I read every blog I write to Marty, preferably before they are posted. I once published a blog before I read it to her and she said, “What if I don’t like it?” My response, of course, “I’ll delete right now if that’s your wish.” Fortunately, after I read it to her she let it stand.
As an avowed approval junkie I continually ask if the she likes what I am writing, if it’s okay that I write about her and our life, if it makes her feel good, or if it makes her feel bad. The other day we had the same sort of conversation, “How do you like this? How does it make you feel? Is it alright with you if I keep doing this?”
The short, but not quite so simple answer, “Yes, I think it’s good for you.”
It has taken me a while to figure it out but that is part of why I do this, because, “it’s good for me.”
I started “MartyTalks” as a means of chronicling our journey, as a means of keeping friends and family up to date on Marty’s progress, as a way to introduce the Marty I have always known to people who will only know the new Marty. I’ve always been proud of what Marty has accomplished in her life and she challenged me and others who have known her to live better and different lives. I really wanted people to remember who she was in her old life and be amazed at the survivor she had to become.
“MartyTalks” started out as a somewhat selfless act.
The result has not been so selfless. I have found I genuinely enjoy writing about our life and our journey. I have found while giving others insight into the life of the chronically ill it has given me a new and deeper understanding of both of us. I have discovered I enjoy writing and crafting our stories, I have found I love this way of communicating.
Amazingly, through the miracle of electronic communication I have found some new friends, other people who are using the internet to find themselves. I now count as friends a poet from Australia, some wild women from Canada, a flute maker from Kentucky, a couple of very talented women who understand loss and a genuinely nice fellow from somewhere in the Midwest; all people I would never have met in the normal course of my life. And I have come to know old friends even better, finding out things about them, pieces of their lives they have shared with me I would never have known. By unveiling part of our life others have opened the curtains to their own lives.
The biggest revelation for me is I have started to become reacquainted to myself. In all of my years working in the corporate world and forcing myself to be someone else for something else I had lost a bit of who I was, who I wanted to be. It is remarkable that by caring for someone else, by writing of that journey I figured out I was lost and started a whole new process of self discovery. As I write about Marty she continues to teach me more about myself.
I think I have become addicted to the whole process, telling people about Marty, writing about what she has gone through and what she does on a day to day basis. And, I love the feedback, I love that people read about us and comment. How narcissistic is that? It feels good, it’s reassuring to know there are people, friends new and old, who are reading, following our journey and speaking back to us. Marty revels in the feedback, I read her all of the comments. I think they give validation to her, they provide value for her, she feels like she is still contributing in some way.
I do write this stuff to be read, I want people to read it, to feel it, to better understand the miracle of our life, but to tell the truth, after the discovery of what telling our story does for both Marty and me, I would write it anyway.
I know there are some who run across this blog and find it too maudlin, too sweet, too melancholy, too personal, too something. I think I am okay with that because as it turns out the biggest beneficiary of this whole process has been me. It’s just like Marty said, “It’s good for you.” She knows.