Menopausal Mother. I've seen a lot of changes in the blog world since I first started; large sites that I never imagined would fold---but have, and smaller blogs that took off on viral posts and made overnight sensations out of a handful of bloggers. I've seen page views rise, fall, and sometimes skyrocket in a 24 hour span when a particular post has hit a nerve. Some of those popular posts introduced me to the underbelly of the blogosphere---internet trolls that harassed me and made me question if I was cut out to be a writer. Fortunately, I learned to develop a tough skin and ignore their insults.
I've reached goals that five years ago I never dreamed would be a reality for me, and ridden the waves of both success and failure more times than I can count. More importantly, I've learned that I can dust myself off after a fall and climb back onto the saddle of my unpredictable muse.
The blogosphere has also given me life-long friends who have mentored and encouraged me since the beginning. There have been numerous times when I've considered folding up Menopausal Mother for good, but these lovely blogger friends remind me that there are faithful readers out there who come here for a little lift when the rest of the world is not so kind. I can't argue with that because I need laughter in my life just as much as anyone else.
One of the main reasons I started this blog was to bring joy to women who were experiencing the same, uncomfortable symptoms of menopause that I was facing. But over time, it became so much more. I realized early on that I couldn't focus solely on menopause---I was limiting my audience. So I started writing about my family life, friends, my quirky habits, work, vacations, and my love for all the four-legged fur babies who live in my home. I also opened up about my depression issues and the personal losses I've faced over the years. Although those were the hardest posts to write, they garnered the most comments and gave me the support I needed when sadness was getting the best of me. I'd wanted to keep my blog upbeat at all times, but a fellow writer once told me that she felt I wasn't keeping things "real" on my site, and accused me of hiding behind my humor. She challenged me to write something that made me uneasy; to step out of my comfort zone and share something so painful and raw that I would feel myself bleeding across the page while I wrote it.
So I did. And as terrified as I was, I hit "publish" after writing my first serious piece, The Box, several years ago. That morning, I closed my laptop and stepped out of the office for a bit because I was too afraid to read the comments I'd receive. But as frightening as it was to take that first leap into non-humor, there was also a strong sense of relief knowing that I'd finally removed many self-imposed boundaries by sharing something deeply personal with total strangers on the internet.
When I checked back in on the site later that morning, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and I knew at the moment that my writer friend had given me the best advice possible. I still prefer to write humor on my blog, but since that time, I've been sprinkling a few poignant pieces over the comedic posts to add a little boost of flavor to Menopausal Mother.
My blog and I have come a long way since that August afternoon in 2011 when I published my very first post. I've discovered that the blogosphere is a strange and wonderful place; a great starting point for my initial goal of writing a book, and for sharing articles on larger websites in an effort to spread an important message. Blogging has also been the perfect platform for self-expression and for connecting with others who share the same vision. Over time, I've developed an amazing, supportive community of readers both here and on my Facebook fan page, and it's their enthusiasm that motivates me to continue writing.
Thank you all for standing by me through bouts of writer's block and for being my inspiration these past five years. I hope to bring you many more years of laughter, and I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you soon. Cheers!
****WANT MORE MENO MAMA? It has been a busy week for sharing blog posts! I was featured Scary Mommy with "A Mother's Advice to Her Son heading Off to College", and on The Tribe with "15 Things No Parent Should Have to Say to Their Teen Daughter." Have a look and see what you think!