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Monday, June 18, 2007

Empowering people other than myself. I hope.

Yesterday: Time is a fickle boomerang. You stand and watch that eternal arc sometimes curl back in your favour. You write something that seems all wrong, you wait, and the answer, somehow, then presents itself. Other times, like any chance I've ever thrown a boomerang, it just ditches into the earth, without loft or grace. The following post is without grace. This is not a beginning; more a disclaimer. I've held on to this post for a few days, hoping that time would bring back a resolution, or a nice ending. But it hasn't.

Take it if you will.

Five Days Ago: The other week I was talking on the phone, to a relative, about my blog. This relative and I are both Generation X-ers, however born at opposite ends of the demographic. Its quite amazing that even within our supposed similarities (of which there are many) the one subject we diametrically differ on is the issue of online comfort and safety.

"I finally visited your blog" she said.

"Oh? What did you think?"

"I didn't expect...........you to be so....open."

I quizzed her as to her meaning. Was she surprised that I used our real names, not pseudonyms? (Yes, but that wasn't what she meant).

It turns out she hadn't expected me to be so open about my 'issues' (which I highlight in my About Me page and won't go into here). I really am just a cuddly teddy bear, I swear.

Now it was my turn to get uncomfortable. "I...ah...well...I guess I am. But that's okay. You don't have to read it if you don't want to. I don't go on about that 'stuff' all that often."

Then she backpedaled. "No, no. Don't mind me. I still don't get this computer culture. I still mistrust paying my bills online. Remember-- I was raised in the times of the "put up and shut up" and "happy face" mentality. You didn't talk about problems. You pretended you didn't have any."

I fully realise in the greater scheme of things that my life, as it stands, is pretty blessed. My family and I have our health; we have a home. We live in a 'lucky country'. In fact, when I do happen to log in here and have a metaphoric couch-session-as-therapy-grouch-bitch about something that's going on, I feel pretty lousy about it.

Here's a snapshot of my brain on certain days:

Why do I feel guilty about feeling guilty all the time? It's my space, I can do what I want with it.

But talking that crap affects your traffic.


You get less click-throughs from the feed readers. And on those days, your traffic is less anyway. It's as if your funk is contagious and people are avoiding you.

You're making that up.

No, I don't think so.

Well, even if it's true, who cares?

I care. Because although I pretend to be cool, I am actually a pretty sensitive person. If I don't believe that a post, or a quip, or a pithy remark hasn't pierced the soul of every person who's read for the day, then I haven't done my job. Whatever my 'job' here is.

Now I ask you - thus far, am I speaking with the voice of an empowered woman? Because that - shock of shocks - is precisely what I'm supposed to be talking about.

No, instead I've been gibbering with a faint hysteria about audience participation in, and reception of, my blog, when in fact what I should actually be more concerned about is self-censorship (guilty) and non-narcissistic personal reflection (seriously, how can other people be so powerful when they talk about themselves, but whenever I try to be, I sound as hollow as a cow-bell).

I am really asking you, does blogging empower you? because in all honesty, I'm not sure I qualify. How can someone like me, who always writes with the figure of doubt resting heavily on her shoulder, lose all self inhibition in possibly the most visible of all medias? How is my writing supposed to improve? I'm afraid of turning into come sort of calcified barnacle. Worse, some sort of cyber-squatter, who's parked on the doorstop of the temple of 'WOMEN-BLOGGING' and am about to be 'shooshed!' along at the mercies of a stiff straw broom.

No, enough. Flagellation time is over. Calm blue ocean......calm blue ocean.......think happy thoughts. Concentrate on the secrets of "The Secret" and all that malarkey.

Tell you what, I'll pull out a quote. That usually works.


"There's almost a fear that if you understood too deeply the way you arrived at choices, you could become self-conscious. In any case, many ideas which are full of personal meaning seem rather banal when you put words to them. " Peter Weir

Thanks Peter. So in other words you're saying don't be too deep? I salute you sir! (Well, today anyway.....)

Four Days Ago: After I wrote those words yesterday, I managed to have a nap, to realign my inner scales, because I have a preschooler who's lately decided to start screaming anytime I leave the room and it's shredding my brain apart. (As much as tough muscle can, in any way, be 'shredded'. Bad verb). I also picked up a book, a book about writing which said that for some people, writing is a means to an end. For other people, the writing process itself is paramount. He said it didn't matter which camp you fell into - at any given time - it just mattered that you kept on pushing, thinking, stretching, questioning.

So, to you, readers. Write. Be empowered.

Seek to be louder, stronger, bolder than this jumble of words has accomplished.

Be a writer. Be a blogger. Be women.

I must go now. The children have returned.

Today: ...................
[It's too early to think. Need coffee.]

Cross posted At BlogRhet

Comments on "Empowering people other than myself. I hope."


Blogger Tracey said ... (9:11 am) : 

Maybe you should just be yourself a bit more and let the blog stats take care of themselves. I am 100% convinced that a lot of the really popular bloggers don't try that hard - they are just being themselves and they are good writers... and that's what their readers connect with.

And I wouldn't be too concerned about someone who doesn't 'get' the computer culture. That's really going to tie you up in knots.
[This link kind of covers that 'guilt' issue about blogging..]

And btw, there are some of us at THAT end of Generation X who embrace it. And so consequently I don't think you are that 'open' in your blog at all - relatively speaking!!
(Mind you I always reckon I'm neither X or a boomer - I've fallen down the gap in between!)

Meh.. I'm rambling. But maybe you need to kick back and think about whether you are blogging as a hobby, or whether you want it to be a job. If it is more the latter, then I suspect this has a lot to do with the angst you are causing yourself!


Blogger Jaycee said ... (9:50 am) : 

I'm an X'er at the older end of the scale and I love blogging and get the whole social media thing.

As Tracey said, just blog for yourself and let the stats take care of themselves. I know when I focus to much on the traffic I'm not getting I don't write in my blog much, I just stress about how to get more traffic to my blog and I'm sure it suffers as a result.

Do it for yourself.


Blogger Di said ... (12:13 pm) : 

I am pretty sure I'm not generation X. Our generation didn't have a name that I know of. If it did, it would be cocaine and big hair or something else out of the 80's. Oh wait...maybe we were the "me" generation.
I love what you wrote. I TRY not to censor myself even though I know friends and family read my blog. I was told by a friend that someone who doesn't like me thought that a recent post of mine was targeted directly at her. How paranoid!

And, that's giving me a lot more credit than I am due for:
1. believing that people who don't like me read my blog

2. planning my posts so carefully to target certain people

3. making any logical sense to anyone but myself.

I'm thinking about dropping out of the "real" world and just living in the blog world where I can be honest and anonymous!


Blogger Karen said ... (2:05 am) : 

I've found that just the very act of sitting down and writing something every day is the best and cheapest form of therapy around. The cyber-friends I've made (and, as a woman on the younger end of the boomer bracket, I do have many, many friends and relatives who can't wrap their brains around the whole idea of a Real! Friend! ... that I've never met) are like no others I've made in real life. Blogging is one of the best things that's happened to me.


Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said ... (5:02 am) : 

It's interesting to hear 'live' people talk about our blogs.


Blogger Dawn said ... (6:54 am) : 

I've been popping in at your blog for only a short while but this has to be one of your best posts. Or the most relevant for me, anyway. I get too wound up over traffic and ratings, and I don't know why because my blog isn't the sort of the blog where those things should matter. But somehow they do. Your post helps - as do the thoughts of today's commenters.


Blogger Miss Frou Frou said ... (11:25 pm) : 

I don't think it's just an older Gen X/ boomer thing.. the misunderstanding about blogs. I have a young friend, 25, who reads my blog in horror.. for writing about how I feel, whether it's happy or sad. She's so paranoid about my writing about her, she is referred to she who must not be named! She just doesn't 'get' it!

I too have wondered a bit about the traffic thing.. disappointed when I don't get comments to posts I think are good. I'm doing a couple of regular meme type things each week, but have recently struggled to find things to write about, and stressed about that too... and then realised, heah, this is MINE! I can post 10 times a day, or not for a fortnight.. post pages and pages or simple sentences and it wouldn't matter. People drift in and out, and others stay awhile. I don't post comments often, as I don't like comments that don't add value, but I read everything you write... and enjoy all of it immensely!


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