Friday, April 11, 2008

Identity Crisis

“Who am I?” it whimpered.

“What do you mean?” I asked, with great surprise and concern. “You are my blog.”

“But what kind of blog am I?” it cried. “I thought I was going to be a great blog about Multiple Sclerosis. But I’m still so small. Kim just started blogging in December and everyone on the planet knows her and she’s from Erie, for cryin out loud! Stu posts all the latest MS research news. Lisa posts a brilliant carnival with beautiful pictures and creative posts from everyone. Linda D. posts all the great fun discussions with lots of energy and excitement. Charles does a podcast, Trevis does a health page, there’s even a page about spoons and beer. There are blogs for sunshine, moonlight, synchronicities, salads, snowflakes, lightning, brass, ivory, and cheese."

"Should I go on…?”

“NO!” I exclaim. “I get the point.”

- - - - - - -
What DO you tell your blog when it is having an identity crisis? And what do you tell YOURSELF when you are wondering “what exactly am I trying to accomplish?”

I’ve had 4700 hits since I opened this blog 11 months ago. Other blogs get that number of hits in one month, some in a week.
Is that the measure of success for a blog?

I’ve been able to keep my mother, Giggles and a few internet-savvy members of my family up to date on my musings.
Is that the measure of success for a blog?

I’ve connected with people from other parts of the country who share my experiences.
Is that the measure of success for a blog?

I’ve had a few people tell me that they’ve appreciated something I wrote, they could relate to it or it made them smile.
Is that the measure of success for a blog?

I’ve enjoyed writing most posts and finding pictures, tweaking the format, thinking about future pieces.
Is that the measure of success for a blog?

Rick Jarrow in The Anti-Career Workshop asks a Buckminster Fuller question: “What needs to be done that can only be done by me because of who I am?” The answer to that is, “tell my story; share my thoughts.” I’m not sure that it NEEDS to be done, but that is the one thing that can ONLY be done by me.
I think a better question to ask is, “If I were to stop posting blogs, what would be lost?”

My answer: If I were to stop posting blogs, then I would not have a creative outlet for my writings. And as I say in my e-book Introduction:

This [MS] fatigue has caused me to learn “coping strategies.” I have learned how to choose my activities for the week or the day, and to make decisions that will not lead to a collapse in public or at work. I have become very selective in what I do, which means that I have to give up some activities each week. That makes me sad, but I’ve come to terms with this. It has forced me to evaluate my life and determine what is really important to me. I can’t do as much as I once did, but now I do the things that add value to my life and are important to me or that bring me joy.

And writing brings me joy.
- - - - -
“So do you feel better now?” I ask my sulking blog.

“Well, I guess so,” it replied after a long pause, the smell of smoldering circuits subsiding. “I suppose that my identity is tied to your tangents of thought, the calliope that is your mental process. My identity will be to serve as a holding place, a billboard for whatever strikes your fancy. My purpose, rather my challenge, is to help you have fun.”

“Are you up to the challenge?” I say.

“That depends. You got any beer?”



  1. For what it's worth, I enjoy your posts, your pictures and your thoughts.


  2. Thanks, Shauna. That will soothe my poor paranoid blog!

  3. For cryin out loud! I love your blog. Please let 'em know for me, would ya?

    The little green monster which made an appearance on my blog recently must have sneaked over to whisper in your blog's ear. Pay no attention to the greenster cause he's usually up to no good.

    Also, I just completed the survey for the UMD student. It was very quick and simply. If not for you, Joan, I would not have known about it. thanks.

  4. Joan,

    I believe it was Nigerian, Ben Okri, who once said, "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

    I believe your writing lives up to this authenticity test...for what my opinion is worth. :-)

    Linda D. in Seattle

  5. I've learned more about MS, more about your life, and more importantly, more about YOU since you've started this blg. You stop blogging and well....well....I'll throw a hissy fit like I used to when I was 5 years old. There are people who read your blog who don't reply....the silent majority. So, there are more people who read your blog than you realize. My friend Bob, (I told you about who just found out he has MS) reads your blog daily...he just doesn't respond. My husband reads your blog almost as much as me.....but he never replys. It's a guy thing I think. haha Don't stop posting to your blog!!!! Pweeeese!!!

  6. Hi Joan, Thanks for popping in! I've been concentrating my efforts on my horses and that blog. Sometimes I find just too depressing to my psyche on the MS, but unfortunately, I'm a forget about and I won't notice it kind of girl. I so appreciate the visit! You have no idea how that's made my day! Thank-you so much!

  7. My blog often asks me the same question. Sometimes it tries to guilt me into writing when I feel I have nothing to say. But I have found my blog to be patient, and I'm grateful it sits and waits until I am inspired to unload something on it.
    For what it's worth, I enjoy your blog. I don't get around to read everyone's new posts often, because it became an overwhelming task that ate my hours and days, but I'm grateful you and others are there for me to connect to when I can.
    Keep blogging gal.

  8. Just thanks.
    Stay inspired!
    Expand your mind ~ visit Brain Angles

  9. Hey Joan! Do you realize that people on both DailyStrength and Patients Like Me have referenced the Short in the Chord in the past. People ARE reading and more importantly, people ARE sharing your thoughts with each other. Tell your confused blog that as long as it touches one person, helps one person, gives you an outlet for your wonderful writing, it is the most important thing in the world!