I’ve been told a lot of nice things lately from people who read this blog. It’s often very flattering and honestly, I find it so interesting to see myself through others eyes.
A blogging friend made a comment to me a couple of weeks ago that surely there were things about me that I don’t write about, there were things I kept hidden. I had to think about that for a minute. Sure, I don’t talk much about the following:
The work I do and who I do it for. Why? First, while I love my work, I’m not sure it would be that amusing. Although I love Aussa’s workplace stories, so perhaps I will consider it. Second, although it’s keenly important to me, it’s not the focus of the journey I am on today. Third, the more I talk about what I do, the easier it is to figure out who I am in real life…which limits my ability to write with brutal honesty.
Parenting. My kid is a source of endless delight and amusement. I could write a lot about him but I seem to have plenty to talk about without focusing on being a Mom.
My ability to organize. Perhaps if I didn’t have a job, I would have this blog and another about how to realistically manage a busy life and stay on top of things. I love to be organized and prepared and I’m pretty good at it. For example, I failed to mention in my post “My Friday night with Marian” that when she needed eye drops, I had them. When Dude A ran a bleeding finger across her boob, leaving her with, well, a bloody boob, I got club soda from the bartender for her shirt and provided Dude A with a bandaid. But I am no super Mom who aspires to be Martha Stewart.
Other than that, I am what I write. I don’t spend any time carefully crafting an image that I think is attractive. When I think bad thoughts, or do embarrassing things, I write about them. I am often confident but also keenly aware of my shortcomings. I share it all with you. What point is keeping an online journal if I lie to myself? I try to write like I speak – because I know no other way to write. It’s probably why I don’t consider myself a writer, because I just dictate what’s in my head.
Last night, a relatively new blogger friend said they didn’t know me (it was in context, we were talking about trusting people with information we normally don’t share). I proposed that in fact he knew me better than most anyone in real life – because he was reading my inner thoughts, knew my stories, knew the things I would filter out from many conversations I have in real life. To be clear, though, I’m still a very open person in real life. My friends know about a lot of what I write here – which is why I wasn’t concerned about bringing Katharine (real life friend) and Marian (blogging friend) together. I don’t have many secrets.
But is that really true? What makes someone known to us? Is it the day-to-day facts of life? Name, job, address, salary? Or is it our feelings, beliefs, passions, fears, hopes and dreams? A year ago when creating my OkCupid profile, when asked whether I believed I could fall in love with someone I’d never met, I said “no”. I need to rethink this, now, because I believe I could fall in love with someone’s heart and soul when it is revealed on the pages of their blog. It may not translate into real life – but that’s only because we put rules around what should and shouldn’t be.
For example, what if you read someone’s words, you engage them in dialogue on their blog, then you banter, you flirt, and you find you really really like what they say, how they say it, what they feel, their approach to life and love. You take it “off blog”. The conversations continue. You learn more, and what you learn, you really like.
Then, you break that final barrier and discover they make significantly less money than you. Or they are married. Or they are 30 years older. Or 10 years younger. Or they are not your physical type. We build up the fantasy in our head of what we want them to be. What happens when they don’t live up to it?
Do you overcome all of that? Perhaps, depending on what fits with your “type” (and I mean that in the broadest sense of the word). Perhaps not. I’m not suggesting that we should all just fall in love with each other’s words. Of course, there are things that could be deal breakers for each of us, once we do know a person’s name and serial number. But I will propose that for those of us who write as we are…who put it all out there…you do really know us. The other stuff is superficial. Important, sure, but it’s the surface.
This blog is me. Pure and simple. And if you ever think I’m trying to bullshit you, please, call me on it. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love a good debate.