I think my existential ‘crisis’ is over. Yes, really! My last post was nearly a month ago and that was merely a reblog of an earlier post, with some added words to put it into current context. I raised the question about why we blog, and whether it was worth it. I said that I was working on a full post to share all of my reasoning, and I still am. But I’ve also been looking back over my previous nearly four years’ worth of ramblings and this seems to be a topic to which I keep returning! Maybe another day, then, and I’ll try to draw them all together into one composite post. Possibly….
So why am I here today? July 28th. Is it a special day in the calendar? No, not as far as I know, but it has special meaning for me. When I started this blog it was at the instigation of my counsellor, who wanted me to turn what I had been writing for him as part of our therapy sessions into a blog, for others to read. At around the time that I was going through this I met Cyd via Twitter and we became good friends. She was an amazingly creative and funny person, who had suffered much more than her fair share of the horrible things that life can throw at us, but bore it all with wit, courage, charm and determination. She was an accomplished blogger and photographer, she loved singing and dancing – she had been at stage school – and became the most wonderfully supportive follower of my blog from when it first started, giving me loads of useful advice and constructive criticism. My sparing use of brackets is entirely down to her, and you’ll find the occasional comment from her on some of my early posts. We used to chat for hours about anything and everything. Throughout this period she was ill and being occasionally hospitalised, and this took a turn for the worse when she was diagnosed with cancer. But she recovered – so typical of her! Then life played its last and most cruel trick. Within weeks of being given the all clear she began to suffer debilitating migraines, which turned out to be brain cancer. Sadly, this was one battle too many, even for her, and she was taken from us on July 28th 2015, one year ago today, at the age of just 45. It seemed appropriate to mark this and to remember her, and this is the best way I know to do it.
I’ve always thought that Cyd was an outstanding writer, especially when you consider that many of her posts were written at a time when she was unwell – and was also facing online trolling, for reasons I never understood. Here’s a brief example of her writing:
“It has been truly tiring to have to deal with all this external nonsense, but I did anticipate it. Sadly, if you don’t do things in a way that other people do, they see you as someone with a hidden motive. I have nothing hidden. I live the way I live and I do it openly. I love who I love and I give that everything I have. To get through this, I have a three pronged approach. Aggressiveness towards the cancer itself. Love intensely and focus on that more than anything. I truly live for love. Last but by no means least, stay me. Laugh like I always did, don’t ever forget myself and don’t let others forget who I really am.”
That is from the final post she ever made, in October 2014, and is the perfect example of the way she lived. Sadly, her blog is private so I can’t give you a link to it!
Thinking of Cyd today has made me wonder whether you, if you are a fellow blogger, have someone without whose advice and support your blog might not exist, or may not have developed in the way that it did. We write for ourselves, and we write for our readers. But you may well have your own ‘Cyd’ who has helped you in ways which won’t be known to anyone but you. I said at the outset that any doubts about whether I should continue blogging have gone, and that is in part because I have realised how much I owe it to myself to continue, as indeed I do to you, dear reader, and to people like Cyd who have helped me along the way. Over the past few months I have enjoyed the company here of many new readers, and have had much greater engagement with my posts than at any time since the very beginning. In return, I have been much more active in commenting on others’ blogs than I can ever remember, and I wouldn’t want to lose that sense of community. Cyd’s blog was one of the first I ever read, and it gave me an understanding of what blogging was about, and what it could be. I like to think that in these recent months I have really begun to put that understanding into practice, and look forward to continuing to do it.
I hope you can also recognise and give thanks for those who are or have been in your life and who have played a role in making you the writer that you are. In future, I’ll be more likely to think “what would Cyd have said?” about posts I write, and I hope that will improve them. Maybe her spirit can be my muse? And every time that happens, I will say a silent
“Thank you, for being there, and for having been a part of this.”