Contributed by August Blogger of the Month, Mari Farthing
Why do I blog?
I ask myself this question fairly often. Especially on those days when the words don’t flow, and I find myself flailing for an idea. Why do I even bother? Does anyone even care? Who even reads it? Why do I do it at all?
Back in the early 2000s, when we were all wearing chunky highlights and chunkier heels and there was still no such thing as a smartphone, I started a MySpace page. I was convinced it was the wave of the future, but this Betamax format was soon eclipsed by the VHS of Facebook. I didn’t want to convert. I already started MySpace and liked how it worked! Plus, I had posted a series of essays on MySpace, usually preceded by a tiny tingle of trepidation, putting my personal words out there for all the world to see.
Soon, I gave in, I got rid of the beta and switched to VHS, metaphorically speaking, and traded MySpace for Facebook. I had boards of flair (How fun! Whatever happened to those?) and I played Mafia Wars and kept pages of notes where I continued to write little ranty or funny essays (mostly ranty) and memes.
I started to hear about this blogging phenomenon. I figured, what the heck? And started my own little blogspot blog. I populated it with those old MySpace posts at first, and then kept going. This blog was where I posted about music, about struggling with being a military mom, about my kids and how much I loved them or how much I was made crazy by them (usually both).
Blogging became an outlet, a necessary way to vent steam, to send out ideas, to get feedback from people. Eventually it also became a place to connect to people I would never have met. Blogging has connected me with people and places and things that matter to me now—people and places and things that I wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to know.
When times were hard, I had a place to vent. Blogging forced me to see the silver lining, to find the lesson in the hardship because I didn’t want to always put negativity out there. Blogging taught me that I wasn’t alone, that other people think about things like I do or have an interesting counter point to make.
I’ve made connections both near and far. Blogging filled a void in me like nothing else could. I joined blogging groups—first, the Music Mamas, a bunch of moms who would write about music, and when asked for my blog name, I said “Mari’s Virtual Notebook,” the first name that popped into my head and the name I regretted for years. I recently changed it to “Mari, Quite Contrary” to better fit my general mood and to subtly reiterate that Mari sounds like Mary. I blogged at a magazine website about parenting stuff and I blogged for a book review website. I blogged about pop culture at Chick Wit. I helped to start up the Oklahoma Women Bloggers. I’ve lived a big life online, which suits me. Blogging let me express things that were hard to say out loud.
And now, I’m in a transition. My kids are older and while I’ve never solely focused on them, they don’t really want me to focus on them at all. I’m learning to share my thoughts and ideas in a different way. Blogging has given me a vocabulary to get through transitions. It’s given me an extended family to connect with, a family who cheers me on or commiserates with me or meets me for coffee or sends me a card, people who will stop me and tell me how much a post meant to them or made them laugh. It’s true, that old saying—you have no idea the people you touch every day with your words and deeds.
So, why blog?
Well, because I couldn’t do it any other way.
Along with being awkward, Mari Farthing blogs at MariFarthing.com and is a prolific social media presence (meaning she drinks copious amounts of coffee each morning and proceeds to avoid housework by surfing the internet). She’s a freelance writer and editor and mother of two.