I started my blog partly out of curiosity, partly out of vanity. I had been reading a few blogs – the regular ones, the popular ones – and thought that I just might be able to do it too. Cautiously, gingerly, I started looking at free platforms, and then, still carefully, creating the basic outline, picking a name (which I was sure to change, and did change, to something that should or could or will change again, if ever I find out exactly Who I Am.)
And then it was time for the first post. I don’t know what I was expecting. Fanfare? Instant recognition? Dozens of comments requiring moderation?
Instead, there was silence.
I told myself it didn’t matter. I was doing this for me. I didn’t want fame; I just wanted a place where I could put my thoughts on paper (so to speak), to record my life, or at least the parts of it that I might want to remember, or maybe share one day.
During those early days, looking up tutorials on the web, I stumbled across an article entitled something like, “Why not to Blog”. It was utterly depressing, actually, claiming that all bloggers are essentially attention whores, who pretend they have something to offer to the interwebs, but who really just want to be heard. The author of the article said that the only people who would ever read most blogs were the friends and relatives of the blogger, and they would only do it to keep up on the family dirt.
He was harsh, but I think he was also right, to a large extent. There are too many blogs in the world. You start looking at one and then you are hyperlinked to another and another and just one more and I really should get supper going but I just want to check this one thing…
Despite that (or maybe in spite of that anonymous author), I rolled up my jeans, peeled off my socks, and tiptoed into the shallow end.
It was hard, from the very beginning. Hard to bare myself; hard to know how much to share. Anonymity buys freedom, but the cost is loneliness. I blogged privately, secretly, and yet I was still afraid to be completely honest. A few kind people found me, and even though they will never know me in real life, I felt myself starting to self-censor, starting to try to write for someone, instead of writing for myself.
In the months of silence since my last post, I have thought about coming back many times. I miss writing. I miss looking back on the stories I’ve already written. I don’t, however, miss the stress: stress of trying to write when nobody is watching, of worrying about how long its been since my last post, of needing to make the words perfect before I can click the Publish button.
If I am going to do this, the ground-rules have to change. Gee has to know about it; my friends need to be invited here. They all have to understand that I might say some things here that could hurt, or embarass (though mostly only myself). But mainly, I have to give myself permission to be authentic. To be unfunny and non-eloquent. Loathe though I may be to admit it, I am NOT Jane Austen or e.e. cummings. Nor Tanis Miller nor Alice Bradley.
Instead I am a mother, wife, public servant, and a woman who loves words. If I’m going to do this, if I’m going to come back, that needs to be enough. I wonder if it is.