Life
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To blog or not to blog

A tabletop littered with various writing things. In the center is a home-made leaflet, made from blank pages of paper in various sizes.

Image description: A tabletop littered with various writing things. In the center is a home-made leaflet, made from blank pages of paper in various sizes.

… is certainly not a question good old Shakespeare had to deal with, but I’m sure he would sympathize nonetheless. I’ve been debating this with myself (and some of my friends, poor things) for literal years now. I’ve written this very blog post at least ten times, sending it to the aforementioned poor friends, who cheered and gave me the a-okay. I then hid the text in my Google Docs, adding it to the previously written versions. But I am doing this. I am writing. I am writing this blog post right now, because if I don’t I’m afraid I’ll abandon the whole question and join Shakespeare in not writing another word (sorry, William, too soon?).

In case this post just showed up in your feed and you have no idea who I am or why you’re reading this, allow me. This is my blog. It used to be about fashion, personal style, pixie cuts, vintage clothing, body positivity, and other random thoughts. Then I stopped blogging about the fashion stuff and wrote just the random thoughts. Then I got a virus on my balance nerve, and ever since I’ve been debating this bloody question: to blog or not to blog?

For a while it was an easy question, because I was physically unable to blog. Writing in general wasn’t possible. Or reading. Or looking at screens. (Yes, that was depressing, as you might remember from my last entry here, back in 2017). 2018 was a slightly better year, balance nerve-wise, as I was able to look at screens sometimes. The problem then was that I never knew how long I could do it until I’d be overcome with nausea, dizziness, and panic because I couldn’t look at screens without nausea, dizziness, and panic.

Thus passed another year, and though I did write a little, I did not blog. As you know, I guess, if you were one of those lovely people who stopped by here, leaving a lovely comment or sending me a lovely e-mail or generally being lovely in other ways. (Thank you, thank you, thank you.)

Now it’s 2019, and the screens are still connected to nausea and dizziness and, yes, panic. Think of it like this. Writing, for me, was everything. Reading, too, of course. But writing was how I… see, it’s funny, isn’t it, that I, the supposed writer, cannot find the words to even describe how much writing meant to me.

It was like… like writing was a friend/lover/soulmate that was always there. Writing wouldn’t get all nerdy with me, then sleep with me, then ghost me for months, then sleep with me again, repeatedly, awkwardly holding my hand when crossing puddles, then leave for another country and ghost me for… well, indefinitely. Writing was different. Writing was me, and  wouldn’t do that to myself. But then I lost writing anyway. And that, my darlings, was the ultimate heartbreak. No skinny-jeaned hipster can compare, not by a long shot.

So my dilemma now is this: several days a week (in a good week), for five to thirty minutes (depending on… stuff), I am physically able to write (if you ignore the wrist pain and the always-lurking nausea, dizziness, and panic). It’s one of the few ways I don’t feel ambiguously disabled these days: I am able to sit upright and put my fingers on a keyboard. And I am trying. I write words and sentences and sometimes paragraphs, but, as I’m sure dear William would agree, writing is more than just coming up with words and sentences and sometimes paragraphs. There’s an art to it, at least if you want to write something good. And I do. I admit it, I want to use words to play your heartstrings like Kvothe himself. Otherwise, what’s the point? Otherwise, it’s just words.

But what I write these days, when it’s honest and real and me, is not something I’d recommend while mindfully eating your morning avocado toast. It’s not pretty, or pleasant. Most of the time it’s full of grief and frustration and, worst of all, earnest. Yes, some might even say depressing. They might not be wrong. Because where I am right now, is stuck in the limbo of chronic illness, and it’s not something I can make go away by visualizing a calm and smiling version of myself in zero-waste, vegan yoga pants.

I suspect this will change. I mean, it has to, because even I have my limits for depressing earnestness. Still, it’s where I am now. And most of you signed up for posts about “how to dress for your proportions” or “should I get a pixie cut?”. So you can understand why I’m hesitant to try this blogging thing again. I cannot promise to be of any use for your personal style development, because I am done writing sensible, educational posts about a well-placed seamline. And my hair is way below shoulder length, so don’t expect any pixie advice, either.

Still the question lurks at the back of my mind: to blog or not to blog? Maybe if I just blog, just write, then that whole depressing earnestness might, in time, transform into my plain old earnestness? (Because let’s face it: that’s never going away.)

So, to blog or not to blog? Is there any point to blogging in 2019? Does it even need a point? If there’s anything I’ve learnt from chronic illness so far, it’s that a surprising amount of things in life are actually rather pointless. See what I meant about depressing earnestness?

Yes, I am making the usually-horrible decision to ask the Internet for advice, because I am at a genuine loss, and based on my previous experience, you folks can be a lot more helpful than dear William. So what do you say: to blog or not to blog? And why? I am all ears.

54 Comments

  1. Cindy says

    Æ gir mon stæmne t blogging førrdi du like å skrive å æ like å læse d du skriv. Skriv d du vil skrive om når du klare å skrive❤

  2. Make us a story, Maria, from fiction or truth, and paint us those pictures to hold in our hearts and our minds. Use all the colors and all the shades, for we can relate to them all. Tell us on monday, in june or next year. Give us a few words, some sentences or a novel. Some of us will read it, and treasure it. Just put those fragile words together, and wrap them in a powerful paper and pass them on. And if you do, thank you for your wonderful gift.

  3. Lissa says

    I subscribed to your RSS feed a million years ago (feels like it) and just saw this first post in a while. I don’t think I ever commented, but I always really enjoyed your blog and admired your style, writing, and general goodness. I’m very sorry to hear what you’ve been going through and send you all good vibes. As for advice, if blogging brings you satisfaction, fulfillment, and an outlet for your creativity, keep doing it because it sounds like it would be worth the trouble/nausea. If not, no one will fault you for setting it aside (temporarily or permanently) and doing/being however else suits you. Many good wishes,
    Lissa

    • Maria says

      Thank you, Lissa, for taking the time to leave me such kind words! I do think it would be worth it, and all the feedback to this post has definitely helped me remember how much blogging can do for my mental health and general sense of identity.

  4. Judith says

    Please write what you can, when you can. As a fellow person with a chronic illness, I think the best you can do is fake it til you make it. Blog whatever you feel like. I will read it.

    • Maria says

      Thank you, Judith – and I am sorry to hear you also have chronic illness. “Fake it till you make it” becomes almost a mantra in many situations, doesn’t it?

  5. Karin says

    Definitely blog, whenever you feel like it. It should not matter what I or other possible readers think or expect. StilI, I can concur that we will be reading and your blog will stay on my reader. You are brave!

    • Maria says

      Thank you, Karin! Although writing just for my own sake is valuable to me, I have no trouble admitting that having real people reading and connecting with my words means quite a lot to me. I’m glad to hear you’re sticking around!

  6. You know how how I feel – write it all! The rosy and the funny and the ugly and the gut-wrenchingly sad. We can handle it, and if we can’t then maybe we need to read it anyway. Maybe the text makes its way to the blog, maybe it some of it stays on paper, but write it all down because your writing is pure magic. I feel privileged when I get to read it.

    • Maria says

      As a reply to your beautiful and eloquent comment, I give you:
      *crying emoji*
      *heart emoji*
      You understand, I think <3

  7. Zahavah says

    I just think you should know that you have a gift in your ability to write. You have always brought beauty into the world with your words, regardless of whether they were about pixie cuts (to which I owe my own 5-years of shorn locks) or your music (which I have listened to, and it is haunting and gorgeous). Your posts about your illness are powerful and moving, even when they focus on your pain. The question is not whether people want to hear you write- we do- but whether you want to continue to put your soul into your words, and whether or not that will help you with recovery or relief. We want you to write, but we also want you to care for yourself. I sincerely hope that writing will allow you to pursue happiness and comfort, or even just express your pain to an external vessel, but if you decide that it is not beneficial to you, I support you and hope that you soon recover and find a way to share your words with the world once again.

    • Maria says

      Hi Zahavah (such a beautiful name!), thank you for commenting and being so supportive. This blog post was a shameless inquiry as to whether you out there would still be interested in my writing, and the replies have been almost overwhelming in their kindness, such as yours. It makes me appreciate the Internet in a way I haven’t done in a long time. You are very considerate to say that I don’t _need_ to write – the world is so full of “shoulds” these days – but, at least right now, I just feel _inspired_, not _pressured_ to write, which is such a privilege in 2019. Thank you again!

  8. Hanne Klausen says

    It’s been a long time since I commented on this blog. Something traumatic happened to me in 2015 and I went very quiet. Not posting much of my words online or speaking to people in real life either, but it is possible my lack of comments here predated the trauma. Either way blogging has changed so much in the last few years. Long gone are most of the blogs I used to enjoy and we are stuck with something more commercialized in most cases. Small independent and well-written blogs are not something I come across all that often anymore. So I say I am in favor of you blogging, whatever the topic is! As long as you are having a good time with it and can make it work with your nausea issues, I don’t see why you shouldn’t go on. If you need to separate the old from the new you could always make a new blog and this one could stay as an archive, but I don’t feel like this blog was too stuck in a theme to not be changed as you change as a person.

    – Hanne

    • Maria says

      I am so sorry to hear you’ve had some bad years, Hanne. Trauma is… well, you don’t need me to tell you how hard it is, obviously. Thank you for finding your voice again to leave me a comment, I appreciate the effort and energy it must have cost you. I hope 2019 will be kinder to you than the past has been, even if it cannot _change_ the past.

  9. Gudrun says

    I’ve never commented here before but I just want to say what others are saying. Please blog, if you feel like it at all. Please don’t feel bad that it isn’t what your blog was originally about on our account. You should write and write as much as you want and are able. We want to read it.

    • Maria says

      Thank you so much, Gudrun, both for leaving a comment here for the first time, and for the words themselves!

  10. Your pal Al says

    Skriv og og del! For jeg har ikke tilgang til din google docs, og det er svært urettferdig at kun du og google har tilgang til dine super strålende skrive-skills:) (Understreket med bokstavrim for tydeliggjøring av budskap.)

    Skriv.

    • Maria says

      Al, my pal, you know I always appreciate a good bokstavrim ^^ Takk for at du stakk innom Internett-hjemmet mitt!

  11. pixiesews says

    I have missed your thoughtful, well-written posts about … so many things. Blog when you are able knowing your readers are waiting patiently and wishing you well.

    • Maria says

      Thank you so much, pixiesews – and may I just say, your screen name makes you sound like just my kind of person!

    • Maria says

      Oh, hand writing is my literary bread and butter, I write at least a page by hand each day. Thank you for commenting!

  12. Knitlass. says

    Hey, lovely to see you back in this space. Have you tried voice recognition software? I’m using it to write this. However you do it, I’d love to hear what you have to say. I’ve always enjoyed your blogs. Whatever the subject, whatever the topic would love to hear your words.

    Sorry to hear you have been ill. I’m glad things are getting a little bit better. I hope you are soon restored to your former glory.

    • Maria says

      Hi Knitlass (such a good screen name)! I have tried it, but found it troublesome as my spoken English isn’t always recognized by digital ears (I’m Norwegian, and speak a confused mix of British and American English). Hopefully someday soon the technology will be evolved enough to understand even me, because I can see how it could be helpful, especially for first drafts and just getting the words out of my head.

      Thank you for commenting, and for making me laugh about my “former glory” 😀

  13. Nadia says

    Yes, blog it. If people used to subscribe your blog found the subject matter changed from fashion to personal growth/pain, they can un-subscribe it. I personally am struggling with my own problem and would like see how others deal with it and even overcome it.

    • Maria says

      Hi Nadia! I certainly mean to try, though I don’t know how _often_ I’ll be able to blog. That’s one of the many things I appreciate about writing/reading, that it can make us feel less alone in our problems. Thank you for commenting!

  14. Debbie Golding says

    Dearest Maria, I saw your Instagram notice when I awoke this morning. I immediately thought “I remember that sweet face.” As I read your blog post I also remembered your pain with posting. Thank you for being brave and reaching out. You’ve given me strength today to deal with my own life. I say blog. Perhaps just a bit, as your strength permits. You are an artist and creating with words or paint gives the artist an infusion of joy. And we all need more joy. I’ll bet William would agree.
    Your inspired reader, Debbie

    • Maria says

      Aww, thank you, Debbie! I have a feeling your comment would make dear William smile, just like it did to me 🙂 I am glad to hear my writing can give something in return; your words certainly give me strength and motivation!

  15. Dina says

    It’s always a delight to see a blog post from you pop up in my email, no matter how long it’s been since the last post. Your writing is beautiful. Really beautiful, whether the topic is frivolous or painful. It’s honest and refreshing. I’m so sorry for all the health challenges you are enduring. If writing brings you pleasure, write. Life is short. Write as much as you can and as often at you want. We’re all here, cheering you on.

    • Maria says

      Thank you so much, Dina. I’m a little overwhelmed by all the support that’s poured into my inbox since I wrote this post, and hardly know what to say except thank you, thank you, thank you.

  16. Bonnie says

    When I started following you, it wasn’t for your wonderful style tips and incredible useful fashion education (though they were wonderful and I loved them); I started following you because you seemed so real, so like someone I would run into and instantly connect with. You felt like one of my people, and reading your blogs reminded me of who I was and who I wanted to be. As someone who has battled with severe mental health issues for years and is still very much in the middle of that fight (I’m going to have to try a new medication because my current combination has resulted in unacceptable side effects), reading the words of others who have had similar experiences reminds me that I am not alone. It reminds me that there are other people for whom life is a daily struggle, and inspires me to keep fighting. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, your words will always be worth reading, and I am so happy to be reading them again.

    • Maria says

      Hi Bonnie, I remember seeing your name in the comments for a long time now, it is so lovely to see you’re still here, reading and commenting and generally being so sweet. I am sorry to hear about your mental health struggles – it can all be just so _hard_ sometimes, being human and dealing with everything that entails. I am rooting for you, all the way from up here in my little room in Northern Norway, and I think you are brave for trying new meds and reaching out to the world. Thank you so much for letting me be a small part of that!

  17. My pixie cut is long gone too…but it’s been 2 years since your last post and I got so excited when I saw the email notification that you had made another one 🙂 I would say, yes pretty please, keep writing

    • Maria says

      Oh, thank you, Aubrey, my fellow past-pixie 🙂 I will do my very best!

  18. Rita says

    Ironically, as a fellow writer with chronic illness, I haven’t the wherewithal to leave the long, detailed comment I’d like to right now — but here’s another voice adding to the chorus of, I am here & I want to read whatever it is that you find it in you to write.

    • Maria says

      I am so sorry, Rita – I know that feeling of wanting but not being able to, and it can be so hard. Thank you so very much for leaving me a comment anyway, it really means the world!

  19. Erika says

    As someone with ME/CFS and major depression (NOT related), I’ve got notebooks full of writing that will never see the light of day – far too personal, far too fragmented. I went a long time not being able to read anything of substance. Far too long not being able to construct sentences (the joys of cognitive dysfunction), and losing thoughts.

    Please keep writing. And sharing. People evolve, writing as well. You still say things that matter. And I will keep reading.

    • Maria says

      Oh, Erika – I am so sorry, and I am so thankful you commented here despite how tricky writing/sentence-making can be with ME/CFS. I, too, have notebooks like that. It is… unfair, and hard, and heartbreaking. I am thinking of you! Thank you for using some of your precious energy to write to me.

  20. Liesbeth says

    If you find satisfaction in writing and like the community, however small and loosely tied together, then yes, keep blogging. I’m going to echo some of the comments before saying how rare it has become to find a well-written, truly personal blog these days. Yes, blogs aplenty. But most are there for some kind of personal gain (commercial or personal branding), which the authors have every right to, but I love to read those truly independent, forever on the verge of changing course, personal blogs. When I have the time. I’m not very loyal to any blog and no blogger should be loyal to me. But yes, a blogpost of yours can make a difference and can touch someone miles away deeply. I’m reminded about Neil Gaiman’s essay on writing and dandelions. Just spread those seeds and let them land where they may.

    • Maria says

      I feel like that, too, about many blogs and Internet Life in general these days. But the replies to this blog post have really reminded me of how beautiful the Internet can be as well, and how it enables connection that was literally impossible not that long ago. Neil Gaiman’s dandelions are such a good visual for that, thank you for reminding me!

  21. M G says

    Yes. Write. Write one sentence or one hundred, do it everyday or once every few months, whenever you can, whatever you feel. Put it down on the page and let the next thought take its place, you can’t know where it will lead but it will take you towards the next moment. All the best to you!

    • Maria says

      Thank you, M G, that’s a very generous comment 🙂 I certainly intend to try!

  22. Kathleen says

    Dear Maria, I don’t read many blogs but yours is one that I miss. Yes, it encouraged me through my pixie cut adventures and swerves into gamine style, but somehow when I think of your blog I don’t recall the advice on what sort of hemline or hairstyle to choose. Rather, your writing seems like the voice of a friend who understands the deep longing for beauty and the sadness at the brokenness of the world – and how sometimes a seemingly shallow thing, like an outfit that perfectly expresses you, can be a wonderful comfort in the midst of it. I suppose I mean that the value of your writing has always been the heart behind the content. Perhaps your readers have grown with you and are ready to leave behind the fashion and delve into the real difficulty and beauty of life with you, and I, for one, am all ears to hear which things in life you have found to be surprisingly pointless.

    • Maria says

      “The deep longing for beauty and the sadness at the brokenness of the world” – well, now I feel like _you_ need a blog or somewhere to put all that beautiful eloquence of yours, Kathleen! If you have somewhere you write online, I would love a link to it? “The heart behind the content” pretty much sums up everything I want to do with everything I create, so it means so much to hear that it comes through for you. Thank you, and especially for that last sentence, which made me laugh, and that laugh was sorely needed in all my serious earnestness!

  23. Elaine says

    If there is still value and meaning in it for you, absolutely blog. It’s not only that I miss you, Maria. Whenever you can, do any and all things that bring you joy and celebrate your accomplishing them, however small they are. I know, easier said than done… But there is freedom in that, in making a decision to act in a small or big way, and potentially be all the better for it mentally if not physically.

    Your writing doesn’t have to be about personal style development. It can be about anything importanr to you like your experiences of chronic illness, a topic not shared or discussed enough on or offline, especially invisible illness, but is slowly getting better (#buildaladder, great community courtesy of Martina Stawski). There is a place in this congested and bland blogosphere for your thoughts and creativity. Like any creative endeavor, blogging doesn’t need a point to exist. That’s what can make it art. Know I and I’m sure the rest of your readers don’t expect everything to be shared on here unless you want to or are ready to do so. No pressure at all!

    Also just wanted to say you’ve come a long way since 2017. Thank YOU for keeping us updated and for making it this far, fighting literally every second to live the life you want. You may never be able to 100% reattain your pre-2017 self, but who says you can’t have a lovely beautiful life moving forward with less than that? Glad to know you’re slowly improving. We may not be physically near you but we’re all here for you virtually, rooting for you.

    • Maria says

      I really do have the kindest and most eloquent and most interesting readers in all the Internet, I am sure of it. I will remember your comment, Elaine, and read it again when I need some gentle reminders about why I wanted to write online in the first place. The support from you all has been such a privilege to receive, and has made me feel less invisible than I’ve felt in a long time. Thank you for your words, and for the tip about that hashtag, which I will definitely check out!

  24. Helle says

    First time commenting. Used to check in on your site regularly a few years back, and was sorry to see you go, fearing what dark places might claim and hold you. Depression is a horrid mindscape.
    A search for the origin of ‘Of course it hurts when the buds burst’ was what brought me to your site today. Make of it what you will.
    And do write when it brings you life! If to blog or not – your choice, but your words carry soul, spirit and heart, and therefore they will ressonate with other brave, striving, honest, sensitive and sensually alive beings.

    • Maria says

      Thank you for your first comment, Helle, it’s always a pleasure to hear from a “silent” reader 🙂

      I love the stories we humans can create from coincidences such as your search result (they certainly send my mind spinning with artistic inspiration). However you interpret it, I am glad you found this blog again. “Sensually alive” is now my new life motto; it perfectly sums up how I want 2019 to be. Thank you again for leaving me a comment!

  25. Cassondra says

    Whether or not you blog is really up to you. The important thing is that you have a creative outlet and if a blog is what’s best then do it, but if there’s another outlet that’s better for you than do that. I will tell you that I would read anything you write, and I’ve never had a pixie cut.

    There are also lots of ways to go about framing your art form. If you can’t stand looking at a screen try text to speech. If you can’t read without nausea try listening to your books. I do both.

    As to how depression affects your subject matter, I found years ago that I am at my most creative when I am in the throes of fighting depression. Creativity is my outlet, and my saving grace, and my life preserver when it feels like I’m drowning. When I’m truly happy, I can’t write worth shit. I love to know what’s going on with you, I’ve read you for years and years, but do what helps you to be whole.

  26. Tracy says

    I say blog.

    Most of the life style blogs I see nowadays are not really ‘real’ – more shiny, life is great, look at where I’ve been, what I’ve bought.

    It feels superficial.

    I’ve been increasingly thinking of how lucky I am to be born where I am. The access to healthcare, education, libraries etc. down to chats about trying to eat less meat and recycle/reduce more. Most people in the world don’t live like this because they don’t have a choice of whether to go vegan or not. Each day economics or health, something that I take for granted dominates their choice.

    Anyways, my point is that if you want to share your reality and connect with others, I’d read it. I think your voice comes across well in your writing.

    I was happy to see your post pop up and was curious to see how you are.

    I never write on comments but wanted to say hi. Glad to hear from you!

  27. Anouk says

    I’m a longtime lurker who found you through being bored on vacation and interested about gamine style 🙂 However, there hasn’t been a time since then that I didn’t consider your blog. It was in the back of my mind, first while picking clothes (I still sometimes pass by clothes, read the material tag and go, ‘Omg, viscose, that was Maria’s favorite fabric according to that one post’ lol), then just in general, when you posted less.
    Thank you for your contribution and inspiration. I’m wishing you the best.

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