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My Blogoversary

My blogoversary, my blogoversary, ferns, dancing, tons of people. Every pink flower west of the Mississippi. Blogoversary cake in the dining room and the NaComLeavMo cake… Hidden in the carport.

Wait.

Shit.

That was Shelby’s wedding. And this in my blogoversary. I get these two occasions mixed up. All. The. Time.

My blogoversary is not bathed in blush or bashful, but my blog is two years old today. It is also almost the anniversary of my little planner and I am still lugging it around with me a year later. But it should get its own day to shine.

It is hard to remember what was started this year and what was merely a continuation. Show and Tell is definitely new as is IComLeavWe (which was called NaComLeavMo in its first incarnation). U.T.E.R.U.S. was started and we did our first big fundraising adventure. I kicked off the weekly Barren Advice column and a bunch of us have already chosen our new blogging names and added them to the Blogging Name Registry to mark the two year milestone. The collective Shop Mom or Pop was started last winter. The Public Living Room was utilized for online meetings and simultaneous television watching. Twelve and a Half Fighting Back took on activism projects. We had an international candy exchange. The largest project–Lost and Found and Connections Abound (LFCA or L & F)–not only began but got so large that it moved into its new space and has published almost 200 entries so far.

Other projects simply continued. The blogroll grew like a weed. The Creme de la Creme rolled around again as well as the Roundup Extravaganza. We kept meeting at the Virtual Lushary each month. The Barren Bitches read a lot of books. Entries were added to Operation Heads Up and new people volunteered for the Peer Counselor List. Secret Ode Days popped up out of nowhere.

I looked at the two years this blog has been in existence and used their overarching themes to determine the course this blog will take in its third year. This is different from the word that defines the entire blog which is “community.” I think that word best describes the blog as a whole if it had to be boiled down to one word.

But, if you take each year on its own, the first year was best defined by the word “connections.” I started the blog because I had always wanted a single space on the Internet that combined all the best aspects of the individual spaces. The information from the medical sites and the support from the bulletin boards and the fun projects from…well…camp. The connections were sometimes between two people or sometimes between a person and information. But so many of those early projects were about removing the isolation inherent in infertility. If you had an Internet connection, you had a community, not just a blog. I did this for myself, but I’m happy if it helped others too.

The word that defined the second year was “action.” I have a definite antsy side to my personality. I don’t sleep a lot. I don’t remain still for very long. I don’t like to talk about things–I like to see things happen. I live my entire life by Gandhi’s adage “be the change you wish to see in the world” (albeit at a high speed with the theme word being “now”). So we changed things. We saw needs and we filled them. We fought the good fight. We made sure–to the best of our abilities–that more people got the support they needed. Thank you for this.

I am never sure what word defines the year until after it is over, but I’m entering this year with a single word to help guide me. I don’t know if it is helpful or not to name it right now, but I’m going to place it out there as a thought. My defining term from now until next June is “listen.” It’s a hard thing to do–to truly listen to another person. To set aside the time to concentrate on someone else’s thoughts without simultaneously considering your own. To practice a form of verbal relativism, listening while trying to place yourself in the other person’s point of view rather than your own. Talking is easy. I have about 850 posts on this blog. Being silent. Reading. Actually hearing; internalizing someone else’s words, tossing them around inside your head, allowing them to change your world. That is hard.

Already, the small projects that have planted seeds in year two are sprouting into year three. Show & Tell at its core is about listening to what is important to another person. Lost & Found is about sitting with someone’s words and letting them know that you’re listening and supporting them.

The thing that I have the most hope wrapped around is IComLeavWe. I would love for this idea to build and for comments to gather the same respect as blog posts. We honour blog posts all the time, but how many times do we honour comments? We lament not being able to post enough, but how many times do people also consider their lack of commenting? NaComLeavMo was admittedly hard. It became suffocatingly difficult to remember to comment a quota every single day for a full month. I hope that by making it weekly and making it often that people will drop in and out with an eye to what is happening in their own life. When the list opens next week on Tuesday, I hope people add themselves. When IComLeavWe rolls around (each month from the 21st to the 28th), I hope we see a huge spike in comments. Thoughtful comments. Comforting comments. And also…

Even when you don’t have something to add, when you can’t find the words to respond, I hope this year that it becomes socially acceptable and understood to simply write the phrase “I am listening” and post the comment under your name. What does this do? Sometimes, it helps to know that your words were read. That someone didn’t click on and click off of your blog without processing your words. Sometimes it simply feels good to know that you’re not alone, even if the other person doesn’t have a solution or deep comfort. Some people may think this is lazy; a comment not worth the effort to leave or receive. But I think it can be very powerful to know that someone listened even if they have nothing to respond with in return. If all comments ran this course, I would need to rethink my stance on this, but right now, amid the other thoughts, I would love to hear the small “I am listenings;” especially on
a post that you see does not have a lot of comments.

So happy anniversary, little blog. May this next year be one of deep listening, good community, enormous love, wonderful news, and only more kumbayaness. We cannot control so many things in our lives–the enormity of what we can’t do sometimes leaves me speechless–but ensuring that no one feels alone: that is actually within our power. So it is my goal: to make sure that anyone I encounter knows that I have listened.

117 comments

1 Michell { 06.24.08 at 10:56 pm }

Happy Blogoversary Mel!!! You are so appreciated.

2 Stacie { 06.24.08 at 10:56 pm }

Happy Blogoversary, Mel! I am honored to be one of the first to congratulate you on two wonderful years of blogging. You are an amazing person and I am so happy I found you and your site!

What you have done for the infertility community is inspirational. It helps so much to know that there are others out there who understand my feelings. You have connected, and you have acted. I just know that this next year of “listening” will bring even more insight and support for those in the blogging world.

May your next year of blogging be even better than your first two…I don’t have any doubts that it will be!

Thanks again for everything!

3 annacyclopedia { 06.24.08 at 11:02 pm }

Happy blogoversary, Mel! Or should I say Lolly?

A few months ago, I found one blog with a link to yours, and when I found Stirrup Queens, it was like I opened the door to the secret cavern in the stories, filled with gold and jewels and magic carpets and ever so much candy. I do not exaggerate when I say that blogging has changed my entire life, and I also do not exaggerate when I say that finding you gave me a reason to want to start my own blog, to jump into this community. I was a little scared and nervous, the way I am anytime I enter a new group of people. Your warm welcome and thoughtful, encouraging posts helped me to see that I really do belong here.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, the pit of my stomach, and the depth of my admiration for you. Keep up the good work!

4 Lori { 06.24.08 at 11:03 pm }

You have positively influenced so many people in the last two years.

I love your connect-act-listen model. You continually inspire me.

“I am listening” is so powerful. I can’t remember who posted about “I am abiding with you,” but I have found that very appropriate as well.

Happy blogoversary, my friend.

5 bleu { 06.24.08 at 11:19 pm }

First off it isn’t the 25th yet here but I want to comment now instead of waiting until midnight. πŸ˜‰

It was actually a shock to me to find out you had only been here 2 years to tell the truth. When I found your blog it was from hearing you mentioned here and there, I even avoided it for a bit thinking it was some commercial site just because of how many people commented on it or mentioned it. I thought it was something like babycenter maybe I wasn’t sure.

When I first clicked on I was overwhelmed, soooo much info, and good info. Then when I started reading I found out about the community, the people who came together. I read all the time but never ever commented. I thought the site had been around years and the commenters were a clique and I felt very outside the loop.

But then, like I know every person on that blogroll has experienced, you reached out. You made some thoughtful comment, you listened and heard me. (I for one think you have always been aces at listening)
You made me feel like I got picked for the cheer squad or something.

I started reading more, and visiting other blogs a bit more. It still overwhelmed though but any time I got a comment from you i was so moved.

Then this last year the L&F came out and I was in heaven. It brought things so much more close knit even. It gave me a way to really meet people without using the very intimidating blog roll page. I had clicked certain categories but that was so selective. L&F was so inclusive. I became an avid reader and commenter. I tend to send a hug when I am not sure what to write. I like the I Am Listening idea. Suddenly from me visiting more and commenting more I had more visitors. Suddenly I was “heard’ more which helps so much in this struggle.

Them one day i realized I never comment on your blog, I write emails as much as I feel i can without getting stalker-ish but I never commented. I even wrote you about it. Then I started using the RSS feeds and the Readers and life changed once again, thanks to your suggestion.

You are a leader, a bringer of community on such a hugely significant level. You have created a village, one with so many differing backgrounds coming together. So many women voicing their thoughts, their fears, their pain and their joy. You have created a safe place in the storm we are all enduring. You have educated and inspired, enlightened and made joyous so many of us.

Thank you so much Melissa, you have made a HUGE difference in my life.

6 Kymberli { 06.24.08 at 11:20 pm }

Happy blogoversary, Lolly. I will be eternally grateful that I stumbled upon your blog, which I think of as Grand Central Station of this community.

I love the idea of “I am listening.” There are many times that I want to say something but don’t have the words. I hope to see more listening through the next year.

“M’Lynn, you just missed the chance of a lifetime. Halfa Chinquapin Parish would give their eye teeth to take a whack at Ouiser!”

I just had to get that out of my system, what with your references to Steel Magnolias.

7 Fertilized { 06.24.08 at 11:22 pm }

Happy Blogoversary to you! I just think you are so talented in the art of blogging and spreading a sense of community and Support. I love the “I am listening” idea Fantabulous!

In your honor I will make and eat chocochip cookies!

8 Sharon { 06.24.08 at 11:51 pm }

Congratulations Mel.

You are providing a wonderful service for a community of people who do appreciate your efforts.

Well done.

9 luna { 06.24.08 at 11:57 pm }

happy happy blogoversary mel-lolly! a thousand thanks again for all the incredible things you do. it’s amazing how much care and support is extended by so many because of you and this space which you’ve created and nurtured. you f’ing rock.

I continue to be inspired by your ability to cultivate community, support, act, and of course listen. ‘I am listening’ is so very powerful — sometimes the only gift one can offer.

I hope this next year brings all that you wish and work for, too.

10 Still Standing Strong in A Bloom of Hope. { 06.25.08 at 12:07 am }

Happy happy Blogoversary!!!!!

You give me hope and I am listening!

Thanks for everything!

11 Skerry { 06.25.08 at 12:18 am }

Happy Blogoversary!!! A quiet lurker here, I make a nightly stop here to get my fix and inspiration. I have age related secondary infertility and just had my right tube removed last Thurs. due to SIN (salpingitis isthmicus nodusa). I truly appreciate your amazing skills as a blogger and Queen organizer. Thank you!

12 Soupy { 06.25.08 at 1:17 am }

Happy Blogversary! has it really been 2 years? WOW! Mind blowing and congratulations on so many wonderful accomplishments!! It is so needed and so important! You are awesome!!

13 B { 06.25.08 at 1:24 am }

Happy Blogoversary Mel.

14 Vee { 06.25.08 at 2:44 am }

Happy Blogoversay!

I love the idea of “I am listening” Someone posted it on my blog a while back and did it mean a lot to me, it was much nicer than not saying anything at all.

15 Sam { 06.25.08 at 2:47 am }

Happy Blogiversary!

I get what you mean about simply saying “I am listening” – so many people have said some variation on the thought that it seems rude or difficult to write something that appears meaningless and perhaps not worth writing.

But just knowing that people are indeed reading (and commenting!) makes blogging worth while and that you are not just shouting into the void!

16 PaleMother { 06.25.08 at 4:56 am }

Happy Blogoversary, Mel!

I am listening.

Cheers,

D.

17 Isn't it pretty to think so { 06.25.08 at 5:10 am }

Happy Blogoversary!!! (I can’t believe as i typed that, google underlined it as if to say it’s not a real word!!).
but seriously, thank you for everything you do. You are such a pillar in this community…which I believe would be so different and not nearly as rich without you.
Congratulations on two years (plus, i’m sure) of making people’s lives better.

18 seriously? { 06.25.08 at 5:45 am }

Happy Blogoversary. You have no idea how much you have helped me let alone all the other women in our community out there.

19 Mama { 06.25.08 at 6:10 am }

Happy Blogoversary! I remember like it was yesterday reading your listserve post that announced you were starting a blog. This is before we met in person and figured out our small-world connections and when our twins were just a few months old and I was still a little overwhelmed with the idea of being a parent (which I though would never happen in the first place), never mind to two. And then I remember meeting you in person and being in awe of the woman behind the blog.
I am SO proud of you and of what you’ve done with this blog. It actually doesn’t seem to do it justice to call it a “blog.” Congratulations, my friend!!

20 MamaSoon { 06.25.08 at 6:10 am }

You rock. Simple as that. Happy 2nd Blogoversary, Lolly. Hee hee.

21 j { 06.25.08 at 6:12 am }

I’m always listening. Promise.

22 Tracy { 06.25.08 at 6:17 am }

Happy Blogoversary!!!!

THANK YOU for all you do. I hope you know how much of a difference you are making for people out there.

23 Kathy { 06.25.08 at 6:18 am }

Happy 2nd Blogoversary Mel!!! πŸ™‚

I too will never forget the day I stumbled upon your blog. I remember being blown away by the blogroll and especially by the fact that though I had never been to your site before, that my blog was actually already listed on it. I thought that was pretty cool.

I also remember discovering Lost & Found and the first time I was listed on it when one of my IVF cycles failed. I was so blown away that someone had noticed what I was going through and shared it with our community. More and more I go there and follow links to support people, as they have supported me.

You are such an incredible person and I look forward to this next year in your blog. I love how you challenge yourself to help people connect, to do more, to be more and this year, TO LISTEN MORE. What a great goal for you and for all of us.

I am here, I am listening and I am blessed to know you. Thank you for being you!

Love,
Kathy πŸ™‚

24 Samantha { 06.25.08 at 6:26 am }

Happy Blogoversary! It’s impossible to imagine this blogging community without you – you’ve done so much to make us feel included, given us fun things to do with our time, and definitely helped with the communication across the spectrum of IF/adoption/PG loss. I have never doubted that you have been listening hard along the way, and I’m sure you will continue all of your wonderful work in this third year.

25 sara { 06.25.08 at 6:28 am }

Happy blogoversary Mel! As I always say – are the best and all of your hard work has made such a difference to so many people! Keep up the great work πŸ™‚

26 Elizabeth { 06.25.08 at 6:33 am }

Happy blogoversary, Lolly. U rock!!!

27 Lisa { 06.25.08 at 6:33 am }

Happy Anniversary to you!! Thanks to you, so many of us are listening, too!

28 Somewhat Ordinary { 06.25.08 at 6:41 am }

Happy Blogoversary!! I started reading yours right around the time I started mine (which I just realized was 6/20-oops). Your blog opened up a whole new world to me! Congrats on a terrific job over the last 2 years.

29 merseydotes { 06.25.08 at 7:01 am }

Happy blogoversary, Mel! I have been reading forever and mostly lurking, but now that we have an RE I guess that officially makes me a stirrup queen and should start speaking up more. Thanks for working so hard to provide this space.

30 Io { 06.25.08 at 7:02 am }

Happy blogoversary Mel! It’s hard to fathom that you’ve only been doing this for two years. Look at all the amazing things you have accomplished! Everything you do brings such light and joy and understanding to so many and you should be so proud.
I remember finding you and it was like this amazing moment where I thought “This is where I want to be.”
I simply don’t have enough words to express how beautiful you are inside and out.
Thank you for being you.

31 Shelli { 06.25.08 at 7:08 am }

Happy Blogoversary Mel!!!

You are an inspiration to all of us!

32 BethH6703 { 06.25.08 at 7:12 am }

Happy Blogoversary Ms. VonSnatch! ::wink::

Why do I have a sudden urge to watch an episode of Frasier?

Joking aside, I love the “I am listening” idea. Sometimes you simply don’t know the words, and that little phrase is a way to let the other person know they were heard.

33 SAHW { 06.25.08 at 7:18 am }

Congratulations on two years of blogging! You’re already an amazing listener – that’s how all of this has come about, through you listening to us and helping us. I can’t imagine how things would be if I hadn’t found you and the IF blogging community…the awful loneliness and overwhelming depression I felt for a year, when I felt so alone, has been so greatly alleviated just in the last two months that I’ve been blogging.

So thank you for all that you do…you are very, very appreciated. πŸ™‚

34 emma { 06.25.08 at 7:25 am }

Happy Anniversary! Thank you for everything that you do everyday to make each of us a part of this community. I appreciate knowing that I am not alone and you make that possible.

xoxo

35 Baby Steps to Baby Shoes { 06.25.08 at 7:46 am }

Congratulations on entering your third year! I don’t know what this community would do without you.

36 chicklet { 06.25.08 at 8:09 am }

Happy blogoversary sista!

37 G { 06.25.08 at 8:09 am }

Happy blogoversary πŸ™‚ Thank you for all that you do for our community

38 InfertileMadWoman { 06.25.08 at 8:16 am }

Happy Blogoversary Mel!!!!

Here is to many, many more!!!

Hugs,
Rebel

39 Mrs. Spit { 06.25.08 at 8:21 am }

Happy anniversary Mel.

Thanks for all you do, and the ways you plug us into each other.

We’ll call for the car covered with condoms to take you away from the reception now!

40 A.M.S. { 06.25.08 at 8:22 am }

As one who has been a very direct recipient of the support and kindness generated by this community you have been so instrumental in creating, it is my great pleasure to wish you a very Happy Blogoversary! Here’s to many, many more. Many hugs to you, my friend.

(Last year, didn’t we all eat cake? Mmmm, cake.)

41 Ally { 06.25.08 at 8:27 am }

Happy Blogoversary to you, Mel!

I cannot thank you enough for all the love and support you cram into this space every single day. You truly are a manifestation of Ghandi’s exhortation to be the change you want to see in the world.

Thank you for always listening to us and for giving us the connection point to find and listen to each other.

42 alison { 06.25.08 at 8:31 am }

Congrats! Happy day!

43 SarahSews { 06.25.08 at 8:43 am }

you rock Mel and I don’t know what I would do without your support — personally and as a rallying point for the rest of the community. thank you.

44 soapchick { 06.25.08 at 8:43 am }

Happy Blogoversary! You are so amazing and have brought so many people together. Thank you!! I listen a lot!

45 loribeth { 06.25.08 at 8:46 am }

Happy, happy blogoversary, Mel, and many more to come! You are such an inspiration… thank you for everything that you do for us.

46 Carrie { 06.25.08 at 8:49 am }

I love it! I read :::a lot::: of blogs but don’t always comment. Either I don’t know what to say, don’t have time, etc. I love the thought of just writing “I am listening” to let the person know you were there.

Happy Blogoversary! This community is so much stronger all because of you. You rock on so many levels πŸ™‚

47 Trace { 06.25.08 at 8:51 am }

Happy Blogoversary! I love the “I’m Listening” thing. So often read peoples posts, but don’t comment for exactly that reason. I just don’t have anything to contribute.

48 Kim { 06.25.08 at 8:51 am }

Happy Blogoversary. What you do for me and so many others is nothing short of spectacular and inspiring and wonderful! I am listening – often!

49 Pamela Jeanne { 06.25.08 at 8:59 am }

What the hell would we do without you? You are the glue that holds this fragile community together. Your ” ensuring that no one feels alone: that is actually within our power” is a powerful message that inspired me to get outside of my own head.

50 Ellen K. { 06.25.08 at 9:01 am }

Happy, happy blogoversary! Thanks for everything you do for the community, Mel. *mwah*

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