Sunday, May 2, 2010

To be or NOT to be...

More accurately, to blog, or not to blog - THAT is the question. I have been thinking about why people blog, about the people who read them and what it all means - specifically to me. I'm not sure how to check how many "hits" a person has on their blog. Does it really matter? Does a person write a blog to be read by multitudes? And what type of person writes only for an audience? It seems to me that this is inauthentic. If I write to an audience, it's about what they want rather than what I wish to express, right? That doesn't seem right at all.

To me, the purpose of blogging is to make a comment or observation of some sort. Or perhaps to record a memory. (I like to think of it like a Pensieve device from the Harry Potter books.) I don't think I would want to be censored by what an audience expects of my opinions and experiences. What would be the point of putting personal stories and thoughts to paper (virtual or otherwise) then? I'm sure there are those out there who DO write to influence or to entertain in their blogs, but for me - writing is a deeply personal experience and reflection of my essence. I write what I want, feel and about what is important to me. I'm not counting on others to read it, really. I'm not even sure I want others to read it, exactly, although admittedly when a friend makes a comment to me about something I have written I do experience an odd pang of pride along with genuine surprise. What I don't wish to feel is shame over my words.

Recently I wrote a blog article about something really bothering me - an absentee friend I've known for 30 plus years that I miss talking to. I received feedback about that blog from someone close to me who disapproved of (and misunderstood completely) this subject matter. To appease that person, I deleted the blog, but with a lot of resentment, I have to say. It occurred to me later that the commenter expected me to write as if an audience is following me, and that I should be editing content as such. The more I stewed on this, the worse I felt about deleting my article. Damn it anyway - it was from the heart and really expressed how I felt about missing an old friend. It was nostalgic and well-written, and I let myself get edited by a comment from one person. I have been ashamed of myself for caving in, to be honest. It was a memory of a feeling I wished to reflect on - maybe even at a later date. (Back to that Pensieve again.)

I don't care if ANYONE reads my blog. As far as I am concerned, I write to the wind and to get things off my chest. I write to myself, really. Years ago, I had a dear friend (who has since passed away, suddenly and at a very young age) that I used to correspond with daily via email, and via snail mail before that. Her absence has created a huge personal void in my life since she is gone. Essentially we blogged to one another for years and years. Because I missed that interaction (without judgement or comment, by the way, as was our habit), I began blogging. I also began writing for the exercise OF writing and to let off steam of a sort. Not in an angry way - more like the releasing of the nob on a pressure cooker allows for the lid to come off safely. Blogging allows me to organize my thoughts and verbalize my opinions where I may not have otherwise said anything out loud. How could editing to an audience help this exercise in any way?

My blog web address was sent out with my Christmas letter this past year, so I acknowledge that there may be some friends or relatives who may take the time or energy to read what I have to say from time to time. (Perhaps is presumtuous of me to even think anyone WOULD read my little musings.) At any rate, I think those people would tune (log in?) precisely because they may be interested in my authentic opinions. I think I know myself well enough to realize that friends are attracted to me for my insight, wit, sometimes sarcasm and (usually) honesty. To NOT say something because a potential reader may misinterpret my words, or not approve of an opinion or feeling I have would be doing myself a grave injustice, I think. I really am not afraid of what others may say about my blog, which is why I gave the address out to begin with. I hope they, my "audience" respects me enough to accept my musings for what they are and not what they think, read into or hope that they may be. But I'm really not going to worry about it.

So I promise to not cave in again, and to boldly go wherever my mind takes me in the future. Maybe along the way I'll figure out some things too - for myself - through the act of writing. It's why I do this. I am not going to be intimidated. Blogging is a solitary, sometimes lonesome experience - there is no dialogue except with myself. No social interaction, no validation of self. So I owe it to myself to be true and real. Read if you must, but at YOUR own peril, not mine, because I will not be censored, by self or others. There would be no truth in that. When I read these things years from now, I want to remember them as they are, and not as they were altered to fit someone's perception of me. I am learning to become my authentic self - to accept all the thoughts and emotions that comprise me, without stuffing anything away or putting feelings aside, or hiding from my experience in any way. It's a journey, but one I hope to continue honestly. Blog on!

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