Have you ever heard that quotation, “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.”? It’s been attributed to Mark Twain, among other people, but who knows who really said it. It’s got a nice ring to it, though, and it lends itself nicely to a wall plaque or a web bulletin board signature. It also sticks in your head for a few days after you hear it. (Sorry about that.)
My dancing is atrocious. I dance in the kitchen with Smooch, though, and when he does his funny dance moves in front of his father later I say things like, “That’s so cute! I wonder where he picked that up?” I sing loudly, in the car and in the shower and in church. Love? It’s harder for me to dash off a quirky little sentence about that one, given my recent history. The fact is that I have been hurt, and I will not forget it. I can make the conscious decision to love anyway – and that’s what I’m doing.
The thing I can’t figure out, though, is how to apply that to my bloggership. I have tried to articulate part of this problem before, and I’ve read what my friends have said about it. Then a few weeks ago, my younger brother checked in at my old place, and found the link I’d posted to this blog. Last night, I went out with friends and the subject of blogs came up. I said, off-hand, that I blog… and they asked me if they could have the address. (As an aside, I changed the subject to NaBloPoMo and didn’t give out my URL.)
I started Fizzledink with a plan to stay anonymous. There’s something delicious about being hidden in plain view – having readers, having a presence online, but preserving my privacy. I created new names for my family members and tried to stay vague about locations. When I brought my archives over from NewDotMom, I removed a couple of posts that didn’t fit into the guidelines I’d given myself here. I want to feel safe here to say anything.
After all, that’s part of what made me leave NDM. I had friends from “my real life” and family members – people who know me in person – who were readers. When Gruff’s affair came out, and my world was falling apart, and I wanted to write about it to attempt to make sense of it all, I was afraid to reveal myself to them. I didn’t know how to keep writing about “normal” things and censor that part of my life, so I just gave up.
I want to write here. I want to stretch my writing muscles and force myself to think about deeper things than diapers and Sesame Street. I want to look inside myself and turn out what I find onto paper. But now that I know at least one person from my face-to-face life has this address, will I be stunted by fear? Will I use the excuse that “I need to censor this to protect myself (or to protect that other person, or that one)” to stay within my comfort zone? I’d like to think not. I’d like to think that I can blog like nobody’s watching. But, of course, that’s the conundrum of blogging, isn’t it? We all hope someone is watching. We all love the comments and the feedback and the debate and the community that spring up at our blogs. I do blog for you, in a way. I don’t choose to write about things that I think you want to hear – but I certainly do love it when the things I write give you something to write back about. If there really were nobody watching, this would be a lot less fun. I’d still be writing in all those (beautiful) paper (half-empty) journals, with an audience of one.
I need to decide what subjects in my life are off-limits here. While I want to protect my son, my husband, our relationship, my friends… if I choose never to write about any of them, this won’t be a very personal “personal blog.” Most of my very favorite blog authors do share information about their families, their children, their groups of friends. It makes them relatable. It makes me feel like a friend. I want to cultivate that feeling here. So, gentle reader, tell me: how did you decide how much is enough? Do you lay it all out in the open at your blog? Do you have a few off-limits topics? Have you been ‘discovered’ by a person about whom you blogged (whether favorably or unfavorably)? I’m in search of my direction, and maybe if a few of you tell me about the path you took, it will help me see the way to mine.