Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Getting Blogged Down

I believe I’ve written before about my blogging woes. Not the ‘howcome I can’t spend my whole life blogging?’ woes, but the ‘ack, people I actually know might be/could be/are reading this,’ ‘might be/could be/are ridiculing my dorky/lack of discretion/boring/lack of ingenuity’ woes. I’ve worried about school people, family people, hypothetical people. Coming in a close second are the ‘this could have consequences in my personal and professional life’ woes. They aren’t much better.

This is part of a blogger’s struggle. I realize. Once again, I don’t feel as though I’m being very creative here. I have friends who have written much more eloquently about this than I ever could. [Two that stand out in my mind this minute are Dana's A Visit from the Overshare Fairy and Kathy's Muted No More: How Memoir Complicates the Notion of Privacy.] So while I won’t say this well, or uniquely, I’d like to get the troubling thoughts off my chest.

It has always been difficult for me to write or act in most circumstances without wondering what others could think, which is both a blessing and surprisingly inconvenient. On the one hand, this makes me a born communicator. I have my audience in mind. I can anticipate communication gaps or difference in style. I write and behave according to the situation at hand. This probably also helped my acting abilities back in the day. On the other hand, I unconsciously, and sometimes more consciously, self-censor pretty extensively. Though it is very habitual and not a thing I set out to do everyday, it can be very frustrating in hindsight, and exhausting. I have a very hard time with more explosive people. My mind runs a marathon every minute thinking about how to avoid nuclear war. At worst, I worry that this “flexibility” makes me a shape shifter – a fakey-fakerson that just “acts” depending on who she’s around. Only upon reflection do I worry. But I digress. The point is I’m very conscious of others. This can make me sensitive but can also make me silent or different than I would otherwise be.

I’m slowly coming to sense that part of my reticence can be attributed to my, er, upbringin’. I come from a family that is and was about as publicly or politically active as a cotton ball. I can think of only one publicly vocal member of my family – an actual card carrying party member. This family of mine is the opposite of radical or staunchly ___ or anything that you could point a finger at and name. It would be fun to blame it on my parents’ growing up in an era of dictatorship and repression. In reality, I think it comes down to humble people living their lives and keeping their heads down. I don’t know that anyone else would see it that way. However, like my family, I am not prone to public displays, conflicts, or embarrassment of myself or others.

As it turns out anything I say or do can display, conflict with or embarrass someone, me included. I don’t kid myself. I know that I’ve probably cheesed off a good number of people in my day, both on and off the blog. But I like to keep that sort of thing to a minimum. These concerns have for the longest time kept me from intentionally expanding my readership. I have been quite comfortable limiting the readers who know where I live to a couple of friends that I might cheese off occasionally but that I suspect will accept me anyway. Only very recently have I highlighted blog posts on Facebook, though in passive fashion I’ve listed my blog as my website from Day 1.

My most recent bout of anxiety came when two of my school friends, Jess and Racquel (hi, ladies!) subscribed to my blog. While I was in no way concerned about these particular superstars of telling it like it is following along, their appearance served as a stark reminder that people I know in life might also read my desperate attempts at whatever this is. It was scary.

And thus I marvel at those of you in blog-land who dish it out, take it, talk about your families, spank your friends or otherwise deal with life. I know some of you sweat it more than others. Some of you have very difficult and painful reasons for sharing, or not sharing. For others it’s merely a practical matter. Many of you rage at censorship in all its forms. Some would perhaps tell me to strap on a pair and start living.

Admittedly, some of my boundaries are imposed by others. Some I’ve assumed on behalf of people who know nothing about this “secret” of mine. I haven’t really sorted this out much. Nor am I facing a particular dilemma. Frankly, I think it’s hard to blog the way I’d really like to without being self-employed and completely orphaned – for me. I’m not prepared to deal with the consequences. I imagine there are creative solutions I haven’t yet grasped.

In the meantime, a friend recently wrote to me that she enjoyed blog intimacy, referring to mine to some extent. I was stunned. In the vast expanse of all that I haven’t written, I’ve managed to evoke intimacy in one valued person’s opinion? I’ll take it for now.

Happy Friday the 13th – I promise it’s still the 13th here. You’ll be pleased or disgruntled to know there are three F – the – 13s this year!

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January 14, 2012 - Posted by | Community, Self-reflection, Writing | , , , , , ,

17 Comments »

  1. Okay, Miss Rose, this post is down-right brilliant! From the title on–brilliant. This needs to Freshly Pressed, as you have articulated stunningly the struggle so many of us face. I love you for this.

    Thanks for mentioning my post, but I would dare suggest you have done it better here.

    By the way, I TOTALLY LOVE the cotton ball image!

    Good God, I wish I had written this post, and that my friend is high praise! Please post this on the forum for showcasing a post. I think you will get a significant response. I know you may not be willling to do that for the very reasons you outline in this post, but, gosh, this message would resonate with many others.

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Comment by Kathryn McCullough | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  2. Kathy – I’ve run out of words to explain the gift of your comment. That is incredibly high praise indeed! As for the suggestion about the forum, I gladly would, if I weren’t too dumb to know what you’re talking about. I’ll have to look into that tonight. Thanks so, so much!

    Cotton balls are relatively meek, no? :)

    Comment by Rose | January 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Yes, cotton balls are meek. However, here’s how it works.

      Go to WordPress’ homepage–where Freshly Pressed appears–www.wordpress.com.

      Below FP on the far left, it says “On WordPress.com.”

      Below that is a buttom for “Support and Forums.”

      If you click “Forums,” you will come to a page where near the bottom–again far left–you will find a button for “Showcase.”

      If you click on that, you can, on the next page, add your post to the showcase.

      I believe at the top there is a button for adding a link or comment or post or whatever.

      You will, on the next page, be asked to title you entry. I would use the post’s title.

      Then you will be given an opportunity to describe the post. I would use a sentence or two. Be sure in that space to include the URL for the post you are wanting folks to visit.

      If you are too meek to promote yourself, I would be happy to do it for you. Just let me know if you are comfortable with me doing that.

      I am about to get offline for the night and may not be back on till the AM, but I would be happy to do it then.

      Hugs,
      Kathy

      Comment by Kathryn McCullough | January 15, 2012 | Reply

      • Done! What well-done instructions!

        Comment by Rose | January 15, 2012

  3. Have to agree with Kathy here, Rose– this post is brilliant, articulate, insightful, and a perfect reflection of what most bloggers (at least ones with half-a-sense of modesty) feel on an ongoing basis about writing online. Being cautious is never a bad option– there will always be people who take more risks and may (or may not) face corresponding consequences. We learn from them too, right?

    I think your schooling makes you even more sensitive to these issues, but we can all take heed and be a little more modest with what we choose to share online. :)

    PS: Great seeing you guys this weekend! We really enjoyed our visit.

    Comment by Dana | January 15, 2012 | Reply

    • So glad you think so. I have to admit, I really struggled with the writing of this one and was ultimately dissatisfied with how I expressed it, so it’s really surprising but good to hear it worked for both of you. You’re right, there’s much to be gained from modesty. I think sometimes I worry I’m missing out on the easy shock factor of gut-spilling, mine or someone else’s.

      We had a great (and relaxing) time, too! Enjoy your little piece of heaven.

      Comment by Rose | January 15, 2012 | Reply

  4. I move into the mindset that I’m writing letters to a friend (or secret lover, whatevs) in old-timey times. Then, I become famous and my letters are published and studied by undergrads. While my fleeting and rash thoughts might be taken offensively or, occasionally, as a misrepresentation of who I truly am, the body of my work comes through.

    As does my style. And a whole general of young women refuse to wear makeup or colour their hair because they think it’s my statement on female oppression (rather than my sloth).

    See, just borrow my fantasy and you’ll be okay.

    Comment by CheyenneVyvyan | January 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for offering! I’m afraid your fantasy would leave me in much bigger trouble, since I tend to divulge more in old-timey time letters. I picture stoning by family or something…

      I wish a whole generation of women would so my refusal to wear high heels as an actual assault on high heels, rather than my other reason: bad balance, feet from hell.

      Comment by Rose | January 17, 2012 | Reply

  5. I had not seen the showcase before. With 24 posts in one day, I clicked on the one with the arresting title. Did you get many views from going there?

    Comment by Clare Flourish | January 17, 2012 | Reply

    • I hadn’t either, Clare – clearly. I got only one view from the showcase. I must not have been arresting enough. :)

      Comment by Rose | January 17, 2012 | Reply

      • It is a pity, because it is a good post. The question you raise is a difficult one. The writing is fun, and I like the page views, but will it cost me anything? Then again, Quentin Crisp: I will not bevel down my individuality for anyone, because then the friendship is for someone of the same name, and not me. I want love for myself.

        Comment by Clare Flourish | January 19, 2012

      • Clare – I just love that quotation. It’s so true of course. I’m coming to that view (slowly) with friends but family is just a whole other matter for me yet.

        Comment by Rose | January 19, 2012

  6. I agree that this needs to be Freshly Pressed. It’s brilliant, because each of us struggle with this. I know I do! I’m writing about such personal material, and the people in my life certainly didn’t ask to be part of it! I think about it all the time. I think that writing is helping me look at things more objectively and remember the life lessons I’m trying to learn. And yet, what if one of the people I write about was to find it? That scares me.

    Comment by lifeandothermisadventures | January 21, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you! I was especially interested in your comments given the very personal, and intimate things you write about yourself, and perhaps even more so about others. I don’ t know how anyone would find your site given your lack of searchable terms, but I imagine it always is scary. On the other hand, your blog does inspire me to worry less, for what it’s worth. :)

      Comment by Rose | January 23, 2012 | Reply

  7. I love “as socially or politically active as a cotton ball”… what a genteel approach you have to the whole concept of blogging, which, in some ways is sharing one’s secrets, or speaking of what behaviors may irritate you (that could be someone you know). I admire the sweet consideration and courtesy that accompany your thoughts. Truly an honorable path to take. We sometimes prefer something other than the in-your-face rants, the boisterous. anecdotes. I think you’re fine, just the way you are!!
    Now, in other news, I have selected you to be “tagged”. Details can be found here http://buddhakat.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/tagged-or-is-that-twilight-zone-music-i-hear/ if you choose to play. And if you don’t that’s perfectly fine too. I feel so peaceful, having read this post (again). thanks! :)

    Comment by BuddhaKat | February 21, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks so much, so glad you like it. I think you and other commenters are giving me too much credit though – I’m fairly sure I’m just chicken not genteel, but I’ll take it. :)

      I will have to check out the tagging, but I’m not treading water at the moment. Thanks so much for revisiting!

      Comment by Rose | February 23, 2012 | Reply

  8. Hey, I tagged you to answer some questions! (Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t have time to do this, but I would be interested to read your answers.)

    Comment by lifeandothermisadventures | March 3, 2012 | Reply


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