September 05, 2005

This Posting Life

On this beautiful late afternoon, I am outside dealing with a situation and mulling things over; and by things, I specifically mean this Blog Life and how different it is from what I thought it would be. It’s better, worse, more bizarre and more real than I ever could have imagined.

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.

Fritz’s ode moved me in how it portrayed me, yes, but what moved me most is that she would even do it. I can only aspire to be a Fritz, someone who looks far enough outside herself to recognize another person’s qualities and to offer them up, shiny and polished, for the world to see. Fritz humbles me. I want to have her capacity of love for humanity.

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.


FRITZ said...

"Fritz’s ode moved me in how it portrayed me, yes, but what moved me most is that she would even do it. I can only aspire to be a Fritz, someone who looks far enough outside herself to recognize another person’s qualities and to offer them up, shiny and polished, for the world to see. Fritz humbles me. I want to have her capacity of love for humanity."

The beautiful thing about humans, about us little specks of light, is that we can often recognize in others what we so rarely see in ourselves.
My dear S.G., I could never have written an ode to you if I did not see the humanity in your posts, the intellect behind your thoughts, the spirit rousing humor.
I teared up at this post.
Call me sentimental, I don't know.
I feel like a girl in high school who finally got a good group of friends.

By the way, Michael has told me that you and I need to 'get a room'.

Thanks, dear.
(Word-vers are very hard tonite: this one is buwkpcs)

Madge said...

Everything you put out there is wonderfully thoughtful. I am always refreshed when I venture to 11.5 (I'm guessing that 11.5 is - without ever checking to see if you referenced this or not! - a Scorpio reference).

Thanks for the postings! And for always popping in to my blog.

Monkey said...

Good job fixing the mailbox.

I love this post. I've spoken with Johnny Damned aka Calzone about this a few times. Five months ago my life fell apart and I chose to start blogging as Monkey back in June, when my sister-in-law started her "Slappy" and then later her "Jart" blog.

Monkey got popular for awhile, and for a brief time I was obsessed with Monkey's stats. Then, about two weeks ago, I realized I didn't care if anyone else found Monkey. I actually adored the people who comment now. Everyone feels like a friend. And everyone gets Monkey. It feels like a second home to me. Calzone and I post just to crack each other up and end up drawing in other like minded people into our madness. It is beautiful and incredibly rewarding for such an ephemeral thing.

I worried about my blogger friends who were in the path of Katrina. I worry when one of them disappears. I worry when they are sick. Blogging is not what I expected either.

Whenever we talk about the friends of Monkey that we can't live without, your name comes up SG. It really does. And the word "thumbthumb" is now part of our household vocabulary.

Getting all teary here. Good luck tomorrow.

Monkey's Human and Family
Sorry about the LONG comment!!

Leigh Yung Li said...

Spinning~ You have so beautifully, and in so few words (as it is almost impossible to describe in words) summed up what it means to be human. You have also (though you don't realize it yet) just described yourself, and in doing so, described yourself loudly and clearly as a WRITER. All of what you said is what it means to be a writer--as I have been telling you you are for years. To be a writer means to care about the people "on the other side of your words," to think about your readers, to wonder what they are feeling and, to a certain extent, to feel their feelings too. To truly be a writer is to put words in written form that have an impact on others. That is what you do, SG.

Let me go on...I never would have considered reading or writing in the form of blogging until you began and convinced me to follow your blog journey with you. And, much to my surprise, I have come to care about your blog as much as you do. Is that because I care about you? Is that because I know your talent as a writer and it is a talent that I rarely see, one that I know when I see it because I write?
I agree with you...blogging is a microcosm of real life--another avenue where you show the bits and pieces of yourself that you choose to put forth for viewing and you hold back the parts that you are not comfortable putting "out in the open" so to speak. We do it everyday, in every circumstance. We strive for acceptance no matter how much we rebel against it. In each situation we encounter, we show what we know those around us will "be okay with." Sometimes we take risks, but only when we become more comfortable. Sometimes we show the most shocking parts of ourselves just to see what reaction we are met with. But no matter what the interaction, we learn just a bit more about ourselves. Would we learn if there was no INTERACTION? I wonder if you would keep blogging if nobody could comment on your blog or if there was no way for you to receive the comments and comment back? You might not keep blogging for long. What we crave is human interaction. That is why writing can be such lonely work for such a long time. But writing like yours touches people. That is why you must persevere. Have I completely rambled?

Spinning Girl said...

I think the interaction is far & away the best part. I never understood the blogs that don't allow comments--unless they do it for different reasons, like keeping faraway friends up to date on one's travel.

My readers ROCK!

My real-life friends who read my blog ROCK!

(always good to fall back on the vernacular)

Bobby said...

Wow. I was actually pondering this a little, and couldn't begin to put it into the words you have.


Monkey said...

Vernacular ROCKS!

Neil said...

Very touching. I also feel conflicted between the care and concern for other bloggers and the fact that I don't really know them. This is a very weird enterprise because it's part writing a journal, part entertainment, and part interacting with like souls.

the captain said...

Wow, that was amazing. So well put. I check a few people's blogs every day, and it's fun when I see them come comment on mine. It really is a friendship, and I thank you for putting it so clearly.

Justin said...

Blogging is one of my favorite things to do, now-a-days. It really lets me vent when needed, and celebrate when the spirit moves me. And, like you, I went from no comments to a handful of readers -> this adds a whole new level! I now have two blogs, one private, with few posts, and one public, updated daily. I love getting things out in the open with my blog spot! I love reading about others! It rivals the friendships I have in life, because I feel so open on my blog!

Heather said...

In a few short paragraphs you beautifully collected up all my random thoughts and put them on paper. I too care about all my commenters... I was telling my husband about you and fritz and some others and I referred to you as my friends. And then I paused at that.. and thought yeah.. I'd spend my afternoons with them shopping and discussing the current topics.. yeah.. I consider you my friend. And Im honored to be able to do so.

Having said all that.. I dont really like iced tea (*gasp* I know!! A southern girl who doesnt drink tea!!) but we could always talk over a different liquid.. Like coke.. or water.

ltxrs. This means something .. I just havent wrapped my head around it yet.

B.O.B.I. said...

So you were wondering when I was gonna get up? I was wondering when you were going to start Round Two! I bet you'll win this time.

Seriously, I love what you wrote. No, not just for the mention of me, but for the actual content. Blogging really is a life and a force unto itself. It's just like any other arena you enter in the day. We don't act the same at work and in front of friends, so why should we on the blog? (Ok, I do act the same at work and with friends, but I think we all agree that I am really REALLY different, or just wierd)

Also, if I may? There is no such thing as "too much Spinning Girl". Unless you start posting personal information, like addresses. That might be dangerous.

Oh, and I didn't tell "him" your name; considering the amazing anonymity of the Internet (although my name seems to have leaked somewhere), I consider that a very special gift.

spkzeo: Speak easy, yo!

Freiya said...

What can i say? you've beautifuly summed up the joy of blogging. For me its all of what you said, its the links you make with people you'd never ordinarily know, its the 'therapy' of writing things down and then having people read it and understand where you're coming from ( sometimes ) and it's also just the sheer fun of it all.

cliuusb - when you post a comment that basically reiterates what everyone else has said but in a clumsy/ badly worded way.

Juliabohemian said...

you know...
there is a house where I grew up that could never seem to keep a mailbox. It must have been run over at least once a month. They kept getting new ones and people just kept running them over.

Honestly, what could we possibly expect from this experience except something that is mostly superficial? How can any of us possibly experience one another fully simply by reading the minute portion of our lives that we choose to share? That is why we blog. We are able to anonymously share with utter strangers the most raw and vulnerable parts of ourselves. We reveal only what we want. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we get something back: empathy, sympathy, validation, advice. It's a small investment.

John Bryson said...

I started blogging to see how much it would get me laid....So far, lets just say, No tacos for me.

HighMaintenanceHussy said...

I relate completely to what you wrote. Ever since I've been blogging, I feel more connected to where I come from, and that's a very good feeling when you're so far away from home.

Doublebogie said...

I sure wish I had something clever and witty to say like everyone else's previous comments. Let me just say...
DITTO! I'm hooked on blogging myself. I start my day reading others blogs. AND yes.. you're on my fav's list.
I have 5 children and I wish they could have you as their teacher.
Have a wonderful school year!

babyjewels said...

Beautiful and well written post. I feel the same way, but I couldn't have conveyed it so eloquently. Have a great first day of school, too and I'm honored by the link.

UberGoober said...

Very deep post, no pun intended, well maybe just a little *chuckle*. Amaxing isnt it how we get sucked into all this,,, I had put off Blogging for a long time and now am an addict.

Gawd I almost snorted my coffee through my nose when you mentioned sucking pebbles again, but the sad thing is that over the holiday weekend I did taste one out of curiosity. It was salty tasting, maybe it was the rock, maybe it was due to the fact that it was near the beach. *shrug* I put it back, no need to keep it under my pillow. :)

Do you really want to know what I am doing beyond this screen, it could be very frightening, lol, Life is prespective....


Used Hack said...

I've been feeling the same way. You and I talked about it on my blog, so I'm not going to say much more. But I appreciate you and everyone else who have been so kind to me.

word-veri: "gfomug"

Kris said...

I think in some ways this is more real than many of the relationships I have on the OUTSIDE. I tell you all things I don't tell some of them.

Gordy said...

I know exactly what you mean, although I started out as a known person and so have the opposite problem. Stuff I want to tell but with my broad readership of work people, friends and family it makes it difficult.

I often think of creating a new anon blog persona and starting another unconnected blog.

You do tend to get involved in other people's lives, want to know the next installment of their story, whether real or fictional, and I get frustrated when it is not forthcoming.

I know that people have "missed" me when I have been distracted to other things, worrying about my friends and relatives in the London bombings, etc.

I do find that readers come and go definitely get into a core, and it tends to spawn from links or comments on other people's blogs..rarely do I get a new reader who comes randomly to my site. SO I suppose you mostly end up with people of a similar mindset.

Fridaysweb said...

SG, I just wanted to tell you that this post moved me. I'm so very new to blogging and so very nervous, most of the time, if I've done something right or wrong or not enough, whatever. Reading your blog, along with many others, has helped me see there is no right or wrong way to blog. Just getting the words out, whatever they may be, is what matters most.

I no longer worry if anyone is reading. I used to, in the very beginning. Now, I just know that as long as I'm true to myself, that's the whole point. You do that - you're true to yourself. You inspire me.

Cass said...

I am so new to this world, but already I have respect for the relationships I have formed. I think about what the people in Blogland are doing, if anyone is visiting me, and I sometimes just want to stop in and say hello. This post was so insightful. I think the reason I have given in to this so freely is that blogging makes us so aware of the fact that we aren't alone. Kind of like group therapy I suppose, but a lot less expensive. It reassures us that other people say and do and think and feel the same things we do, and that is so important. Sometimes that reassurance is all you ever really want.

TinaPoPo said...

SG, you hit the nail on the proverbial head! I love blogging, in a way that only other bloggers can get. It's like a new circle of friends and support.

B.O.B.I. said...

Argh! No offense to Tinapopo, I'm just concerned with correct usage... there's no proverb about hitting a nail on the head.
I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

kmpao- Kum pao: Naughty asian cuisine?

DaMasta said...

The main reason I remain anonymous is so that I can tell my life [or lack thereof] completely like it is. Without bias or prejudice, without concern of who is reading. None of my real friends read my blog, partly b/c I blog about them, honestly.

Hey SG, hopefully one day you'll have room for me in your "daily schedule" :)

Lee Ann said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. When you said "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." I completely can relate. I think of all of you guys in my normal day to day happenings. I think it is so cool. I was just thinking this morning how cool it is to put something out there and within seconds you have someone (from Texas, or Missouri, or even Scotland) with a reply. I wonder what are they doing that very moment. I totally get it!

BadGod said...

Ya writin' a fuckin' novel or what?! You know I have the attention span of a great big chicken just ran through my living room is all clean purple ish.

Yeah, are hot!

Harry Yak said...

ok knowing how much you like languages here you go...

Word History: A friend is a lover, literally. The relationship between Latin amcus “friend” and am “I love” is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos “friend” and phile “I love.” In English, though, we have to go back a millennium before we see the verb related to friend. At that time, frond, the Old English word for “friend,” was simply the present participle of the verb fron, “to love.” The Germanic root behind this verb is *fr-, which meant “to like, love, be friendly to.” Closely linked to these concepts is that of “peace,” and in fact Germanic made a noun from this root, *frithu-, meaning exactly that. Ultimately descended from this noun are the personal names Frederick, “peaceful ruler,” and Siegfried, ”victory peace.” The root also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity Frigg, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, “day of Frigg,” from an ancient translation of Latin Veneris dis, “day of Venus.”

even though we haven't "known" each other very long it is very clear to me that you are much loved. you have an incredible "presence", an amzing charisma.

one last thing there is nothing wrong with wanting all to flock to you but i was kinda wondering...flocking isn't very yak like would you mind if i hearded to you?

yak out

Harry Yak said...

and when i say "hearded" i mean "herded"....yaks are not well known for their typing or spelling skills.

Spinning Girl said...

HY, all must gather, regardless of age, species, or skills.

MadMeer said...

I enjoyed and related to this post very much. As a fairly new and a completely addicted blogoholic, I've searched for the words to describe the experience many times. You've beautifully summed up how therapuetic blogging is.