That is a lot of blog posts. A lot of personal stories out there for the world to read, and a lot of silliness, too. A lot of growing and changing. A lot of late nights and early mornings spent writing in dark rooms.
It seems as though many people have stepped away from blogging this year. That is true every year, every day, really, but this seems bigger because the bloggers are of a higher profile, and they are posting official goodbyes and explanations. Most bloggers just slowly fade away as life changes and their words stop flowing out to the world. Some of them move on to other things. Others stick with sharing family pictures on Facebook and an occasional status update aimed at old blogging friends to reminisce over the days of writing prompts, comment groups, and NaBloPoMo's. Some former bloggers are writing novels and memoirs, and choosing not to write for free, even in spaces they own. There is validity in all of these choices, and I understand each one. Blogging has changed a lot in the last decade.
A friend asked me what I had planned for my blogging anniversary. It seems like there should be a seriously big marker for ten years, but I didn't have an answer for her. I didn't have a plan. That is often the story of my life, for better or worse.
When I started writing online, I didn't have a plan, either. It was long before the days of monetized blogging. I was looking for a space to say out loud that I had survived childhood sexual abuse while sitting safely behind the veil of anonymity. I didn't know where those words would lead. I didn't even know that I would love writing or that one day blogging would pay the rent and buy groceries - I just knew that I needed to learn how to say the truth and work through the pain if I was ever going to become a whole person.
Eventually I dropped the veil of anonymity. I shared my full name on this site and sent the link to everyone I knew. I even made it Facebook official by linking my blog page to my personal profile. My writing developed, and I shared more and more of my life with the world, while setting serious boundaries for what I would not share. I let go of so much anger and received much healing.
Over the last ten years I have written for other sites, met bloggers in person, learned about SEO, received thousands of emails and messages from readers, been interviewed on tv, embraced social media, worked with a non-profit, agonized over no's and celebrated yes's, stayed up late reading blog posts, learned not to double space after a period, shared pictures of yellow things, worked full time for a blogging network, met people who will always hold pieces of my heart, and grown in more ways than I ever could have imagined when I published my first blog post on May 1, 2005.
Writing has saved my life. I don't know how to explain it any better than that. I would not be who, or where, I am today without this space and the blogging community who took me in. I am here today because of each of you.
So on this day, my 10th anniversary of blogging, I only want to say thank you. Thank you for reading my words. For laughing and crying with me. For having my back and holding my hand.
I found my voice because of blogging. It was amplified because you have read and shared my writing. From the serious posts to the silly, you've given minutes and hours of your life to read my words, and that is a precious gift.
Thank you from every corner of my heart.
Here's to 10 more years and more shared stories.