Long, long, ago (2001) in a galaxy far, far, away (DiaryLand.com) I started journaling online. A little later I moved to LiveJournal (remember that one?) and somebody changed the name to “blogging” at some point and I eventually had a WordPress blog at ryansutter.net.
My online journaling began as a personal writing exercise but when I wound up leaving my religion and blogged furiously about it, it became something much more. My online journal became a source of inspiration and encouragement for people who were leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses. It became a source of conflict and anger for my Bible-believing family members. It became a source of controversy in my life and also a source of strength for me to cope with the stress of leaving a cult, losing my friends and family, and rebuilding my life. Eventually I didn’t want to write there anymore. Then I didn’t really want to write, period. I had gotten it out of my system. The thing was though, I felt like I had to decide if I wanted to become “somebody” in the atheism/freethought and post-Watchtower recovery communities and I couldn’t make the call. On the one hand, it was awesome to be able to help people and make new connections. I felt like I had done some good in the world. On the other hand, I didn’t think I could really move on with my life while continuing to write and talk about religious subjects. I did some TV appearances and radio appearances and gave a talk or two, I joined up with MN Atheists and Humanists of MN and Camp Quest and played in a UU church band for a bit and went to some XJW meetups but it just wasn’t my bliss. The blog kinda petered out. Then the rest of it. I took the whole thing offline after an argument with my brother Reed. I have posted a couple things since then, but mostly I’ve just not been sure what the point was.
This morning I remembered something. I didn’t start writing online to become an ex-JW blogger or some sort of public thinker. I started doing it because I wanted to document my life, because I liked writing, because I wanted to. That got lost in the whole “I write insightful screeds against the Watchtower cult” phase of my life. If I want to write, I can write about the smaller, humbler, realities of the life I have today. If I touch on religion or my past, so be it, but here’s the thing: I’ve moved on and that’s healthy and maybe, just maybe, I still like to write and I still want to document my life and thoughts.
So I’m gonna get back to it. No mission. Just writing.