I got home late Thursday night to find my inbox flooded with over 100 WordPress notification emails for new likes, reblogs, comments, and followers. Either I’m being massively spammed…or….maybe…could I have been Freshly Pressed?
Freshly Pressed is a collection of the Wordpress
gods’ editors’ picks and favorite reads from across the WordPress.com blog universe. I loaded the page and there I was. My tiny planet of writing and reflection suddenly highlighted and drawn out of its usual orbit. My little corner of the Internet suddenly stretched much much bigger.
Being Freshly Pressed has been overwhelming in the most positive way imaginable. In three days, it’s made my stats skyrocket and quadrupled my number of followers (it also quickly prompted me to change my email notification settings). All this has been extremely exciting.
But beyond feeling overwhelmed and excited, I feel incredibly humbled. That people identify and connect with my experiences and my words enough to keep reading them. Enough to like, follow, reblog, and above all comment on my posts. Enough to share their own struggles and triumphs and messages of encouragement with me—and with each other.
At a time when I’ve been feeling out of touch with myself and my writing, getting this kind of support is huge. It’s a sign that at least here, in this endeavor, I’m on the right path.
My Freshly Pressed post is about loneliness, grief, and longing for an old self. Homesickness for a lost inner home. Being Freshly Pressed has made me feel less alone in my loneliness. More hopeful and optimistic and motivated. To everyone who has reached out to me, thank you.
In the weeks that have passed since writing and publishing “A Strange Kind of Homesickness,” I’ve been on an upward swing. I’ve had some breakthroughs in my social life which have led to fewer solo cultural outings and more picnics in sunny parks with cheap bottles of wine. I’ve been feeling more settled and comfortable with the family I work for and live with. I’ve still been feeling big stormy emotions, but I’m trying to accept them, ride them out rather than resist them. And the reflection and (over)analyzing they leave in their wake have been more positive and productive.
And I’ve started to focus more seriously on my writing. I’ve joined a weekly writing meet-up—a group of people with a vast array of projects (academic, professional, creative) who get together to “shut up and write.” We hold each other accountable to simply be present and to work on something, anything. To break through writer’s block. I’m finding a safe, productive space there and a small fledgling community in this city of millions.
I’ve been reading about writing creative non-fiction—and just plain reading more creative non-fiction. I’ve dared to start calling myself a writer (mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud). I’ve dared to start owning this piece of myself.
And I’ve started to get closer to that elusive inner place called “home.”