When I was 19 years old, my grandmother stole my journal, read it and then proceeded to tell my entire family that I was no longer a virgin and I might be going to hell for my actions that I wrote about.
I had kept a journal since before I could even write full sentences. It started as writing words in elementary school, then imaginary stories in middle school, then venting about snotty girls and silly boys in high school, to attempting to find myself and my way in college. However, when she took that journal, it was over. I stopped writing. I took all the journals from the years before, brought them to a garbage can in an alley near my apartment and threw them all out. It wasn’t until I was almost thirty years old that I started to write again.
I started writing again because I was in a failing marriage and needed a place to share my heartache. I needed to find that place that let me vent. And when I opened that door again to writing, I felt myself heal. I started to write more often and even take on writing jobs on the side for newspapers and magazines.
It wasn’t until I had my second child last year that I decided to make that change from journal writing to blogging. In talking with parents and friends, I realized that others might share some of my same thoughts, fears, joys and experiences in juggling life and parenthood . And maybe, just maybe, some of those people would like to know that they aren’t alone in all of it. And so Martinis and Minivans became my journal – my place to say what others might be afraid to say, my place to share funny thoughts and stories, or to admit that sometimes I want to cry too. Blogging became my voice and my breath of life.
I was feeling very content with my blog and how it was growing when a reader forwarded me a link to the Blogger Idol auditions. This was the image that she attached to her email, it was what Blogger Idol was including in their marketing. She told me that the finger was pointing at me.
At 10:30 p.m. on the last day of auditions, I still wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I had written for other people before, and have obviously shared my own personal thoughts, but could I really write from a prompt and still be true to myself? However, that inner voice just wouldn’t let me go to sleep so I quickly filled out the application and didn’t give it another thought until the Top 13 were announced and I made the list. My first thought was, “Oh crap, what have I gotten myself into?”
Now, 10 weeks into the competition, I’m still saying that same thing each week. This competition challenges you in ways beyond writing. It makes you think about topics you never even thought you had an opinion on (see domesticating zombies post here) and also issues that you wouldn’t have had the guts to write about before (see The “N” Word post here). It makes you brutally aware of your imperfections and compliments you on talents you weren't even aware you possessed. It also drives you to want to drink an extra cocktail while you read the judges’ comments or wait to find out your fate each week.
However, through it all, I have loved it. I have loved the intensity, the criticism, the camaraderie between contestants, and most of all, the writing. I have loved the writing the most because I have stayed true to my voice. If you read my entries, you’ll see me. You’ll see humor, heart, sarcasm, anger, happiness and soul. That to me is what blogging, and Blogger Idol, is all about. A chance to put it all out there. Some will love it. Some will hate it. Either way, you dared to say it.
To vote for us and help get us to the final, click here and choose MARTINIS AND MINIVANS in the voting box! Thank you!
From the Judges:I love that you have rediscovered your voice and that you are so true to that voice. I think so many bloggers these days have serious identity issues when they write, so it is always nice to read writers who know who they are! Great job and good luck!
-You Know It Happens At Your House Too (Guest Judge)
Who are we to really judge what you have gotten out of blogging and this here competition. I love that you stayed true to your voice, because without it what are you really? Too often I find people that write what they think the audience wants to hear. Sometimes it works, but you can usually see the passion for the topic lacking. It's something you don't lack in the least. Congrats on making it this far and good luck to you!
-Daddy's in Charge?
Your journey and your break from writing remind me a lot of myself. I have to say that of all three contestants left, I felt the most vulnerability from you, and I really like that. You have let us in, and that is really remarkable. You really are just you.
-Spaghetti Westerner (Last year's champ!)
I am happy that you found your voice again that I have found you through this competition. You should be proud that you have stayed true to yourself and your writing through all of this. I have enjoyed reading you and discovering your blog the past few months. This piece is just the latest example. It's real and full of heart. Like you.
-Daddy Knows Less (Almost last year's champ...)
Great personal story threaded throughout the post. Attention grabbing first sentence, and strong, persuasive arguments. Nice work!
-SooperDad Blog of Awesomeness
Absolutely agree: the very first sentence grabbed me and I was yours for the rest of the post. I love that you reconnected with your writing, and you have certainly remained true to your voice. Well done, and good luck!
-From the Bungalow