wrapping it up

NaBloPoMo Day 29:
Tell us how you feel about endings.

Today is the last day of the BlogHer prompts, which were given Monday through Friday for each week of November. (I chose to keep writing right through the weekends on whatever topic struck my fancy.) But now the month is coming to an end.

For me, there are two kinds of endings. This represents the first category: something is ending, and I have completed the task. Frankly, this makes me ecstatic. I love to bring things to a close, to cross things off my list, to feel that I have been successful.

Unfortunately, those kinds of ending do not happen all that often. The other kind of ending – the one where I have failed – tends to pop up with depressing regularity. It may have happened for any number of reasons: forgetting, messing up, falling off the wagon, inability to stick to a routine, giving up. Regardless, that end comes with guilt, self-doubt, recriminations and a feeling of failure. It’s not a happy thing.

I’m proud of my daily blogging this month. There have been nights that I really just wanted to go to bed, nights where I struggled to get something up before midnight (and nights like last night where I failed to do so – but still posted!), times when I was pretty uninspired by the prompt of the day. But I did it, and I am glad I did. I like the rhythm of daily blogging and the momentum I have achieved. This ending is the kind I hope to see more and more of as time goes by.

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still releasing…

NaBloPoMo Day 28:
How do you feel about the first blog post you ever wrote?

The very first blog post I ever wrote was the introduction to the forerunner of this blog: Breathe. Release. Repeat.

It was July 26, 2011. I’d had a major relapse of what they’d thought was Transverse Myelitis but were now convinced was Multiple Sclerosis. I was pretty freaked out. I’d decided to try to change my life by letting go of anything that was no longer needed.

It occurred to me on the [massage] table this week that I am trying to dodge pain in more than just this one area of my life.  I have decided to make it my mission to breathe and release everything that has been holding me down:  Clutter.  Stress.  Perfectionism.  Worry about my health.  Excess body fat.  Unrealistic expectations.  It’s time to let it all go.

As I shed many things, my life changed. I sold off a ton of possessions (probably about a quarter to a third of everything we had); I took a leave of absence from work to live and travel in Europe with David and Quinland; I lost 30 pounds. I became cautiously optimistic about having MS; there is no way to know if and when it will strike me down, but I’ve kind of learned to roll with those times. On good weeks, I can truly forget that there are bad weeks.

Of course, in the two-and-a-half years since that first post, life has reared its head and wiped out a lot of my progress. I still have a terrible habit of buying books, and they are overflowing my bookshelves once again. I have really been stressed at work and it has had a big impact on my health. I’ve gained back 20 of the 30 pounds I lost.

But I have recommitted to my original goals. I want, more than anything, to keep in my life only that which supports me, so it’s good to look back on this first post and see where I started.


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to capitalize or not to capitalize

NaBloPoMo Day 18:
Tell us about a blog post that you didn’t publish.

March 28, 2013: “Title Capitalization Rules I Am Going to Follow”

Let me explain why I decided not to publish that post.

When I started this blog, I agonized over how to capitalize my post titles. Believe it or not, there are all sorts of variation in capitalization. You can use sentence case, where you just capitalize the first word and any proper nouns, just as you would in a sentence. Sentence case is apparently used in most countries, but not most of the United States.  Here, titles tend to be written in title case, where most of the “major” words in the title are capitalized.

Within title case, however, there are multiple styles one could follow, with varying ideas as to what comprises a “major” word. There’s APA Style, Chicago Manual of Style, the US Government Printing Office Style Manual… and each of them has different rules.

  • Don’t capitalize articles, coordinating conjunctions or prepositions!
  • Okay, you can capitalize them if they are the first or last words of the title!
  • Capitalize prepositions and conjunctions of more than four letters!
  • Capitalize subordinating conjunctions!
  • Capitalize all words in titles of publications and documents, except a, an, the, at, by, for, in, of, on, to, up, and, as, but, it, or, and nor!
  • (Don’t even get me started on the differences in capitalizing hyphenated words. Yikes!)

A blog detective would notice some crazily-inconsistent capitalization for the first two years of this blog as I hopped from one style to another in search of the one that seemed “right” to me. I had decided to remedy the problem and commit to a specific style guide going forward when I wrote the unpublished post. Then I decided to take a leaf from the book of one of my favorite bloggers, Shawni at 71 Toes. She doesn’t capitalize her titles, ever. How easy! I could definitely get on board with that. So when this blog was reimagined as Live*Grow*Love, that’s the way I went, and the whole capitalization post was never needed.

Edited to add: I do still capitalize proper nouns. I can’t get too crazy, you know.