Blogging Challenges, Therapeutic Writing and Feminism

Blogging Challenges, Therapeutic Writing and Feminism? That’s quite a title isn’t it? I hope it didn’t put you off, but if you’ve read this far you’re willing to read more, though you are probably wondering if I can tie it all together.

First, here is a list of the things I’ve learned when I completed the Seven Posts in Seven Days challenge.

  • Blogging is simply another form of communication. It’s easy to assume, as we sit tickling our keyboards hoping something useful can come of it and scanning our computer monitors (or mobile phones) for typos, that blogging is about technology; the internet, phone lines, satellites and such. Far from it. I’m communicating with you right now and if you’re so inclined you’ll respond to this post either by reading it carefully, thinking about it and maybe incorporating some of the content into your life, or simply by writing a comment (or, as my father used to say, ‘Adding your two bob’s worth’). Only humans can do that. The medium might be the message but the message is there are sentient beings at both ends of the process. Like any other interaction in my life, the Seven Posts in Seven Days challenge has taught me that humans are invariably kind, generous, intelligent, supportive beings.
  • Blogging is giving; it’s about sharing ideas, opinions, domestic tips, recipes, images, poetry, music, goals, losses, hopes, dreams … and we’re back to the human element again. Bloggers share their lives with their readers and will do so for years to come. It’s a heady thought, but it’s also a responsibility. This leads to the next point …
  • Blogging is about honesty. I’ve learned that bloggers can spot a sham in less time than it takes to type supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. By honesty, I mean genuine self disclosure (which is not the same as sharing deep intimacies too soon). Genuine communication is sharing what we think is appropriate for the person and the situation. In other words honesty is, in this sense, meaningful and contextual. Maybe I’ve been lucky; the bloggers I’ve met since I started blogging last July, and in the last week, seem to have found the balance between healthy boundaries and honest communication.

I’ve learned more, of course, but I want to move on to therapeutic writing. The main reason for starting a blog was to share my research about therapeutic writing, but as my wonderful daughter-in-law said over lunch on Friday, the Seven Posts in Seven Days challenge revealed a less serious, less formal and, dare I say it, more human blogger. Blogging is a way to get my message about writing as healing across but I need to speak ‘to’ people, not ‘at them’, to make my message meaningful and to have fun in the process. This drive to inform people about therapeutic writing leads to the last part of today’s title: feminism.

Last night I realised the seeds of my interest in therapeutic writing were sown back in 1983 when I returned to university (for the first time, I have a habit of periodically drifting back into study, but that’s for another blog!) and enrolled in a Graduate Diploma in Women’s Education. My suspicions about patriarchy were very quickly confirmed as were my concerns about the status of women. The issue of women’s silence, of women being denied a voice in how they run their lives, became, and still is, important to me. In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Audre Lorde wrote, ‘there are so many silences to be broken.’ My commitment to breaking those silences  has endured for over thirty years and culminated in research about the silence around women’s (and men’s) mental health problems.

Audre Lorde also wrote,

And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives. That we not hide behind the mockeries of separations that have been imposed upon us and which so often we accept as our own.

32951  There are still too many women who are forced to be silent. There are too many words spilled about women and not by women. If, by writing therapeutically I mean writing as woman about our needs, our desires, our losses, our heartbreak, our oppression, our fight for justice for every single person on the planet, our fight for the planet itself, then I will write therapeutically, and blog about therapeutic writing, for as long and as loud as I can.

This, along with the opportunity to connect with people from around the world, is for me the true power and joy of blogging.

Your Turn: What is the real reason you blog? Is there something from your past that you think has culminated in your blog? What have you learned about the world since you started blogging?

 

I want to say here that I don’t hate men. My father was a man, my two sons and my partner are all men. I like most men. Then again, why do I feel the need to say this? As I saw on Facebook the other day, why is it when women (not all women, but most) say they are feminists, they hasten to add they like men? Why is it necessary to bring men into a discussion about feminism? End of rant.

I don’t mean therapeutic writing and feminism are the same thing with the same goals. I do think, however, they can inform and enhance each other.

7 thoughts on “Blogging Challenges, Therapeutic Writing and Feminism

  1. Morning Janet. Off to a lazy Easter Monday morning over here in Northfield 🙂
    Many dimensions of blogging ? Let’s see –
    Friendships developed. Some have moved to more private discussions via email to enable less constrained chats (Want to do that? – soulgifts2012@gmail.com)
    The surprising finds – other’s points of view on life, the universe and everything! From the titillatingly irreverent to the totally awesome inner reverence. Here’s a few http://toutparmoi.com/
    http://amariesilver.com/
    http://jamesradcliffe.com/
    https://cookupastory.wordpress.com/
    http://richardankers.com/
    https://fiftywordsdaily.wordpress.com/
    https://bunkaryudo.wordpress.com/
    http://strengthslife.com/
    https://funefarmblog.wordpress.com/
    https://dysfunctionalfamilystories.wordpress.com/
    oooops – got a bit carried away there. Just a sampling of some that I really enjoy 🙂

    The genuine, heart centred connections, caring and support of the community I have found in blogging
    The explosion of poetry in the blogosphere – sooo much of it! So much to banquet on 🙂
    The stupendously, awe inspiring talent I have stumbled upon. Words that read like a sumptuous banquet. Some so ridiculously condensed it leaves me perplexed as to how so much can be fitted into a mere handful of words – http://anthonymize.net/ and
    The wisdom that comes out of the mouths of babes. Have a look at this – https://mindslikeparachutes.wordpress.com/
    The popularity of my own poems – humbling and surprising
    Finding and honing my own skills – some of which I didn’t know I possessed, like photo 101. Which has been sooo popular! Another surprise
    To have a voice on things that matter – and hope that it helps to make a difference in the world and in some way help those who are drawn to read my words
    To play – write silly Seuss-ian poetry; learn and create new styles of poeming
    The NEVER ENDING learning. My grey cells will not have a chance to decay 🙂
    To have an ever-growing number of people who like what I post. Many more that WP stats show. People who tell me they read everything I have to offer. How awesome is that !!
    Some like my work enough to re-blog it, and even nominate me for awards. That last one is something I am still getting my head around. It’s controversial and bloggers have very divided opinions on it. I expect I will eventually become an Award Free blog. But for newbies it is a buzz and a great way to get known. You might get a giggle out of this – http://soulgifts.com.au/2016/02/24/my-acceptance-speech/
    This morning I received a notification from a young autistic lad http://davidsnape.me/about-myself-and-how-i-changed-throughout-the-years/
    who has a following of over 9,000, hosts radio shows, generously and graciously shares others’ posts on his blog. He has a segment top post of the week on his radio show – this week will feature a poem I sent him as a sample of my work – http://soulgifts.com.au/2016/03/13/birth/ I was speechless 🙂
    How utterly absorbing – and time consuming – blogging can be !
    How much fun it is 🙂
    I think I’ve probably given you more than you asked for or expected 🙂
    Have a good rest of the Easter weekend.

    Like

    1. Hi Raili,
      Thanks for an amazing comment; my longest one so far. I considered copying and pasting it as a post, but I want other readers to see your generosity and willingness to share. I will make sure I mention this comment in my next post. You have also inspired me to take the Photography Boot Camp next time it is offered. For anyone else, if you haven’t discovered Raili yet, check her out here:
      http://soulgifts.wordpress.com/ you will be well rewarded.
      Cheers Raili, and thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post, Janet. And I must say I find more humanness here on Word Press than I ever did on FB. (Never did Twitter.) Perhaps the format just lends itself to more full disclosure about some things? I started blogging because I was stuck in my journals. I was learning a lot about myself but I needed others (besides Drollery who just rolls his eyes and pretends to listen) to bounce my discoveries off of. I had NO clue I would make such wonderful friends through this blog. Friends who are genuine and honest and have taught me so much about myself. 🙂

    Like

    1. I agree, Calensariel, about a blog being somewhere to bounce around a few ideas and have some one bounce them back at you, along with enhancements and insightful additions. And the ‘humaness’! I must have heard somehwhere that the blogosphere was a bit competitive and difficult, but it’s far from it. Everyone is helpful and kind and interested and if they disagree they do it so politely! It is, as you point out, a place to learn about one’s self. It’s also a kind of launching pad where you can spread your wings and take off, be challenged and be safe at the same time.

      Like

  3. My reason for blogging? Started as an inner itch that wouldn’t go away.It evolved over time into a must-do. I’ve been writing stuff since forever. But this is a new and far more interesting, inter-active way. It has many dimensions that are more than just writing 🙂

    Like

    1. Raili, you’ve hit the nail on the head with the interactivite aspect of blogging. That’s definitly something I learned from my Seven Day challenge. I’d like to hear more about your comment, ‘the many dimensions that are more than just writing.’ Could you say more? Thanks. Janet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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