Why I Blog

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I’ve been journaling for almost as long as I remember.  By 7 or 8,  I flirted with it, going weeks of writing each day in a pink diary complete with lock and key before gradually dying out, only to resume a month or two later with a written promise to “be better about it.”  I’m not sure why I felt like writing in a diary was something I had to do.  As one can expect much of the writing was silly inconsequential ramblings, but as I got closer to my teen years and started having more and more trouble at home and adjusting to my emotions, the pages were increasingly covered in the large angry scrawl of a child so obviously drowning in life.  I still have most of these journals — books with flimsy locks  or spiral bound and wrapped tight with elastic,  lined and unlined, notebooks with pre-marked dates and inspirational quotes — all packed and carried in moves from Iowa to Texas, from dorm rooms and apartments to our first houses in New York and now to Nantucket.

In The Early Days

As a junior in high school, freshly moved to state far from my dad and friends, I started blogging for the first time, increasingly turning from paper and pen to keyboard and monitor, from private to public.  Back when internet access meant dial-up modems and AOL accounts, I started playing around with my first website, a free Homestead drag’n’drop site, and my first blog, on Xanga.  The Homestead site is long gone, but for some reason a few days ago I thought of the blog, and I managed to track it down.  I had, smartly, made most of the posts private at some point in college, but I managed to figure out how to reset my password and then spent nearly four hours reading through posts I wrote from 2002-2006.

As early as elementary school, I found solace in writing.  By high school, when I struggled incredibly with depression, anxiety, and major life changes, far away from my friends, I found writing publicly as a way to feel less alone and frustrated and angry.  As do many teens, it’s clear from my early blog posts that I was trying to paint a specific image of myself, but I was very honest too — perhaps maybe too honest.  Midway through my freshman year of college, it all blew up in my face when I blogged about the hurt and frustration of a failed relationship and it had repercussions on my friendships.  After that, I made a dramatic shift in how I wrote online.  I disabled comments on my blog and, instead of writing about myself and my life, I mostly used it as a vehicle for sharing the poems and prose I wrote, much of which was autobiographical in nature but more cryptic, at least.  Shortly after I got in engaged, I stopped blogging completely; although I don’t remember why it was not important anymore, I’d guess busy-ness and joining Facebook had something to do with abandoning Xanga.  It also helped that the closer I got to my wedding, to finally being done with school and to being able to really live on my own as an adult, the happier and healthier I became.  I was less and less dependent upon my online community for validation and support.

For Our Family

When I finally started blogging again, three years later, my blog was purely functional.  We were expecting Nora, and I wanted an easy way to share our news without having to call all four sets of parents, three sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends every couple of days.  We lived across the country from most of our family members, who wanted to see my growing belly, and a blog was the answer.  It wasn’t the sort of blog you would follow if you didn’t know us.  All I (and rarely, Chris) did was share the mechanics of what was going on and a lot of (poorly taken) pictures.  But it got the job done.

Around the time Nora turned six months old and I turned 25, I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with working full-time and losing time with my sweet little girl.  I realized that I wanted to start blogging for me again, and Au Coeur was born.

My Current Goals

Yes, this blog is still a great way to share our news and photos with our families, but more than that, it is meant to be a meditation on finding joy in, what I call, the not-quite-there.  We all have visions of how we want our life to go and the kind of person we want to be, but it is usually a process to make those visions a reality; the “not-quite-there” is that process.  This blog is for me, but also for others — I hope that my journey and my writing might somehow be able to help other people who are also still working on getting to where they want to be in life — and, increasingly, this blog is for her.

I write here, because I want Nora to know how very much she is loved and celebrated.  I want her to know what she was like when she was little and what our days were like.  But I also want her to someday be able to read this and to know me.    I want her to know that I enjoy old-fashioned mom stuff, but that I have a nerdy side too and that I enjoy building websites just as much as I enjoy taking her to playgroups.  I want her to know that everything I do is for her and is about her, even if that thing is taking myself to yoga every Sunday morning for two hours so that I can refocus and start the week as a calmer parent.  I want her to know that I am the kind of person who thinks, examines, questions and rarely takes things at face value.  I want her to know I have dreams and hopes.  Mostly, I want her to know that I’m human.  That I’m not perfect but I am always trying, and that I am doing my very best to ensure she grows up much more emotionally healthy than I did.

I don’t have ads on this blog and it’s not part of any network.  I don’t make money off of it, and for now I don’t intend to. It’s enough to savor the process of writing, photographing, and sharing, and to know that I am leaving a gift for Nora.  I greatly enjoy the variety of perspectives and community that come along with writing online and blogging in particular, and I do make a point of telling people about my blog, leaving links whenever I comment or post elsewhere.  I appreciate my readers and their comments very much.

I am still receiving a comment every now and then on my post about personhood.  Most of the feedback I received was from people who were hurt or upset by the discussion, which was never my intent.  I thought long and hard about this post before I wrote it, and I spent many hours not only crafting the original piece, but also considering and responding to the comments.  From a very early age, I have engaged in philosophical thinking and debate, from asking a teacher in fourth grade to explain why division is  to questioning, as a sixth grader, immaculate conception and most of Christianity.  I don’t take much on faith.  I chose philosophy as a major in college because it is in my nature to question and examine life.  Many of the posts on my first blog centered on issues of identity and defining or understanding self, even if at only a high school level.  I knew that my beliefs surrounding personhood would be controversial, but I chose to write about them anyway because this is who I am.  I think about issues such as these, I want Nora to know that, and I think that discussing and critically examining my own beliefs makes me a better person.

That said, I want to say something very specific here: I don’t expect that everyone (or anyone) will agree with me on every single thought, feeling, or belief that I have.  You don’t have to agree with me on any or all issues to read this blog.  Whether it’s something big like my support for gay rights, the fact that I’ve had an abortion, or that I don’t identify as a Christian, or whether it is something small like choosing cloth diapers, generally not buying produce from outside the US, or not going along with the Santa craziness at Christmas, there is always going to be something I do or think that is wrong to other people.  That’s okay.

I read and love quite a few blogs written by Mormon women; I’m not Mormon and I disagree with them on many of their beliefs, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying their sewing or viewpoint on parenting or photography, or whatever — it doesn’t even stop me from enjoying their craft posts about putting the Christ back into Christmas.  You don’t have to agree with someone on all things to find value in them or their blog.

I knew writing about Warren and my support for her definition of personhood would not sit right with everyone, but that’s okay.  I have heard from one or two people that they were flabbergasted by my post to the point of not wanting to follow me or support me in my other endeavors.  If that one particular piece makes it impossible for you to continue to read my blog, that’s okay, too.  We all have our bottom-line issues; if this is yours, so be it.  Please also understand, though, that I can’t change who I am or how I think to suit every person in the world, nor should I if were possible, and I’m not intending to change my style of blogging or level of honesty about my beliefs out of fear of offending.

About the Author


9 responses

  1. You are a strong, young lady, wife, and mother Amber. In addition to your numerous talents, have you submitted any stories and articles to publications? I remember your poignant and touching essay to NY Times, “Motherhood”, Lisa Belkins. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you, Donna, so very much. When I was in college and for a couple of years afterwards, I wrote a lot more poetry (of which I now write none) and a few personal essays that I submitted but never had much luck publishing (outside of college literary essays). I haven’t spent much time recently submitting my writing, aside from the two Lisa published and a post on Indie Fixx and on Alternative Mama (links in the sidebar). I would very much like to spend more time writing for publication elsewhere, but alas it is one of the things that falls to the wayside in the course of life.

  2. Margarete Avatar

    Amber, everything you’ve written above is why you are so very dear to my heart. I love you for all that you are and am honored you are my friend.

    1. Thank you so much , Margarete! xoxo

  3. Margarete Avatar

    P.S. LOVE the “young” picture of you! 🙂

  4. Amber,
    Your desire to be honest and true to who you are at this point in your life is admirable and refreshing. I do think it is possible for individuals to purposefully change their perspective, however, if they feel the need to do so. It doesn’t seem like you feel that your beliefs are wrong, and therefore don’t need to change, which is fine of course.
    However, I would imagine that the issue some individuals have with your viewpoint goes further than simply choosing to no longer read your blog. The subject that you chose to debate is very closely tied to the overall mission of your website — what it means to be a mother and business ventures (for profit, I assume) that are associated with motherhood. It is not as though you are saying that you support capital punishment (picked for example’s sake) on a blog which promotes your interior design service. It is more akin to saying that you support capital punishment on a blog promoting your services as a spiritual advisor. You advertise your services as a lactation consultant and the founder of a budding motherhood focused resource center. I think most people iwho wander across your services in cyberspace will not dig that far into your blog to get to your posts about the personhood controversy. However, it may be very disconcerting and a bit deceptive (not intentionally on your part, I’m sure, but nonetheless it may come across that way) for those who are looking to engage your services and then discover such a non-mainstream and arguably disturbing and strong viewpoint.

    1. I’m afraid that I don’t see the connection between my beliefs regarding rights and supporting families or providing lactation counseling.

      1. To me the connection KM is making is people that choose not to spend money on a person or organization that they disagree with. I choose not to buy from Walmart for example. And I imagine some of the mothers that were offended by your views on personhood would choose not to shop at your store or use you as a consultant.

        1. Susan, yes I understand that. It is anyone’s prerogative to choose not to patronize any business for any reason, big or small, real or imagined. I was responding to the direct connection she drew between this particular belief and my business, even saying it was deceptive, as if I ought put a sign explaining this belief on the front of my website as a disclaimer because she finds it so relevant to my work. Perhaps like the OB-GYN practice in Colorado that has a policy against working with doulas and has a sign in their lobby saying so? I just don’t see the connection she was drawing between this particular belief and my ability to support families.

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