I made a cake for the occasion!
Welcome, Gentle Readers, to my 100th blog post! Anyone who has stuck with me from the beginning knows I love me some retrospect and reflection. What better time to think about the progression of my site than the 100th post?
This blog started out as a place to host my Thematic Experiment blog. Thematic Experiment was an idea cooked up with Tina to showcase my ability to write about anything repeatedly on a regular schedule to show potential employers.
It started on a normal free WordPress blog site until I was picked to contribute for the fantastic Urlybits.com (then dailyshite.com) and I decided I needed to have my own site too. I have been incredibly slack contributing to Urlybits but I owe so much to Sara and Paul O’Flaherty. I learned a lot from working with them and I got some great friends out of the deal.
Anyway, I bought the domain name for the site and set off on this odyssey. I found a few surprises a long the way. I realized I really enjoy building WordPress sites. I also realized that I do not know nearly enough about them. I still live in fear when I decide to make changes to my site. Second, I found that not only could I write on a schedule about a specific theme but I was actually pretty good at it. I am not going to pretend that all of my stuff was gold but I was expecting far worse. Third, and by far the biggest surprise, people read it.
I wrote six full-ish months off theme blogs until (through some prodding by Sara) I decided to go to my more personal blog. I think those six months were very important. I had to prove something to myself and I think I did. Something happened with April and beyond though and I actually started to put myself into my blogs.
In reality, I am a simple creature. I am a pain in the ass and I am crazy but my motivations are pretty simple. I like making people happy, I like praise and attention, and I like to think that I am special. (Tyler Durden be damned.) I think do varying degrees we are all motivated by these things. Some social pundits call blogging narcissism and look down on it as self aggrandizement. (I know I talk funny damnit. Stop making fun of me.) On the surface these people are right. It is narcissistic that I write thing about myself and those around me and expect people to care. I do get a feeling of gratification for the praise I get. It does make me feel good to think that what I write might matter to someone else. So, in some ways they are absolutely right, but in the important ways, they are very very wrong.
Most humans need connections to be whole. We need to feel like people care about us and to care about others. We need to know that there are other people who are like us or who have gone through the same things we have. Nothing is more terrifying and awful than to feel like you are the only one. (Go watch that Brene Brown video on TED.com if you haven’t. Just do it, okay and stop arguing, I am right about this.)
It is hard in a society of false faces to feel these connections. So much of our society is obsessed with appearances (I do not just mean purely looks) that we have become so disingenuous that it is hard to feel connected to people. Some people can not even truly connect to the people closest to us because we are so concerned with appearance and being correct that we just do not open up. We worry about privacy. We worry about what happens if people find out. We worry what people will think. We start to judge, and forget to try to understand, and it becomes so hard to allow ourselves to be truly open with anyone that it becomes almost a heroic feat to tell the truth about some human experiences. Screw that. I hate this silence and disconnect, it breeds shame and shame is generally the most useless and destructive emotion we humans have.
That is why we read and write blogs. We get to share. We get to talk about our kids, our food, our pets, or anything else that matters. We feel connected to people when we read people’s blogs about experiences like ours. It does not matter if it is unimportant or inconsequential, it is genuine sharing. We get to have those connections we need and we feel less alone.
The blog post Strong Woman changed everything for me. I had harbored so much pain, shame, and confusion deep inside myself that was eating at me. I wrote something of myself for the first time and put it out naked and raw. I was terrified. It was the most liberating thing I have ever done. The response was overwhelming and life changing for me.
I like praise and I like being good at things but this went so much deeper than that. I realized how hungry we all are for honest, genuine human truth. I realized that I was not alone in all those emotions that went along with the abuse. I realized I liked the honest me that I put into the rawness there and in posts after that. Also, I always knew that my friends are incredible and my friends who read this site are invaluable to me but after that, I realized that you guys are more amazing than I ever thought.
I started writing this blog in November for Tina. I kept writing in the beginning to prove to myself that I could. I found that now I write it because I believe in it. I don’t have delusions that my writing will ever bring change or effect the world. I write now because I hate our world of polite society and polite conversation. Now, I don’t think we should run through life telling everyone we meet every detail of everything that has ever happened to us. I just think it stupid that we are afraid to be open even when we should be. I think it is stupid that we have let ourselves be so isolated and shamed that we lock ourselves into boxes. I am done with it. Fear of being judged or ridiculed sucks. I do not think it is worth giving up the chance to truly connect with those around us though. I have been advised that it would be smart of me to unlist my blog or stop writing my blog because it could hurt my chances of finding a job. It is brilliant advice that would be smart for me to take. I am not known for doing things the easy way that makes sense.
I absolutely did not mean this blog to become a big ass rant about blogging and openness. Tangents happen. I do want to say one last thing though.