by Kenneth Justice
~ “So what now?” asked my friend sitting with me at coffee the other day. We were talking about the fact that the upcoming New Year will mark the one year anniversary of my blog, “So where do you go with the blog from here?” he asked.
I hate New Year’s resolutions…..so last year in a moment of utter hypocrisy I made the resolution to start a blog….I was worn out from counseling, human service work and taking college classes; after seven straight years of a non-stop obsession with the field of psychology I was feeling burned out.
I had worked in so many different facets of human service yet at every turn I kept seeing so many problems and very few solutions;
—) massive amounts of people being given prescription drugs (70% of all Americans)
—) too many people struggling with depression and loneliness….and a medical community that has no answers
—) a total failure in the psychological community at combating chemical addiction dependency (no psychological theory or program is very effective)
I kept coming back to the same realization; the problem in Western Culture is not that we need a new psychological theory, better schooling or a new type of prescription drug. The problem in Western Culture…..is Western Culture itself.
So in January of 2013 I created a blog account…..but I didn’t know what to write about. For an entire month the blog sat vacant……
On February 1st, I finally came up with a simple outline for my blog;
—) Articles should be 900 words or less
—) Topics should relate to some element of Western Culture
—) I will be transparent but not personal (something I was taught by one of my professors)
—) I will precede each article with a photo I’ve taken (an article I wrote about blogging encouraged this)
When I finally began writing and publishing articles I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing. For the first few months I felt that the blog lacked coherency; everything was too disconnected and I spent countless hours trying to ‘find my voice’.
In February, my first full month of blogging, I had a whopping 620 total hits to my Website….March was a bit better at around 2000….but many of those people were friends of mine in real life who were kind enough to check out what I was doing. I was a bit discouraged. Had I really made the right decision to put aside my lifelong desire to earn a PhD in psychology for the whim of a blog that seemed to lack coherency and was barely noticeable in the world of the Internet?
Then in April I wrote a series of articles related to my frustrations with the way the subject of sexuality is treated in the Western World……I also wrote a couple articles about some of the difficulties I’ve been having with Western Christianity……….apparently people noticed the articles.
By August the blog was going pretty well but I was starting to feel a bit concerned. From the very beginning of the blog it was never my goal to write opinion articles as much as I merely wanted to share some of the things I think about….
—) things that I am wrestling with
—) issues that I haven’t made up my mind about
—) topics that perplex me
And in August I was concerned that the blog was moving in the wrong direction; I felt that I was walking along a slippery slope of becoming a blog where people came for ‘answers’……yet merely being in my thirties I didn’t want to presume that I have all the answers.
And then one day in late September I noticed that traffic to my blog increased whenever I wrote about the people I meet at coffee; the strangers, acquaintances, and friends who sit with me at coffee each day were apparently something that interested a great many people. This was quite shocking to me because I never knew or had any inkling that the random daily conversations I have; were something that people would want to read about.
By October I finally felt that my blog had become something…….it seemed like I finally knew who I was as a blogger; I’m that dude who writes about the people I meet at coffee. Am I proud of that distinction? I’m not really sure….but I’m okay with it……because finding out who we are can help give us a sense of meaning , identity…and purpose.
Most of all….I’m glad I found this direction for the blog because it allows my readers to supply the opinions. By merely conveying the conversations and topics I’m thinking about….the blog has become an opportunity for others to give the final word in the comment section. I’ve never thought I was the smartest person…..I’ve never thought I had all the answers….so I’m thankful that I have a little place in the world to share what I’ve experienced.
“So Kenneth, what are you going to do with the blog in 2014?” my friend at the café kept asking me
“Well actually” I said, “I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this and I really want to do something a bit different. I want to do something that only a few bloggers out there have ever done or have ever even considered doing…..so that’s why in 2014 I’m going to…..” but at that point a stranger asked if he could sit down at our table and I didn’t get to finish what I was saying…….fortunately, we had a really nice conversation with the guy. Turns out he used to be part of a hardcore religious cult and a few years ago finally found the courage to leave. It’s a really good story and perhaps I will write about it some day.
For now, I think I will have another cup of coffee
BTW) If you got a few minutes to spare on New Years Day swing by www.culturemonk.com for my big announcement.