My Blog.My Story.

by frogpondsrock on March 23, 2011

in blogging,cancer,Fun

I was one of the speakers on the My Blog My Story panel at the inaugural Aussie Bloggers conference in Sydney 2011.

I have had a number of people ask me to please publish the talk as there was a concurrent session on SEO and monetisation running in another room. This story that you are about to read wont be exactly the same as the one I told up on the stage, but it will be pretty close.

I love an audience and when I finally got up onto the stage to tell my story, my nerves instantly vanished and I had a blast. I spoke passionately and we laughed and we cried together.

My daughter Veronica introduced me with a list of the things that I am. It was a long list.  It included words like, storyteller, environmentalist, film maker, writer,visual artist, curator, public thinker, mentor of young artists and gatherer of people.

I am all of those things and more. Here is, My Blog. My Story.

I am Tasmanian and there is something that you need to know about Tasmania, apart from the fact that we don’t all have two heads (flashes a bit of neck) is that in Tasmania you are either a greenie or you are not.

There is no in between, it is very black and white.(waves arms around for emphasis).

Over twenty years ago I moved from the city to a very, very, small rural community, where 99% of the population were, very, very definitely not greenies.

It is very easy to be a greenie in the city sitting in a coffee shop sipping a latte, it is a tad more difficult being a greenie when you have a log truck hard up your hammer, doing 100 clicks on a dusty dirt road.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate the isolation I felt.

When my daughter was about nine months old a local took me to playgroup, she failed to tell me that it was also a  pre- Melbourne cup do and so I walked into this room full of impeccably dressed women, looking like something the cat dragged in and not one woman spoke to me.

Not. One. Word.

I spent the next two hours playing in the sand pit with the children, who loved me and my odd socks, and I was left wondering if their Mothers had little tiaras on, underneath their fucking hats. Needless to say I didn’t go back.

Fast forward to 2007 and try to imagine how I felt when my adult daughter tells me that she is moving even further north, further into the heart of  Hilux country. As I was saying that is nice sweetie, inside I was going Noooo fucking noooo don’t do it. (covers face with hands to emphasise the horror)

The difference between my daughter’s situation and mine was that Veronica discovered blogs and blogging, and she connected with other isolated women with screaming, sleepless children. The connection with these women saved Veronica’s sanity.

Like anyone who has found something life changing Veronica wanted to share and filled with an evangelical fervour she made me set up a blog as well.

So you can all blame Veronica,(points) it is all her fault that I am here today.

With Veronica’s help I set up a blogspot blog and launched my thoughts out into the ether. I started to add photographs to my blog posts and I discovered two photography memes that I hesitantly joined. (This is where I plug my meme Sunday Selections, it is a great way to meet people. Come and play with me.)

Suddenly I wasn’t lonely anymore and the isolation that had seemed such a huge barrier vanished as I was connecting with like minded women and men all over the world. I could talk about politics and my concern for the state of the environment without getting into an an argument. I knew that if I jumped onto a plane to Alaska or Belgium,I had friends there and that knowledge was very comforting. My world had shrunk.

Whilst I was making friends all over the world my husbands disapproval grew. The Spouse really, really, really, disliked me being on the computer and he worried that you, my dear internetz were going to steal my identity, lift my credit card from the back pocket of my laptop or shock horror (pantomimes shock and horror) you were going to entice me into kinky cyber-sex. So I had to steal time to blog, or keep my ears peeled for his footsteps so that I could jump up from the computer and pretend I was doing something else, like (shudders) housework.

At the same time as my husband was worrying about identity theft, I was studying ceramics and struggling with my own identity. After a group discussion in one of my classes I decided that I really was an artist, not a student (does bit of a shimmy and waves arms about for emphasis) And I started to call myself a ceramic artist on my blog.

You know if you start to tell people that you are an artist, they actually believe you.

In 2008 My mother was diagnosed with Lung Cancer.  A diagnosis of cancer within your family is very isolating, as people do not want to talk about cancer and they most definitely do not want to talk about death at all. (starts to cry) There is a strong stigma associated with Lung Cancer,  it is a smokers cancer,  a brought it on yourself, sucked in you deserved it kind of cancer.

My Mother was a non smoker.

So I reached out to my online community and you all held me in your cyber arms and gave me the strength to keep on going. (thanks kleenex for being a very handy sponsor)

In 2009 as my mother was dying in palliative care, my phone rang off the hook. In order to shut the fucking thing up I gave my blog address to Mum’s friends, co-workers and all our relatives.

The fucking thing went viral in my small community, every man and his dog had my blog address. I didn’t think about the ramifications of that until much later. For the moment I was just pleased that I could get information out there as quickly as possible and that my telephone was reasonably silent.

After my Mum had died I grieved her on my blog and once again the internet came to my rescue an example being the huge box of chocolates sent to me from a blog friend in Florida that the postage alone on was $100.

So it is late 2009, I am grieving my Mum and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that my blog is now no longer anonymous and a strange thing starts to happen. I don’t know if it is the passage of time or the fact that artists are allowed to be eccentric, but some of the women that shunned me in the very early days actually offer frosty smiles and small nods of their heads when they see me in the supermarket.(looks incredulous)

Wow.

Early in 2010 my blog is nominated for Best Australian in the bloggies and within the internet this is kind of a big deal. When I show my husband the nomination he is totally chuffed. I overhear him telling his mates that his missus blog is best in Australia.(pantomimes a proud husband strutting) The bloggies nomination has removed any perception that my husband might have had that I was a total and complete nutter for writing on the internet. He still knows that I am just your ordinary every day nutter.

I was very proud to finish in second place in the voting behind the awesomely talented The NDM

Because of the bloggies nomination, I don’t have to blog in secret anymore. I can structure my time so that I can write in the mornings and my blog has become part of who I am.

Here I am in 2011 up on stage in front of a room full of bloggers telling you all my story.

Blame Veronica (points at daughter, again.) it is all her fault

There is a post script to this story. I have made you all some hand made ceramic beads but I wasn’t able to get them fired in time to give them to you so please leave a comment telling me you were at the conference or email me and I will post them out to you.

Cheers Kim.

{ 32 comments }

Tamsyn March 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

Amazing story Kim and beautifully written. I wish I had of been at the conference to hear it in person xx

Deeleea March 23, 2011 at 7:07 am

I was delighted to be there to hear your story! Thanks for sharing it, and I love how you write it down… actions and all… felt like I was hearing it all over again.

I shall email you my details for to have some of your beads would be lovely!

Marita March 23, 2011 at 7:17 am

I wanted so badly to jump up and give you a hug when you were talking about lung cancer. My father in law passed away from lung cancer in 2008 and he had never smoked in his life. It was an intense 3 months from diagnosis till he was gone. People kept assuming he was a smoker and I wanted to punch them.

Marylin March 23, 2011 at 8:02 am

*pouts* I just wish I could have been there to meet my crazy honourary auntie!
*coughs* I wasn’t at the conf… but, uh, how much would postage be to Scotland? ;)

frogpondsrock March 23, 2011 at 8:04 am

@Marylin The postage to Scotland would be bugger all. I will send you some. no worries. :)

Megan @ Writing Out Loud March 23, 2011 at 9:00 am

Kim, I loved hearing you speak. The room was abuzz with energy and everyone was tweeting madly about how awesome you are. So great to meet you and hear part of your story. x

amandab March 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

Apart from enjoying reading this again, I am loving the fact that, in my head, you are reading it to me again as I can hear your voice and see your face just as it was on Saturday :)

frogpondsrock March 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

*blushes* Thanks everyone. It was very easy to speak to you all because there was such a warm, friendly energy in the room.

Kelly B March 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

So glad you posted this!!! I missed it becuase of the SEO session. My favourite line: “You know if you start to tell people that you are an artist, they actually believe you.” HA! Love it! Love you!

Devi March 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

It is wonderful that you are sharing this, so people like me, who longed to be at the conference, could share in the learning. :-)

My sympathies to you, on the loss of your Mother, and I am glad she was someone wonderful enough to be missed.

It is a shame your Mother’s Group was so unsupportive, I know the value of a group going through the same experiences to help you cope. It’s great Veronica has her online community. When my Buggy was all new, I had a wonderfully supportive online community to help me. Not other Mother’s, but a Klingon FanFic writing group. ;-)

janet March 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

I just knew you would make it wonderful. Wish I could have been there!

Mrs. Oh March 23, 2011 at 11:51 am

Loved it. Love you. Made me cry all over again.

Marilyn at Live First, Write Later March 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I’m really glad I can now put a face, and a voice, and the sight of your arm-waving to your blog posts Kim!

Thank you for the Freddo, but I would love some beads that you handmade. I’ll be in touch.

sharon March 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Love it. Could almost hear you speaking. So sorry I couldn’t be there – even though I’m not a blogger ;-)

Becci March 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

OK, you are now top of my list of blogger inspriation stories. I’ve just started out here so please forgive my rather fuzzy first posts. Yours almost made me cry, my Dad died 4 yrs ago (age 80) to lung cancer and had given up smoking many many years ago when we were first finding out it could kill you. He spent the last 7 years of his life caring for mum who has dimentia but rediscovered his love of painting so was excited at his new found life. From diagnosis to the end was less than 3 months. Might even blog about it one day. Thanks again.

Ali March 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I loved this story Kim. I feel really lucky to know you, even if I have never met you in the flesh. Did you know that the generosity you offered me, sharing your beautiful art just because I told you how much I loved it, lifted my spirits at a really crucial time? I still look at it every day and think of you and wonder at the kind of person who does something that lovely for someone who is a virtual stranger.

I’m so glad you blog and by extension I am glad that I blog or I would never have known you.
xx

Sam @ Learn. Create. Do. March 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I loved hearing your story at the conference, and I loved reading it again. It’s amazing how I can now hear you and visualize you on the stage when reading. I’m so glad we got to have a chat at the dinner. Hope the weather didn’t stop you from getting to the markets. :)

Meegs March 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm

You are a legend….and so ENTHUSIASTIC! xxx

river March 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

“You know if you start to tell people you are an artist, they actually believe you.”
When you spoke that line, I almost laughed out loud, it’s so very similar to a line I’ve used fairly often at work.

You are very definitely an artist and not just with your ceramics either. You’re a photographic artist, a writer of extraordinary ability and you are theatrical too. Anyone who heard and saw your speech would agree with me there.
I’d love some beads please.

river March 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Hey look! It’s my teddy bear avatar. Wonder where the coffee drinking dragon went?

lceel March 24, 2011 at 12:58 am

I hope, someday, to make it to your part of the world – there are so many of you on your side of the world I want to meet. You and your daughter are right on top of the list.

BendyGirl March 24, 2011 at 1:18 am

Great speech! I’m so proud of you BG Xx

Kakka March 24, 2011 at 7:20 am

We bumped into each other in the corridor before you spoke and then again not long after when we shared a hug. Your openness made me shed a tear while you spoke, and here I am at 5 am in the morning shedding another one after reading it here. Just wish there had been more time to really talk. xxx

Jayne March 24, 2011 at 9:43 am

I loved hearing your story and I was able to hear your voice (and do your actions) as I read it out to hubby just now lol.
The Aspie teen says thanks for the Freddo frog :)

Donna @ NappyDaze March 24, 2011 at 11:16 am

This is bloody brilliant!! I am so glad you posted it as I was in the other room and missed it – and I do love a good story.

What an inspiration you are xx

Achelois March 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

Well as you know I wasn’t at the conference. But thanks to your tweety pictures I did get to see Veronica in her hen stuff, having FUN and laughing which made my day.

The beads are so typical of you, thoughtful, making a tactile memory for all those lucky enough to have been there.

umm to have one would make my day, year in fact, imagine me having something made by a famous person. lol

Thank you for the smiles, the tears, the photo’s….. ok before you get all big headed I am going. I am just so pleased you had a great time. Although I saw some of the photo’s on a blog’s facebook link and think some will have had sore heads the morning after!

Kim, your mum would be so very proud. How is the studio going?

I blog whilst husband sleeps and think I always will somehow.

Tanya March 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm

That was fantastic!

So true, I could relate to a lot of it. I’m so happy that you enjoy blogging and that it has helped so many people to find friends and support.

The internet often gets a bad reputation for stealing identities and credit card details (!) But there are a lot of people out there just looking for friends.

I am sort of a part-time resident in the blogging community, I lurk around from time to time writing and reading, but I have gotten most of my support and new friendships actually through facebook.

Someone started a group for mummies who are looking for other mummy friends in their area and suddenly there are group trips organised, playdates and coffee catchups.

The internet can be a great tool and I’m glad you have used it well. :-)

Kellie March 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm

A great read! I really enjoyed your story – it’s so honest. I only wish I could have been there to hear it in person (especially to see all the hand gestures!!). Well done. :)

Annieb25 March 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Your rock, your hair rocks and your Frog Pond Rocks. I love your spirit. xx

katepickle March 25, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Oh I am so so glad you posted this… was really disappointed to miss you reading it because I know it would have been extra brilliant in person!
And I am so glad you blog…. you constantly inspire me and make me think…. which is kind of scary, but good too!

Jess March 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Bloody. Effin’. Hell.
I wish the ice women at some of the conferences round these parts would utter such beautiful words like, “I was left wondering if their Mothers had little tiaras on, underneath their fucking hats…”

You really got to say that? …!! I don’t think we’re allowed to even say, “poo”.

If you came and spoke I would stand on my chair barefoot and crow like a rooster every time you said the word “fuck”. Then I would level my scepter at all the “impeccably dressed women” and put a gypsy curse on their firstborn; thus assuring that every time one of the little darlings said “mom ..mum” it would come out sounding suspiciously like “Up your hammer witch!”

Kelley @ Magnetoboldtoo March 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

you rocked it, but after speaking to you for 2 seconds I knew that.

Thank you for calming me the fuck down. Love you sweetcheeks.

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