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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Afterthoughts--May 30, 2010

I was very unhappy when Ward Cleaver announced that he would be leaving blogland. I've never met the man. I only know him from the things he's posted about himself. I know what he looks like because about two months before he left, he began posting pictures of himself. But we were friends. It's possible that he was my closest friend at the time, other than Darrin. I had never had anyone--ever--who visited me every day, expressed interest in my family, career, and personal life, and who shared his life with me equally. Granted, this all took place using pseudonyms in cyberspace, but it became a stable, predictable haven for me as I began a terribly difficult journey.

Ward left because his life was becoming too complicated. He was dealing with personal and health issues which would daunt the strongest person. His psychiatrist suggested Ward had become too involved in the imaginary workings in blogland and needed to invest himself more fully in his real life. Ward agreed, and his blog disappeared. We still keep in touch. Ward emails me occasionally, and I've found him online for a chat once or twice in the last few years. But it's not the same, naturally. We're not friends as we were...but perhaps it was all make-believe anyway. My heart doesn't believe that, but it's easily deceived.

It was completely different when The Late Tolkien Boy told me, last September, he was disappearing himself. My guts twisted and I was angry. I wanted to scream, throw a tantrum, hit something, which was very silly of me. Tolkien Boy didn't even write in his blog anymore. There had been a time when the blog was active and was followed by millions of fans--yes, I was one of those--but for nearly a year it had been mostly dormant. But the blog represented an important chapter of my life and was a symbol of something I cherished. There were a couple of posts in the blog dedicated to me, and a story Tolkien Boy had written for me. Somehow, a part of my soul was invested in that tiny piece of cyberspace. Add to that the fact that Tolkien Boy figured prominently in my own blog and if he disappeared, how would I refer to his real, corporeal person when I wrote about him? It was becoming very complicated.

Fortunately, my friend didn't actually complete his blog demise for a couple of months after warning me it would happen, which allowed me to get used to the idea and stop being angry at him. Please remember, I think logically, but that has nothing to do with my feelings which are completely unreasonable, at best.

I mention these two examples because I believe it's time, at least for now, for me to retire. When I discussed my feelings about TB's disappearance with Jason, he mentioned he might feel similarly if I were to discontinue blogging, and perhaps there are others like him who have become accustomed to my copious ramblings and might be a little bit unhappy if I suddenly create a hole in their blogland routine. And so, I will explain my need to go away.

I realized last week that the place which used to be a playground for my words has become my emotional prison. This has happened gradually and because of, I believe, the intense difficulty of the past 18 months. Recent developments in my life, influenced by some things that are happening in the lives of family members and close friends, have led me to a place where I feel unable to escape. Thursday of last week I hit an all-time low. For those who have been following my blog, you have seen me go through extremely difficult times. Always I have regrouped, bounced back, gathered strength and moved forward. Sometimes that process has taken a long time, but in the back of my mind I've known it would happen when the pain subsided and I also knew I was loved and supported which motivated me to keep trying. On Thursday I no longer cared if anyone loved or supported me, and I no longer have the emotional strength to keep dragging myself up when I'm knocked down. Yes, there was a catalyst to this. No, I won't be talking about it.

As my life became unmanageable this time, I thought about blogging, wishing to draw hope from the encouragement which inevitably comes from stalwart friends who check up on me (by the way, I love you! Thank you so much for helping me repeatedly in the past few years). I thought about, and even attempted to talk with friends. I couldn't do it. Finally, I just sat by Darrin and cried. Nervous breakdown? Maybe. I don't know.

I realized that I, as was the case with my sweet friend, Ward, needed to remove myself from this part of my life for a time. I need to immerse myself in reality--whatever that may mean, however painful it is. I need to laugh and grieve and cry and work, and someday I must sleep again. This is a good decision for me.

Today as I ran, a butterfly joined me--the first one this spring. It didn't fly lightly beside me, occasionally crossing in front of me to flutter along on the other side, but instead it circled me as I ran, nearly touching me with its fragile wings. For nearly a quarter of a mile it did this, occasionally moving to fly beside me, then circling close to me again. I found myself gasping with sobs as memories of the things which bring me joy flooded my mind. I'm still alive--I'm going to make it through this. When the butterfly left and the weeping subsided, I waited for my gasping to regulate itself into my regular running rhythm--it didn't. Finally I realized I was sprinting. I don't know how long I'd been running at top speed, but my first couple of miles happened very quickly. I slowed my pace, allowed myself to find my rhythm and dedicated myself to seeing the beauty of immense stretches of blue sky, vivid wildflowers, new prairie grass, and scuttling insects avoiding my pounding feet.

I've been sprinting for more than four years, aided by the gentle, beautiful butterfly wings of online concern and friendships. It's time for me to slow down, look around me, find my rhythm, and move forward. I may come back here some day. I don't know yet and today is not the day for me to make such a decision.


  1. I will miss you but I want you to be happy. Take care. I wish peace and happiness for you. hugs-A.J.

  2. I am sorry you're done blogging, but like JB said, I'm glad you're doing what you need to do be happy. I hope you feel better soon. Love you.

  3. I will miss you too, but if anyone has a good idea of what they need to do and the guts to do it even when it's hard, you certainly do.

    Thanks for giving us some warning before leaving and for giving us a goodbye letter. That makes it easier.

  4. Thank you for sharing so much for so long. I'm glad you can slow down now and take a break. I wish you all the best, dear friend.

  5. Good luck, I've been considering the same thing

  6. it is absolutely fair of you to discontinue any path that is no longer serving you. The ripple effect will alter those of us who know you through this channel, but ultimately the decision for the change to be good or bad lies within us. I will choose good.
    At least I know a few people who interact with the real, tangible Samantha, and can keep tabs on you through them. Thanks for being who you are, and so bravely sharing her with me.