Guess what? Today is Elated Exhaustion’s one year anniversary!
Don’t worry, I forgot too, because in my mind it was December 27th and I had this whole post outlined for you to celebrate one year and as it turns out, I wrote my very first blog post on December 26th last year.
December 26th. Why did I do that? So now it’s like Christmas and a birthday all at the same time.
But anyway, on the day after Christmas last year, I started a small little blog called Elated Exhaustion.
Newly opened presents still decorated the living room and the Christmas tree and other lights still twinkled around the house, making our home feel much more cozy than usual.
Much like today, it must have been a cold day that made you want to curl up in pajamas and read or watch a movie.
One year ago today (I mean, yesterday), I wrote my first post on Elated Exhaustion, a small little post entitled Is That Chocolate or Poo? which welcomed you into my world of toddler motherhood. It got no comments, and the only person I showed it to was my husband, but there it was in writing, the beginning of my blog.
When I started this blog, I was very lost. I had struggled on and off with postpartum depression and spent hours at night crying myself to sleep after the husband and baby had drifted off.
When I started this blog, I had a two-year old still in diapers and a world that revolved solely around my role as a mother.
I felt lost from myself and isolated from a support system.
I didn’t tell anyone about my blog. Not my mom, not my family, not my friends. My husband was the only one who knew about this little space I had created, and really I only told him because it would’ve been really hard to hide it from him if I was going to spend a lot of time writing.
I didn’t tell anyone because I needed a space of my own. I needed a support system beyond those people who already loved me unconditionally but I felt at the time didn’t quite “get” me. Still struggling with my birth experience, I started this blog because I needed a space in which to connect with other moms who had some of these same struggles, who could relate to me, who could tell me that I wasn’t terrible or crazy.
I started this blog with the intention of sharing my birth story, which a year later and three years after the actual birth I still have not found the words to do. Finding them is still a goal.
But I also started this blog to find the missing parts of myself, the parts that had become buried under the weight of my motherhood. And in doing that, I found you.
In May, I wrote a post that best summarizes why I write in a post titled, appropriately, Why I Write. My favorite and still the most relevant line? “I started writing to find myself. I continue writing to find you.”
I had discovered the world of “mommy” blogging in the fall of 2011, a few months before I decided to start one myself. I would spend late nights pouring over words and once I found a blog I loved I would read post after post until the early morning, devouring the gift of words and stories these writers told.
The first blog I ever found was Not Super Just Mom, who I instantly loved because like me, she is a graduate from the University of Georgia and suffered a traumatic c-section experience with the birth of her first child. Her words were the ones that first saved me.
I later discovered Late Enough through Richmondmom.com, whose down-to-earth life approach I love, and Spilled Milk and other Atrocities, whose words can weave a beautiful story that brings tears to my eyes almost every time.
I would read each of these blogs and treasure them as if they were precious jewels. I felt like they were just my own hidden discovery.
As it turns out, the blogging world is not just made of 3 blogs and they are not just my own little secret discoveries The blogging world is huge, a whole community of people stretched across the world, writing stories and sharing glimpses into lives that make you feel not alone. And, as I discovered after I joined Twitter, they all know each other. When I started this blog, I didn’t just find a place to write, I found a place of support, a place of friendships.
If you had told me a year ago that this blogging community would come to mean so much to me, or that I would become so dependent on the comments and thoughts from other bloggers, or that I would make true friendships online, I’m not sure that I would have believed you. In the course of this year, I have discovered many more blogs that I have fallen in love with, and made blogging friends whose opinions I truly treasure and even depend on. I talk to my husband about my blogging friends and carry pieces of each of your stories around with me. (You can see some of my must read blogs in my blog roll. There are many others I keep up with in my reader.)
With every post I write, I become braver about sharing my world. Each time I hit the publish button, it is with a delicate balance of vulnerability and bravery, and each time I receive a comment on my blog my heart smiles with the contentment of knowing the love and support you have all given me.
As I’ve learned more about this blogging world, I’ve discovered so many more blogs, writers, and friends. The year of 2012 was a very big year for me in putting the pieces of my life back together post motherhood, and this blog and your friendships have been a big part of that.
This year, I potty trained my son, became the mother of a three-year old, re-discovered my performance self, decided to take blogging seriously by getting a blog redesign and move to wordpress.org, and became a “real” writer when I had the honor of joining the Moonfrye team. I have had the pleasure of sharing all of that on this blog with you, and of starting friendships with so many of you through blog comments and Twitter conversations.
This little blog that I started as a space of my own blossomed into a thing that people actually read. As it turns out, my mom and my family and friends did discover it’s existence and a few other people I know “in real life” too. Though it scares me to now actually know that people are reading this, it doesn’t change the amazing tool it has been for me in a path of growth and healing.
A few months ago, my best friend from childhood said, “You know, I think you’ve gotten a lot more confident since you started the blog.”
Another one of my best friends recently texted me, “You’re getting spunky again.”
And I received one of my most treasured compliments from a person “in real life” who found my blog and said she poured over it entry by entry until two in the morning one night, just as I had done with some treasured blogs a year before.
So I want to thank you, all of you, who have supported this blog, read a post, left a comment, talked to me on Twitter, or “liked” Elated Exhaustion on Facebook. Your support of this little online space means so very much to me, but your friendships mean even more.
And so now as I enter into my second year of blogging, I do so with a full heart and a wish that I could treat each of you to some Starbucks and chocolate where we could share hugs and conversation.
Confession: I am a huge fan of hugs.
To celebrate one year of blogging, I don’t have a big giveaway for you. I did not partner up with a sponsor or a brand.
But what I would love to do, is give one of my readers a $10 gift card to Starbucks. It is my small gift to you, to celebrate a year of this space, and to thank you for a year of support and friendship. Truth be told, I am probably going to send you some chocolate too.
If you would kind of like the Starbucks card, just leave a comment below.
If you really want the Starbucks card, you can Tweet about this giveaway or post about it on Facebook. Be sure to leave a comment below for each entry.
If I could reach through the computer and tell each of you thank you in person, I would. This, in some small way, will let us share a moment together and celebrate the space that allowed us to find each other in the first place.
I will leave the giveaway open until January 6th, because it’s the holidays and we are all busy and even I forgot what day the actual blogiversary was. Oops.
I will contact the winner and mail your gift out Monday, January 7th.
Thank you to all of you for making this little space what it is. Truly.
Updated January 7th, 2013: And the winner is… Jen Hall from Just Jennifer! Thank you to all of you who entered and who have supported this blog over the past year. You all mean so much to me.
Winner chosen using random.org:
Here are your random numbers:13
Timestamp: 2013-01-07 15:14:29 UTC