Friday, May 4, 2012

Looking Back, Looking Forward

The third anniversary of this blog is coming up, which seems surreal to me.

I find myself without a lot to talk about these days, so I went back through the archives to see what on earth I used to prattle on about.  When I first started writing I would post up to twenty-two times a month!?!?

Sometimes I'd do a little post about the kids, or making jewelry, but mostly I talked about recovery.  And, for the past six months, I talked about cancer.

Which leaves me at a bit of a cross-roads.  I said last fall I wasn't going to talk about my recovery anymore, my cancer is in remission, and my kids are getting too old to talk about (especially Greta) too much on here anymore.

But I LOVE writing here. Being able to write my feelings down while I was going through cancer was life saving for me.  Being able to talk about recovery has been equally rewarding at a time when I needed it.

So what now?

As I read back through the posts, I realized there was a time where I felt a lot of existential angst/guilt about my parenting, whether or not to work in a real job, if I was spending too much/too little time with them, etc.   Now that they are both in school, it seems funny that I worried so much about that.  I was lucky enough to work from home and that should have been the end of that.

But my brain liked to worry about things, so that's what it worried about, I guess.

And then my Dad died suddenly, and I got cancer, and worrying about such things seems very, very silly.

I also chronicled my weight loss journey of 65 lbs here.  Now I'm down another 35 lbs -I started at the top of a healthy weight for a woman my height (5', 10") according to the BMI scale, and now I'm at the bottom (actually a little below).  I am trying to put ON weight. I don't know anyone on this planet that wants to read about that without wanting to punch the author.

So, again, what now?

Perhaps I should re-think my stance on not writing about my recovery here.  I made that choice because I found myself in a position of helping a lot of people, doling out LOTS of advice, sponsoring people and always reaching out my hand, but nobody was minding my store. I became the primary advice-giver in my life, and it got me in trouble.  Someday, maybe, I'll write about that.  Probably in a book, but not here.

I suppose I could write about recovery more generally, because it's still the most important thing in my life.  I couldn't go to recovery meetings for months, because I was too sick, so I'm back and I'm going to three or four a week.  It feels really good.  To be back in that sacred circle where we exchange our truths, and share our experience, strength and hope.  I've missed it, and my spirit is much inflated by being back in the fold.

Maybe you can help me. Are there things you want me to write about?  Even if it has to do with recovery, that's okay.  I don't want to be one of those egotistical prattle-on-about-my-life bloggers.  I want to have something substantial to say now and again.  If I can't find things I think are meaningful to write about, I will likely close up shop and focus my attention more on Crying Out Now (which desperately needs attention).

Or do you want to hear about my kids?  Do you want posts about daily life?  Would you read those?  REALLY?  I'm hoping I don't have a crisis for a while (I'm due a calm period, thank you very much), so if I'm not writing about daily life, I don't know that there's anything left?



  1. It's not egotistical to write about your life. That's what a blog is. You're not under any kind of requirements to post anything substantial. You could post a picture of something you found beautiful every day and people would still read it. I would still read it. You've been such an inspiration to so many, I absolutely think you should continue writing about your recovery and your life. I, for one, am grateful that you even have the OPTION to do that. Much love, Ellie.

    1. Absolutely agree w/Miriam! Take care, Ellie

  2. Ditto. I can't even think of anything to add to Miriam's comment. I'm just happy you're here to wonder what to do next with this blog. :)

  3. I am in agreement with what Miriam said above. Anything you want to write about is the right thing to write about.

  4. A writer writes. It's part of existence for writers. Whether your motivation is having an outlet, helping people, being read, or whatever else (or a combination of many things) the one to whom every writer must answer is him or her self. You can do whatever feels right for you. You can take a break ... you can slow it down ... you can devote more time to recovery topics here OR elsewhere... you can write about family or budding issues or recipes you like. It's your life; it's your writing. I just can't imagine you NOT writing. SOMEwhere.

    I think you are an awesome person and your writing reflects that. As long as your life is in balance, I have great confidence in your ability to take care of yourself and of what is important to you. :)

  5. i think what a lot of bloggers sometimes lose sight of, is what blogging really is. unless you run a specialty blog ( or a foodie blog, etc.) blogging is about sharing your life with others. we want to hear about YOU. your life. i blog about a lot of different things... the food i eat, the exercise i do, the random thoughts i think, and the things that happen in my every day life that i find amusing or troubling. the people who read your blog like hearing about you, so all you have to do is stay true to yourself and you'll be fine. try not to get caught up in the numbers of people reading or the amount of comments on each post. we'll love you no matter what. :)

  6. I guess the big question is who do you really write for? Do you write for those reading (who will likely not get tired of your antidotes because it’s a story and they know you, a winning combination), or do you write for yourself?

    If it is for others, never worry about sharing the little things. Fact is, we all interpret people’s stories from a different perspective. Your posts may resonate in ways not imagined.

    If it is for you, then this is your online escape and it’s never going to disappear. Just do as you like, write as you like, and feel no guilt or obligation.

    That’s what I’ve done with my blog. (Plus, there’s still plenty to talk about post-cancer treatment . . . from the day-to-day, anniversaries, issues, reflections . . . as you well know, I’m sure.)
    Good luck – hope whatever you decide makes you happy.

  7. Ellie:

    Abosolutely....I do a lot of blogging at work, where I am trying to provide both marketing and training information on the company. Sometimes I ask myself if it is worth it, because I get very little feedback on the information I write. Then I'm out a few days on vacation or off-site, and I get stopped in the halls, asking what happened to the blog. Why did I stop? The information is invaluable....and so on.

    Basically, I think, sorry I know, people who follow you have similar stories and life experiences. And people want to know what you do to address things, how you handle situation and that they aren't the only ones experiencing difficult times. You just happen to be brave enough to share your story with us all. I've also found of going through some tough times myself, sometimes the best medicine I've received is when I can share my stories in group session with others. Consider your blog, one big group session. Please continue.....

  8. please continue to write about never know who you will be helping..

  9. I'm not necessarily going to tell you what to write about, but just that I really enjoy your writing. Your tone is so calming and reassuring, whether you're writing about recovery or cancer or daily life. I read fewer and fewer blogs these days because so many seemed whiny. As the mom of an 11 yr. old, I don't need to read the "my kid didn't nap and I'm so tired" blogs. But I have related to yours more than you will probably ever know. During your weight loss, I would read and get aggravated with myself until I learned to pull from your story to help myself (-30lbs!)
    So I guess my point is to keep writing! About whatever makes you happy. Or what you're worried about, struggling with, etc. We are here to read what you write.
    Plus, I don't want to lose you after losing Damomma!!

  10. I agree with many of the above comments. I would suggest you not box yourself in to either writing about "one thing" here, or NOT writing about one thing here. If you are already done with your cancer journey and recovery, than you are a superwoman beyond what I can imagine. As a fellow survivor, I have found your treatment/recovery posts invaluable and inspirational... I would guess you will have new insights and lessons and struggles in this regard in the coming weeks and months that I'd love to hear about. But I would be selfish to say...keep this a cancer blog... or an alcoholism blog... or a mom blog. You are an inspiration because of WHO YOU ARE... so I'd say... keep this an "ELLIE" blog! You are a gifted writer and I hope you can keep writing about what's meaningful to you as your journey unfolds. I, for one, will keep reading!

  11. I really enjoy reading your blog - about recovery, your life and your photos.
    I hope you write that book one day as well.
    Please keep writing!

  12. Ellie - I've been going through a similar down cycle with my blog. I haven't read the comments above mine, but my suggestion is to write what you need to write about. If it's nothing ... then it's nothing. If it's about recovery, write about that. Or something else you are passionate about will come up. Gratitude, perhaps. In any case, don't over think it. Just write what and when you need to.

    No matter what you write, people will read. But if they don't, don't worry about it .. the blog is for you ultimately.

  13. Ellie,I would think of your blog as a daily journal A "dear diary" I'm sure that all of us just want to read what you post, about whatever! We don't want to read about someone in a perfect world. Many of us are alcoholic's, some of us have had cancer, and many of us have lost a family member to cancer. I look forward to your updates! Just spill your guts, and don't worry about what you write.
    Bless you :) LuAnn in MN

  14. Hi Ellie - I am so glad you are getting stronger. I am just getting into blogging and I'd like to hear about how you started to blog and why. I know that it had to do with your recovery but were you writing for yourself or others. This whole thing is a bit confusing to me -- I like writing and I like writing for an audience because I like the feeling of community and the feedback. And I write better when I know someone else is reading it. So hearing your thoughts on this would be interesting. Personally I'd like to hear about daily life or whatever you are thinking about. I appreciate your writing because it is so real. I will continue to read whatever you write about. Joanne

  15. I echo others comments that this is your blog and you should write what you feel. However, since you asked for suggestions, personally, I love hearing stories about families. I completely understand the privacy concerns, but one thing I've really enjoyed reading on other blogs is when bloggers write about their own childhood experiences, be they silly shenanigans or some of the deeper, more formative experiences. Just a thought.

  16. Hi Ellie, I love when you write scenes from your past as if they are excerpts from a memoir, in present tense. I don't know whether they are painful or cathartic for you to write, but as a fellow memoir writer I love reading life stories and yours have really stuck with me. Also I would love to hear more of your insights on motherhood.

    Please don't stop writing! Hope this helps :)

  17. just write..... about life, recovery, anything,....just keep writing. please.

  18. I so agree with everyone, Ellie. Do what is right for you. For my own selfish reasons, I hope it is continuing to post in this beautiful blog about any damned thing you feel like writing about. Because no matter what you write, somehow it always seems to be what I need to hear. You don't have to know today or even tomorrow or next week. The answers will come every day, on their own.I'm just so grateful for you, your words, and your magic. xoxo

  19. Please please keep writing here. Write about kids getting older and all that goes with it. (not necessarily in detail if that makes you uncomfortable, but in general.)
    Whatever you do, please keep writing on this blog.

  20. Your genuine question...what do you (reader) want me to write about brought tears to my eyes. You've been through so much and you care about what which parts we want to hear about? Anything that you are willing to share, my dear. Whatever feels right. Though I did laugh out loud at your speculation about reader's likely reaction to posts about having to PUT ON weight. :-) I will read anything that you write....however long or short the time between posts. Your insight is invaluable to me.

  21. Ellie, just write whatever your heart needs to write. Your words are powerful, and I always find there is some connection to my life. It's kind of like my "Courage to Change" daily reading ... somehow the writings always resonate with some part of my life. Just keep writing! And thank you.
    Lee Ann

  22. I think you should write about whatever is confronting you on any given day. I suspect recovery is part of every day.

  23. I wouldn't try to put yourself in a box. You just got out of a box. Let yourself be free. Experiment. Have fun with it.

  24. I love everything you write about, and the way you write it.

  25. Gillin in WalesMay 8, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    What would I like you to write about? Anything that makes you feel good to write. Whether that is gratitude, fun, cathartic, humility or whatever flavour of 'good' it is; I would like you to write because *you* want to write it. This is *your* blog. We are just privileged to be allowed to step inside your world for the time we have reading it. I agree with 'the mommy psychologist' - have fun with the blog, experiment, enjoy it. I loved the posts you made when you 'just wrote.'

    What do I enjoy *reading?* That is a different question! I love your posts, all of them. Yup, kids and daily life and all. I love the *way* you write, as much as the subject matter. I see my world in a different light through having seen *your* world through your eyes.

    As for suggestions, why not write about what you are grateful for? Something that inspired you? Something that touched you? As a previous poster said, I'd still read if you posted a picture of something you found beautiful. I remember that lovely picture of the soft curtains by the window, taken from your bed, for example.

    In summary, write anything you darn well want to, Ellie! It is not up to you what *we* find 'substantial' because noone has any idea what will touch another human being. Have fun, if you enjoy writing here, then please PLEASE do so!

  26. I suspect your angst over having something meaningful to post is a factor in your success at blogging. You care and hope that what you have to say will help someone else. You work at that and we are the beneficiaries!

    "I suppose I could write about recovery more generally ..." And maybe focusing more specifically on your recovery is the way to do that. Glad you are able to get back to meetings and rediscovering what they offer. I don't know what kind of meetings you go to. But have you tried Al-Anon? I've heard lots of double winners testify to a lot of growth by working the Steps from another angle.

    You love to write, Ellie ... so stick with it. You care about others and making a difference, so meaningful topics will come in time. Be patient with yourself. You've still emerging from a very strange phase of life.

    I read primarily about those taboo topics of religion and politics these days. Surely these would not be good for ongoing foci, but if you have something to say about them some day, go for it. Surprise us! Allow yourself to experiment a bit.

    I'm also read about nutrition (mostly about leaning toward veganism) and fitness (e.g., Metabolic Effect). While 12 Step Recovery has done a lot for mind, heart, and soul, I'm aiming for some wholeness now that will only come, I believe, if I dedicate myself to better care of the body, too.

  27. Ellie,

    I keep coming back here simply to read you, your writing. You seem to get to the heart of the matter, whatever the subject. I cleaned out my blog reader a few weeks ago and realized what I really enjoy in a blog post: something that makes me think, something that makes me different than when I first read it, something that inspires me or touches me. You do that, no matter what the topic. I enjoy your writing and following your story. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  28. Hi Ellie,
    I'm catching up with your blog after a long time away - I'm so sorry to hear about your dad (I lost mine too last summer, so I do know how hard it is), and your battle with cancer (SUCH good news that it is gone). I'm sorry that I wasn't here to be of encouragement, but I wasn't in shape to encourage anyone. I echo those above who say you should write whatever you want, just please do keep writing. I do want to add though that I am selfishly hoping that you won't avoid writing about recovery issues, because those posts are a lifeline for people like me who are still struggling, or for those who are in any stage of recovery. But I know this is a selfish request! Above all, write only if you want or need to, and about whatever you want to. Everyone will still read.


  29. Seeing as I JUST found this blog, please keep writing it? ;)