It was four years ago today that I started this blog, Beyond Life’s Challenges, and my first post the following day: LIFE…is the Challenge.
It somehow seemed to be appropriate to share about the things that I found challenging, in hopes that I could help others see beyond whatever they were facing.
From January to October 2010, I posted about 34 times, most often with reprints from another site where I was writing. I did not write again until April 30, 2011 and submitted only 15 times through mid-November, again using some reprints.
These two years were challenging due to my Mom’s death, and the death of two different friends from cancers. They were 41 and 31 years of age. I did not feel that I had any special words that anyone would want to read. Nor did I feel that I could inspire anyone when I could not even manage my own emotions in dealing with all of the challenges of life.
What I had not shared yet was that I was fearful beyond belief. Each of these were written as I was trying to wrap my head around an emergency room visit on the 17th, where I learned that there were tumors on my liver. I was facing a month full of tests, a biopsy and FEAR. I could not write about it, but started to reflect on the beauty that I had not noticed, the time I had wasted, and why things had never been enough.
I wrote 20 times in 2012. I began to share some details and experiences. I even claimed Straight talk from here on out… but re-reading most of what I wrote in 2012 was not nearly as raw as I felt on the inside. I never told of the despondency I felt. (I finally wrote about it a year later in Suicide: The Night I Took My Life…)
The end of December of 2012, I decided to use my power of words to assist with a project in honor of Bridget Spence. I also kept in close contact on the blog with those who left their messages of support and love to Bridget, her family, her friends, and those working on the project. I made it a point to answer each an every comment made on all articles relating to Bridget. It kept me connected at a very tough time in my own struggles.
Some people who were there for Bridget also started reading other things I had written, and they learned of my own stage IV carcinoid cancer diagnosis. One year later, several of these people and I continue to correspond.
In 2013, I started out the year with The Beginning of a New Year as a Writer and Storyteller, finally understanding who and what I am in relationship to words. (In 2011, my sister shared something my mother had said to her after I had sent her copies of a couple things that I had written and had published: “Coral should have been a writer.” )
Although I do appreciate the opportunity to write, I also recognize that I am much better in front of an audience using my voice. This is why I consider myself more of a “storyteller,” as I will use these words whether I am using the stage and a microphone or the literal or figurative pen and paper.
So on January 3rd, I wrote much more of my story on my About The Author page. It was as honest as I had been about my illness. I also posted 94 times here on the main page of my blog, having written on various topics. There has not been any particular theme, because I write as I am inspired to do so.
I wrote 21 updates on my SMILE! The 21-Day Challenge Results Page. My June 4th update was probably my favorite!
One thing of which I am most proud is completing the A to Z in April 2013 Blogging Challenge. I did not learn about it and get started until April 5th. I was unable to write daily, as well, so there were times I had to catch up and did not think I could pull it off. Yet, I did it!
On May 1st, I submitted the post, I Am a Survivor! which also recapped all in the A to Z in April articles. It was ironic that it marked the one year anniversary month of being diagnosed with carcinoid.
That month also marked the month that I started writing at another site in addition to my blog. I have posted there 277 times from May 20th to December 31st. So, combining submissions of all kinds, I published nearly 400 things for the world to see.
So, here it is another year. And though I have not accomplished all that I thought I would or should, I am still writing, and still telling my stories and others’ stories.
And here it is one year later. A year that I did not think I survive. A year that had its share of ups and downs. A year that I only hope I might see to the end. I continue to be reminded that I do not have the answers to everything. Nor does anyone else.
Yes, I am a writer, and I am also a storyteller.
And YES! I am still alive!
And LIFE…continues to be the challenge…But oh, what a wonderful challenge it is!