The Bikram yoga blogging community these days.
Actually, let’s consider the blogging community in general.
Well, okay, let’s consider my blogging community in general. Because I have something to say.
I first started reading blogs back in 2005 when I still lived down in Washington, D.C. It all began with the bloggers DC Cookie, KathrynOn, and DC Bachelor. They were wild! Crazy! Hilarious! They (along with a handful of others) initiated the original blogger happy hours that I was too scared to attend, and then started posting pictures of themselves out and about, and then started being quoted in the Express and online. I was absolutely fascinated with these people who splashed their lives all across the screen for me to read each morning. Boyfriends, bad dates, heartbreak, fights, sweetness, sadness, singlehood in D.C., debauchery and drunken dancing and drugs—it was all there, all for the reading. Until, of course, they all started shutting down, one by one.
One of those original, inner circle D.C. blog that I loved the most, Namaste, Full of Grace, just ended recently, too. She was the first blog that I read that incorporated ruminations on her yoga practice.
At some point, I started following two other D.C. bloggers, KassyK and Culinary Couture (now Lemmonex, now no longer, sigh), who then led me to Live It, Love It, who then led me to Restaurant Refugee, a Jersey kid, Marie’s Cafe, SoMi Speaks, View from the Shoebox, and Just a ‘Titch…and on!
I’d list them all, if I could, but that’s “The Friends” page’s job. Check it out.
My point is that what began as just a daily indulgence in reading about the funny, twisted, and poignant perspectives of a few strangers I’d never met—nor would ever meet—turned into this: my own blog, my own network of blogger buddies, my first few blogger events, my first handful of “in real life” blogger friends, my very own collection of incredibly witty and well-written daily reads. And, of course, the Bikram blogging community.
How it all changes and spreads, like a water stain seeping across paper, like river tributaries fingering through the land, like roots, reaching far, far out and deep, deep down.
I admit, some days, I’m overwhelmed by it all.
Because I can’t write here every morning. Because I can’t get to each blog, I can’t write every comment, I don’t have time to dig through the archives so as to gain some sense of the author, the person, the yogi. I can’t link to every page I find and like, nor can I understand every single post. I can’t always agree; and I can’t always find the energy or affection to care enough to disagree.
And I question—a lot.
Am I a D.C. blogger at heart, because that’s where I began, because I still check DC Blogs every day? Or am I a Boston blogger, because of my address and my unwavering adoration of this city? With one leg, I have a strong foothold in Washingon, D.C., and with the other, I have the foothold I am trying to gain here in Boston. Where do I really sit? I’ve met many bloggers here in Boston, and a few I’m now lucky enough to call real friends. But most of the bloggers who I’ve read the longest, who I hold the most affection for, who I’m friends with on Facebook and e-mail with regularly, who I’m absolutely dying to meet and hug and squeeze, are the men and women living down in the District.
I wonder if I’m blogging about yoga and just trying to slip a little life in when I can. Or am I trying to understand my life through my yoga? Can I expand my content beyond the hot room? Some days, I even wonder who “Hannah,” as you’ve learned her to be, really is—my creation or yours?
What are we all doing here in the first place?
Which leads me back to the Bikram blogging community.
Since the Bikram 101 challenge began, I’ve seen a drastic uptick in my blog traffic, and I’ve received wonderfully sweet e-mails and thoughtful comments from new Bikram bloggers and yogis all over the world. Many began blogs to track their progress through the 101 days, and others are simply commenting about their challenge experience. Either way, their enthusiasm for the blogging community and for the yoga is sweet and energizing—I can literally feel the excitement radiating off their colorful pages and words.
Their young, fresh prespective stands out to me—and I feel a little old-fashioned, or jaded, or that I’ve just been around for awhile in comparison. It hit me that it’s been two long years since I began this blog. February 3, 2008 to be exact.
Then, I had no readers. (Well, other than my mother and father—I think.) No commenters. No community. I couldn’t even find any other Bikram blogs out there at the time. I had no ”Daily Reads” or “Friends” page. It wasn’t until Michelle, Juliana, Duffy, and Dorothy found me, well into 2009, that I started feeling as though I had some consistent readers, a promise of a daily exchange and dialogue. My blog posts were/are always for me, of course, but suddenly, an audience existed! An audience who cared! Readers who wrote back!
And thus, like my yoga, like this life, my blog evolved.
A place that makes perfect sense some days and absolutely no sense other days. A place that drains me as much as it fills me. A place for creativity and questions and humor and grace and grievances. A place for total anonymity and total exposure. A place I can’t wait to revisit. Through writing here, I understand my self or I escape my self. I pretend; I play—and you don’t always know the difference. I tell him what I always wanted to say, and, in my mind, he hears me. I strip down, and I hurt, and I cry, and no one has to see me do any of that “in real life.”
This place is safe. It is all my own.
A few months ago, I debated shutting this blog down. It felt stale and contrived and overdone, like I’d said all I could say. And maybe I had, in that moment.
But, if I’ve learned anything from my two years of blogging, and my nearly four years of Bikram yoga, and the whole span of my soon-to-be-ending 20s, it is this:
The highs and lows are to be expected, embraced even, because the collapse is as inevitable as the ascent. And you can never predict either. You can also never love one thing all the way all the time. Nothing, no one, no space, no blog, no practice can be perfect and right and clean and feel-good and kind every single day, upon every single visit. That is just not life.
And so what do you do?
I find the light in the cracks; and I open the door when I find the knob. I invite the ghosts and the shadows and the sinking sadness in along with the laughter and the love and the joy. I pull up extra chairs. I try to look my demons and my dreams in the eye. And we practice my yoga, together. At times, all this is savage, brutal; I crawl on bloody knees. Other times, it’s euphoric. Mostly, it is somewhere in between.
And still, always, I write.
The curious, searching, naive yogi in me wandered in here and began this blog.
And you—two years later, you keep refilling a basket of hearty provisions, and leaving it doorside, with fresh bouquets tied in ribbon, delighting and nourishing and sustaining the writer sitting within.