The other morning, over Nutella french toast, Pete and I had a conversation about my blog. Or, rather, the conflict that my blog presents. But more on that in a second.
Why do I have this blog? I am honestly not entirely sure. I have been "blogging" for a long time, before the term became popular. I had enjoyed writing my whole life, but never kept a diary- that is, until I realized that I could type much faster then I could write, allowing me to keep up with the flow of my thoughts with much more ease. Almost five years ago, I switched blog hosts and moved to this little space, and found a tiny little group of readers who somehow stumbled here. I've met some amazing women and made some real connections. People who have never laid eyes on me or my little family were among the first to reach out when I talked about PJ's diagnosis of Autism, of how hard it was to put him on the bus that first day of school. Who offered real words of support and love when I wrote about the problems in my marriage. Being willing to open up can be risky, but there were people listening when I thought there was nobody listening, and it made the risk worth taking.
So, back to my Nutella-fueled talk with Pete. He wondered how I reconciled my very private self, who doesn't like to talk about my problems with anyone or be discussed/gossiped, with the self who spills it all in words and paragraphs on her blog. The question annoyed me a bit in a "I JUST AM, OKAY??" kind of way. What the hell kind of a question was that? I write because I want to write and I talk to whomever I do or do not choose to. OH-KAAAAAA-AAAAAYYYY?
However, petulance aside, it was a valid question, and I thought about it when I wasn't near Pete anymore and it was safe to consider it was a valid question without losing face.
Why I write: I have always loved to write. I remember the look on the face of a teacher in the 6th grade who accused me of plagiarism. She asked me to show her the books I used for reference, and when it was clear that I had written the paper entirely on my own, she apologized, and I remember the look on her face to this day. I remember turning in a report in the eighth grade, and when the grades were returned, my teacher handing me mine back, saying "Brie, you are a hell of a writer". I never had enough self-esteem to try looking for validation or feedback as my skills developed. I didn't know I was good at this until someone told me. Am I great at it? Oh, hell, no. But, I'm okay.
So, I write. I have written about cloth diapers, Pinterest, breastfeeding, gay marriage. Tons of things that I have a vested interest in but doesn't let a reader in too far if you know how I feel about it. Then there are the things that let a reader very, very far in, and 99% of the time, those are things I wouldn't discuss face-to-face with someone if my life depended on it.
For one thing, this blog has some relative anonymity to it. Yes, I have met some wonderful people through this blog, I have been able to reach out and correct some wrongs through this blog, and those rewards are amazing. I also know that family members read my blog, which lets the people closest to me have a view of something that I might not share in person. But for the most part, most of the folks who stop by my blog are "lurkers"- they read, but don't let me know that they were here, and my blog isn't even close to being popular enough to draw the real crazies. So there's not always someone there to call me on my bullshit the way there would be if I spoke to someone face-to-face. I write, I spell-check, I close the computer, and there's nothing left to face unless I want to face it.
I don't always want to share, but I always want to write, and since I want to write, I share. There's no real way to reconcile it, and I have to remember that when I put something out there, it's not just out there in a don't-put-naked-pictures-out-into-the-interwebs-because-OMG!-the-pervs! kind of way. It's out there in every kind of way, and using my computer as a middle man doesn't really change it any more then if I stood outside and shouted it.
So after all of that babble, there's no answer. Maybe I'm not a very good writer, after all.