January 03, 2007

How Personal Should A Blog Be?

I sit here at a desk that has a couple of piles of papers on it. The stack on my left are bills that need to be paid and the stack on the right are those that need to be filed. To my left is a blue couch that beckons to me. I can hear its siren song gently urging me to collapse upon it in blissful couch potato land.

I refuse to give in. My mind is still too active to try and shut down so I choose to stay here where I can try and sort through the chaotic cacophony that lives inside my noggin. During my brief time blogging I have enjoyed using this as a therapeutic tool.

It is the place where I air out my thoughts and consider what my true feelings are. The name was intentional. I didn't want to pigeonhole myself into being one kind of blog. In the beginning I really didn't have any idea what this blog would mean to me and I certainly never expected that anyone would take the time to read the things I write.

In fact the lack of interaction in the beginning probably made it easier for me to really vent. I opened up and typed out things that were/are incredibly personal. In general I don't expose myself like this. It is not my thing.

But, I did. Not just once or twice but on many occasions. I wrote about crying, the death of a grandparent, a friend and some other personal events.

It felt good to get it out. It felt cathartic and I was glad to have the opportunity. And then things changed a bit.

I was outed. My blog was discovered and people tried to use it against me. They tried to use the things that I shared to hurt me. They read my words and looked to attack me where they saw my vulnerabilities.

It was an unpleasant experience. I am not the first blogger to have this experience nor will I be the last, but that doesn't change the bitter taste it left in my mouth. I felt violated. It may sound silly to you. This is a public place, but I chose anonymity intentionally. I had always wanted the choice over disclosing who I am.

And in the interest of full disclosure let me say that I have been participating in various online forums for a good nine or ten years now. It was my experience there that led me to choose anonymity.

I am not trying to paint myself to be a victim. I have always given as good I have gotten and in some cases I may have given more than my fair share of internet chatter.

All I know is that a while back something broke inside me. Some of my love for the medium was taken away. Some of my desire was destroyed and I am not sure if it will ever come back. Now I find myself checking myself. Now I notice that I censor things in a way that I never used to.

I suppose what I am really saying is that I miss the freedom of expression I used to feel. I miss that naive feeling I had. It is like Adam and Eve suddenly noticing their nakedness. I never used to notice it.

Now when I look back at some of the old stuff I cringe. I haven't removed any of it. I don't have any immediate plans to do so, but you never know what the future holds.

That is it for now. See you around.

11 comments:

tikkunger said...

Oh Jack don't you know that all these things you are feeling. All of these problems you are writing of, they stem form the fact i am not in your blogroll!

All kidding aside, if you write it they will use it and sometimes even against you, but so what! the way I see it bloggers must be able to balance discretion with honesty and honesty with tactfullness. after all this place is not a journal locked up and hidden under your pillow.

I try to stand by the motto that there is nothing on my blog i wouldn't also say to a persons face. but then again i am not known to always keep my mouth shut!

PS how the heck did Charlton Heston find out about what you worte about him?

Sheyna Galyan said...

Being outed like that is a violation. It's a kind of emotional rape. And the fact that you stayed and continued blogging, even if censoring yourself more, says something about your integrity.

I may well be in the minority (as usual), but I quickly tire of blogs that are nothing more than political rants and newsy gossip. They may have their place, but they don't compel me to visit often.

I am compelled, however, to frequently visit blogs where the author is willing to share a bit of him or herself, anonymously or not. I'm far more interested in the humanity of the blog.

That's exactly what you've offered here, and it's why I keep returning.

I've written one post in particular that I've been tempted to take down since I first posted it. In a very real way, it's the most personal post I've written, though one wouldn't necessarily know that by reading it. I've kept it up, though, because the feedback I've received is that others feel the same way, and reading the post helped them, too.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of your more personal posts have helped others as well, even if they never let you know.

I'm so sorry you had to endure the maliciousness after being outed. At the same time, I thank you for being willing to share yourself with all of us.

PsychoToddler said...

You can always start over. I think sometimes that I would like to, because now that my wife and pretty much all of my kids read me, I find there are more and more topics that are off-limits to me. I know that if I write them I will get hasseled at home.

So thank G-d I have a few other blogs that they don't check but which my loyal readers know about and I can post the really funny stuff or outrageous stuff there.

Still, I know that I wrote more compelling stuff when no one was reading.

Anonymous said...

I am semi-out, so I have to censor myself. But as a writer I find it more challenging to present my points without revealing too much personal data. Maybe you will in time, too.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Jack - we love getting your insights.

Jack's Shack said...

All of these problems you are writing of, they stem form the fact i am not in your blogroll!

Oh really.

And the fact that you stayed and continued blogging, even if censoring yourself more, says something about your integrity.

Ask the 12 wives, little sisters and parents and they'll tell you that I but the stubb in stubborn.

On a serious note, thanks I appreciate it.

So thank G-d I have a few other blogs that they don't check but which my loyal readers know about and I can post the really funny stuff or outrageous stuff there.

I must not be one of the loyal readers because I don't know about these blogs.

Still, I know that I wrote more compelling stuff when no one was reading.

I wonder if I did too.

Paula,

Could be be.

Richmond,

Thanks.

PsychoToddler said...

Hint: Check my profile.

Jack's Shack said...

Will do.

Sweettooth120 said...

Hey PT, loyal readers? I thought I was, but I guess I am not privy to your outrageous stuff either. Man I've been feeling left out a lot lately. First Trep and now you.

Jack, I was thinking about this topic today. There is stuff that I want to write but even though I don't know any bloggers personally, there is a relationship there that makes me feel like I have to censor what I write.

Jack's Shack said...

There is stuff that I want to write but even though I don't know any bloggers personally, there is a relationship there that makes me feel like I have to censor what I write.

I know what you mean.

Lady-Light said...

What you wrote in this post really hit home. When I first began blogging, it was a means of self-expression, a creative release.

Funny thing, though--with me, it's sort of the opposite of what is happening to you (if I understand it correctly): initially, I didn't 'get personal' so much, but the longer I blogged, the more personal it became, with posts about my family, my radical views (my 'Hijab' post was one of the more controversial ones), which some friends and colleages are reading and...don't know how long it will be before I can't hold my head up in the community anymore.

Some of this is stuff I used to keep to myself,but the cover of 'anonymity'(I'm sure many of my readers know who I am...) enabled me to speak out. Would I speak out like this in my shul? No. In the community in public? No.
But I have spoken my true thoughts to a couple of my friends, in person.
In essence, my blog is like my alter ego.

Now, I will venture to say that all your troubles are because you are not blogrolling me (not that other blogger/commenter!).
(Fact is, you've been on MY blogroll for about a year. I'm not asking for much...)