Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The power and positivity of blogging

I have been writing about my journey on and off for over four years now. Much of it is not available as originally I opted for a full blown website with a domain name and everything else that goes with it. Because I drew this website with an ancient copy of Frontpage, it means that I still have all the pages stored on my hard drive and backed up in several places. I then moved to Blogger in the spring of 2013 because I had lost my job and could no longer afford the cost of the web hosting. It's been a little on and off since then because there have been some seriously dark times in amongst all of that. Dark times do not make for pleasant writing and I was always loathe to inflict my depression onto unsuspecting viewers.

My most recent spate of entries has been very much about me and my upcoming GRS. It has been very self-indulgent but it has been with the intention that anyone else about to embark on GRS would be able to read it and understand what they are about to encounter. Without correct information, it could be a very scary time for anyone and for myself, being informed has made me very relaxed about the whole experience. My concern is that there is a lot of personal information out there that has been written in retrospect and the facts have become exaggerated with the passing of time. I have read many examples where the whole experience has been one of pain and despair but when talking to people, in reality, it has been one of the most special and treasured times of their lives. My recent writing has been with the intention of trying to make this a realistic account of the whole process as it happens.

This then reminds about how writing can be so very therapeutic. The last few days have been incredibly difficult because of the situation with having to stop taking my hormones. This has been detailed in previous writings, but to be brief, my testosterone levels have returned to that of a cisgender male and the side effects of this have been very difficult to bear. The past weekend was pretty hard on me and to try to get through it, I found writing was a comfortable distraction. I wrote about my coming out, nearly 5 years ago, to my partner Mandy. Many times I had to stop and blink through the tears, such was the power of what I was writing and the effect it was having on me. When I'd finished, I felt a little better and more able to face the day. The words I wrote let me give in to my emotions, cry them out and then start with a fresh mind. 

I read back what I had written and felt the quality of the writing was below my usual standard. However, this is more along the lines of how blogging should work although I am not advocating poor standards of literacy because a reasonable level of spelling, grammar and punctuation is needed to be able to read it accurately. I read a great many blogs and some are finely honed with others just written from the heart. Those heartfelt spewing's with their occasional mistakes are the ones that I connect to the most. When I read a news story, I want perfection and when I read a blog, I want reality; warts and all. So what I wrote about my coming out was literally straight from my memory with little editing or research. Even facts may be slightly inaccurate and I have my files from my website of old to check back if I needed to, but I didn't because I didn't need accuracy. I just needed to relive some old memories to bolster me in a positive way and writing is about as powerful as you can get for reliving the past.

There was an even more positive effect that I gained from what I wrote. I shared it to my Facebook page and my usual rules for that are when it is something I feel could be of benefit to someone. I do not spam every post, people are more inclined to not read if you keep pushing it at them. This post was important though and showed what can be achieved if you face your fears as well as being a tribute to what Mandy has done for me. Not only did I share it there, I also shared it to a group I belong to. This group has been very helpful recently because it is all about positivity and I was encouraged to share this by one of the groups admins. Mandy also shared it to a couple of groups she is in and the result was quite staggering. She encountered a massive positive reaction from her group as well it evoking a response from someone to ask a serious and important as myself getting quite a few comments on my timeline. It

But it goes further than that when I look at the statistics for this blog. Numbers aren't everything but the statistics for that day have blown the graphs to pieces. That post has had more views in that single day than any other post has had in the time I have been on Blogger. My previous top post was Becoming Forty with 116 views for all time. The reason that this is top post is because I stopped writing for a year due to the effects of the black dog. This meant this post sat at the top of the blog and was the first one anyone usually encountered hence the reason it has a much higher view count than any others. The post about coming out, that attracted 147 views in the first 24 hours. To know that so many have bothered to come and read what I had written humbles and inspires me at the same time. 

I suppose soon I will need to think about where I will take my blogging in the future. I will be continuing to write about my upcoming GRS until next Tuesday, and then resume sometime when I am able afterwards by continuing to write about the post-op recovery. Although transitioning is never really over, this will pretty much the majority of it nearly done and I will need something to work on afterwards. My writing is very much something I would like to take on as a vocation and it sits very nicely alongside my role of caring for Mandy. Whatever happens, it feels exciting and positive and I know my writing has helped me get to this point.

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