My thinking is fueled, of course, by the wonderful Ode that Fritz wrote for me. Who would have thought, back in June, that a passion-filled whirlwind in Georgia would care enough about anything I had said to immortalize me in an ode? Who would have thought that I’d be driving along in my car, wondering if a redheaded, big-hearted genius in Minnesota has gotten out of bed yet?
But here I am, swinging my sledgehammer and thinking things like that. Don’t be frightened; the thinking isn’t driving the sledgehammer blows, it’s just that this idiot wasn't paying attention to his driving and … well, never mind.
When I started blogging in early July, my main mission was to vent out some things that needed venting. My early posts were a mish-mash of ire-filled rampages (since deleted, so don’t even look) that nobody read. I don’t think I was even set up for comments, at the time. Once I had finished spewing that poison to the web, I started poking around other blogs just to see what was around. I commented here and there, and started writing a few simple lists (the earliest entries that now appear) to try it out. I visited Casual Friday, PostSecret, and BadGod. Some of my earliest readers still come around, and over time a community of regulars has evolved.
My avatar has changed a few times, and I’ve also begun to reveal more and more about myself, both at my own blog and others. Starting out, it was imperative that I keep my identity a secret. While that’s still important (I really don’t want the local PTA moms to know I used to hit the sauce and suck pebbles), what is surprising to me is that I am more and more willing to show who I truly am, and that my blog-mates accept my flaws along with my better qualities. Early on I put sort of a persona out there, one that was more abrasive and had an edgier life than the one I was actually living. I did this in the interest of protecting myself, of keeping people at arm’s length. Over time the falseness has fallen away. I tinker with the balance between revealing enough and revealing too much. So far so good. But who would have thought that I would actually begin to care? And with caring, comes the capacity for faraway people to really affect me, to influence my moods, to potentially [delight, sadden, enrapture, enrage, hurt] me.
What I struggle with is how real/unreal Blogworld is. This is the part that gets me. Behind each profile is a person with real feelings, whose life knows joys and pains that I have only the tiniest peeks at, depending upon what they choose to share. We support each other (when we feel like it) or go on our own rants. It’s really living out your life in bits & pieces. Each little bit and piece helps me take a more honest look at my own life and to see where I need to improve, how I could be better.
The frustration about Blog Life not being fully real is that I crave more, and more, and more, which as we know is impossible, or at least unrealistic and generally not the way the game is played. I want to sit and drink iced tea with Heather and talk about living life as the sole survivor of triplet birth. I want to go knock on BOBI’s door and tell him to stop playing that video game and come play Lord of the Rings trivia with me!!! But no, I cannot get my own way out here, so I have a tantrum on his comments and go on my way.
Living on a blog means learning to accept that I live on other bloggers’ terms when I am off my turf.
But isn’t that how life is, anyway?
It’s not about me all the time. That’s been a hard lesson for me to absorb, because I thrive on being in the spotlight; I don’t mean to be so, I just am. Several teachers have, independently of each other, referred to me as the Pied Piper. I say “all must flock to me” only half in jest. I pull these young adults along by sheer force of my personality, charming them into loving me enough to achieve wonderful things for me. I don’t know how else to be. I want to weave a web of wonderful people all around me. What I need to remember is that each of them has a web of their own, and if I am in it, I must be attentive to them as well. It’s a daily assignment to remember that.
What on earth is my point?, I think, as I tie off the last wire in this heinous project.
Just this: That there is no way to remain removed as a blogger, at least not for me. I’m fully in it. With that, I have begun to actually care about what my readers are doing, and how they feel about what I’ve written. It’s a dangerous place to be, though, because how long can it last? Does it just go on & on (nay), or do people come and go, the way friendships peter out and fade over time (probably)? I don’t know, I’m too new at it. What I do know right now is that when there’s unrest at one blog, I feel it viscerally as I would if it was someone in my real life. When there is joy, I celebrate with you. When I’m snubbed, insulted, praised, or playfully teased, I feel all of those on my skin as if you were standing before me.
Yet only one of you knows my name.
Well, maybe two, since you two guys must talk once in a while.
So that’s how it is right now, and I don’t even really have a question. I’m just marveling, aloud, at how strange this experience is. I wouldn’t change a thing, except for slowing down just a little after the kiddies show up tomorrow, and I wear my teacher face all day.
Maybe the blogging me is really the best me. Like Glorfindel's brilliance the time Frodo saw him on the “other side”, my truest self is here in Blogland. Now if I can bring what I’ve learned here and let more and more of that light shine offline, then I will be truly and fully alive.