One year ago today, I published my first blog post, a short introduction to myself and to the theme of this blog. My baby son was going on six months old, we’d just moved to a new house, and my mental health was slowly making the long climb back from the darkness of postpartum depression. (Of all the things that signify the passage of time, the one that my mind has the most trouble wrapping itself around is the house. We’ve been here for over a year?!? How did that happen?!?)
My posting frequency has ebbed and flowed over that year, but I keep coming back after the gaps, because the writing helps. I’ve often talked about this blog (and its short-form sister, my Twitter account) as the places where I can say the things that I can’t say elsewhere. But it turns out that they’re more than that: they’re a place to discover who I am.
You see, I’ve spent my life trying to be the person other people want me to be: a good daughter, a good spouse, a good student, a good mom. This is going to sound a bit melodramatic, but I forgot who me was. And when I didn’t forget, I took who me was and hid it away, lest it pop out at an inopportune time and scare off other people.
It’s been a long, slow, and weird process trying to reverse that instinct to hide myself away. It’s hard to explain, too; it’s not like there was one grand epiphany that set me on a better track. Many things went into it: having a safe space to express myself; coping with the fact the fact that I can’t please everyone and that’s OK; treating my depression, which blogging helps with; and reading and connecting with others’ similar experience.
It’s still very much an ongoing process, too, and one that isn’t likely to end anytime soon. Still, being able to answer a question about my hobbies with a list of some actual hobbies that I enjoy and do regularly—that’s huge for me.
So who is me, right here right now? I think one of the best ways to answer that is to share my favorite posts from the year. Some of these were popular at the time they were posted, others weren’t, but they were all meaningful to me.
My favorite posts about being crazy:
My favorite posts about being a grad student:
- Handling criticism
- Processing a conversation with my advisor
- Referring PhD students to counseling is treating the symptoms, not the disease
- Quotes from the miscellaneous notebook
My favorite posts about being a mama:
- Little Boy’s birth story, parts 1 and 2
- 3 things you shouldn’t say to a new parent
- Where the pro-breastfeeding movement gets it wrong
- Saying no to Pinterest-perfect parenting
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder