Angry Blogger

This space has been kind of quiet lately.  I’ve taken a step back.

I came home from BlogHer12 with more questions than answers.  When a friend asked me about my trip to NYC today, I told her the truth.  I felt fulfilled by BlogHer, and yet it pulled back the curtains on some ugly truths.  For me.  For you.  For all of us.

I realized that I’ve been writing the top layer of my life.  When Todd Akin ran his mouth about rape and abortion, what I really wanted to write was a thoughtful, gritty, feminist piece that was laced with my own sexual history.  Instead, I wrote about my motherhood.  It felt safer.  But it was only topical.  I am often afraid to trust my instincts in this space.  Wary of doing the walk of shame the morning after I hit “publish”.  There is an inherent identity shift that shadows the act of motherhood.  I suppose it would only make sense that I’m having trouble peeling back the layers of who I am.  And of course bloggers do everything publicly.

Why do you blog?

Do you blog to keep a record of your life?  I love having this space as an online scrapbook, a virtual treasure box of memories that Max and I can take out someday and look through together.  Do you blog to make connections?  I’ve found some of the  most lovely friends here, and discovered that they are even more gracious and eloquent and witty in real life.  This space allows me to challenge myself.  It asks more of me than my friends in real life do.  It forces me to be public with my thoughts and my doubts, but why?

Don’t we blog, to say “Look at me!!!!”?

Look at me, I’m struggling with (fill in the blank) and I need your support.  Look at me, and make me feel like something about goldfish crackers and diapers and preschool drop-off is glamorous.  Look at me, I’m writing a book.  Look at me, I’m important and I need you to validate that.  Look at me!  My pain, my triumphs, my life….all splayed out in public, in hopes of finding community.  Or maybe page views.  Because really.  When you link up, when you tweet it, when you syndicate it, when you dig deep down into the darkness of your real life and you mine your experiences to share with the world…..what are you hoping to accomplish??

I know the answer that I’ve always given.  That I’m documenting our lives, our truths, so that one day Max will know the raw essence of who his parents really are.  So he’ll know for sure how much he is loved, how much he is treasured.  I know that I’m trying to throw a life jacket out to any  mom that feels like I once felt.  Alone, afraid, angry, isolated.  Struggling with breastfeeding.  Parenting alone when their partner is at work for endless hours.  Recently, I’ve been writing to challenge myself.  To see if I remember how to write for a prompt, or string together prose, or weave research into stories.  I know that all of those things together, drive me to blog.

But I’d be lying to say that I don’t care if anyone reads it.  And you would too.

We care because we’re on Twitter.  (I love Twitter by the way.  Especially since I’ve now met so many Twitter friends in real life.  But Twitter is really just one big ego-stroke, dressed up to look like information sharing).  We care because our blogs have Facebook pages, and we check Google Analytics and obsess over our Klout scores and how many followers we have.

I love to write.  But what is writing if it isn’t READ.  If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it….

Can you really tell me that  you don’t get a tiny rush of adrenaline when you hit “publish”?

That you don’t time your disclosures to coincide with when your audience is around?

You get a little kick out of introducing yourself by your Twitter handle.  You are thrilled when you create strategic alliances with other bloggers, or when you crack the code and a post really takes off.

Writing is like giving your psyche a makeover.  You can be whoever you want to be, just write it out.  I loved being forced to give my elevator pitch 600 times at BlogHer.  Because I changed it each time. “I’m a parenting blogger.  I write about children with health issues.  I discuss politics and current events.  I write about feminism.  I used to work in Social Services, so I talk about families and trauma.  Post-partum depression.  My blog talks about formula and struggling with breastfeeding.”  I write about all of these things.  Perhaps that’s what a “Lifestyle Blogger” is?  Seriously, WTF is a lifestyle blogger?  My guess was that’s what they called us “Mommy Bloggers”, so that we didn’t punch anyone in the face.

I’m embarassed that I’ve let my voice be overwhelmed by what I percieve my audience to need.  It makes me furious that the best memoir inside of me, the one that begs to be written, can never live on paper because I signed a confidentiality agreement.  I am embarassed that I’ve thought of sharing personal, private, painful things here, and that has stretched the boundaries that my family is comfortable with.  But maybe I should tell you anyway.  Isn’t that what bloggers do?

What is this space for?

I need reminding.  I need to know how you balance your stats and your truth.  Tell me why you blog.  Tell me what it feels like for you, when your fingers are typing furiously and your brain is in over-drive, and you vomit raw emotion that terrifies you, but you share it anyway.  Why?  I’m asking you honestly, why do you do it?  How can I find my way here?

Tell me the truth.  How do I get back to this sacred space?

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Comments:

  1. How do you get back? I guess you have to give up, Kim. Give up on pleasing anyone but yourself. Give up on writing safely, holding back, being afraid.

    Why do I blog? I blog because I want to write. While my blog has turned into a hodgepodge of topics (am I a mommy blogger? Lifestyle? No niche wiill be my bitch!), I have to admit that I hold back sometimes. I am afraid of how something will be taken, how I’ll be perceived. Sometimes I close comments to ward off words I don’t want to hear/deal with (if someone really wants to say something, I figure they’ll find a way). But, yes, it is narcissism to a degree. The whole look at me, find my pretty, I’m smart, my kids are cute, my life is better than yours (in your eyes only because truth be told, I’m giving you surface shit and you have NO IDEA what I’m dealing with on a daily basis). I purposely give the roses, purposely give the good things. Why bring down everyone by telling the “truth?” So, I give the abbreviated truth most of the time. I have no intention of giving the impression of my life being spectacular, but I also can’t control how others perceive the things I discuss or the pictures I show. There are times I want to show my sink full, my fridge empty, talk about how much I love vodka, how sometimes it’s my dinner. I think I hint at these things but rarely do I truly delve into them. I’m not sure why other than fear leading the way.

    I don’t look at my stats much (mainly because I can’t figure out how the hell to install Google Analytics to track it all). I look at my Twitter followers and want more but then I have to ask myself why? Why do I want more? I don’t know those people (most of them). My core base are probably people who aren’t even using Twitter, so yes, it’s an ego stroke. Look! I just got four followers in one day. I’m about to be big time!

    So yes, I care. I wish I didn’t care so much. I think truly I’d get back to caring more about “why” I write/blog if I did it for myself and paid less attention to others’ reactions. And so there. I’ve blogged in your comment section.

    • You know I love it when you “blog in my comment section”. I really do! And I appreciate your honesty, and your truths here. I must say, putting this blog identity crisis out there feels like a necessary purge. I feel lighter, ready to write again, less afraid. I think I’ve just been frustrated with the “Cheer Camp” aspect of blogging. I hated cheer camp. I went home early two years in a row, and a bitchy girl dropped me from a lift during practice because she didn’t like me ;) I guess I’m still trying to figure out where I fit :) BUT, it helps immensely to have a “graduating class” of blog friends, like you! And the “No niche will be my bitch”?! LOVE.

  2. I have no idea what your best memoir consists of, but if it’s a great, stand alone story, why not write it as a novel? Any resemblance to actual events or persons is entirely coincidental and all that.

    • Well hello my brilliant novelist friend! That’s actually never crossed my mind before. I suppose I COULD write it as a novel. Hmmmmm. See? BlogHer was good for a number of things, and having you as a new friend in this space is top on the list. Thank you for always taking the time to comment here and say hello, and for being so gracious and kind in NY!

  3. I don’t know. I’ve been struggling too. I will admit I was kind of upset by what I read as you shunning “community” in your first post after BlogHer – I took it far more personally than any normal person would. Probably because it touched something in my own struggles. I’ve been struggling with blogging vs. writing (what’s the difference?) and do I really know what blogging is? Why am I doing this? These questions are forcing me to peel back the layers of identity that motherhood allows me to hide behind. To keep it safe.

    It must be something in the air because last night I wrote a post that has no link-up, no history, no mommy theme. But it’s me. It’s fiction (so I can hide behind that) but the story is more ME than most anything I’ve ever put up. It has no place on my blog, but I felt like I needed to post it — lest *I* no longer had a place on my own blog.

    I don’t know how we get back to those places, the places we are looking for, but I am with you on this: we need to keep peeling back the layers.

    • Oh Carinn, so much to say, and I’m kicking myself for not just asking you to sit with me for a cup of coffee in NYC (or that crappy lemonade they were giving out for free in the lobby bar). I’m sorry that my BlogHer post (the first one???)came across as offensive, or as not gracious enough for all of the wonderful feelings of community that I found there. But since we’re spilling our guts here, I can say that one tiny piece of my struggle at BlogHer was because I was looking to you as my lifeline and I felt like you were fine without me :) Wow. Did I just say that? Eeek….BlogHer truths!! Silly. Junior High drama. Just my tendency to feel insecure, and totally not your fault. But the blog post wasn’t about you, I promise! It was about the complete overwhelm that I felt, and how I discovered that maybe there are sides of this blogging world that really aren’t for me. I’ve told you before, and I’ll say it again here, that I love how you’re stretching your wings on your blog. It’s forced me to take a look at my own writing, and move more towards actual writing, and further away from “blogging”. I am encouraged by how you’ve done BOTH in your space. Especially with the beautiful fiction piece that you just published. That took guts, and I can’t wait to read more from you. I’m still with you on this journey. I promise :) I love that your voice is here, and that YOU are my community.

      • I love it – here we are peeling back the layers! And I’m going to say it too: I felt dumb that you had your family there (my insecurities felt magnified) and that first night I had to fend for myself for like an hour. By the time we caught up again I thought you were all set with Ashley. Such silly stuff. I should have done the same and just said, “hey let’s just sit down”. The experience was overwhelming to say the least. Not to mention I’ve got my own junior high insecurities!

        I also KNOW you weren’t talking about me – the one thing I’ve learned is it’s never as personal as it feels. But I kept reading, realizing you had other stuff going on and now this post revealed feelings more complicated that reflect my struggles too.

        I look forward to both of us settling in as we sort through the BlogHer experience, take what works for us and leave behind what doesn’t. Big silly blogger hugs to you!

  4. I write my blog because it’s MINE. It’s the one place on Earth that’s mine and mine alone. I can share pieces of my soul, write about the crazy lady at the store or how my girls are robbing me of my will to live. can write a stupid poem to a cleaning product. I can not write. It’s MINE to decide.

    I write because it keeps my tiny shred of sanity intact and makes me feel better when others say they’re feeling similarly (although perhaps slightly less smart ass). There are no deadlines. There’s no pressure to believe a certain way or kiss anyone’s ass. I write because hitting that publish button is freedom. And NOT pushing that publish button is also freedom. It’s a piece of your soul that you dare to share with the world. And just maybe you make someone smile. Or through a crappy day because they read your post. And, maybe you just put something on paper because you need confirmation that you’re an intelligent adult with more to offer to the world than changing diapers and lamenting about lost sleep.

    Or, maybe not. But whatever the reason – it’s yours to do with it what you may! So put whatever makes you feel good out there. And who cares what others think (unless they think you are so freakin’ amazing – then care). ;)

    Tracy @ Momaical

  5. I started by blog because I need a blog in order to apply for a design team for a local store that I wanted to be try out for. I was over the moon that I was able to get the spot and for 4 months I got to design and share my cards I made for them. Now, I blog for the fun of sharing whatever I feel like sharing. Mostly my cards, sometimes some recipes and gardening posts etc. I have been enjoying it and the community I have been meeting. I have read blogs about subjects that I never would have before, and I feel like it has opened my world up. I have been learning from others, making friendships that I value and hopefully my blog is enjoyable to those who read it.

    I didn’t find your BlogHer post to be offensive or not gracious. I felt like you spoke what you felt and I know I felt safe to express myself about my experiences as well. I loved the conference, but did have some weird and not so great experiences. I maybe shouldn’t voice it, but I felt better and by writing I made a plege to myself on how to change some of those experiences next time.

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