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A Year of Awakening: A Self-Indulgent, Self-Referential Retrospective

May 2, 2006

One year ago today, the wife cheerfully announced, “You’re starting a blog.” Which, when translated, meant that she would set up the thing and worry about all of the complicated stuff, but I would begin writing on it. This sounded like a big commitment, but at the same time like a good idea.

At the time, I was coming out of a couple of years of mild-to-medium depression. Recovering from a church plant that had come apart at the seams, leaving a miserable job, finding a new church, and in the wake of yet another marathon, I think the wife just wanted to help me get a foothold on my newfound personal progress. A way to solidify some shaky steps. To establish some camps on the mountain in front of me. To put it negatively, to make sure I didn’t slide back into my own self-absorption. Funny that writing about yourself can keep you from being selfish, isn’t it? Welcome to the inside of my head.

So with the ‘purpose’ tenuously and intuitively defined, we moved on to practicalities. Audience, content, frequency, and scope were settled without my needing to get off the couch. I would rigorously write as myself, for myself. I would write about absolutely everything that makes up my eclectic life (well, almost everything…), and I would try my best to write each day. More pedestrian concerns about theme, address, and art required a forty-minute run to sort themselves out. The Awakening is widely known among DC parkgoers as a bleak and depressing statue in a bleak and depressing place. But to me, the statue and venue are somehow hopeful; cheerful, even. “Awakening” was unavailable, “Awakenings” is this annoying teenager who never posts, and “The Awakening” is some perv’s clumsy attempt to describe a magical encounter between two people in the back of a van. So I shifted the metaphor a little and put ‘er up. And faced my newfound fear with a bold shot across the bow: a crappy poem.

I was eavesdropping on a new friend recently, and he was whining about the difficulty of blogging. “I tried it, and I just couldn’t figure it out. I mean, what am I supposed to write about? ‘My wife and I ate carry-out, painted the wall, and watched Lost’? That’s boring.”

I wanted to say, “Well, if your life is boring, then do something to make it interesting. You only get one turn here, so make it count. Read a book, or listen to some music, or enjoy some food, or talk to a two-year-old, or surf the web, or think about life (or eavesdrop on people and then passive-aggressively rant about them on your blog!). And if that doesn’t work, then make something up! If your life bores everyone else, then imagine what it’s doing to you!”

Which got me thinking. Part of what I’ve appreciated about blogging is the chance to read what I write and see what has been dominating my thinking, what’s giving me clarity, or what’s occupying my mental space (for good or for ill). To write myself to clarity on things that vex me. To remember feelings, days, and events. To vent about stuff that bothers me. To force myself to write poetry, and to challenge myself to describe things that are vivid in my mind.

But I couldn’t know then what I know now. That these 365 days would encapsulate the craziest, roller-coastiest year of my life, so far. And that this ethereal medium would give me a place to gather with friends to share my heart and feel their love. So, at 12:01, I raise a glass of scotch to you. Tomorrow, I’ll once again write as though you’re not there. Peace.

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9 Responses to “A Year of Awakening: A Self-Indulgent, Self-Referential Retrospective”

  1. Anonymous says:

    And, Mike, you have captured me, a non-friend. I am sure you have others in your clutches as well. I used to poo poo blogs, and now I’m a junky to About Awakening. No pressure, but reading this is the last thing I do at the end of a day. And I really care.

    Shonda

  2. emmegab says:

    oh, darn, Shonda basically said exACTly what I was going to. You’ve got quite the following on this block in Chattanooga…we’re all praying aLOT and anxiously awaiting news, and are trusting God’s goodness for you and Stacy and your wonderful babies.

  3. Dottie says:

    Happy blogiversary! Congrats. I’m sure there are many days when you would rather ignore it altogether, but I’m glad you don’t!

  4. kate says:

    Mike: Apparently, my last comment was eaten.
    basically — we love you!
    and, I love your blog. Keep at it. Thanks for the honesty and vulnerability And please don’t be shy about posting baby stuff, when that’s ‘all there is to say.’ We want to go through it all with you.

  5. [REDACTED] says:

    Hell yeah, man!

    The great thing is that you can take credit for everybody else starting a blog. I know it’s why I did.

    And good job on the restraint. When I get to the one year mark, I’m probably going to write some 10,000 word monstrosity. I just can’t help myself.

    Also, thanks, Stacy, for making him do this. We are all better off for it. I mean that absolutely 100% non-sarcastically.

  6. alright, as long as I’m out of character here…

    much love, right back at all of you!

    Shonda– If you read my blog every day, I read your life just as frequently. You and your family have been an inspiration for years, and a beacon for the last year. If I haven’t said ‘hello’ when I’m on your block, it’s not only because I’m rude– it’s because I’m unworthy.

    Emmegab– Any woman who can get all of her kids to help her demo the kitchen is tops in my book. Line ‘em up, and tell ‘em how fortunate they are. And never, ever replace the wheel on the mower. It’s perfect.

    Dottie– I’m scared to have a writer of your calibre hanging around here. Thanks for overlooking the crap, and putting up with the cheese.

    Scott– I don’t know you, but I love the company you keep. You gotta be good.

    Kate– sorry fo r the typoes.

    Schuyler– If I started your blog, then I’ve created a monster. A big, giant, friendly dragon.

    Mike

  7. sonja says:

    Ummm … just look at your blogroll. I think you can take credit for at least 65% of it (me included). That’s quite something. I know my life and where I am right now would be much worse if it were not for you and your blog.

  8. P3T3RK3Y5 says:

    mike.

    thanks for sharing who you are with “us” and so many others.
    i’m blessed by your words (/ life) both virtual and real.

  9. ArborSam says:

    mike.

    this would be a must read blog even if I did not know you.
    to know you is to be doubly blessed.

    thanks for writing man.

    thanks to Stacy for the gentle nudge.

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