A to Z challenge – About

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Today, as I’ve started to feel human after a terrible allergic episode, I’m trying to engage in the A to Z Challenge that I signed up for last month. I’ve decided to keep it simple and start the Challenge with ABOUT and perhaps try to explain why I’ve decided to write a blog that seems to be about me.

I had been writing a blog with a running title of “Self-Censored/ A blog about me. Verbal snapshots of a simple life”. The other day I was discussing my blog with someone who asked, “why would you write a blog about yourself, it’s not like you are someone famous … You need to write about something that your reader will value and come back for …”. These were good points, so I took the information and filed it in my brain under “THINGS TO PONDER.”  Here I am, trying to ponder as I participate in the A to Z challenge.  Please join me.

Over the past few months, I finally had the chance to go through boxes of old photos and family memorabilia – which is probably why my allergies are out of control. The treasures I found prompted me to contact some people and take an opportunity to sit and talk. Some of these folks I’ve known all my life, some all of theirs, and others for at least a couple of decades. A constant theme in these conversations has been what was going on beyond the photo, beyond the eye of the camera.

It was in those memories that we learned things about each other that were hidden in plain sight. For example – who knew that you sang and played guitar on stage at a coffee house in New York City when you were in college? Or that you had looked up who Ty Cobb was and were proud to be part of the team, wear your uniform and play at those little league games that your Dad dragged you to each weekend. Who knew you didn’t really get lost on the subway that day when everyone was so worried – instead, you had a crazy adventure with friends. Who knew you stepped up to take care of the family dog and neighborhood strays when your older sister went off to college? Who knew that at age ten you already knew how to make something beautiful out of repurposed materials? Who knew that you always wanted to play the clarinet but when it was your turn to chose, the trumpet was the only instrument left, and yet you thoroughly enjoyed jammin’ with the band? Who knew all these things, these little sparks, you would carry in your heart alone until the time was right to shine?

I want my reader to feel a smile creep across the face as he or she joins me in the memory. Do you remember walking out of the comfort zone and then feeling ecstatic and relieved all at once. What a feeling to know you survived – you did it, and you enjoyed it! What if you haven’t yet? Well, why not. Tomorrow is another opportunity. What if you don’t have an experience readily available in your toolbox? I’m hoping you can borrow the energy from one of the stories I share.

I worked in a state-run system of human services for many years where I provided rehabilitative and supportive counseling for countless clients. Some didn’t have much of an opportunity to make happy memories, but somehow they knew there was something better, and that’s what kept them going. Some folks, knowing that they had nothing more to lose, took more chances. The strength and resilience I saw in these people were a blessing to my own life.

Those are the kind of stories I want to share – true stories of simple everyday people, putting one foot in front of the other walking the path before us. Few of us can skate through life on Easy Street. Most of us will follow the scenic route with all its twists and turns. Let’s take plenty “snapshots”.

Because Expurgate Sounds too Dramatic

I’m enjoying the assignments at Blogging: Learning the Fundamentals.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/blogging-university/blogging-fundamentals-materials/#day2

As I work on my second assignment, I am already one day behind. This task was to take a look at my title, play with other ideas and publish a post explaining the outcome. I’ve decided not to change the title, but I have changed the tagline to reflect a slightly different focus.
I’d been a bit skeptical about the title. I wasn’t sure it was conveying the spirit of the blog, so I clicked on my dictionaries looking for options. I’m writing about me, which would make it “Self-Centered” but while that title would certainly raise eyebrows, it’s not really me. I am aware that everyone around me has a personal story to tell and I’m generally mindful and sensitive to that. I believe effective communication is important in any kind of relationship. We maintain an active open dialog by listening without imposing judgment or pushing our ideas on others. One of my favorite fables growing up was Aesop’s “The Wind and the Sun.”  https://fablesofaesop.com/the-north-wind-and-the-sun.html    “Kindness effects more than severity.” 

This brings me to the “Censored” part.

Expurgate is a synonym for Censored offered by my thesaurus. To edit something by removing offensive parts. To remove words or passages considered offensive or unsuitable from a book before publication.
While it can be an appropriate word, it seems too much like Exorcise, which is definitely not what I was going for. I was raised on conservative and fundamentalist values. Although my own ideas and opinions have evolved, I still have family and friends that I care about deeply that abide by that way of life. This blog originated as a place where I could rant and rave without offending. I have decided instead to tell the stories of those snapshots in my head. I will be truthful but I will not rant much, and I will try at least not to offend most. I have decided to keep the title “Self-Censored” A blog about me –verbal snapshots of a simple life.

Learning the Fundamentals

Assignment 1

As I was growing older and wiser, I would tell myself – “when you retire, you can devote time to writing”. I did retire, but one thing led to another, and I put writing on the high shelf in the storage closet for a bit longer. I enjoy writing, and I’ve started blogging at least 3 times before. I took the Blogging 101 course a couple of times, but after it was finished, I had a hard time staying committed. I like working in community, so I’m back to fundamentals, brushing up my skills in order to start a writing challenge.

In trying to zero in on my purpose for the blog, I went back to look at unfinished projects on my computer. I think I will stick with the subject about me. My blog is “Self-Censored.” I’m not sure the play on words comes across – maybe I need to work on that. I hope blogging will get my juices flowing. I had been thinking of self-publishing a book about the “snapshots” of the life that I’ve lived with family and friends. When I look back at a snapshot in my mind, I try to envision how we each experienced that moment in time.

Old photos of my mom show a beautiful woman with style and poise, flawless skin- regardless of age and sparkling greens eyes. She always held her head high, defiant and fearless-usually looking straight at the camera. Outside of that frame, we knew she suffered a disabling neuromuscular disease, legal blindness and finally was taken from us by cancer at age 54. In spite of all her physical problems, her spirit WAS like the image in the pictures – beautiful and strong. People came to her for help and advice and she gave them whatever she had.

I believe this is s a universal experience. I am different things to different people. Each person has a version of the ME that they are comfortable with, a behavior or reaction they expect of me, but my Core is one. We all play different roles in a variety of situations, but we are always the star or protagonist in our own movie. We are mothers or fathers, children, lovers, bosses and underlings, angels or demons but no one knows what is truly in our hearts, what really motivates us- except ourselves.

I plan to share these verbal snapshots as I’m calling them and explore the characters in each scene. All stories will be based on real life but some will be edited, colored and “photo-shopped” with my imagination.

I hope you join me on my journey. I appreciate your feedback and assistance.

I’m Up for the Challenge!

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I was glad to stumble upon this challenge while looking for inspiration to revive my blog. I enjoy writing, and I’ve started blogging at least 3 times before but life gets in the way. I took the Blogging 101 course a couple of times, but after it finished, I had a hard time staying committed. I like working in community though. My aim is that my central theme for the A to Z challenge will be similar to my last post “The way we were, is who we are.” It’s about how our past affects our future. I believe that people are innately good so don’t expect that my blog will get dark and heavy. I will also try to stay away from religion and politics except for a passing reference.  I’m hoping that after 26 consecutive days, I will have formed a habit. Something like the “21-day fix”.

In choosing a theme, I was thinking of things that have been on my mind and unfinished on my computer, I’ve decided to stick with the subject about me. My blog is “Self-Censored.” I’m not sure the play on words comes across though. It’s about me, but I am different things to different people. Each person has a version of the “me” they are comfortable with, of the behavior or reaction they expect, but I am one – my Core is one. The basic ideas and values that I had when I was a kid – “coming of age,” if you will, are the same as the young bride, the widow, the mom, the grandma, the divorcee, the Sunday School teacher, the boss, the counselor, etc. The difference is I feel that I have “looked at life from both sides now” and I have a voice and power to act.  Old age has its perks after all.