It was 15 years ago today…

…that I began the Girl with Moxie blog. To paraphrase another song, I started at Blogspot, now I’m here (on self-hosted WordPress).

A lot has changed for me in 15 years, both personally and professionally. I started the blog out of boredom and restlessness at my office job. One day while surfing the interwebz, I found a wealth of bloggers who were writing about music, movies, TV, books, their lives, their jobs, their kids. I was introduced to music I had never heard of, found recipes and ideas that intrigued me, made new friends. I decided to dive in and write about whatever was on my mind.

I miss that simplicity. Because while I enjoy Instagram and Twitter is good for breaking news and a laugh, and Facebook does occasionally have its merits, there was something very gratifying about seeking out blogs to read and connecting with fellow bloggers on a much more low-tech scale. Long-form writing is still around, but it is often drowned out by all the video content.

Even though I don’t blog like I used to, I refuse to give up this site for many reasons, the main one being that it’s still an avenue for me to explore ideas and share my experiences without the editorial process of querying, rewriting, editing and handling rejection. I still get some traffic here (seeing the Google searches that bring people to the GWM blog is often amusing), a good friend hosts the site for free, and it’s an archive of my cyberpresence in a way that other resources aren’t.

Here’s the plan: I’ll share content from that first year and add some updates. I’ll try to carve out the time to craft new posts (it ain’t easy these days, for reasons I will get into later).

Let’s do this, kids.

Been a Long Time Gone

Sheesh, it’s been over six months since I last blogged. I’m way more mouthy and active over on the Facebook page and Twitter, but the long-form blogging well is dry. That’s a bit embarrassing.

What’s funny is that I have plenty to write about – I always do – it’s more about making the time to write something. And when I blog, I like to write well-crafted copy with references and links where appropriate. When you write for a living – well, I don’t write long-form content for my day job, but I still call myself a writer – there are certain standards you want to uphold. At least I do.

There were a few years when I did the NaBloPoMo challenge, but apparently that rode off into the sunset of the interwebs. It was taken over by BlogHer, which was acquired by SheKnows. They now have something called the BlogHer Writing Lab for getting writing prompts. They want to offer more flexibility, it seems. I don’t need flexibility with my blog posting. I need structure so I get more content on here on the regular.

Bah. No matter. I will look for some other challenges that maybe I can do in December to get this party back in gear.

Gratitude, Updates and a Request

Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post on dealing with depression. It’s been nearly a month and while I don’t feel as awful as I did, I still have some bad days, interspersed with fair to middlin’ days. I continue to journal about all the feelings and honor my flow when it comes to socializing and interacting with the world.

After I wrote that last post, I noticed something that I think deserves mention. When those of us who struggle with depression are honest about how we are feeling, sometimes those who are “normal” (and by that I mean people who have never been formally diagnosed with depression) present the depressed person with what I’m going to call escape routes. Those may take the form of a trip somewhere, a meal out, a weekend adventure.

Sometimes no mention is made of the depressed person’s struggles. Sometimes it is. And while I’m sure their motives are coming from a genuinely compassionate place, and they may not know what else to do or say, I want to let them know what is the most helpful thing they can do: hold the space.

Holding the space for someone who is going through a difficult time in their life – whether it’s because they are grieving a loss, chronically depressed, physically ill, caring for someone who is ill, or a host of other reasons – can be the kindest, most compassionate thing you can do. It doesn’t require elaborate displays, big promises, witty words or clever memes. It doesn’t ask either party to do anything outside of their personal comfort zone. It just asks you to be present.

Holding the space looks like any or all of these things, at least to me:

  • a Like, heart or smile emoticon on a Facebook post or in a tweet
  • a virtual hug
  • a hug in person
  • a note in the mail that says “I am thinking of you”
  • a private message (email or social media) that says “I am thinking of you”

I know that asking people to do what may look like nothing of substance may fly in the face of what society deems helpful. I think most folks (myself included) want to contribute tangible items or experiences, because it’s measurable.

But here’s the thing: it’s the little moments of grace and goodness, the one-sentence messages of love and support that grow bigger and brighter in the heart of the person who receives AND in the heart of the person who gave. It’s the heart emojis that show we are willing to spread love in a world full of fear, anger and hate. It’s the intangible work of holding the space that, in time, presents tangible results – ones that foster hope, faith and love in the world and shine a light into the darkest of places, no matter where those dark places may be.

Got My Mind on My Blog, Got My Blog on My Mind*

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

*paraphrasing Snoop Dogg (NSFW)

This May it will be 10 years since I started this blog. I haven’t lived in one place that long since I was a kid, so to have done something – even if sporadically – for 10 years is a stunning achievement.

With this anniversary in mind, I’m working on ways to make this blog more entertaining and enterprising. I’ve signed up with Bloglovin to generate more traffic and I’m using Influenster as well. Amy over at Chronicles of Nothing clued me in to the fabulous and helpful SITS Girls site and Facebook group, so I’ll be incorporating some of their suggestions. I have more ads on the site, and will begin recruiting some guest posts.

But what about writing actual content? I admit that it’s way easier to shoot my mouth off via Twitter and Facebook than it is to write a long post. I hate to write anything that’s poorly researched or half-assed, which editors appreciate, but it makes for minimal posting on the actual blog. So to compensate for this, I may do some promotional posts and giveaways, since people like getting free stuff.

For those of you who have been reading since the early years, when I was a bored magazine editor with way too much time on her hands, thank you for sticking it out this long. For those of you who may be new to GWM, thanks for stopping by to read my sometimes witty, often wacky, missives on anything and everything. I’ll do my best to keep this site going for as long as the Internet will let me.

Moxie, girl with moxie
This cookie is for you. Well, not really, because I already ate it. But I would have shared it with you. Honest.