I had time to think at my Mum's. It was good to have some space, and then have that space filled by my son over the weekend. We went out for Mother's Day. I haven't been anywhere near a pub or restaurant for a very long time, so a two hour meal was a challenge, with the normal complicated and sometimes irksome family-plus-illness dynamics at play. But the main thing was that I went out, and my son will have been encouraged by that.
It was good to have a break from blogging too. Being a partaker of other people's blogs is one thing. Starting your own is quite another.
When I'm away from my computer I revert to what I was for more than a year (ie the former, a partaker).
And I find myself still very much enjoying the former. In fact I don't just enjoy reading other people's blogs, I learn interesting views, insights, theories and so forth. I empathise with pain, suffering and anger. I share laughs, observations and the odd wry aside.
But starting my own blog has been more complex than I anticipated, and time away has confirmed this.
I remember setting out in my 'mission statement' that The Beauty Offensive would have good and bad days.
But it's not just a case of one day being receptive to beauty and wanting to share it, then the next day finding yourself anything but.
The problems arise when you have been well received in your original intent, but then find you are struggling to maintain it.
People will, I have found, respond positively to beauty and encourage the activity of seeking it out and posting it up there for all to share.
But the tension arises when the artistic intent in this endeavour (which in my more pretentious moments I still nurse) clashes with the very real connection made with others through the medium of blogging. My main way of communicating experiences of beauty is through photography. But I am also a writer. It's just that I've never done the two together before. It creates an interesting dynamic, especially when you have the direct communication of comment boxes in the mix as well. The connection between myself and those I reach through this blog makes me question what I originally set out to do. Remember, I have experienced extreme isolation through my experience of ill-health and the responses of those around me. I wrote about losing contact here. I still struggle with reconnecting with people. But please stay with this for now.
Ultimately, blogging leads me to want to share more of myself, in words. To be human rather than an anonymous purveyor of what I hope people may find beautiful. Is that realistic? Is it honest? Is it valid?
Blogging seems to be a developmental process in my case. It's evolving. By writing this out I'm getting to the crux of the matter (I sometimes write posts by hand before typing, to make a thoughtful connection with my own words and spare myself too much computer glare).
I started The Beauty Offensive with a clear objective. It was to be an antidote. My antidote, and an antidote for others.
And it does indeed bring some positive responses. Bridgett recently used the word 'transcendence' in reference to my blog, a really lovely observation, and indeed a real compliment.
Transcendence is something I can experience when I've encountered, photographed or read something really beautiful. It is possible to exist outside the created world, to forget the
worries that tend to follow me about, to forget pain and exhaustion for a while.
And of course, I'm happy to share these moments. In seeking them out I achieve my aim of finding an antidote to ugliness. And in sharing these moments I can, sometimes, intensify its potency.
But life can be ugly, can't it? And, sometimes, there's no getting away from the fact. Sometimes, having made a connection with people through The Beauty Offensive, I actually have an urge to write about feelings of despair, rage, trauma, numbness, anger, fear, isolation.
I was tempted over the weekend to start a separate blog. Only that would be twice the work as I'm not as design-savvy or mentally agile as certain other bloggers of note who keep several plates spinning on one site, or interweave the personal with the artistic. Is there a difference? It depends what you think you are doing with your blog, where you want to take it, or, more intriguingly, where it starts to take you.
So what to do? Start the 'Desperate Howl of Despair' blog, save these feelings for my own private time, or incorporate them delicately here? I really do have a strong urge to spare you kind and lovely people any desperate howling.
OK. Here's the deal. At this point in time I am feeling very vulnerable, most unwell and desperately sad at the break-up of my relationship. Sometimes I will make these short admissions to the intrusion of ugliness in my life. But no howling. I actually hope to rediscover humour at some point after being inspired by the success of Shaggy Blog Stories. And I still believe this blog is a space for beauty to be experienced, shared and, through interaction with others, magnified and evolved.