So, I was reading Citizen of the Month, checking out his links page and was overwhelmed at the gazillion people out there blogging (update: he’s cut the list in half). Not that this hadn’t occurred to me years ago. Because it had. And I became obsessed with wanting my own blog until I realized I had nothing to say or too much to say. At any rate, years passed and I eventually became a blogger. But there always was and always will be a fine line between exposing what I think is “interesting” and going overboard–
Example of going overboard: I was telling my sister-in-law last night that I had it in me a while ago to publish my diaries from the divorce. When I started transcribing them though, the reading was tedious. I came off as sounding uglier than the ex. Here’s this pathetic woman allowing her husband to do the stupidest shit and instead of taking action, all she does is bitch about it. And to make matters worse, she hasn’t a shred of dignity left and ends up sleeping with him as a means of shutting him up. And she writes: “it’s all for the kids. Keep it together for the kids.” Then there was my mother on my case, saying, “what are you adding to the world by writing something like that?” and “what will the children think when they read that some day?”
Needless to say,…I gave up the divorce journals, and the blogging.
There is something so self-serving about blogging. Don’t think I don’t know what’s going on. I feel the egocentrism oozing from my skin sometimes. I’m privy to certain people’s judgments about bearing my soul on places like facebook and myspace. And quite frankly, the attention some people seek in their blatant “LOOK AT ME” status updates is quite ugly. Who’s paying attention anyway? Who reads this shit? Jason said it rather aptly in Are We Not Bloggers? that blogging is “really just an existential engagement with the void.” Brilliant.
Thing is, I love the written word. I love to write. I write on napkins at restaurants. I write on public restroom walls. I write a million emails a day. And I have written in a journal since age eleven. I have 97 hard-bound volumes that line the bookshelves of my office like doctor’s reference manuals. Writing is a part of me. Keeps me real. Keeps me raw. Whether readers pay attention or not. I mean, just as we all have that seed of hope in us for years that some day we just might become famous or rich, I think we all want to be heard and understood. And that’s the trick of blogging. You can almost imagine that you’re famous (unless of course you keep track of your daily hit count– ouch!).
The other motivation, for me, at least, is exposure. I’m like a verbal nudist. I like the freedom and airy irresponsibility of the confession. I can’t tell you how often I come across friends of mine that say things like, “John and Mary have the perfect marriage.” And i think, bullshit. John probably wears women’s pantyhose and Mary is anorexic because John is a control-freak. Their kids have A.D.D. and they both had to tap into John’s 401K because Mary is a shopaholic. People are so disturbingly into protecting their perfect identities and looking good that when something does go wrong (and it does), the amount of shame and humiliation is enough to bury them. I’m not talking about airing one’s dirty laundry. I’m talking about being real.
There was a point to this. And the point is– whether blogging is self-serving or not, so be it. I’m not going to change. I love reading other people’s secrets. I’m glad there are a million people out there doing it. It goes to show not how egocentric people are, but rather, how we all need to reach out and touch others. There’s no shame in that. I am drawn to confessions. And i love sharing in the commitment people undertake to expose themselves to the world. It’s not so much for attention, as it is a manner in which to communicate. It is not so much egocentric, as it is a belief in oneself that his or her words have impact. It is a way in which so many people try to connect. Try to feel alive. It’s why Dante wrote his Inferno, why da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. Why my ex has tattoos. And G wears his hair in a ponytail. It’s why the tiger lily is so f’ing orange. Because inside we are not empty.