At 7:33am in Belgium, on March 21st in 2012, I started tweeting what ended up being my labor and delivery of my son Noah.
Since that epic day a lot has changed. I’ve changed. The “Davy” you see mentioned in the tweets above is Noah’s dad, but he’s no longer my husband anymore. I’m divorced.
If you’re one of the many tweeters who followed me and tweeted me that day, then you’ve probably changed a lot to. Maybe you’ve had children or grandchildren of your own, gotten married or finished school, or lost a job or I don’t know…
I do know for certain that more than a few people who tweeted me that day have passed away. They’re dead. But they were very much alive on March 21, 2012.
I share this because I want to acknowledge the many bonds I’ve forged through my blog, and through social media. Today is not only Noah’s birthday, but it’s also the first blog I’m publishing to re-launch my personal blog—a blog I first launched back in 2009.
I launched my first blog, http://junsongbb4.blogspot.com, on Blogger in 2009. (P.S.: I’ve taken down most of the posts, as a favor to the world.)
It was easy enough to set up and it cost me nothing.
I can’t recall if there was a mobile version of it but honestly, that wasn’t even on my radar at the time. I had no idea what I was doing.
Actually, I dared not call myself a blogger at the time, having only guest blogged for fun here and there. Referring to myself as a writer was out of the question. “Content marketing” wasn’t a buzzword yet, and it was just before “SEO” became a godly virtue, so I could hardly call myself a content marketer like I do today. At the time I was just a former banker.
I was just another girl who’d launched just another free blog
My first-ever blog post consisted of 1 copyright-infringed photoshopped picture and 39 cringey words against a black background and drab raindrop wallpaper.
To this day, this post has received 12 views in its whole history on the world wide web.
What a mess.
I knew I could do better.
I could go on and detail my trials and errors of personal blogging, and I will if some of you think it could help you in your blogging aspirations…but let’s fast forward to the year Noah was born 2012…
By the time Noah was born I’d moved off Blogger and joined WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, which I eventually migrated to as a part of my blogging journey). I started invested chunks of money into my blog, $20 here and $70 there.
But it paid off because I’d scored a regular (paid) blogging gig, which was great because I’d moved to Belgium the year before after marrying Noah’s dad.
With 3 official languages in Belgium—none of them being English— I’d taken Dutch language courses and searched for a job. I was naïve to think I’d land a job in some global bank based in Brussels. So when blogging panned out as a source of income, I felt relieved.
As my belly grew and my heartburn raged, I typed fast and furiously.
Meanwhile, the outpouring of love and support from my blogging community was unbelievable. It made up for all the ugliness that came with the territory (because it does get ugly when you share your life online).
I started to receive more and more emails and personal messages from well-wishers, supportive moms and grandmoms, and moms-to-be. The LGBTQ community came out loud and proud as internet aunties and uncles-to-be.
Some readers also shared their fertility struggles with me, and I became invested in their stories—in them.
People whom I’d never met also became invested in me and in the well-being of Noah. There was even an “online baby shower” and gifts were sent from people all over the world, in anticipation of his birth. You might be reading this thinking, that’s me!
Then it happened, 6 weeks early, Noah arrived.
Because of my association with Big Brother, and the fact that I won the show back in 2003, there was some media buzz when I moved to Belgium. There are stories in print and online, from the States and from Belgian press, of the great love story that brought together Noah’s dad and me.
Noah’s birth, my opening a Korean takeout restaurant in my little town of Evergem, and the subsequent closing of the restaurant so I could pursue writing again…it’s all out there if you really look for it.
I continued, and have always continued to share my life—sometimes just for shits and giggles and sometimes because I felt incredibly lonely. Sometimes I felt obligated because I thought it only fair that so many people had been there for me at the most unexpected times, showing me kindness online.
Much of the last couple of years have been painful for me but I’ve come across good people, and some really rotten ones too—people who have no clue as to my resilience.
While I freelanced, I monetized a port of my blog for my subscription-based creative non-fiction works. But then I landed what I thought was my dream job shortly thereafter, abandoning my personal writing altogether.
Losing quality time for my personal writing was a bad decision, following what seemed a string of bad decisions. This is where the “really rotten people” came in. So cutting out them and their toxicity out became a priority for me, both personally and professionally.
It led me to shut down my longstanding blog in December, 2018. I refunded thousands of dollars to faithful readers and subscribers that I’d failed to keep my commitment to.
So I’m starting from scratch again. I’m working in a healthier environment, 50% remotely so I can co-parent Noah every other week.
And I’m back to basics personal blogging, with more life lived to blog about.
But today, Noah turns 7.
And that’s all that matters, and I love myself more for loving him.
Happy Birthday my Noah.