“You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”
This quote by Camus was included in my very first blog post on November 2, 2008. Back then when I started this blog, originally titled EcoGrrl, I was in a very different place…
- I was one week from the death of my father after he suffered a hemhorragic stroke in October 2008. This chain of events spurred the creation of this blog, when a writer who was also a co-worker had recommended I try it as a way to work through this beyond pen-and-paper journaling.
- Two years into home ownership back in my hometown of Portland, that winter we’d see two feet of snow right over Christmas, shutting the city down and teaching many folks like me to shovel snow for the very first time.
- My sweet Daisy, the Rottweiler I’d adopted five yeas prior, was still alive, with four years left in her.
- I was working as a recruiter for a small environmental consulting firm, where 3 others that same month would also suffer the loss of a parent.
- And in the world at large, we were just a couple days from seeing the awesomeness of Barack Obama being elected President.
- Oh yeah – and I was still on The Pill, thinking it was what kept me unpregnant. (The man I was dating back then? I heard he became a father just months after Dan & I lost our baby.)
Back in 2008, I was on Blogspot, and in 2012 changed over to WordPress, so my stats are a bit off to put it mildly. Plus when I imported my blog posts over, I made the dumb mistake of deleting a LOT of the more personal posts that I now wish I would have kept (or at least made private so I still have the record), because I was paranoid someone would find them / read them / know my deepest darkest secrets…when ironically my posts have become fifty times more personal than they were back then. Kind of like how I tossed all my diaries in high school (well actually that was because I found out my mom used to read my sister’s, so I wasn’t going to allow that to happen! should have just found a better hiding spot eh…). Anyhow, some of the stats include:
- # of blog posts (currently on file, that is): 2,917
- # of views (2012-present): 173,000+
- # of likes (2012-present): 8,600+
- # of comments (2012-present): 7,300+
I don’t count followers, because I don’t put a ton of stock in them. Number one, a LOT of them end up being bots (want to test if one is a bot? delete them as a follower and watch how the very next day the name will pop up as a new follower..and the next day, and the next…it’s a creepy attempt to get you to come to their website, and WordPress doesn’t allow you to block them from following your page…fucking creepy as hell policy), and Number two, I am not big on counting “silent followers” – you know, the many who follow your blog but don’t ever comment on anything you write? I love interactivity so I don’t consider this stat super valuable.
Another interesting trend is looking at how high my comment numbers got during the years I was actively going through infertility treatments, and how, even though I still occasionally write about it now, because I’ve jumped off the (DE)IVF bandwagon, there are very few who now have anything to say about my writing on that topic beyond those who are in the same stage. Now THAT, my friends, is a perfect example of why us post-IVFers feel so goddamn isolated. I wonder sometimes, if we ever get chosen by a birth mother, will these silent followers who have finally gotten their dream for a child, will they suddenly start engaging again here in blogland? Well fuck that shit if that happens. It reminds me of those people who suddenly disappear when you are going through a break-up or a divorce and then show up again once you have a partner (and are therefore socially acceptable for them to speak to).
Oh wait, and I digress.
Hey it’s been a while since I’ve vented on the whole infertility thing.
Let’s get back on topic.
Ten year blog-a-versary, a boat load of posts from the photos of so many weeks of life I shared to the ultra personal stories of life, love and loss, to my environmental and social views, to the EcoGrrl Interviews I had so much fun doing five years ago, to the professional advice and so, so much more. I find it amazing and interesting to look back and see what the top 10 posts were, and thought I’d share…
- Guest Post: The Cult of Mankind Project’s “New Warrior Training” – Well there ya go! My husband’s guest post wins the top spot with nearly 5,000 views and counting. After one of the most traumatic experiences he’s ever had, I encouraged him to write it all down, get it all out, and it continues to be a post that is found by people far and wide who are looking into MKP (and a few of the Trump-esque supporters of this group whose abusive comments have been deleted). Just a couple weeks ago, you’ll see a really moving comment from a man who listened to his instincts after he heard about how messed up this group is, and decided not to attend, and it really touched us both to read. You know how you hear people say “if I can save one person, it was worth it?” That post gave us that kind of feeling. Especially if you read the comments in 2015 by Sue on this and what she’s gone through as one of the many MKP widows.
- Our Infertility Timeline – I found these so valuable during our own struggles to see what people had been through, done/tried/failed/tried again/etc., so I did it myself from 2014-2017, from getting off the pill to our two IUIs to vetting REs to bypassing IVF and going straight into DEIVF, all six rounds and nine embryos plus two mock ERA cycles, and – in the midst of all of that – the loss of our baby after the fourth round. I don’t read this anymore, it reminds me of all of our hopes lost, from my ability to pass on my genes to my ability to even carry someone else’s contribution to my husband’s genes to the sweet little one we were going to call Henry.
- Our Adoption Timeline – All the shit, month by month, we’ve gone through on the adoption end of trying to become parents, with the majority of this being while we were also trying to get pregnant, going through fertility clinics, and losing our baby. From all the paperwork to get our little girl in Ethiopia to seeing the entire program go down the drain while the agency took our money and refused to transfer it to another country’s program, to the trials at other agencies to foster care issues with DHS, and now to where we are, 18 months into the wait for domestic adoption and many tens of thousands of dollars later.
- Serrano pepper jelly – My recipe back from 2011? Still getting checked out! Go figure… (well, it is DAMN good on cornbread, if I may say so myself!)
- My Effing Back – Just months after losing our baby, I suffered a life-changing back injury that has forever changed me and how I relate to my own body. Once a person who did yoga three times a week, I’ve not been to a single class since then as just sitting on a mat or any type of chair for an extended amount of time still, two years later, puts me into tremendous pain. Once a person who used to bike commute 10 miles a day, the most I’ve been able to do on my bike is 15 minutes (and nothing since we moved here as hills are too much and my husband currently is using my bike for his daily commute). Once a person who walked a half-marathon, I’m lucky if I can go 45-60 minutes on foot without having to take breaks because of how it makes me feel. Once a person who loved going to movies and concerts, I’ve learned that these are just not realistic for me anymore – movie theater seats (even with a roll behind my back) are too uncomfortable for 2+ hours and standing on hard floors (or movie theater-like seats) at music venues are bitterly challenging as well (most recently causing me to have to miss out on the majority of an Erykah Badu show when I was overly optimistic about my capabilities. Fuck, I’m 45, this is total bullshit.
- Workin’ 9 to 5 (and modernizing your resume) – One of my many posts I loved writing with tips for job-seekers. As a career coach and longtime recruiter, I get so much energy from helping people succeed and matching them with the right companies and positions, it’s nice to see folks are still reading these posts.
- The Emotional Body Slam – and Being – One of the hardest posts to write, where I announced our decision to end the long agonizing failure of a journey to get pregnant. I still can’t read it without tears.
- Entry #82: Two Plus One – And, ironically, the next most viewed post? Where we found out we were pregnant and I posted pictures of the only time we ever saw two pink lines, where the news was good and the future was bright, if just for a season.
- Workin’ 9 to 5 (and celebrating my 1 year anniversary!!!!) – How awesome to see that my first year in business and some of the lessons learned as a solopreneur made it to this Top 10 list.
- The EcoGrrl Interview: Ashley – One of the most fun things I’ve ever done as a blogger was this weekly interview series with women (and a few men, including my future husband!) about their views on the planet, on food, on creativity, on life, and on doing more for others and living more simply in one’s own life.
And while this blog has led me in so many directions, from healing from the death of my father and the loss of our child, to documenting my adventures in food and gardening and sustainability and travel, the real deal is that the biggest thing this blog has brought me is the ocean I ultimately crossed – and was crossed by him – for me.
It led me to you, babe, and I’m forever grateful that your words and mine intersected, and brought this great love story to life. This blog brought me you.