I was just wandering around in my blog’s “Dashboard,” making a few adjustments and making more plans… soon, once the holiday knitting and crafting and such is all done, I plan to give the blog a complete overhaul, changing the appearance and adding a few features and just generally housekeeping.
I’ve played around with the administrative pages any number of times, so there aren’t many surprises left for me. But this morning I did get kind of a shock: this post, right now? Is the one thousand six hundred fifty-first post by me. Over 1600 bits and pieces of me, some having flowed out quietly, some pouring out in a desperate flood, some pulled out painfully, some bursting out in a fit of whimsy, some venting a steam that would otherwise build up and burn myself or a loved one… you name it, there are posts in here that reflect some aspect of my emotional expression and life at large.
If you were to go back to the very beginning and just read – and I know a few of you have actually done so, bless your hearts – you would know an awful, awful lot about me. Not everything, perhaps surprisingly, because while it certainly looks like I have exposed absolutely every possible detail of my life, both the interesting and the painfully mundane, I’ve actually always been careful in my decisions about what to post. I write with the knowledge that my children will, in all likelihood, eventually find and read everything here. I have no need to present them as perfect, but I also don’t need to expose their every peccadillo to the world at large. I am not necessarily proud or comfortable with every post herein, but I am willing to take responsibility for them all, and am prepared to talk with them about anything they encounter here.
I also write with attention to those around me. I try not to hurt feelings, to apologize when I have, to consider the possible impact of a given post. I don’t deliberately lie, though I’ll absolutely play around with hyperbole and drama for the sake of a better story. I use only the names I have been specifically authorized to use; otherwise, it’s initials, and sometimes not even the right initials – and if your friends or coworkers find a story here that you’d rather they not learn, well, they either stumbled upon my blog in a stroke of unbelievable coincidence (one blog out of 100-200 million, depending on whose estimate you use), or you pointed them here. The first option is wild and unlikely and unpreventable, and the second is your own choice.
Of course there is the inevitable circumstance in which different readers here know each other apart from the blog, and so if I write about, say, one of my sisters, then that information will be available to my mother-in-law’s creepy multiple-visits-per-day friend, so complete confidentiality and anonymity are just not possible. The solution here? Don’t be a jerk; conduct yourself in a manner that would not be embarrassing for you should your mother find out. I’m not suggesting we all need to tiptoe around and emulate Miss Manners (though I do happen to find her beyond hilarious and you could do worse in choosing someone to emulate), I’m just saying, don’t go out of your way to wear your asshat. People tell stories about their lives; it’s what we do, from the moment we figure out how to talk in the same language as those around us. The only difference between someone learning about, say, the plane tickets story from me in person versus from me online is that the written version lasts longer.
Anyway, so, yeah. Lots and lots of words… I’ll have to sit down and figure that one out sometime soon; maybe there’s a widget out there somewhere that will keep track of that for me. Words that are funny, sad, furious, confused, and sometimes downright worthless and boring. But they’re all me, in some aspect.
So, tell me, you readers out there. Whether you’re here for the first time today or have been along for the ride since 2004, what have you most enjoyed? What have you learned? Any surprises? Disappointments? Annoyances? I’m dying to know, truly – and I can handle negativity, I promise not to end up back in the psych ward due to anyone’s words – what brings you here? How do I come through, when filtered through my keyboard and your monitor? (And, please, please believe me, I am not looking for a Kate-love-fest here. I can handle, and even appreciate, criticism.)
Click on Reply, let me know. I’ll even reply, something I used to be great at and have recently just completely and unforgivably slacked off on: if you give up the time and effort to read my words and return with some of your own, then I owe you a response. Not necessarily for the, “Oh, me too!” or “Ha ha,” or other benign sorts of things – the equivalent of a smile and nod when you see someone you know but don’t have anything particular that you need to say at the time, so you just give a quick acknowledgment and continue on your way – but for the more in-depth comments, you deserve a reply, either here or through email. So I’ll try, very, very hard, to redevelop the habit of sticking around for the comments instead of just posting and crawling back under my rock. Just one more effort, on my part, to dredge myself out of this very dark, depressive quagmire I have been slogging through recently. You can bill me for your therapeutic services, though my repayment will be in the form of pixels, not pennies.
And let me clarify here, if I may: I’m truly interested in what things you have learned about me, what aspects of my life or personality strike a chord… I’m not in a depressed mood at the moment (yay!), not passive-aggressively searching for a meeting of my fan club, not feeling all nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms. On the contrary, to have 1651 posts on a single blog means that it’s at least somewhat successful, in terms of telling interesting stories and convincing people to come back. I’m sure that there are people out there who post thousands of times and never get more than 25 hits in a day, ad they’re fine and happy with that because they’re using their blog as a journal or whatever… for me, if I didn’t get any comments or hits, for an extended period of time, especially after posting something I thought was particularly compelling in some way, then I would probably shut the blog down relatively quickly. I have a journal, which is private and separate; this is a public venue, and the interaction with the audience is one of the major draws for me. So, if you feel a desperate need to kiss up, well, far be it from me to stop you… but only do that if it’s what you need or want to do. What I’m asking for is more along the lines of, please pretend you’re a camera, taking a photo (or a portfolio) of my personality and biography. What does the final picture look like?
And now it’s time to lavish attention on my just-waking baby boy, and start pondering Post #1652.