i don’t know what i’m doing here anymore.
i’m sorry. this is just one of those posts bloggers churn out about their Purpose and i know it’s boring for you, because it’s always boring for me when others do it, and i truly apologize for putting you through boredom. that said, i kind of feel like i have to put this on the table.
i used to write in a vacuum. i used to write emotional diatribes, drawn from my depths, about the most personal things that i went through, and i dropped them into the void of the internet. they still exist here, because i haven’t made time to clear them out. i’m ashamed of them now, in a way – although i put enough veils over my words for them not to reveal actual events and people, unless you know me well, it is just – it’s so much of me. it is my squishiest, wriggliest parts and it exists for the public. that said, despite my shame, i recognize that a small percentage of them are also excellent writing, and i want that to remain. i’m proud of it too, in a way. it’s a confusing thing.
i’m not in a vacuum anymore. i have people i met here that i am now friends with, in the “hey, let’s grab a cup of coffee” way. i have friends i made in the physical world that read these words and i WORRY, i worry so hard of what everyone thinks of me. i worry what strangers who come up on this space think of me, when they are used to seeing twenty something blogs that are full of sparkliness and polka dots. i’m building a career and i know i am not the sanest person out there and i wonder, because my thoughts and feelings are raw and do not fit into a sparkly mold, i wonder how clients and employers might see me. i wonder what i am losing, with this space. i wonder if i am brave enough, to deal with the notion of being seen. the blogging world is not what it used to be – it’s not kids on livejournal and xanga spitting out their feelings anymore, it’s chefs and bakers and fashionistas and mommies and marketers and niches, but very rarely is it just people. at the end of the day, i’m just a person.
there are a few obvious answers. to close up shop completely, which i’ve tossed around, but it doesn’t quite feel right. the other option is to close up shop in a different way, and hide the raw parts. which is problematic because, in my opinion, i would also be hiding the real parts, and i place value on the concept of being genuine, of being transparent, of telling the truth without the varnish. and i guess the best of us strike a careful balance where you only expose them at the right moments, where most of the time you are shiny and positive and at just the right moments you let your guard down and tell the truth to create a sense of relation with your audience. but let’s be real, i am pure shit at that. i don’t know the right moments for anything and i have a terrible sense of balance. so i could write about the things i do and the trips i take and the recipes i bake. i could do that and i wouldn’t feel as though i were actually showing you anything. it wouldn’t really feel like me. and i guess the third option is to man up and do what i want and say fuck repercussions. i’ve been cautioned against this by people older and wiser than i, and i am scared. i am just well and truly scared.
so this is a large part of the reason why i have been so quiet. i don’t know what i’m doing here, and i don’t know where i belong. writing online was once my refuge, and i can’t begin to explain to you the ways it saved me. i’ve tried to journal, and it’s never given me the same sense of relief that writing for an audience, even an invisible one, has. i like sharing my world, but i don’t know how much of it to share. the friendships i’ve made across these wires are the kind that i would bleed for, the kind i cry for because i cannot fathom how deeply i’ve been blessed. the whole idea of writing a blog, of a sense of community, it matters to me deeply. but i don’t know what i have to bring to the table anymore.
6 thoughts on “smoke and bone.”
I think you bring to the table whatever you can. Whatever you have. Sometimes that’s joy, sometimes that’s happiness. I think blogging, especially the kind of personal blogging we do, is less about x or y content, and more about showing up. It’s about sharing, and being honest. I’ve seen more than a few bloggers seem to fall prey to this idea that they can’t be genuine. That they have to be super happy and awesome all the time and it just feels so fake to me. This whole thing is about connecting, is about making those friendships you’d bleed for.
And yes, there are professional worries. But I think you cover yourself well enough (this blog doesn’t come up when you Google your full name, though oddly an “RIP ______” Facebook group does) and even if a client did find it, I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with having a personal blog. I’d like to think no one would judge you on the content here, but could be I’m being naive there.
I’ve enjoyed what you’ve posted lately. And I like hearing more from you in general anyway. So I say keep writing, and write whatever makes sense to you, even if it’s not all perfectly on brand. 😉
Blogging is very muck like a twelve step program. You share your turmoil and pain in hopes of organizing and understanding so you can deal with it A therapist (good one) or confessor works the same way. They are ALL sworn to privacy however and your blog is open. This can affect your job, credit rating, promotions , future relationships.
Writing done well transfers all those emotions and behavior to characters in a way that reaches to the universality and timeless ness of those behaviors. Think Don Quixote. They blamed his crazy antics on reading too many books. DVDs or video games today? Romeo and Juliet to west side story to??? We still can’t get it together. (Someone want to do a gay take on R&j) Aristotle wrote on nature vrs nature and Criminal Minds still hasn’t covered it. Who knows what Stven King would do without writing. And no it is not fake to use characters. Read Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello who shows that who you are is who you think you are. Others may see another you which you may or may not accept. The judgement of another says more about the one doing the judgement than that which he is judging. I forget where I read that.
I could talk about this forever. I really could. I eat it up when people talk about it too (a recent link: http://traceyclark.com/blog/2013/09/15/things-are-getting-real-with-reality-reframed.html though she is specifically dealing with imagery which takes the “shiny” description to a whole new level).
I know this much: What you write here, both now and in the past, works for me as a reader and I don’t find it inappropriate for someone building a career. I also know I am never going to blog in public the way I did my first years doing so, when the internet was wilder and more anonymous. Part of this is because I am no longer in my 20s and part of it is because I was in a different place then; things were more uncertain and every time I wrote a post I was trying to pin down something. Most of those pins are still in place and there is less for me to dissect. And I no longer feel like giving my unvarnished truth to so many people who haven’t earned it.
In the past year or so I have seen calls for less polished perfection in social media, for people to show their mess. And I like this, in a way, but I think it applies more to people who are trying to sell floor wax on their blogs than people who are writing personal blogs. I don’t think you’ve been inappropriate here. On the contrary, I think you have been very human, that you have made it plausible that someone who is often thisclose to a loud, raucous laugh slowdances with her dark side like Sarah and Jareth.
(music break for slow dance because of course)
As for what you bring to the table: I can only speak for myself but I am richer for what you write here.
some bits that resonate. the pinning down of things. this is a thing i feel a lot – that…i end up trotting out the same shit again and again? and it’s boring?
i tire of it, even when i’m writing it, and i don’t want to share it so much. how many trite twenty something realizations can a person have?
AND ALSO the bit about giving the unvarnished truth to those who do not deserve it. one thing i have mastered well on my trip from early 20s person to late 20s person is the art of privacy. because god, the oozing wound i was for so long, it was unbecoming. i am not hating on past me, i understand why she was that way and i do not fault her because she was traumatized by a few things, but. but. i think it correlates with my shift to introversion – not that it wasn’t always in me, but it is flowering now. and so is my sense of privacy.
and another bit – with the raucous laugh and the slowdancing – i think i have shocked people, that they meet me and expect me to be a trembly, wrist slitty little emo thing and i am not and i don’t think they know what to make of me. and because i am me, i do not take this as a positive “a-ha, i am multifaceted” thing, i take it as a negative “i am wrong somehow” thing. so there’s that, and that always makes me nervous and uncomfortable.
file under: the never ending conversation between K and D on the Grand Purpose of Blogging.
THAT IS A VERY IMPORTANT NEVERENDING CONVERSATION.
So important that I hit save before I was done neverendinging.
You are supposed to have twenty-something observations; I don’t think yours are all that trite, either. You put effort into describing them and you do take them closer to the bone instead of glopping another layer of shine on them. I respect this, though for sure I can see why you get tired of restating them when you feel like you’ve already written the post that says what you wanted months (or worse years) ago. I don’t have a solution for this or else I’d have written much more this year myself.
I think one of the side effects of writing online for so many years is a soul-deep exhaustion from having written and read the same things so many times for ten years in a row. I mean, people will always show you new and fancy ways to be crazy, but when it comes to sadness, or awareness, or love… well, there comes a point where I think I have read this already, and said it, and oh these pixels have given their lives in vain. But, you know, whatever–I am not giving out blog licenses and taking them away from people who bore me, and good thing too, because there are a dozen people out there who’d say my own should be taken away for crimes against interestingness.
Anyway, our tastes are skewed from the mainstream because we have been doing this so long and have been so many versions of ourselves while doing so. And no, of course you are not wrong somehow just because you don’t make the kind of sense that some people expect you to. You did not come in a kit with all your pieces in a plastic bag to be put together in order and then decorated with fucking decals. And that is what shows when you write. I selfishly hope you will keep doing it because I love reading what you have to say, but if you shut it tomorrow I would still be eternally grateful because I would not have you in my life if you hadn’t done it.