Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Inviting All Interlopers

There’s a reason I keep an online journal, a blog, a whatever-the-hell-you-want-me-to-call-it.

Actually, there are probably dozens of reasons. But the part I’m keying in on here is the ‘online’ part of it all. I keep an online blog because I want people to read it. Many people. As many people as possible.

Not so long ago, I was talking with a close friend of mine, and she complained about all these “strangers” leaving comments on my blog, how it bugs her, how she feels like she’s at home here, and then suddenly there’s someone she doesn’t know, sticking their nose into everything, looking around, trespassing, invading, and it makes her feel violated.

I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember feeling completely bewildered. I love the fact that she and some of my other friends think of my blog as ‘home,’ but at the same time, that’s not why I’m writing here. If I have something deep and introspective to say to my friends, I’ve never had a problem doing so. This is not a way for me to find out what the people in my life have to say about my issues—though invariably, I do find out this way, and it is extremely useful to me. Still, the whole point of this, for me, is to open my life and my mind up to people who are NOT in my life, who I wouldn’t otherwise get feedback from during a phone call, or an online chat, or in private email. I want the strangers. They don’t feel like interlopers to me. They feel like people who might just have the right words for me, who might just say something with a twist I wouldn’t otherwise have considered. And I like the idea that maybe I’m giving something to them, saying something that makes their life easier, or makes them feel less at odds with the world. And I like the fact that I can hawk my book incessantly without feeling like a total and complete whore. (Which is not to say that I'm not BEING a total and complete whore. I just don't FEEL like one.)

In fact, I’ve spent the last few months in search of ever more ‘strangers’ to talk to. And so I joined BlogExplosion, and Blog Clicker, and I’d join any of the dozens of others, too, if I didn’t also have to work and be a parent and eat and breathe sometimes. And I play along with the ‘Hi, Michele Sent Me’ game, which I love doing, and I became almost incontinent with excitement when she tagged me yesterday.

Look, I’m a writer. And I don’t know of many writers who don’t like to be read, who don’t absolutely NEED to be read. Also, I like attention. I don’t like people looking at me, I don’t like to have to speak in front of large groups, but I like—nay, love and crave—knowing that I’m part of others’ thoughts and lives, in whatever minute way. I love the fact that people read about me and my family and stop for a few minutes and think about what we’re going through, and offer words of advice or support or even criticism. It’s what drives me to do this.

I’m sure about all of this. I understand my motives completely. But here’s one thing I don’t understand, not yet. And that’s why I write about what I write about.

Why do I write so often about my depressions, my anxieties, my possible manias or hypomanias, my possible bipolar disorder? I know that at least two people from my office have found this blog, though I don’t know if they read it. I know that at least one of my brothers-in-law have found it as well, though again, I don’t know if he reads. I know that Baroy can read it if he wants—though he says that not only doesn’t he, but he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to know. (Which is fine by me. Not that I trash him, really. But I’d still rather not have to filter for him, either.)

Most obtuse of all, I write about my fears and paranoias and concerns about a woman who has stalked us, which of course puts me at risk of her finding this, and gathering all sorts of information from it that I wouldn’t want her to have. The mere idea of her reading this makes me shudder. And yet I choose to write about it, frequently, rather than tell you anecdotes from my day, or funny stories from my past, or provide you with links to issues and topics I think are interesting.

In other words, I know that I’m courting...what? Disaster? Doubtful. But yeah, it could some day come back to bite me in the butt somewhat, this blog. And yet every time I sit down to write, I pick at some not-yet-healed scab on my psyche until the blood runs free. And when I don’t do that, I feel like it’s wasted time, wasted effort.

I’ve always been a sharer, to be honest, so this is not really new. My girlfriends at college used to say that people in our dorm always tried to sit near our table on Sunday mornings, when I would regale everyone with stories of my various exploits—whether they involved chemicals, booze, or boys. (Usually, they involved all three. Hey, it was the early 80s. The Me Decade. Gimme a break here.) And then I would psychoanalyze myself, or my friends, or anybody else who I thought I could dissect. I loved that stuff. Still do.

So sharing is in my blood. But I’m an adult now. I know what sharing can do. I don’t walk around at work talking about my therapy appointments and my latest self-epiphany. I don’t unload my concerns about my marriage or my sanity upon my kids while we’re sitting at a family dinner. So why do I do it here? What makes me think this is any smarter, any safer, than those things would be?

I just don’t know. But trust me, when I figure it out, you all will be the first to hear about it.

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