WARNING: MY VERBIAGE RUNNETH OVER...
Mrs. G wrote a very thoughtful post yesterday on the boundaries of blogging, called Boundaries, Anyone? She raised several issues in her post and ended with this paragraph, "What are your feelings, reader, about the boundaries of blogging? Is your blog open to the public or your immediate family? Do you occasionally tip-toe or do you feel it's your life, your blog, your story to tell in whatever manner you choose...warts and all?"
I've been wrestling with these questions since I read her post. Just how do I feel about boundaries and my writing here, open to any who care to find me on the Internet? It is an interesting question and one for me that needs further exploration.
When I first started this blog, late last spring, I didn't tell anyone about it. There was something so freeing about the ability to just empty my thoughts onto a page and post it out into the world. Like sending little messages in a bottle, wondering if someone would find it and for a moment feel a connection through a message from a stranger. It was during a period of time in which I felt both suppressed and invisible. Suppressed because it had been many, many years since I had expressed myself creatively - other than the brief period of time that I took up painting to deal with the pain of infertility, or wrote my spiritual autobiography to share with a small, intimate group at a Covenant I class at church. Make no mistake, this suppression was self-inflicted.
In the last few years, my entire life has been about being a mother and a wife. And overall this path has been glorious and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But, as a woman and as a wife and mother, you are "trained" to put everyone else's needs before your own and you often lose track of who you are. Especially choosing to stay at home, despite the playgroups, the wonderful friendships made with other mothers and the variety of activities that fill your day. I think that it is extremely challenging to find something that is just for you - something to cherish and hold close - that is not within your role of a mother or wife. And I found that separateness, that fluid channel through blogging.
For me, my blog is a place to exercise my writer's muscles. To stretch and grow, to blunder and smash my face, to at times rip myself down the middle and show my insides - when I'm brave enough. It is therapy. It is a way of staying sane. Because I couldn't stay quiet anymore. It is my mini-course. My salvation. And most importantly, it is my connection to other people who might hear an echo into their own souls, as I have heard the echos in their writing, in their blogs. A sense of community. As if riding together on the crest of a wave that starts out far at sea, gathers momentum and then slams onto the beach. Do it. Just to make sure that you are still ... Awake. Alive. Present. Do it, because it feels good not to keep it all inside. Do it, because in the end it doesn't really matter - it is just words flung out, into the wind - maybe sticking, probably not. It is just not all that important, other than that it fulfills you. And that is important. To you.
It seems ironic to me that although I was having some kind of identity crisis, and feeling that I had lost a part of myself since I had become a mother, I chose to start a Mommy Blog. And to write about that part of my life. Yet, you write what you know and I do know about being a mom. I am reassured that I am recording the moments with my children somewhere, for the moments are so fleeting. Perhaps someday I will have the courage to write about something a little less personal, a little more interesting and something that bears more weight. For now, this satisfies and feeds my soul.
My husband, E, encouraged me to open up my blog to family members. At first I was a bit resistant. The idea of it was scary, vulnerable to do so. When I was an actress that was always the case for me. Far easier to perform to a packed house of strangers than for my family. Maybe because strangers don't have preconceived notions of who you are and their comments on your life tend to hurt less, if critical. And to mean more if in praise. Hey, someone out there likes me! And they don't really know me, so that must mean they really like me! A.K.A. Sally Field's Oscar acceptance speech. So, I did invite family members to come to my blog and some of them visit and some don't. And that is good, because somehow it feels balanced. And I don't have to repeat stories about the kids again in emails!
I fear that I teeter back and forth between tip-toeing and flipping my skirt up and saying, WHOOOHOO look at my panties! I am both of those people. My children are getting a little older now and I am more conscious of them having the ability to someday read what I wrote about my life with them. I would never want to hurt them in any way. And my relationship with my husband is off limits, yet I touch on things that hopefully he will not feel threatened by. Having his respect is crucial and vital to me.
I hope that I have not been guilty of airing dirty laundry. Maybe some stained laundry, but not dirty laundry. That holds no interest for me. Somehow there seems an agenda behind those kind of posts. An agenda that begs to blow up in your face.
Mrs. G's post has stayed with me and weighed on me until I had to sit down and write about this. It has gotten me thinking more about what I want out of blogging and is there a purpose to it, other than just using it as a vent or outlet for creativity. Perhaps it is meant to be temporary, to bridge the jump between writing about things banal and then really taking a risk and trying to write something more concrete - like a book. Perhaps it will be just another creative venture that dies out... All I do know is that it is a journey that I relish and hopefully will make me a more interesting person to my children, when they think of me someday as someone who had her own interests. Created her own fire in the belly. Even if it was pretty messy on some days. Because life is messy. That's why they invented baths. Blog posts are little snapshots into our lives. And everyone uses different lenses.