Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What I mean to say is...

Long have I wanted to have all my ducks in order to take part in Julie Pippert's Hump Day Hmmm - and today's topic is "Are people we know fair fodder for writing? People in our real lives? Online? Other bloggers? Things we read, such as blog posts, emails, news stories, etc?"

Now, as you know, this blog is all about me. Well, sort of - about what happens around me and sometimes that includes people around me, although I do try to keep to the sidelines on injecting too much about others. Even with my two closest compatriots - V and 'Salina - I do tend to try and tell only the amusing. Otherwise, really, it is all about me. And the weather. And not getting things done.

I try not to put too much extended family or friends into the frame, mainly because my sister, SIL, a few close friends and my daughter's old teacher read this blog quite often they are other people's stories to tell (and my sister, SIL, a few close friends and my daughter's old teacher read this blog - hey girls!) and again, I tend to be a yarner so anecdotes that amuse are fair play, online psychological battering is off-limits. (And not because I long to indulge in online psychological battering - just a counter to what I try to do!).

But its funny how you start to write one post and then whoosh - you are sidetracked by another train of thought.

Because once upon a time, I used to think. I used to expand my mind. I used to engage with people and share and grow and argue and agree. I really liked me then, but I am not sure whether she and I would sit comfortably over a wine or cup of tea.

The me then would not have written the blog in the style that I now write. The me then would have let a lot more hang out, would have put forward more opinions, would have found a soapbox to stand on and would have roped in the stories of those around her to make her points clearer. The me then also used to drink more, party more and didn't have a child, a partner - the me then was living what I call my history now.

The me then would no doubt have given voice to enlighten all about whatever the topic of the day was, but not necessarily have been fully mindful on the effect that it had on others. It wasn't that she was totally insensitive, it is that her focus was on a different plane.

I don't know what happened, as it happened so gradually, but I changed from that person into one that has sporadic clear focus on how anything I do may affect others, and vaseline lenses in regard to WTF is really going on in my mind. My mindfulness of others, although sporadic, is also so hair-trigger in some cases I overshoot the mark and trample others feelings regardless.

So much so that so often I start to think and ponder and put together an argument (or a post or a point of view) and then I get sidetracked by another train of thought, and quite often that train of thought is carrying a freight of fear.

I don't think that the fear is all a bad thing. I think it wise to dose the fear with the reality,

I don't really want to paint unflattering portraits of those that I love. By this I do not mean I have a bad view of them, but the fact is that I don't have a good reflection of myself at all times and I sometimes become a dullard in being able to showcase the amazingly wonderful things I want to say about these people. My main reason to not lay it out there (and therefore several draft posts where I attempt to sing some praises) is that I don't want the less than perfect to be open to hurting those that I truly do not want to hurt.

I certainly do not post very often on people that upset me without them being rendered nameless and faceless. You will see me erupt on salespeople, telephone support (ha) and unwitting repairmen if it adds humour to my exasperation - but I won't scream (another draft post) about work situations or people I actually know even superficially. I do this in the karmic hopes that they have the same standards when (and if) they blog - oh, and because when things hit me personally I lose that "amusement above abuse" rule and can find words that are designed to hurt (although sometimes they are long and people don't understand them anyway).

It is funny how so much of my "social circle" is now made up of the online community. Being a single mother for a while, being a student, being a person who worked from home, moving that home - these all moved my social focus away from the "party 5 nights a week with real people" girl (aged 17 - 23), the "party every weekend, attend poetry slams and workshops, see real movies with close friends" girl (aged 23 - 29), the "try and work out WTF is going on with my life and who are my friends" girl (aged 23, 27 and 30 - 37) to what it is today.

Of my close friends from those first phases, I still have half a dozen that I talk to on the phone, visit or get visits from (I live a great distance from them now) and occasionally play scrabble with on facebook.

Of the friends I have made in the latest phase, the ratio would be about 80/20 online to face to face. I find that many of the friendships I have formed over the internet started more focussed on certain issues but now they are people that I care about deeply. It is also an interesting reflection on the neighbourhood I now live in (or my latent agrophobic tendencies - another post).

I think of OL friends in the same way that I think of IRL friends, and I consider a lot of the chats and discussions that we have, online or otherwise, to be that of true friends once the superficial has passed.

Other bloggers - well, some of them I would truly like to be my friend if I were to meet them IRL. Some of them (and they do overlap) make me think and wish I was that insightful, that open, that witty, that determined - that much more like the girl I once was.

Many of them have been responsible for a whole raft of draft posts that I didn't have quite work as I wanted them to. I think that if something does make you think and respond then it is fair game to link them and discuss what it means for you. I just don't have the guts words or thought processes available to me any more to get out there and hit "publish".

But this blog is mainly about me. About the me that I am - this fearful bunch of nerves that wishes she could distil more from the person I once was and hopes that she can become the person can, on clear days, become. I had hopes that this blog would be more about her journey and less about the fears - but that is who I am today.

Tomorrow I may have made a step towards it - and maybe one day I will blog it - but until then, I read and I try to elicit more thought provocation within myself - and I blog about the anecdotes, the weather, the garden and the things I have not yet done...

ETA: Here is Julie's take on the subject: How to talk about other people on your blog : 7 Simple Guidelines


Jen at Semantically driven said...

Hey there, you blog about what you want and what you feel capable of blogging about. I keep coming back because I like reading your life anecdotes and because I value you as one of my online friends. You have offered me fantastic support with some of my isssyooos.

Maybe some of those draft posts will yet see the light!

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

I have only just discovered you .I can tell you are a keeper of friends with a lot of wit and gentle humour.
I ahve a bit of achives to read still

Melody said...

I'm always stating on my blog that 'it's my blog and I'll wrote what I want' on it. Because that's what it is. Same with your blog.

I enjoy reading about whats in your head, just like I enjoy all my other blog friends posts too. And I think we all have posts in our head, we just don't know how to get them out onto 'computer' so they sound like we want them too. Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

Your "me then" sounds very much like my "me then". :)

Julie Pippert said...

How intersting...a unique take on it, as well.

I like reading about your evolution and how that has affected your blogging and interactions.

I could really relate.

But I also know you have been struggling with your content.

I felt like this post may have settled some of that...revealed your why and hows of the now.

So glad you did this!

Anonymous said...

Can I just take a moment and applaud you for the brilliance of this line, "I get sidetracked by another train of thought, and quite often that train of thought is carrying a freight of fear"?

Awesome :)

Jay said...

This was a real thinker, so congratulations on writing a great post that did indeed make me go hmm.

Lin said...

Life often carries us to places that we never intended to go. The reason why students/young people seem to carry the main responsibility for being society's social conscience and acting on it is because they have the freedom and the time to "engage with people and share and grow and argue and agree". Which also gave them lots of opportunities to find new thinking matter!

Especially since I've become a mother with a (almost) full-time job, I find myself desperately searching my brain to find something interesting to talk about on those rare occasions that I am in a situation where I have to try avoid awkward silences (ie. have someone to talk to!). All that's in my head is stories about my child, my journey as a parent, important issues at work and the chores I have to try and get finished the next day.

Though with the right people (the kind that don't make me feel all self-conscious and boring), I can actually still have intelligent conversations and even find interesting topics to talk about sometimes.

Just to say: the old you is still part of you. She's just shifted locations in your brain. When you need her, she'll come, I'm sure.

Lin said...

I actually forgot to mention that I really like the present you. And that I'm absolutely sure that is not just because I never knew the past you!