Two years ago tomorrow, I started this blog, partly in an effort to convince my best friend that she and her boyfriend should really start their blog about cooking alphabetically through the UN member states. Since then, some things have changed, but many have stayed the same. For starters, F and her now husband, Mr. F, STILL DO NOT HAVE A BLOG. In fact, I can no longer even LINK you to the sad sham of a blog they used to have because the website no longer exists.
I’m not in too much of a position to judge, though, because several months ago, I fell off the blogging wagon myself. For almost a year and a half, I steadily kept up my writing, which was originally designed to keep distant friends and relations informed about my goings-on. But 45,000 hits later, I felt–and still feel–extremely ambivalent about posting things about my personal life on the internet. Part of the problem is that I don’t live in a bubble, and almost everything I write about involves one or more other people that are important to me. Even with their consent and encouragement, sharing details about my friends’ lives feels kind of exploitative, or, at the very least, ethically ambiguous.
There’s also the question of how much of myself I should be putting out there. Around the time I stopped writing, I was working in a job that was a terrible fit for me and extremely unhappy. I was trying to figure out how to move on through leaving said job, moving to Scotland, and going to grad school. Huge life decisions and my general dissatisfaction with DC were pretty all-consuming at the time, and I just didn’t feel up to writing about how high-larious my Eurovision party was this year, or that really fun happy hour I went to. Also, I DEFINITELY wasn’t telling anyone at work about leaving, so it didn’t seem like the thing to be discussing to the world wide web, either.
But most of all, I feel super weird about strangers reading about my life on the internet. It all seems strangely… exhibitionist? I’m not really sure. I love writing, and I like the idea someone else would want to read my writing and not just because they’re my friend, but I still struggle horribly with the thought of others reading my stuff. My friends from college can confirm that I never, ever let anyone read my papers. The perceived anonymity of the internet makes things a little easier, but even that fourth wall comes crumbling down from time to time.
Sometimes, it’s for the better. Partly thanks to this blog, I got to know the five super-amazing women who write the blog Forever Young Adult, of which I’m now the sixth. I have to say, I seriously enjoyed the first time FYA writer No H came to one of our parties in DC and I introduced her as “my friend from the internet.” It makes people almost as delightfully uncomfortable as when PenPal comes to visit.
But it’s also slightly horrifying to think about how much of my life is broadcast to anyone who would care to look at it. It’s kind of like having your Facebook profile set to public, but more personal. I’m the kind of person who spends 90% of her time on Facebook obsessively checking her privacy settings and trying to figure out how to make them stricter.
I think, though, that it’s time I figure out how to write here again. I’m not yet sure what that will look like, but I’m going to try my best to implement the once-a-week rule again, starting tomorrow. Mostly, this is because I’ve discovered that I am TERRIBLE at keeping in touch with people. (Seriously, I haven’t exchanged more than a couple text messages with L in the past two months, and I lived with the woman for six years.) But also, I’ve stopped writing for myself. Between book reviews, term papers, and soon, my dissertation, I never write for my own enjoyment anymore. It’s much more difficult to do when I’m only accountable to myself, but it also tends to be far more rewarding.
So in this last, rather dull post of 2012, I bid farewell to these past several months of avoidance and excuses and welcome a new year of blogging. May 2013 be filled with more hapless adventures, 90s nostalgia, and Neville Longbottom than any year before.