
― Joss Whedon
Then there are those who attack my style. Attack what I write, how I write, when I write and why I write. Ironically, they attack me through writings of their own. They too use writing, but as a weapon. They sit behind their screens and string nasty words together and hurl them out in emails, comment sections, blogs of their own, etc and then feel...what? satisfied? Smug? Powerful? Bullies feel a lot of power from behind the safety and security of a screen.
I don't hide behind this computer.
Anything I have ever written here I will say in public and on a stage, and when it comes to my writings on the tornado, I have done just that, numerous times.
Although there are times I take a break from this blog, it's not for any other reason than that I am simply living my life. When life gets to a point that I need to write something down, I do.
And as I keep discovering, there is always someone, who finds fault with what, how, when or why I write.
I could focus on that. On the negative. The why do they keep attacking me? When will they move on? Find something else to do? Leave my life alone? Why do they care? I could continue to defend myself against the ridiculousness. I could give them further ammunition by dignifying them with a response. I could let them in.
I could. But how exhausting. And how exhausting it must be for them to be so negative all the time. To try to drag others down. To focus on all that's wrong instead of what's right.
Its just a blog. I don't care if anyone reads what I write. It's my venue for bleeding out all the thoughts in my head.
“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty"
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
And so, having said that, instead I want to focus on being grateful.
I have a friend here in town who inspires me. Who, in the darkest hours of the darkest days, but also on the most awesome, wonderful days too, focuses on what she is grateful for. She posts these "gratitude lists" on her facebook page from time to time and they are a breath of fresh air. No matter how crappy your day is or was, when you read her updates, they give you pause and make you think. Above all else, they make you see the beautiful meanings in the simplest things and you can't help but smile.
She is a beautiful, inspiring, wonderful friend. And if only more people could view the world, and life, they way she does. She wants to "change the world, one grateful step at a time". And no one can ever fault her for that.
Her intent was to inspire someone else to start their own list, which may inspire someone else to start their own list...etc etc etc....
And when you are busy looking for and being grateful for all the good things, the negative ones don't pack quite the punch they would otherwise. They matter less. Seem insignificant in the "big picture".
And maybe, if we all spent more time focusing on the positives, instead of dwelling on or even creating negatives, we would be happier people in a happier world.
So, instead of dwelling on the negative, I consciously choose to focus on the positive. And to write it here. For you, sure, if you decide to read it. But mostly for me. To remind me.
And I guess, if my focusing on the positive, and blogging about the simple, everyday great things that make up my life, upsets you, or angers you or...whatever...then....this blog is not for you.
So, today, what am I grateful for?
Today I am grateful for teachers. Teachers that while in their classrooms ignore the political strife of the times and do what they are passionate about: they teach. My daughter's teacher this year has pushed her in ways only she can get away with, with beautiful results. Of every test my daughter has brought home this year, all of them, all of them have scored 90% or higher. My daughter comes home with self published books she makes at school in her spare time. With deep questions her teacher has asked her to consider. With creativity and spark and excitement about the possibilities that lie ahead for her. With an understanding that she really, truly can be anything, anything she wants to be, no matter what anyone else says. Yes, this is always something we have told her, but her teacher, a woman who really, truly cares for my daughter and will follow her long after she leaves her classroom in June, ignited that spark for her this year, and now that she is old enough to understand it,my daughter is running with it.
And then there are my son's teachers. The kindergarten teachers. I am grateful for those who choose to teach Kindergarten, a child's introductory years into formal education. It takes special people to take on this grade, don't you think? 25-30 3-5 year olds six hours a day, five days a week for 10 months? I couldn't do it. But there are those who do it beautifully. They provide the roots. Lay groundwork for sparks. Ignite thought processes that will stay with these little people forever. Kindergarten teachers are tasked with selling the idea of formal education to little ones, of persuading them that school is fun and learning is fun and the really good ones remind them that no matter who they are or where they come from the world is big and limitless and full of opportunities just for them.
I am grateful for my children's teachers and the impacts they are having. I am grateful for all those who choose to teach and who do it well and for the right reasons. When it comes to teachers, I choose to focus on the positive.
Today I am also grateful for the weather. Earlier today I updated my facebook status to say "Dear Willie: you suck". Referring of course to Wiarton Willie, who predicted an early Spring. Here we are on the second official day of Spring and it is snowing like it's January. It's cold. It's miserable. It's old. It's time for winter to move on and move out. What could we possibly find to be grateful for in all this snow?
But you know what? I was reminded today of this time last March. The temperature was in the mid 20s (that's 80s for my American friends), people were at the beach and all over the place shoots were popping up out of the ground. Buds were out on trees. People had never seen such advanced signs of Spring so early. But then, snow returned. Not a lot, but just enough to do serious damage to those fragile sprouts and buds that had popped out already. Crops were heavily threatened and damaged. The apple harvest in this area last fall was practically non existent due to all the damage done last March.
At least we don't have that going on this year, right? And for that, I am grateful. If it's going to snow, we may as well get it all over with and then Spring can come to stay. It's hard, but when it comes to the weather, I am trying to stay positive.
And finally today, I am grateful for my friend with the gratitude attitude. Who inspires me to do better, think better, be better. Who reminds me that I will never regret taking the high road, that I will never regret focusing on the positive, that I will never regret having the best of intentions. I am grateful for your unwavering friendship and your calming, caring spirit. For encouraging me to do this and, most of all, for using your writing not as a weapon, but for good. You are a damned fine writer my friend, and I thank you for inspiring me.
Now, what are you grateful for?
“You are what you write.”
― Helvy Tiana Rosa, Risalah Cinta
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