Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Starting Somewhere

I have barely written here lately, second-guessing and silencing myself.  There is too much going on in my head, and in my life, that I feel I can't talk about.

Which is weird, right?

Because this is the one space where I talk about everything, isn't it?  Except that it's not.

I have lived most of my life busily cocooning myself away from the world.  Maybe I didn't do it on purpose at first, but after a while, after I discovered how much vulnerability could hurt, it was easier to disconnect entirely.  Like many other bloggers I know, I was one of the misfits in elementary school.  I didn't care about what most adolescents seemed to care about, and so I had few friends in high school.  I had some good friends in college, where for perhaps the first time, I felt I really belonged.  Then I went to graduate school, and found myself unable to establish friendships, alone except for my then-boyfriend, who, in retrospect, probably preferred being in his own little cocoon, too.  And returned to my home state, where I didn't connect deeply with my colleagues, for any number of reasons I gave myself, and because I let my job become my life, I didn't have many relationships beyond it, either.

Really, it's a miracle I met my husband.  But I met him online, so perhaps it's not that miraculous or surprising after all.

Fast forward eleven years, and though I feel like I have a network of amazing, loving, supportive friends now, I find myself shut almost as tightly as before.

I was talking with one of these friends the other day about this cocoon-history I have, about getting into the habit of being alone, and letting that alone-ness spiral out of control, until even when I do talk with people, I'm not there.  And thinking about how strange it is that I've chosen to blog at all, given how I tend to operate.  And wondering what it means that I've even shut down here, that there are things I feel like I can't even say to the semi-anonymous audience behind the screen, worrying about who might find me and judge me: employers, community members who trust my leadership in civic organizations, friends, family.

My friend suggested that it's not at all unreasonable that I'd blog, because it's a safer way to be open, especially if you don't know most of your readership in person, and when you don't post about controversial things (which, typically, I don't).  And she said that it's a good first step towards leaving the cocoon behind, even if it's not a complete metamorphosis.  But what about the excuses I make not to write?  The self-censoring, to the point of silence (I don't want to post about children because I'll hurt my infertile and childless readers, and I find those posts among the less interesting ones anyway; I don't want to post about food because I'm not really a food blogger but I don't want to NOT post about food because maybe new readers find me only by searching for Vegetarian Tortilla Soup; I can't post about my job search; do I really want to post about what I rehash in therapy)?   What about the bold assumption that I have nothing of importance to warrant stealing away your reading time, when there are so many other things out there to read?

I guess, like everything else, you have to start somewhere.  So here I go again, fingers to keyboard.

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  1. I think it's MUCH harder to blog openly under your real name. I've posted only a handful of times on my real-name blog in the past year. I almost never feel comfortable tackling a topic there and when I have a choice between the two, I almost always choose to post on my anonymous blog. There is just so much more freedom there. I would find posting only on a public blog to be way to confining; I'd surely give up entirely. So I totally understand your hesitation and I honestly don't know what advice to give, as I would be in the exact same space you are if I were writing under my real name. I do hope you find a way to keep the cocooning at bay, if that is what you ultimately want. It's a hard thing to do, that's for sure.

  2. That worked. :) Keep going, if it helps.

    I find myself lacking inspiration lately, not feeling the urge to write as much as I used to. I don't know if it's just a blip or if I'm mentally moving on altogether.

  3. I feel fortunate to have been invited into the cocoon in some ways, into what you show us on your blog.

    I love it when a post of yours turns up in my reader. I'm not always the first one here because I know yours is one I want to savor and not skim through.

    And this is your space. You can come and go as you please. And when you come I am very pleased :-)

    Sending you my love.

  4. I had to come back because I decided my comment above was too enigmatic. What I meant by "worked" was that it made a good blog post. I don't think talking like this will lose you any readers - if you choose to take us into your confidence and along on whatever journey you have working things out, I think we'll all be here reading eagerly and cheering you on.

    Obviously, I can't tell if it worked from your end. Did it make you feel better, or scarily exposed?


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