Why do I write about my health? Why do I blog about health? The two questions are interchangeable, because I think if I did not blog about my health, I wouldn’t be writing about it. The blogging, ie the public conversation, is a necessary element.
I started this blog on the day that I first doubted my health. When I felt that my health had betrayed me, or that I had betrayed it. I was alone and afraid. I knew from other trials in my life that writing was a way to find my way through frightening territory.
I don’t know who or what I would be if I could not write. I first began writing imaginary stories, illustrated ones, about girls with cats and men with hats, when I was about six. When I was ten, I started keeping my first diary, the bona fide kind with a miniscule key and gold edged pages. I wrote in Harriet-the-Spy type composition books and then thick black Chinese notebooks with fine lines and thin paper. I have never not written, ever since I learned what writing was.
For many years I kept a blog about writing, and about books I was reading, but soon that spilled into many other areas of my life – parenting, mothering, daughtering – and I called that blog ReadingWritingLiving. Often as I experienced something remarkable, or moving, or noticeable in my life, I would think, this would be good for the blog.
On the day that I learned that I probably had diabetes, I did not think it would be good for the blog. I was terrified and ashamed. I desperately wanted to talk about what had happened, but I did not want anyone I knew to know what I was grappling with. I could not bear the thought of looking anyone in the face and telling them that I had probably eaten and slogged my way into ill health.
As I always do when I am feeling desperate or anxious, I turned to writing. Why not just write in a secret journal and keep it under my bed? Why not use my already conversational blog? Because I wanted to talk to people, but I wanted to do it from behind the dim curtain of a confessional. I wanted to discuss my predicament, but while wearing a paper bag on my head.
And so I began this blog. A blog in which I could express my fears and worries, and a vehicle for finding other people who had traveled this same path. I needed companions, but not the same companions I had known my whole life. I needed: though I didn’t know it even existed at the time – the healthy blogosphere.
I have met other people with diabetes. Other people who almost have diabetes. People who have lost weight or can’t lose weight or lost weight and then gained it. People who are struggling to get off the couch or who are training to finish an Ironman triathlon, or their first 5k race. I have read the words of people who have made me cry and throw virtual embraces into the air, hoping they will land on a real human.
My blog is no longer secret or anonymous. I have met other bloggers, and my nonblogging friends have come here to see how I am doing, or to express their own thoughts and feelings about their health. It is a place where I can be seen.
This blog gave me my health. It gave me a place to say, “My health is not so hot,” and to say, I feel better than I ever have. It gives me a place to be honest, and vulnerable, and discouraged and hurt and victorious. It’s not just about my health – it IS my health.
And that’s why I write about health.
I have joined the WeGo Health Thirty-blogs-in-thirty days challenge. As some of you know, I kinda like challenges. Sometimes I finish them and sometimes I don’t. But I like trying.
We are getting two prompts each day in November, and we get to choose which one we want to write about. I like that.
Click here if you want to join me.
November 2, 2012 at 1:06 am
Gorgeous! I am so moved by what you wrote. I kept nodding my head while reading. You helped me start my health-themed blog. I feel somehow we are on parallel tracks. Thanks for being my friend and for blogging to stay healthy and to stay YOU.
November 2, 2012 at 2:39 am
I’m so glad you shared about this on Facebook! As you know from our Twitter conversation, I signed up as well. Your words about why you write are so very powerful! I’m glad you’re not anonymous any longer and that I had the pleasure of meeting you in person. Hope to see you in December when I’m in your neck of the woods!
November 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm
Cool, I’m going to try this month blog thing too. seems interesting.
November 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm
Awesome Merri! I love that they give two prompts per day as well as some “spare” prompts to work with. I’m looking forward to seeing what you write!