Why blog?

So much has happened in the last few days I don’t know where to begin.

I am spectacularly late for my amazing friend Ann’s cake fest which is raising oodles of money for Syrian refugees. I should be driving. I am in my pyjamas, blogging.  She will understand. Also, cake fest will still be going when I get there. She makes a LOT of cake. Over the years she has raised thousands of pounds for Bliss and for the Riding for the Disabled charity and now refugees. She is a powerhouse.

Ann is someone I met through blogging and I still can’t resist calling her Mrs. Hairy Farmer Family, even though the blog is dormant at this point in time. She and I have become friends in real life, and through her I met Jess, who was also a blogger and now also a real life friend. Both are amazing, brilliant, clever, compassionate women who do enormous amounts of good things in life. I would never have met them if it weren’t for blogging, so absolute hats off to social media, despite what everyone else says.

That is by way of an introduction to a gorgeous piece of writing by Emma who blogs at Belgian Waffle, and who has written this astonishingly beautiful book, which you must all buy.  She too is a wonderful human being (she will say she is not. This is part of what makes her wonderful. Also owls, and krill, and small ponies make her wonderful). We have met a few times, and she is just as good in real life as she is in the virtual sphere. She appreciates cake like no other.

In this article for today’s The Pool, she writes about whether blogging is dead. The answer, in a nutshell, is not really. From my precis you can clearly see why she was commissioned to write it and not me. She does it much more elegantly than me. She also, I am profoundly grateful to mention, quotes me in it a bit. That is not why the article is good, by the way. It’s a great privilege to be in it, and it made me very nostalgic for the old days of blogging. If you’re an old school blogger you will love it. If you want to know what all the fuss was about in the beginning, reading it will give you a hint.

Yesterday I went to Media City (darling) in Salford where I was interviewed for the BBC radio 5 Live Daily show, hosted by Emma Barnett. You can catch up with the show here. I also got my gurning face on the BBC News website article, here. I’m at the bottom, where I belong. It’s the first half hour segment of the programme. Because of that I was also asked to take part in the BBC Radio London, drive time show talking about the same thing later that day.

I was part of a debate around the taboo on women’s periods and whether women should be allowed time off of work for menstrual problems. This too, came out of blogging, thanks to a post I wrote about the woman tennis player, Heather Watson, last year, which got picked up by Mumsnet, who I then wrote a follow up article for.

Because of the show, I met an amazing woman called Nancy (also in the BBC news article), and later on BBC Radio London, another fantastic woman called Claire, both of whom have suffered with terrible period problems and were happy to speak out. We are now in conversation about something we might be able to do to reach out to more women and spread the net a little wider.

It has been an incredibly rich and rewarding couple of days. This might sound like a bragging post, but really it’s not. I am incredibly privileged to have met all these women, and have them in my life. I am incredibly privileged to be able to use my voice to make small changes that might, one day, have a bigger effect than I ever dreamed.  All of this came through a small, unglamorous, personal blog I started ten years ago to stop myself going mental.

Over the years this blog has repaid me a thousand fold what I put into it, whether it be through opportunities or friendships or a platform to speak that reaches a wider audience. People still ask me why I blog.

This is why I blog.

And the not going mental thing.

14 responses to “Why blog?

  1. lovely blog, katy x

    My birthday tomorrow. I shall be 70. My avatar shows who I am on the inside 🙂

    Writing, blogging, reading, writing some more, keeps my inner weird very happy.

    Have a happy weekend.


  2. I get asked the same question … why? I’m going to use your Not Going Mental Thing, I think. There’s no answer to that and I quite like having the last word.

  3. Hi there, I saw the article on BBC and wanted to firstly thank you for talking about painful periods and managing work, and also to spread the word about Agnus Castus to women with PMT and painful periods. Until I read an article about this herb in 2008 all I wanted was a hysterectomy and an end to the pain. Since then I have been blogging about this herb and the difficulties of getting it at the right dosage since EU regulations in 2011. There is lots of info on my blog (and lots of comments from women who found it effective) and a tab at the top directing women to companies that sell it at the dosage research shows to be effective (I do not benefit in anyway from recommending these companies and have no relationship with any of them).

    Dr Nick Panay, Consultant Gynaecologist recommends this herb in his guidelines sent to all GPs as a treatment option – but as UK GPs can’t prescribe it, unfortunately most women don’t know about it, and if they do and buy from a high street store then they will believe it doesn’t work (rather than realising it is only a 1/5 of the dose needed to be effective).

    Link to my posts on Agnus Castus: https://julietocallaghan.wordpress.com/category/agnus-castus/

  4. My blog started as a diary of my trip to India. I had no idea that anyone outside my family would read it. I don’t have your media following, but I’ve met, virtually and in fact, followers from every continent. It’s been, and still is, wonderful. They say blogging is so yesterday, but it’s still suiting me just fine. I’m so glad to have found your blog too. Is this the only good consequence for me of Brexit?

  5. Hurrah for Not Going Mental, Cakes, and Finding Your Fabulous Kind On The Internets. I honestly and truly think I did most of my growing up in my thirties, online; there I met the women who inspired me and took my poor brain forward a bit. *waves at heros* My blog also, indeed, repaid me a thousand fold.

    (I forget entirely whether it was the blog or some Bliss connection that led me into talking about my boobs on the radio. But I am all for speaking out about Difficult Bits. I suffered with adenomyosis for years, with everyone telling me that period pain is NORMAL. Harrumph.)

    I am SO SORRY about the car, and the not-cake. And not realising that you were so close, and not stuck in Leicester. We would have Swooped on you like Valkyries, and swept you away to Cake Valhalla.

  6. I can appreciate that some women would like/need to have time off during their periods. I used to have the odd horrendous ‘first day’, complete with cramps, vomiting and needing to lie down. Fortunately I am now too old for such bloodletting!
    However looked at from an employer’s point of view – why would you want to employ a woman aged 18-55? If they weren’t going to be taking childbearing leave – and you’d have to keep their job open for them should they want to return; then they might be needing/wanting to take a day or more off every month.
    Yes, we women are different, and have different needs, from men; and vive la difference. But giving too much can merely render us less ’employable’.

    • I see what you’re saying. Mostly I don’t see the need for the majority of women to have specifically mandated time off for menstruation, and I say this as a woman whose menstrual migraines can make me go blind, so you know, no work for me. Generally it should be taken into regular sick leave, although there are some women who have such a horrendous time, so regularly that I feel given how little the medical profession actually step up to the plate over these things, that there needs to be something. The odd horrendous day can be dealt with regularly, but if you regularly have to change your clothes once an hour for the first two days, for example, and I know more than one woman who is or has been in this position, then it needs addressing sympathetically and practically as well as medically. Women make up 52% of the population and employers need to take their head out of their arses and deal with the fact that if women didn’t bleed 12 times a year and produce babies, we’d all be up shit creek.

  7. Hi Katy
    I meant to comment when I first saw the BBC article and realised it was you. However, I was reading the article whilst clutching a hot water bottle, wracked with period pain and was pretty much operating at half speed for about a week. I have endometriosis and have suffered with this on and off for over 20 years. Every time someone speaks up about horrific periods, I cheer- not due to the suffering, you understand but due to speaking out. I actually wrote Oona King a fan letter after her brave article in the Guardian last year about her own endometriosis (I didn’t send it though as my computer crashed….). I have, in my own small way, been trying to speak honestly about menstrual difficulties for years now. When I worked full time in an office (I work part time from home now), I was very vocal with my male bosses as they need to know the effect this has on some women.
    So, can I just say bravo to you, Nancy & Claire for shining a light on an issue which affects so many women. If I can do anything in some small way to help, please let me know. My day-job is as an employment lawyer, if that helps. Let me know and I’ll send my personal email address for you.
    Hope you’re not in pain today- I’ll send you a virtual hot water bottle if you are (mine is in the shape of Moomintroll which is cheering to say the least);
    All the best x

    • Ah, what a fantastic comment. I very much do want to get in touch with you. I have an idea for a project around this issue and Nancy and Claire are joining me with it. I’m doing some research at the moment, as well as attempting to finish the last throes of a different project. Once I’ve got all my ducks in a row I will be in touch. Thank you, and i’m sorry to hear you are still having a grim time of it. x

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