A 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