A Love Letter to My Blog

I Still Love You

Dear Blog, About Our Relationship…

Oh, This One Wild Life, our passions once ran so deep that the story of our love spilled effortlessly over countless pristine white sheets. Hand in hand, we ignited a fire within the hearts of even our most distant of blogging friends. We planned to change the world together, and we did our best to try but, somewhere along the way, that blaze was dampened to a smoldering ember until… I’m sorry, This One Wild Life, but can’t you see? We’ve been losing our spark for some time.

Just look at past letters to the Pet Blogger Challenge, evidence of our dimming light…

2011 Pet Blogger Challenge
Beyond the Honeymoon.
Our relationship once reached toward limitless horizons representing all that life had to offer – until your  animal welfare addictions and product review promises eclipsed my vast and varied interests. I began to resent your commitment to others over your commitment to my desires. I ached to indulge in South American travel logs and fully flesh out Ghanaian volunteer notes into colorful adventures with you by my side. These needs utterly starved for your attention. 

2012 Pet Blogger Challenge
The Others. They Make Me Sick.
When your heart was hacked by a ruthless interloper, I was chronically ill at the time, struggling through my sickness to rebuild your trust. I devoted months of determination to revive the contents of your soul — only to have you, my love, relentlessly courted by and committed to brands who cared nothing about your true interests the way that I did. Engagement with other blogs seemed my only recourse, an open relationship without selling myself out. “I could love my blog deeply and monogamously again, but I think we should start seeing other people,” I said. I hoped you would notice my wandering eye, but that didn’t work for either of us. 

2013 The Doggone Dirt on Pet Blogging
The Final Throw Down
In a fit of malcontent, I threw out every 2013 Challenge question and threw down my top five bitter blogging gripes. Point #4 was “Pushy Product Review Requests? Lick My Cat.” 83 comments roared up in a chorus that proved I was not alone in my growing frustration. Hallelujah! But somebody was ready for a full-blown time out. I broke from your lackluster embrace, the one I once loved, only casually falling back into bed with you when I needed a good friend to talk to. The heart wants what the heart wants.

It’s difficult to admit but, what one thing made me most proud about my blogging in 2013? 

Abandonment. 

Living my life without reporting back to… who? Who would miss me when I was gone? You? I’m not fishing for kindness here. I celebrate the answer. Nobody. To realize that, I finally felt FREE.

Forgiveness.

In order to move forward with my life, I forgave myself, This One Wild Life, and I hope you can too…

  • for allowing you to dictate the direction of my every thought for years.
  • for pimping out my beautiful animals.
  • for selling products that nobody cares about.
  • for making myself so sick of dog topics, I cringe at all I see.
  • for hogtying myself to a specific niche, neglecting my many other interests.

And I accept your apology, This One Wild Life,

  • for always begging that your insatiable pages be filled, asking for more when I had nothing left to give.
  •  for changing the locks, making me hang my head in shame as I asked the admin for access previously granted.
  • for your shitty response time when I tried to reconcile. (Although, even now, you load with hesitance. We truly must work on this.)
  • for your constant quirks and needy updates.

Reconciliation.

In all honesty, I’ve missed you, my darling blog. I never stopped loving the stories we crafted and shared together. I’m still drawn to the shape of your layout and the bright shade of your accent, the way you caress my words between your borders.

I’ll eagerly meet you half way, freely giving gobs of love toward your animal interests. Please, just tell me you’ll support my non-animal desires, too, entertaining musings from human experience. (I’ve finally started compiling notes this week, six years after visiting Africa. Exciting, no?)

However this happens, if this happens, can we agree to swirl our toes around in these crisp, cool, new waters, drawing in a fresh breath of air as our flirtatious giggling is carried on a light breeze? If this can’t fuel our souls with passion once more, I want no part. We each deserve better than mediocrity, as do those who bear witness to our re-blooming love. We deserve full immersion in amazement at the world around us, our booming, ecstatic voices rising over the dull din of white noise. We deserve all that This One Wild Life has to offer. And we shall take it and claim it as our own or be forever silenced by the golden mean.


Pet Blogger's ChallengeThank you for reading my post in the Fourth Annual Pet Blogger Challenge exploring the community’s hows, whys, what’s working and what’s not as we blog about animals. Hosted by Amy Burkert at GoPetFriendly.com and Edie Jarolim from Will My Dog Hat Me?, together, they organized this project (with a little badge designed by me).

Comments

  1. That was absolutely brilliant. And if you and your blog need a good relationship counsellor, I’ll find you one. You two clearly belong together– it’s just a matter of proper communication.

    🙂

  2. Kim, I think you struggle lies inside the rest of us too. We are bombarded with messages to “treat our blog like a business”, “get paid for writing on our blog”, and to brand everything we do. Unfortunately, our blogs can morph into a feeling of obligation than freedom and fun. I know I felt I lost my way for a bit but I feel like I am clearer now more than ever on where my blog is growing. Part of that mental regrouping has been breaks when I need it and doing what feels right vs. “following the rules”. Good luck on finding your way and inspiration again.

    • I’m so glad you’ve found your way, Jessica. You look like you’re having so much fun with your blog, real fun, not just saying you’re having fun for the sake of appearances. It’s a beautiful thing.

      My blog stopped being fun when I took to heart that, if my blog wasn’t making money, it wasn’t worthy. Well, I don’t care about making money here and my interest in freebies lost it’s shine long ago.

      I started this blog to capture moments of my life that were important to me and to converse about them with others. The minute I began to worry about quantifying statistics is the minute the heart of this space stopped beating. Deleting the incessant nagging from companies and guest bloggers since has become the bane of my existence.

      What brought me back around was rekindling my private journals, because those had suffered too in the name of This One Wild Life. I didn’t have time to keep them and my blog up, at first, then the energy waned even if I did have time, and then the crux if it collapsed, I lost the will to write at all.

      This blog isn’t the only one at fault. That hacker killed 4 of my blogs (3 are still riddled with question marks scattered throughout most sentences). I also maintain our rescue website and I was so snowed under, often by sad stories, on top of my work clients and many family events. I finally just spent the past 3 months to myself, unable to give anything else attention. And it was divine.

      So, perhaps I’m now ready to come back, just on my own terms. And I know this, I don’t want to be a dog blogger anymore. Too many others are doing it well and, since 2009, I have written and read my fill on ever dog topic I cared about. I am so ready for a new focus.

      • Even this response was beautifully written. I don’t want to compromise who I am and what I want to write about for others. The question is do I want to keep writing at all? You and many others have given me food for thought.

        • Mel, I hope you DO keep writing, however that comes to be. I love your thoughtfulness and the attention you pay to every tiny and vastly beautiful detail.Take some time off, reassess your motivation, hone in on your favorite things or spread yourself far and wide, taking it all in – every gorgeous bit. Just do it for you, beyond the causes, and the notion of niches.

          I blamed lack of time and overexertion on my eventual lackluster but, the more I think about it, it was paying homage to a single niche across various landscaped that truly did me in. I have, my whole life, done one thing to death and moved on, only to do another thing to death. It was the death knell of This One Wild Life that broke the bear trap for me. I’ve never so totally pigeonholed myself. And I was angry about it. Really angry. Because I knew TOWL was dying. I just didn’t understand the source of that anger until now – or how to fix it.

          • Thanks Kim. I think focusing on one niche can be so limiting. I am so much more than my dogs and my dog blog, as are you.
            My realization over the holidays was how much more time I had to enjoy my dogs and life when I wasn’t focused on trying to find another dog topic to blog about.
            I don’t think I can stop writing, but I think I need to think beyond just dogs and dog-related issues. I also need to allow myself to blog when I feel it and not because it is expected.

  3. I feel your pain, expressed so eloquently here. Will My Dog Hate Me and I had a trial separation, while I cheated with another blog — well, really, left for another blog. I thought it was a divorce for sure but I was wrong.

    Relationships are hard. Some are worth saving, including This One Wild Life and you, however that relationship evolves.

    • I, the jilted lover, you, the blogging vixen, we could bring daytime drama to it’s knees!

      I’m so glad that you’ve reacquainted yourself with your dog blog, Edie. I know it has been a comforting conduit to good friends and great support when you needed (and still need) it most.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have some healing to do before anything here comes to fruition.

      I feel my identity is severely fractured. I have a literary blog, a volunteer blog, and this blog, as well as my horribly neglected business site. I’m really feeling (as I had during the 2012 challenge) that I’d like to integrate my interests. Too many shards are scattered about reflecting just one angle of who I am at a time. Perhaps consolidation is the answer. It might be time to buck the separate niche trend. I’m feeling that nag again…

    • I like to think of Edie as being in a polygamous relationship with her two blogs. It’s Big Love: Blog Edition. 😉

  4. I love the transparency of this post. Looking forward to reading more and getting to know you better in 2014.

    Stopping by via the Pet Blogger Challenge, btw. Hi.

  5. You take my breath away, Kim.
    I can’ talk, just feel, this is a prelude to something far beyond the “golden mean”.

  6. OMG! lol!
    LOVE this take on the Challenge – well done!
    My blog following and reading languished horribly in 2012 and 2013 (as did my posting), but I resolved in December to remedy that and have made a plan and so far am good at following through (easy to say after a month). I look forward to getting reacquainted!

    • Cheers to a productive blogging month for you! They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. It sounds like you are well on your way! I’ll be pulling for you, you can be sure of that.

  7. Well, dog-gone it. I’m feeling exceptionally boring right now. All I did was answer the questions and you’ve written a masterpiece! More, more, tell me more (and tell it to me just like you did here!)

    • A guttural guffaw rose from my belly bursting forth with billowing brilliance into the beckoning night as you called on me to court your desire. My hope is that you, dear Sue, are as enraptured with my response as I am with your quip.

      (Quip. Had to look it up to be sure. Yep. That’s the word I was looking for. Hope you enjoyed! LOL.)

  8. OMD! You won the pet blogger challenge! I hope you had half as much fun writing your fine romance as I did reading it.

    BTW, the blog name This One Wild Life is tremendously flexible. You could do anything here. I hope that 2014 brings you a relationship that has matured into a stable, companionate love.

    • I don’t know about half as much, perhaps twice as much. 🙂 Thanks so much for “the win,” Pamela! Coming from you, that’s frickin’ HUGE.

      For the record, TOWL was intentionally designed to be about anything. At the start, we were just getting past losing a generation of Tim’s 3 old timers, adopting another dog and losing both him and my cat. My entry point here reflected the personal consumption of those losses and adopting our current clan. Alas, we were christened into the world of pet blogging and, loving so many bloggers just like you, I stayed.

      It’s really nice to see such encouragement to add to the repertoire here. I worried about losing touch with you all by my expanding my range. If I’ve learned anything it’s that we’ve stayed in touch through social media even when I don’t write for eons. I guess I need to trust that these friendships are thicker than blogs. 🙂

      • That. That right there is my biggest fear about not blogging and about not making the rounds. If I don’t blog–or if I don’t blog about my dog–and I don’t manage to read much, what happens to the ties I have with blogging friends? Does anyone have a reason to want to still talk to me. This is what I think about when I contemplate the existence of Life With Desmond. Is posting once or twice a month enough to “qualify” for these friendships? But I think you’re right–the bond goes beyond the blog.

        • I suspect those readers who you feel close to are not going to leave you just because you stop writing about your dog as much. My remedy? Social media made blogging less a lot less lonely. It was refreshing to connect via personal profiles and talk with blogging friends about new things, building deeper friendships than found in just dog talk. (Not that dogs are ever “just” dogs. I know you know what I mean.) I love that we all see each other as multidimensional now. I hope you find your balance, Lauren!

  9. Ohhhhh how I have missed you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! COME BACK!!!!!!!! You are forgiven!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  10. Dang it, Caren beat me to it – YES! We have missed you – how do you write like that? Amazing!! This really is one wild life, isn’t it?

    • I truly started answering the questions just like everybody else, Julie. Pulling my quote from the 2012 challenge seems to have spun everything on it’s ear. “I could love my blog deeply and monogamously again, but I think we should start seeing other people.”

      I’ve already straight up answered the questions before, and even abandoned every question last year. Each time, I was still writing to my fellow blogger audience. Writing to my blog directly is the one tack I hadn’t tried – yet it was most therapeutic! I had some serious anger issues to work on. LOL.

  11. I read some of the posts last night without commenting and now I’m coming back.

    I thought about this line a lot today “Living my life without reporting back to… who? Who would miss me when I was gone? You? I’m not fishing for kindness here. I celebrate the answer. Nobody. To realize that, I finally felt FREE.”
    You made me think long and hard here, and just like Pamela said-your blog name has a lot of flexibility which is one thing I wish I would of thought about when naming my blog! If only I knew!

    Now, my blog needs you to write it a letter…STAT 🙂

    • Dear My Brown Newfies and Me,

      The dogs have received a ton of attention around here, and rightly so given their prominence in every part of my life, from their big affection, big size, and big drool to big gobs of inescapable fur. But the Me part is begging to express herself too.

      It is with the greatest respect for the spirit of our blog that I propose shared custody of weekly posts, allowing for one day a week to reflect my own thoughts and feelings about any topic that tickles my fancy. I’m not seeking a divisive legal battle but a cooperative understanding that respect for all parties is in order for us to live harmoniously. That said, I’ll start with this small request, leaving open the option to negotiate for additional days in a month’s time.

      I so look forward to our more rounded experience, both for us and our reading friends.

      Lovingly and respectfully yours,
      Me

      • I can’t even think of what to say to this because it is so totally awesome. Thank you for taking the time to write to my blog, it has been a very stubborn blog in the past but I think you may have convinced it to explore a more, how should I say this, open relationship? and not be so one-sided all of the time. I think this is going to be good for the both of us 😉

        • Jen, I am so excited for you! I firmly believe that, if we can’t find joy within our being, we have nothing to give anybody else. It’s not crazy to apply this philosophy to dog blogging where we pour so much of our effort, love and attention into giving a voice to voiceless beings. Sadly, after giving all this time, it seems we become voiceless beings, too.

      • Kim, I’m beginning to think you could corner the market on writing letters to all of our blogs for us. 🙂

  12. What a wonderful, sincere post! My problem has always been the same – time.

    • Hi Jana,

      I’m reassessing if time was really my issue. More honestly, I think being ensnared by a single niche across multiple platforms is what finally did me in.

      I hope you find a way to carve more time out for yourself in 2014!

  13. For the love of all that is literary, you are a freaking amazing writer.

    I absolutely LOVED this post. If I was in the business of marrying posts, I’d ask this one for its hand in matrimony. (Do blog posts have hands? Probably not. Oh, well. A dream deferred, yet again…)

    Anyway, this post was awesome, and so are you. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to keep up with you through other channels in spite of the relationship drama between you and the blog. I’m interested to see where this thrill ride of a love affair goes next – perhaps consolidation (as you mentioned in a comment above) will be the fix? I can’t wait to find out. 🙂

    • Thank you, A.J.! My blog and I would happily give our blessing to your proposal, if marrying posts were such a thing. In this day and age, that may be a bit passe, although hardly sexist with no gender assigned, so you have that going for you.

      I too feel lucky to to keep up with you outside of blogging, As I said to Pamela above, even NOT writing can’t keep us bloggers apart. We’ve become real friends beyond any niche, stats, or writer’s block. Thanks so much for that.

      I’ve been contemplating consolidation but I think a mixed approach is best. Playing with the ways this might work, I’ve got a tentative plan. Skip if you’re bored. This is mostly for my own reference, spring-boarding off your comment

      I’ll probably import the literary posts from my Brain Drain blog and add a menu tab since there are about 30-40 to manage easily. In the case of my African volunteer experience, I may start by importing posts on everything that led up to my departure: how I was motivated to volunteer abroad, how I chose the organization, post election Kenyan violence, learning more about race and the term tribalism used in media, and how political violence detoured my Kenyan plans last minute. Fresh posts will cover my time spent in Ghana and, when I’m through, I aim to shop the bulk of it around as a unified manuscript.

      Sounds plausible, right? It also sounds like a ton of work, but the writing sounds absolutely thrilling!

  14. I’ve cheered your independence, your decision to not report back. Not because I don’t miss your words, but because you seem happier than you have ever been. I have seen fly beyond the chains of your blog and explore those things that excite you, rejuvenate you, and replenish you.

    Seeing you let go and not let your blog demand pages of content that neither excite you nor motivate you has been inspiration for me. Seeing your happiness and carefree attitude has been refreshing. I want that too. How does one continue to write (something I love doing) and still feel like you are enjoying life? My break from blogging this past holiday season reminded me of all that I was missing by trying to meet some demand by whom? My readers? Who am I trying to please?

    My struggle is in letting go. Why is it so hard anyways?

    Loved your post.

    • Mel,

      Giving my blog a break isn’t the only thing that made me happier. There has been a combination of tactics.

      I’ve used meditation to better hear my inner thoughts and enjoy the gaps between them. I’ve started a gratitude journal, too. Shifting my focus to being grateful for at least five positive things, even on my worst day, which add true joy to my life. It’s the best medicine to combat all the negativity in animal advocacy, busting through letting the issues build up and consume me. Last but not least, I’ve stopped watching the news and keep abreast of only the biggest political stories via the internet. I do so when I’m in a good frame of mind not to be consumed by anger. Oh, and I stopped watching crime TV. Going to bed with all that fictitious drama eating at me was horrendous.

      Jeez, I’ve been busy not doing a lot of things!

      I don’t know if any if that appeals to you but, through it all, I never stopped writing. I just wrote in my private journal for the first time in years, making sense of all these shifts. Maybe that alone would help you.

      Whatever you do, don’t stop writing, Mel. Maybe just lessen the frequency or adjust who you are writing for. You write beatifully, as I said above. To stop would be a real loss, for you and for all of us.

      • I love the idea that not doing things could be freeing too. Clearly you are on a higher path now. Meditation is on my list of to-do’s this year. Something I want to do.

        I love the gratitude journal (I just found mine over Christmas!). I am going to try that. Thanks Kim. I won’t stop writing, but a break from my blog is needed. I look forward to reading your words and learning from you in the future. One of the things I loved hearing about were your adventures. Africa? Holy cow!

  15. What a beautifully written post. Unbeknownst to you perhaps you are doing everything that you pine for already. You have written a blog that in no way has been constrained by ‘the Pet Blogger Challenge’ yet answers the questions still. And you already have a Blogging Name/Handle that could take you anywhere your heart desires…..not just with the dogs 😉 I say follow what your heart is telling you But most importantly – keep writing – cause that is what you are truly good at 🙂 Good Luck

    • Thank you so much. Not answering the traditional challenge questions has, as of this year, become kind of a tradition for me, one that started last year. I’m not sure I’ll partake next year or not, depending on whether I have enough animal content to be considered a pet blogger, but it sure was fun to buck tradition. I plan on harnessing a bit of that fun and riding it into the sunset. 🙂

  16. Your post describes perfectly the love/hate relationship bloggers have with our creation. The demands are high and you constantly question if you are neglecting other important areas in your life. It’s a passion that very few people understand and look at you with crazy eyes when you try to describe it.
    I just found your website, but look forward to reading more.
    -Sharon

    • Nice to meet you!

      Crazy eyes of no understanding, oh, don’t we bloggers know them so well! But neglect only happens when we prioritize chronicling the past over living in the now. Balance is the trick we never know we’ve mastered until it all falls to shit and we can look back on when we did it well. Thankfully, everything is cyclical, so even imbalance doesn’t have to last forever, right?

  17. Yes! I am so glad you are thinking of returning and I am so excited to read about all the incredible things you have seen and done. The last thing you are is boring and no wonder writing solely about animals has dulled your spirit! You, who are always seeking adventure, who have travelled so far and have so much wisdom to share. I’ve always hoped you would one day return to write about your life outside of your, albeit gorgeous, pets. I hope this is a sign of good things to come.

    Also? I still totally want to be you when I grow up.

    • Aaaah! I want to be YOU when I grow up! Contemplative, exploratory, goal driven, and adorable! I just left a comment on your blog proclaiming all that I love about your writing. Cheers to continuing to write for the love of it, Kristine!

  18. I’m so proud of you. So few people are willing to allow themselves the vulnerability that comes from stepping back and allowing time regroup and recharge. If something is holding you back, then it’s not worthy of your time! I’m glad to hear that you’re going to be coming back… on YOUR terms, not anyone else’s. I can’t wait to see what emerges from this!

    • Thanks, Maggie. And I admire your stamina at Oh My Dog! I wish you well with the integration of your freelance writing and your blogging adventures. I may need pointers from you by the time next year’s challenge rolls around!

  19. I hope you know and can feel how the path you’re on is radiating out from you. I’m in awe of your post, your plan, and the way you’ve touched so many people. Thank you – from the bottom of my heart – for expressing yourself so beautifully and for putting me in the car and allowing me to join you for the ride.

    • I haven’t been this excited about writing in way too long, Amy. I feel revitalized and encouraged by all that was said by our awesome and ever supportive blogging friends. Thank you for listening to my incessant talking in circles on countless phone calls as I struggled with what to do next. Your friendship was the golden parachute in all this blogging business, even before I decided to keep going after all. I’m thrilled to be sharing the ride with you!

  20. Oh where do I start! I loved your post and reading all the comments. There’s more brilliance here than I’ve seen in a long time 🙂 No matter what you do, I look forward to reading whatever it is and hopefully seeing you in person sometime again too. I relate to being more than dogs, dogs, dogs all the time. Though I love training and working with pups, I also do so much more (or at least I used to!) Dare I say it… going on vacation without Rocco over the holidays was liberating! We both agreed to an “open” relationship, and it’s working! ha!

    • Cheers to your solo travel! I loved the dogs at the Louvre post but I just know you saw many, many amazing works. I remember thinking I needed a week, if not more, to go through the whole museum! I like how you slip in that you’ll be adding a solo human workout to the FitDog routine, since Rocco isn’t much by way of a single arm weight. I always like to see “Dianne” slipping in to be seen on the blog now and then.

      I won’t likely frequent pet blogging conferences going forward, but it would be great to meet up at NMX in New York this summer. Think there’s a chance?

      • I think there would be lots to learn at a conference like that. I don’t see the New York conference listed though. When is it? Not sure I’ll make that one but I’m thinking I might attend the Haven Conference in Atlanta as an attendee (rather than with a sponsor) this year. Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

        • Maybe they haven’t announced yet having just come off the Vegas event on the 9th. I’ve been to Vegas (always in January) in 2010 and to NY in 2011 (always in summer). Tremendous event in terms of drinking knowledge from the fire hose. Haven’t heard of the Haven Conference. I’ll have to look it up!

          • Haven is a conference for DIY and home decor types of bloggers. It’s here in Atlanta and I’ve attended on behalf of my 3M client the past two years. I didn’t get a chance to attend many of the sessions, so I hope to do that this year. Tickets haven’t gone on sale yet, but they’ll go quickly — likely in a few days!

  21. very very clever!

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