How Blogging Saved My Life (More on the Courage to Blog About Love in China)

IMG_20160423_160739A year ago, I shared with you my own struggles with personal blogging (including how I quit and later re-launched my blog Speaking of China) in a post titled The Courage to Blog Personally About Love, Family and Marriage in China.

What I never revealed to you in that post, however, was that I faced an even greater struggle at the time. A struggle that threatened to shut down my blog.

My husband Jun and I were preparing to file a lawsuit in US Federal Court against Idaho State University, who had ruined Jun’s 5 years of education and denied him the PhD he rightfully earned.

It was (and still is) the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced in our lives. Yet at the time, I couldn’t share anything about it with you (we were advised not to talk or write about it by Jun’s lawyer).

At the time I wrote that post last year, I had to pretend – just as I had since May 2013 – that there was nothing hugely different about my life. That I was more or less the same Jocelyn who had been blogging about love, family and marriage in China since 2009.

It felt horrible. It was the equivalent of getting saddled with a couple of twenty-pound weights and being told, Walk on just like you normally would.

How could I move on like before with this heaviness in my heart and soul? The heaviness that comes from having your life ripped apart by injustice, but being forced into silence?

I’ve never liked staying silent on the really important things in life. In a perfect world, I’d rather be exactly as I am in every space I inhabit – the real world around me, and the virtual world of blogging.

Besides, blogging helped me discover friends, supporters, and a sense of community. With a lawsuit in preparation – a lawsuit I could never share publicly – I suddenly felt exiled from everything I had built up over the years.

How could I continue writing about love in these circumstances? Some days, I felt as if hate, and not love, was the overriding emotion in my life. It was hard to find the love and beauty in a world that seemed content to arbitrarily shatter all of our dreams and hard work with the destructive force of a wrecking ball.

Sometimes, in the worst moments, I thought about quitting the blog.

So why didn’t I? Why am I still here, writing to you? How did I find the courage to continue?

I have a theory about going through life-changing (or life-threatening) catastrophes – a theory that goes behind the old adage, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

I believe that when things fall apart, if we manage to survive the wreckage, we hold the most valuable things in our lives even closer to us. We learn to cherish the people or moments or experiences that bring us love, or show us beauty, or give us a sense of purpose.

What I realized is this: my blog was an important part of my sense of purpose in life. I had invested so much of myself into it and I still had a lot to say. My blog was like a compass, guiding me through the rough oceans of the world, and I intuitively knew I couldn’t afford to lose it.

At another level, I also understood something incredibly important — that blogging could probably save my life.

In the wake of the wrongdoing by Idaho State University in 2013, I actually had some suicidal thoughts, for the first time in my life. I had never suffered such overwhelming pain. So yes, there was a fleeting moment in 2013 when I wondered if I might be better off ending it all.

Now, initially, my husband and the support of my family helped extinguish those thoughts. But as I learned to cope with the new reality, I also found great solace in having my blog.

It was a blessing to have a schedule, to feature authors and guest posters. To have this part of my life that looked and felt normal (well, as “normal” as things can be in our circumstances). To continue to write, just as I always have.

This experience has healed me. It helped me move forward during the worst of it all. And even now, it continues to heal the deepest wounds in my heart.

My husband’s lawsuit continues – and I continue my efforts to seek support and guidance during this very difficult time for us. I believe in #JusticeForJun.

But I also believe in this blog. I believe in the power of sharing experiences with the world and connecting with others. And I thank you for making it all possible.


My husband Jun Yu is fighting against injustice in higher education. ISU ruined his 5 yrs of education & future, and denied him the PhD he rightfully earned. Learn more and support his cause at Generosity.com. #JusticeForJun

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12 thoughts on “How Blogging Saved My Life (More on the Courage to Blog About Love in China)

  • June 8, 2016 at 1:35 am
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    First, I’m really glad you didn’t give up blogging, for my own selfish reasons. Even if I found you a little too late!

    Second, I’m really proud of you for not giving up on your husband, your dreams, and your own life. Yay, Jocelyn! You are a fighter! Don’t give up! Never surrender!

    Third, depression is understandable. It’s really difficult to focus on the positive things in your life when your dreams are crushed. When I have to cope with losing a job, having my work rejected, losing a parent, etc., I can make jokes — some of the VERY BLACK — and haul myself back out of the hole. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

    But when it’s a family member, close friend or partner? I think sometimes it’s worse to be the bystander when your loved one’s dreams are crushed. There’s such a sense of helplessness. You don’t know what to do or say. And sometimes what I would need isn’t what the other person needs. And sometimes that other person is a gaping maw of need, and that’s exhausting, too.

    I’m glad you guys made it. Well done.

    Reply
    • June 8, 2016 at 11:10 am
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      Thank you for your kind and supportive comment, Autumn! I just want to reach out and hug you from my computer!

      It’s so true that it can be much worse to be the bystander. Although honestly, between the two of us my husband is just indefatigable. He’s a shining beacon of optimism, positive energy and determination. He’s like my sun, the energy that powers me forward.

      BTW, I am in awe that you can use humor to haul yourself out of the hole. That’s impressive. I wish I had that talent!

      Reply
      • June 8, 2016 at 10:10 pm
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        Well, some people don’t appreciate the dark humor, because they feel you might be trying to minimize their pain, which is a legitimate complaint. But for me, as long as I can crack a joke, I feel like I can survive. 🙂

        I hug you back, and Jun, too.

        Reply
  • June 8, 2016 at 1:52 pm
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    It takes great courage to admit a weakness or experiencing a difficult time in your life, and even greater courage to be open about it online, where you can expose yourself to trolls and key-board warriors who in themselves probably weak and inadequate in real life.

    Unfortunately admitting to depression (a perfectly normal response to circumstances and may not last a long time), especially in China, is a very large step because it is misunderstood and still very much stigmatised. Whereas depression is something most people will experience at some point in their life so recognising it for what it is and responding with understanding and support is essential.

    Your honesty should give people the courage to confide and trust in family and friends to help, even if it is to be silent and listen by way of support. I think we have all witnessed the amount of goodwill that genuine people have to help and support. But I also think we should all take a look at ourselves, as I have reading your blogs, and ask how much support we give those closest to ourselves and how much our daily ‘judgements’ can impact on them.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2016 at 10:12 pm
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      Thank you for being so supportive, Sorrel! I also love your last sentence — “But I also think we should all take a look at ourselves, as I have reading your blogs, and ask how much support we give those closest to ourselves and how much our daily ‘judgements’ can impact on them.” So true.

      Reply
  • June 10, 2016 at 7:17 am
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    I have been reading all your posts about this awful situation you and Jun are in very closely. While I have not had a similar experience I know what it is like to not be able to talk about something that’s really impacting on your life and to have to try and be ok when you aren’t ok. I really hope you can beat this.

    Reply
  • June 12, 2016 at 10:33 am
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    I’m glad you’re able to talk about it more openly now and don’t have to pretend like nothing serious is going on in your life. It must have been really hard to keep all this information to yourself all these years. I’m also glad you didn’t end it all and found the courage to keep on blogging. Sending you hugs!

    Reply
  • June 12, 2016 at 6:17 pm
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    I don’t know if there is such thing as what goes around, comes around. Perhaps!

    While my challenges did not carry on for as long as yours (except for a few personal stuff, many moons ago), both Jun and you have had been so brave and supportive of each other.

    Wishing both Jun and you the very best in the law suit. I hope Jun will be warded accordingly ie the PHD and compensation claims.

    Reply

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