A Bloggers Road to Self- Discovery and Personal Empowerment
By Deborah Barnes
For as long as I can remember, there have been three constants in my life – my love of cats, books, and writing. Had you told me years ago, that one day all of these passions would come full circle and I would be an award winning blogger, self-published author, and renowned cat advocate, I would not have believed you, let alone known what a blog was or that it would become an integral part of my life.
My life was like many lives. I had dreams, but the reality of raising children and working to pay the bills as a single Mom pretty much put everything on the backburner and life was a day to day event to get by as best as possible. A blur of time later, my kids were grown up and I was a 48 year old woman with a job that I had no real passion for and I began to wonder what my purpose in life was and I felt something was missing, but I just did not know what it was.
As happens, fate intervened in the form of two major events – one of my cats had an unplanned litter of kittens and two months later I was unexpectedly laid off. I did not yet understand the connection of these two events, but it seemed the answer to my elusive search for my greater purpose was closer to my reach than I had realized.
Prior to the layoff, I had been sending out a weekly series of emails about the kittens to various people documenting their growth process with a humorous narrative along with pictures taken by my fiancé. These emails were sent out every week and soon became a sensation, with many recipients suggesting I write a book. I was honored by the compliments, but I had no plans of following through on it.
After the layoff, I decided I should write that book about my cats, but emotionally I was a wreck. I had bills to pay, my bank account was dwindling and I was close to losing my house. As the days turned to months with no sign of employment in sight, I fell into a deep state of depression. I now had the time to write a book, but emotionally I was not capable. Getting through the endless day was my main goal and being that I couldn’t even muster the energy to smile, writing a sweet story filled with adorable kittens and humorous antidotes was a task too large for me to tackle. As it turns out, my felines were far wiser than me and were about to teach me some invaluable life lessons.
It was through them that I began to see life through their minds eye and my mental healing began. Cats live in the moment. They do not dwell on circumstances and as long as they are loved, fed, have clean litter and a lap to nap on, then life is good. They always seem to find a silver-lining moment in everything they encounter and it was then that I realized I had a story to tell and an inspiring message to teach and that is how the book, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary was born.
As a result of self-publishing the book, I realized I needed a blog to create some publicity and it all started innocently enough. I barely had any followers but since I naively thought I was going to become a best-selling author, I was not concerned. Well, no surprise, even though the book is a 5 star rated story, the reality is, I have not become rich or famous. But, what I have become is far more invaluable and it was nothing I planned or expected and it was a direct result of blogging.
Zee and Zoey’s Chronicle Connection started out with an audience of crickets and was merely a vehicle to talk about my cats. Trying to market the blog to a larger audience, I found myself immersed in a circle of cat loving peers and I soon came to realize through them, that much of my understanding of cats was fraught with misconceptions, especially when it came to the subject of spay/neuter and cat overpopulation and I was shocked by what I was learning – the numbers were staggering – even one homeless cat is one too many in my opinion, but millions is inexcusable and I became consumed with educating myself about cat overpopulation.
I could not comprehend how a country as well off as ours could be responsible for such alarming figures, let alone that we were euthanizing millions of cats as a means to controlling the population. I came to the simple conclusion that if me, someone who is relatively well educated and has had cats her whole life, did not know all the facts about conception, then how could the mainstream public possibly fare any better? I quickly realized two very important points – that you can never assume that everyone knows what you think is an obvious fact, and that change cannot occur if you leave the problems of the world for someone else to solve. You must become invested, however small or large the effort, in what you want to change.
And that is what it is all about for me. I have power in my words and my voice and I have found that blogging has given me the platform to inspire others and create change because I write from experience, I write with honesty, and I respect that people all have their own unique shoes to wear and that being judgmental does not allow positive change to occur. It gives me incredible joy to know that I am making a difference in this world and that I have found my true calling. I am now part of a non-profit group called Pawsitively Humane, Inc. of Miami Florida and it is my goal to continue educating on the great need for spay/neuter through blogging and other avenues.
My sincerest thanks to Wendy McCance for hosting the Top 7 Blogs That Inspire Contest on her blog and for the support of my readers who continue to inspire me each and every day to be the best person I possibly can.
Deborah Barnes currently resides in Florida and is the author of the book, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary, that was inspired by the relationship she shared with her family of seven cats and lessons learned from them after a life changing event in 2009. She is also the creator of the award winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection, that not only continues to follow the everyday journey she shares with her cats, but covers topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on pet responsibility. She is also very happy to welcome her newest family member, a rescue mix she named Kizmet, bringing her feline family to a total of eight!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcwFvrsXWSU (Book Trailer)
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