Because I have decided that 5 hours of sleep per weeknight is just too much of a luxury, I have decided to enroll in another challenge over at WordPress’s Blogging U. Blogging 101 is intended for individuals right in the start-up phases of bloggy creation. This invitation to register articulates the deliverables in this fashion:
On Day 30, you’ll have six (or more!) published posts and a handful of drafts, a customized theme that reflects your personality, a small but growing audience, a good grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new online friends.
So, considering that I first founded JALC some 5 years ago, and revived it more than 6 months ago, I am either well behind the times or way ahead of the game on this one. Still, I think it’ll be a good exercise for me.
I’ve been in recent conversations about the value of design thinking, and the ways that taking the time to step back and question your automatic habits and questions can be a good way to unlock a more intentional creativity. I see the Blogging 101 container as a way for me to foster that sort of intentionality here on JALC.
So, here we go…
So the Day 1 exercise is to make some basic introductions:
To help you get started, here are a few questions:
- Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
- What topics do you think you’ll write about?
- Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
- If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they evolve as we learn and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where you started, and articulating your goals may give you a few other post ideas.
And here it is. Even with 166 posts (and counting: this little baby makes for 167), I immediately feel the use-value of this. Because JALC has absolutely morphed and changed in its purpose over the years and months. First it was a fat acceptance blog, then there were threads of spiritual meditation, then a chronicling of my HCG/detox journey, and now…
What is my mission statement now, in medias res?
As grandiose as this may sound, a core piece of what calls me to write on JALC is the desire to be unpacking and unwinding the workings of the patriarchy/kyriarchy. Now, don’t get me wrong: I am deeply imperfect and limited in this project, and I’m just as likely to be chronicling my own blind spots and struggles as I am to be leveling some flavor of insightful critique of what’s going on in the world-at-large.
But whether it’s through a pop culture happening or a small event in my own life, a lot of what I explore in my writings here is spotting the cultural beliefs and assumptions that often fall “between the lines” or “go without saying” — and then to say them. To voice them so they can be seen and understood and can, in some small way, contribute to a trajectory towards awakening and consciousness.
I’ve struggled in the past with wondering whether anything I have to say is of value, when there’s so many other smart bloggers and writers out in the world.
[SIDEBAR] And I do not not mean this even remotely in a false humility/humble-brag kind of way. The learnings I have been offered, the wisdom I have been fortunate to read from corners all around the Interwebs — it is sometimes breathtaking. (As is, alas, the intolerance and ignorance. Which is why I concocted a special tag for when I go into “wind-up doll of feminist outrage” mode.) [/SIDEBAR]
The best answer I have found, thus far, for the question of why add my voice to the chorus of cultural criticism and blogging? Because I bring all the uniqueness of me and my lived experiences to the writing.*
One small example — since I am not even remotely trying to catalog my entire self in a 1,000 word post! — is the way in which my feminism and cultural criticism are deeply informed both by my intellectual training (fostered in grad school and my non-profit career) and my spiritual studies (both with my teachers and through the voracious self-study of being a “buddhist UU witch”).
I think this combination gives me my own lens for how I understand and express my understandings. What I often strive for** is the balance among three inter-related touch points:
- An appropriate, justifiable level of outrage for the fucked-up values and assumptions of a patriarchal culture, and for the fucked-up happenings that stem from such underpinnings.
- A core level of compassion and understanding for how deeply rooted and unconscious these patriarchal values are. This is why I so often use metaphors about miasma and “Palmolive-level patriarchy” — this is the cultural soup we have been swimming in from birth and which still so often looks like the sole horizon available to us.***
- A sober awareness that I am absolutely and always in that damn soup with everyone else. I may have my moments where I get my head above the consommé to see a different possibility, but I have no desire to put on the show like I’ve got everything worked out and am secure in my moral superiority. No fucking way.
So that, in a nutshell, is what I’m up to on JALC. Who do I hope to connect to? Kindred spirits, I guess, to quote my beloved Anne.
What will I want to have accomplished after a year’s writing? Let’s name the prayer as one for ripples of influence.
At the heart of the project is the knowledge that writing in this quasi-public way is creating a discipline of mind and heart that does not always happen in my pen-and-paper diarizing. So even if no one else were to read a word of this, the practice of writing JALC would enrich my life and, through that, I imagine it would enrich the lives of those I touch in the face-to-face world.
But I won’t deny the prayer to find those kindred spirits, to interweave my offering with theirs, to be part of a community, a movement towards cultural transformation. I just know — and I had a good opportunity to get really clear on this a few weeks ago — that if connections are going to happen, I want them to be authentic and organic.
So that’s that. A mini-manifesto of a mission statement.
Welcome to Just Another Lifestyle Change.
* And my occasionally profligate use of profanity. Sorry-not sorry.
** Jury’s out for whether I hit this mark, but it is what I strive for.
*** The fact that k.d. lang’s The Air that I Breathe just came on iTunes as I am typing these sentences is just unbearably, beautifully fraught with meaning for me tonight.
Image credit: “Holstee Manifesto Remix Final” by Joseph Nicolia. Unaltered. Used under a Creative Commons license. (Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/irrezolut/7159896960/ )