Tuesday, March 9, 2010
In Which I Preach To The Choir
"That's totally you," he says.
He's only partially kidding. I wouldn't (I don't think) blog from my hospital bed. Mostly because I would be too busy drooling over Chase - the good looking Australian doctor with the great hair. But also because there are lines I don't cross, information that is personal and private that I don't share. I try to make my little acre on the internet less about spewing personal information and more about communing with other people. It mostly works out that way. But I know there are times he is shaking his head, wondering what on earth is so compelling to me about blogging.
Bloggers seem to get kind of a bad rap. The battle cry of the skeptics is that we're a bunch of self-absorbed isolationists who hide behind our computer screens because we can't cope in the real world. Or worse: that we're liars - we blog to project a life that isn't really ours.
And, truth be told, I was very skeptical when I started this blog. Not because I was down on bloggers, but because I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to read anything I had to say. My life just isn't that interesting. I did, I will confess, consider it to be a self-absorptive endeavor, and I guess it is. Now, however, I feel like if people don't want to read, they don't have to. Blogging helps me appreciate the smaller moments I might have missed, some poignant moment that otherwise may have gone whizzing by unnoticed.
It's true that the internet can enable you to create a persona that isn't you; you can assume any identity you want. But it's equally true that is strips down some of the posturing and pretenses that can muddy the waters in real life. Sometimes being able to conceal your identity leads to the ability to reach down and get real in a way you wouldn't with your neighbor over coffee.
Case in point: a week ago I started Crying Out Now, Voices of Addiction and Recovery. I wanted it to be a safe place for women to anonymously share their struggles and triumphs with addiction and recovery. I had no idea if it would work, but I was inspired by such amazing places as Maggie Dammit's Violence Unsilenced, and the Booze Free Brigade started by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor and Sweet Jane. They are doing a lot of good in the world, in large part because they are providing a platform for people to open up without having to reveal who they are. Healing happens that couldn't happen in the real world. And people who understand are right there to cheer them on. The response to Crying Out Now was immediate and amazing.
There is a lot of white noise, a lot of self-indulgent blabbing that happens on the internet. But there is also a lot of good: good writing, good community, good works.
What about you, internet? Do you get a hard time from friends or family members about your blogging? Do you struggle with balance? What does blogging do for you?
I'd ask the skeptics for their opinion, but, of course they're not here.
***Important disclaimer in the interest of full disclosure: I'm new to this blogging business. I started this blog nine months ago, with only a vague sense of what I was going to do with it. Most of you have been at this way longer than I have, and you've likely talked this subject to death, but I want to hear from you. So please comment if you have insight or advice.