Warning: this is a day late. Explanation several paragraphs below.
Today is the blog’s birthday. Apparently, I’m celebrating by giving blood. The bloodbank likes my type and my great big veins and they called and asked. There’s probably a pretty cheesy-sketchy metaphor in there about the blood donation and blogging, but we’ll pass over that in merciful silence. Especially since the metaphorical fluids involved in blogging are rather more medieval–liquid versions of various negative humors… Yeah, we’ll leave that mercifully unexplored as well.
I had, of course, semi-secretly hoped that the blog would somehow “cure” me–that is, heal whatever thing it is in me that decades of good, otherwise very productive therapy had failed to heal/fix/flip/whatever. Of course, it hasn’t. It has helped me think a great deal about my own relationship to change, which turns out to be not altogether surprisingly complicated at the same time that it’s not very complicated at all. I’m not good at it. Drrrr. And no amount of careful discussion of how much of that has to do with environment (we moved a lot when I was a kid–lots of external change, which I experienced as powerlessness, and then sort of internalized, and so forth and so on….) and how much has to do with temperament/personality/original equipment has gotten me any closer to being able to define and focus on certain kinds of change.
Others I’m actually good at, sometimes. 23 years ago I was at a gathering of friends (our godson’s christening, as it happens) and had had the usual lovely time with the usual group of treasured friends, but when we got in the car to come home, I was overwhelmed by the fact that they were all talking about things they were doing actively, then, and I had only been able to contribute things I had done years before. It felt really lousy. Really. A few years later, when the girls were both in school full time, I went back to school to get a Ph.D. Now, we could all have quite an argument about the merits (some remarkable friendships perhaps chief among them) of that course of action, but it was a thing I had promised myself as a child, and that promise turned out to have imprinted itself pretty solidly on my psyche (fueled, no doubt, by the fact that a very large proportion of the people in my adult life had Ph.D.s…and I had had a lifetime’s worth of feeling like an outsider as the perpetual “new kid”). Poor me. Yeah, not really. So I have been able to change, sort of. I’m not sure the degree represented all that much material change. I got married. I had two babies. I changed schools midway through my undergraduate career. All of that was on purpose. I left home. I’ve tried to leave Delaware. And tried. There’s a sort of straight line through all of that, though, and I wonder whether real change isn’t something different, something that shifts the direction or alters the plot in some way that isn’t necessarily a natural progression. Most of the change I’ve managed has been in that sort of category–no real surprises or adventures other than emotional ones (and I am not implying that those are anything but major).
So, I went off to give blood. Turns out that if you give blood when you’ve only had 2 hours of sleep the night before (and you’re, um, not young), you kind of feel like something the cat dragged in and hid for the rest of the day. So much for the Celebratory Birthday Blog.
I did want to play a bit more with the different territories/categories of life and culture that the discourse on weight inhabits/poisons. Another day, though. And I’m thinking more about the business of change and why I’m so bad at it (and by extension, maybe why it’s so hard for other humans). At some point, I’ll have to talk about Michael Moore preaching The Gospel of Walking. And I need to think a lot more about the relationship of addiction both to the general issue of weight and to the Size Acceptance Movement–which I think might be kind of important. I’ll undoubtedly talk more about Paula Deane, bless her heart. There are a lot of women’s issues to explore, and the theology of Having a Body never stops being important.
I was worried a bit, as the anniversary approached, that I’d run out of stuff to say, to unload, to think about, to grump about, to report on and grump or rejoice about. But I have kept saying, over and over, that this or that facet of the issue is complex. I might have worried a bit less if I’d paid a bit more attention to myself.
The wordpress folks do a yearly summary for you, it turns out. It wasn’t hugely revelatory–I pretty much already knew who my most faithful readers are. But I did find out a couple of things that were happy-making to know. Most readers who visit the site read more than one blog. This is awfully nice. The coolest thing, though, is that I have a bunch of readers in Europe, and readers in Japan, Viet Nam, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia. Fewer than 10 in most of those places, but they’re there. 80 countries. I know “global readership” means a lot less in the internet age than it would have in my youth, but it’s still pretty exciting.
Thanks again, y’all. Probably can’t be said too many times.