Canada's Pride: The Best Bar(n) None
This week's interview is with Aims,
who writes the blog Big Blue Barn West.
Okay, Aims, so I'm still gasping for air after fits of laughter brought on by seeing a) your wig and b) your choice of reading material as well as c) the fact that you have echoed one of the themes of the novel by holding a cup of tea. Now that I'm starting to breathe again, here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?
Many times I’ve wondered the same thing David – so I’ve thought a lot about this. I blog because it gives me someplace to tell my story as a "published" version has so far eluded me. Telling my story gives me a chance to tell abused people that they aren’t the only ones out there and that it’s okay to talk about it. The header at the top of my blog reads: When I was growing up my parents told me that they beat me because they loved me. This is a true story about a life of abuse – both physical and mental – and my long journey to find ‘true love’.
I have been telling ‘The Man Tales’ – taking people from my childhood where I was abused into a six-year relationship where I was beaten every single day for ‘the fun of it’. I have tried to show that parental abuse often leads to a person seeking out an abusive relationship as they think that is love. I am slowly making my way through my story where I eventually do find true love in a relationship that doesn’t involve beatings.
It also gives me a chance to talk about suicide and depression. Having spent time on a psych ward as a patient – I feel that with blogging I can show people that I’m not only a real person, but one who has disappeared into that hell and come back out the other side a better person. When I finally started to get better from my mental breakdown I swore that I would always try and help others who have been through or suffer from these issues.
From the inside of a psych ward where I was on 24-hr suicide watch – I could see how easy it was to fall through the cracks and end up alone on the street or in a relationship where abuse happens. I could see the stigma that is attached to mental illness and abuse. I wanted to make my own small dent in that stigma and blogging gives me the opportunity to do so. If I can help one single person with my experiences then I am happy.
What's the story behind your blog name?
Almost 15 years ago I went out on a limb and bought a rundown big blue barn. It had sat empty for 4 years before I bought it and I’ve spent all these years renovating it. It’s very important to me because of the amount of effort I’ve spent doing the renovations myself with the help of my brother and nephew and The Man. It is part of the original farm that the town where I live was built around.
Eventually everything I did used the words ‘big blue barn’. When The Man and I were setting up my blog and he asked me what I wanted to call it – Big Blue Barn was the first thing I thought of and of course we added ‘West’ because we live in the west of Canada.
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
Of course the best thing is the blogging community. I’ve met so many people in blogland and have developed some very lovely friendships because of it. I also enjoy watching bloggers evolve from newbies into people who want to show you more of themselves as time goes on. Watching the first few tentative steps blossom into the person behind the blog is exciting. Just being able to reach out and touch these people with a comment is very satisfying as well and to have others reach back makes my heart swell.
What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?
The key advice I would give is to just be yourself and to write from your heart – not for others but for yourself. I’d also say be true to your blog. Go with how you want to be seen and stick to it. Even though we are all multi-faceted people – when we sit down to write we usually have a consistent form. Stick with that.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?
Like nearly all of the people who have been asked this question I have to say that I too have read so many significant posts that it is hard to pick just one. However…
In 2008 I was nominated for The Best of Blogs and fell into the category ‘Best Inspirational Blog’. During that competition a blogger I read was nominated for Best Mommy Blog. The competition was fast and furious and we were all trying to run campaigns for votes. One day Caroline at Laughing Along In The Dark posted that she wanted anyone who was voting for her to throw all of their votes to Punk Rock Mommy who had cancer. (The post was called Punk Rock Mommy Rocks.) She wanted Punk Rock Mommy to win Best Mommy Blog because of the lift it would give her as she fought this insidious disease (a fight she lost). I was inspired by Caroline’s unselfish attitude and by Punk Rock Mommy’s raw and vibrant words on how to live a life. The unselfish hearts of these two women – joined by blogging – shed another ray of light on my own journey. They made the mountain not so high and the path not so steep. The significance of what they both did has stuck with me ever since.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?
This of course was a tough one David because I’ve written about abuse, mental illness and grief. All subjects I have plenty of personal experience with. However – I have to go with my post entitled Let's Talk About Depression And Suicide. This post gave me the opportunity to tell people what they could do for someone who was depressed or suicidal. It is often a very taboo subject and this post gave me the chance to bring it out in the open and to help inform people what it is about (for some) and how they could possibly help. It also showed that people can fall back time and again into a depression and are never completely cured. You never know what is behind a smiling face and you shouldn’t let someone push away your efforts to help them. You have to keep trying or quite possibly lose them forever.
You saw this post, David, and made it Post Of The Day. I was very grateful for that and for this as it gives me the chance to reach some who might never read my blog and who I might be able to help or inspire in some small way. Thank you, David.
Today's Sunday Roast with Aims is the 74rd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.