"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Evolution of a Blog (and of me)

I started blogging in December of 2004, just because I thought it'd be a fun thing to do.  This was my very first post.  I really just started out blogging about our life, like a journal.  I set it to private and shared it with approximately 3 people.  I'm not exaggerating.

A couple of years later, I still had it private, but I had maybe a few dozen readers.  I'd gradually lightened up, and opened up, and found myself sharing a lot more personal things about myself and my life with my family.  And then something happened and I kind of freaked out.  I find out that someone was sharing my posts.  Remember that my blog was still private, so people had to be invited to read it.  Someone was copying and pasting my posts for other people to read.  It was not done with any malice or bad intent.  It was simply someone wanting to share with others.  And the ironic thing was, if the people who were receiving these forwarded posts had asked, I would have gladly added them to the list!  It was just the idea of something private being copied and pasted and passed around.  It made me feel..... violated and icky.

So I freaked out.  I stopped short of deleting my blog, but I did remove everyone from my reader list.  I was then blogging just for myself.  Which was kind of stupid.  I already had a private journal.  And the whole reason I'd started it in the first place was because I thought it'd be a fun thing to share with other people.  And I stopped sharing it because... I got a little panicky about the fact that an extended family member read Tegan's birth story?

So I got a grip.  And my new solution to my feelings of weirdness of having my stuff shared was the exact opposite of what my first inclination had been.  Instead of keeping it private (which, quite honestly, was a pain.  I hated having to manually send people invites all the time), I made it completely public.  That way, I would know, for better or worse, that it was "out there."  It was in the blogosphere, and anyone who stumbled upon it could have at it.  Which meant that I couldn't feel strange or embarrassed or violated in any way if someone shared it.   Just because I was openly sharing about our life, did not mean I was openly sharing our WHOLE life.  I was still me.

And it was good.

I added the link to my email signature, and I gave it out a little more freely.  I started blogging more about unschooling and parenting and more "controversial" topics, rather than strictly sticking to slice-of-life stories of the kids.

I soon saw people sharing their blogs all over Facebook, but I wasn't quite there yet.

Here's the thing:  the part of me that makes me ponder everything, the part of me that makes me like to write and think and analyze and sort of dig deep inside my head... that same part makes me really, really sensitive.  When I'm writing I can feel powerful and passionate and bold.... but the fact remains that in person, when you take away the keyboard, I'm still that painfully shy girl in school.  The quiet one you probably wrote off as being conceited.  The one who would have loved to be your friend, but who wore walls of self-preservation a mile thick.  The one who was just desperately afraid of getting hurt.

The reason writing is always so personal to me is because it's ME, without my walls.    Sharing my writing is sharing ME, warts and all.

I share that simply to show what a big deal it was for me to start sharing my posts on Facebook.  I don't know what made me finally do it really, except maybe a desire to join the party.  So many great moms and unschoolers were writing, and sharing, amazing things.  The first post I ever posted on Facebook was Attachment Parenting:  Freedom and Joy, which I wrote last November.  I followed it up with Offensive, Defined, and was so humbled and excited to see a few people share it.    I got a couple of random and unexpected emails from people telling me they enjoyed my blog, which touched me more than I can say.

And then, I got my first negative response.  And then another.  And then another.   (It's not so much the disagreeing.  I am absolutely, 100% comfortable with the fact that I am weird and that people will disagree.  It's the disagreeing and being mean about it that gets to me.)  And just like that I was that freaked out little girl again, with my feelings hurt and wanting to take my ball and go home.

But this time I won't go home.  I'll stand my ground here in my little corner of the web, and I'll think what I think and I'll write what I write, because it's just what I do.  With that in my mind, today I took my final step of putting myself "out there", and made a Facebook page.  As of this writing, I have 5 whole fans. :)

The Path Less Taken

And in the grand tradition of "speak your mind even if your voice shakes," I'll speak my mind, and you can rest assured that my voice is shaking.

And when you're reading my shaky voiced blogs:
If you read something that you like, please tell me.
If you read something you that you want to talk about, please tell me.
If you read something that you think is straight up crazy, please tell me.

But please, please, be nice.  The scared little girl in the corner thanks you.


Jessica said...

Boy, you and me have taken similar blog paths (and flak) recently, eh? :)

jen said...

You know what's weird is that the recent flak I've gotten hasn't even on my blog itself, but on other people's facebook walls. Very odd thing to go to a friend's page and see her friends trashing something you've written. :-/ I just keep telling myself that it's just more inspiration for future posts. :)

Jessica said...

I definitely take a live and learn approach. :)

Nichole said...

I'm glad you opened your blog up because reading it has been just that extra push I needed to know that wanting to keep my children out of public school is the right thing to do. I love your stories.

jen said...

Thanks so much for the encouragement Nichole! And YAY for keeping kids out of school !! :-D

Lenetté said...

I totally 'get it', I really do. Although I'm sharing publicly on my blog, I still 'hide' from prying eyes. My blog is my personal space... anyone else is just visiting and should act as such. :)


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