Two years ago this month, I published my first post*.
This picture up here expresses more than
feeling a sense of accomplishment.
There’s a bit of surprise, too.
As in, I’m surprised, and very pleasantly so I must add, that I even began blogging! It was not part of the plan years and years ago. Here, let me share what I thought of blogging all those years ago.
In 2008, I upped from China, my last pit stop away from home, and headed back home to be with Mum after Daddy had died. Shortly before I left China, I wrote a series of newsletters to my personal contacts and called it the ‘Made in China’ series.
The first of the six in that series was titled ‘Made in China: The Prologue’. In this, I answered questions most frequently asked by my friends and relatives. Here’s Question Number 15 (I know! They’re a nosy lot! ;-) ) and my reply:
Personal Contacts: 15. Why don’t you blog?
Me: Being the lazy broad that I am, below, I’ll copy one of my earliest personal responses to this increasingly frequently asked query. In early 2006, I wrote this to my friend who I shall call John Doe:
John Doe, I cannot blog. I just can’t. Put myself on the world stage. Ack!
Extreme shyness (not self consciousness, mind you) apart, I am who I am with people I know, and I’m a very different person around those I don’t know. This split personality, if you will, spills into my writing as well. I simply do not like my views being read by people I don’t know. I think it’s because I feel as if readers who do not know me will get gypped if they are exposed to a mere sliver of myself; a sliver I could very well doctor to come across as [positive personal trait]. We all know that I’m not just [positive personal traits] alone now, don’t we? Hee hee!
You and almost everyone I know tell me I write well. Thank you; that’s lovely to hear. But you know, a big part of my penning stems from the fact that I can freely express my views to all of you because you know who I am and what I’m about i.e. my great and grungy sides. And you (all) accept me with all that.
I bare my soul in my e-mails and newsletters; be it about things I like, things that get me riled up or things that make me well up. For all that bravado in my mail to all of you, I’m very reserved around strangers or lesser known people. I’m secretive almost of my true feelings with those people, even if they (i.e. the feelings) are not controversial.
With people I don’t know, I can talk about superficial stuff *snapping fingers* easily! And I’m very good at phatic communication. But it’s not something I’m comfortable with. It’s not something I enjoy. In fact, I hate having that game face on. I do it enough in public places on a daily basis and when I’m travelling. There are times I deliberately make myself a supercilious git when speaking to new people, mainly to see how well they handle the offbeat side of me.
I like writing. I enjoy it very much, but I don’t want my quirk to cramp my writing style. Oh, I do write on two public fora – a travel related one and a teaching one – under aliases. Duh.
I have gleaned a lot of helpful information from both those sites, and my way of giving back is sharing my experiences with others; yes, complete strangers. But on those two fora, I stick to the point when responding to queries and I’m fairly muted when expressing my opinion. I try to remain as neutral as possible, while staying true to how I really feel about whatever it is that I’m writing about.
Sometime last month, I read about websites where people can send their articles about, oh, anything, and they get paid for it. I am blessed that money has never been, and is still not, an incentive for me to write. If I were to take up something like that or even have a blog for that matter, I think I’d feel pressured to write regularly, pen profound persuasions or wax philosophical.
With my e-mails, it’s not like that. I blab about what’s on my mind, throw in a few personal anecdotes and opine vociferously. You know? It’s just like I talk to (any of) you. I spend much more time writing (personal) e-mails to people I know. Communicating with all of you this way makes me very, very happy. :-)
And that, dear e-buddies, was what I thought of blogging back in early 2006. And for the mere fact that I am blogging now (and have been at it for the past two years), I’m glad that I haven’t been as stubborn as I can aggravatingly be about blogging(, too).
I got into this blogging game (it’s never too late, yo!) for the same reasons* I have always written my lengthy personal e-mails, newsletters and contributed on some public fora (albeit always with an alias) i.e. to help someone with something I’ve learned or to make them laugh.
Before I began blogging and for a short while after I did, I was terribly anxious about privacy in a public domain (an oxymoron, I know), but not anymore. I am happy with the way I’ve maintained my privacy out here with those ugly Paintshop brush strokes across the eyes in images I share. Ugh, I know. You know that I also change the names of the people I write about.
This ‘heard, not seen’ mode allows me to breathe easily and be myself here. Sure, I don’t share any of my problems with you because hey, what will my personal contacts do if I don’t give them, uh,
the privilege the opportunity to worry about me and fuss over me, you know what I’m sayin’?
So you, Silent Stalker; yes, you who’s contemplating blogging, but are plagued with concerns about privacy; I’m looking right at you. I’ve been in your ‘I so want to, but I’m SO scared to‘ shoes.
Just start blogging.
You divulge as much or as little of yourself as you wish.
You choose the pace.
Two years ago, I started off posting fortnightly. Then, at the beginning of this year, I switched to once a month*.
Reasons for the slowdown here:
And nothing bad happened when I changed lanes.
Nothing bad has happened since I began blogging, for that matter.
Wait. Something did happen. Once. I can’t term it ‘bad’ though.
In a particular post, I had written about one of my personal practices. One commenter commented on the way I did a certain thing. This medium is not the best for communicatng, so I cannot say that the commenter meant to be judgmental. But I chose to feel judged by that commenter’s statement.
I know for a fact that I would have expressed the same sentiment very differently. But each person is different, I know, and each of us has our own unique way of getting our message across.
Hmm. Now that I think about it, I doubt I would have commented about something like that in the first place. To someone I know well? Yes. But I’d choose my words carefully so as to minimise the chance of my words negatively affecting the person in any way.
Because to me, different from me ≠ good or bad.
Different, to me, is *shrug* just different. Period.
But would I remark about something as that commenter did to me, even if worded nicely, to one of you or authors of other blogs I read? No. Simply because I do not know any of you at all.
Okay, not not at all; I do know something about my e-peeps.
I know a smidgen more than zilch about the people I hang out with online.
So, what did I do then? About the comment that I was slightly taken aback with? Well, I approved that comment right away and I responded, too. I calmly explained my action that was
judged commented on.
And then, after I deliberated for a few days, I took this person’s blog off my RSS list.
I had RSSed this person’s blog because this person posted material that I liked. Actually, most of it was about things I am completely unfamiliar with …. which is exactly why I liked that person’s blog! I was learning new things!
When I have a choice, being comfortable in someone’s presence is of primary importance to me. So good material alone ain’t good enough for me to read someone’s blog regularly. The mode of delivery must be (my standard of) good, too.
In real life, I do not like being around people who make me uncomfortable in any way. Oh, I am always open to all unsolicited criticism that comes my way because I know I have plenty of room for improvement in plenty of areas in my life. I also try hard to rise above the (perceived) criticising tones, look beyond the messenger and listen to the message.
But I grant very few people the privilege of being on the lookout for and pointing out my flaws. Usually, it’s only when I deem them worthy of correcting me.
It is very hard for me to gauge those of you I meet online. Your words are all I have. And in my experience, your words are enough to get a general idea of your personalities.
So when an online acquaintance ruffles my feathers in some way, they meet the same fate as most of the same ilk in the flesh – no second chance.
There, that one commenter who I chose to believe was unduly critical of me; that was the sole bantam blip in my brief bloggy being. Other than that easily ignored bit, these have been far from terrible two years for me.
The rest of my time here has been the exact opposite. People I’ve met here on my blog, and elsewhere via my blog, have been nice, all nice and nothing but nice since I began blogging. :-)
This is how I see all of us together.
This is how I feel when I’m out here –
happy to be with all of you. :-)
So go on; O Sceptical One, give blogging a shot.
Everyone has something important to share
Everyone has something important to learn.
P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.
I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!