Friday, September 21, 2007

Somewhere between pressure cooker and all-out bonfire*

I suppose there is risk in everything. There is risk in liking, most definitely risk in loving and hopefully some kind of assuring risk in committing. There is risk in expression as much as there is risk in keeping your thoughts to yourself. And though I don't have a site meter and doubt there are more than a couple dozen people around here on any given day I sort of feel like I've had this blog long enough to understand the risk in having an opinion. An opinion on the Internet, that is.
I've had plenty of opinions prior to my blog experience, of course, but I'd venture to say this is it's own kind of special risk. Perhaps that's just my way of feeling good about what I write and how I share it, or because I love other blogs too much, but whenever there's a little bit of disagreement I wonder if I'm not getting scared. I mean, I want to share my opinions and I don't mind if no one agrees but I start to wonder if that's okay. I start to think about the chance of offending others.
I struggle between writing from my gut and writing in a way that will allow me to relate to my known readers. I mean, without naming names, how does one go about sharing life's details without offending anyone between the ages of twenty-three and fifty-something? How do you write if you're constantly thinking about what the college student, or the father of four or the wacky cyclist or the pastor or the One You Call Your Internet Mom are going to think? How do you even begin to be authentic? And I don't mean what those people are going to think of me personally, I just mean in general. While I'd say I pretty much do whatever I want, I do like to think I do things with intention. I believe we can be careful without being too self-conscious.
I'd also like to think I make an effort to think about what I say and how I say it. So when I write about the peace I feel floating in crystal clear water, it is really how I feel. And it is not just because I had a beer on the beach that day; though I can honestly say I feel like being able to experience moments where you feel at peace in your life and where you are, where you've chosen to be, are a blessing, even if they include a beer. There is nothing wrong with that.

I struggle a little about sharing some of my adventures and the experiences I'm able to have, fearing they'll come across as gloating. And though I've said many a time that a life well lived ought to be shared, the natural doubt that comes from so much good contributes it's share of guilt. I want to be sure that somehow, through sharing, I absorb the experience and the gratitude I feel in an otherwise impossible way. It is not just the experience itself that feeds me, but the perspective I get by possibly relating to another that makes it better. Richer.

The truth is, there are hard times in life. There's bad stuff in my life and your life and the life of the guy next door. There are things I don't like about myself, that's for sure. I try to work to make these things better, sometimes. For instance, I know I can become a better writer and photographer and maybe even a better runner. I know I can be a better friend to some and I know I can become better at knowing when to let things go.
I am learning. I keep telling myself I can learn to like créme brûlée, but that's probably not going to happen so I'm learning to be okay with liking mole (pronounced mo-lay, F.Y.I.) and finally building up enough of my oh-so-white-girl tolerance to handle food with some kick to it.

But you know what I think? I think we all know that. We know all about the hard stuff. We live it and deal with it every day. We all struggle with our choices and the demands in our lives and try not to lose our minds on those days when we have seventeen different things to do and, oh yes, they are all important.
So when it comes down to it, when I sit down to write a post and wonder to myself what is sitting in my mind's queue waiting to come out, I guess I don't think about the risk I might be taking as much as I'd thought. I try to aim to create something a little lighter, perhaps more interesting than the oatmeal I had for breakfast but less interesting than, say, politics. (Heh.)
I guess my point is, when I might be so lucky to have people read what I write and then have something to say about it, I'd rather it happen in a way that feels good. I'd rather enjoy the little bits and pieces of life we can be so quick to glaze over. I'd rather be serious yet still joke about ridiculous, silly things. It's a tricky balance and it's not always possible but I've tried it both ways and I think it's better this way. If it's true that there's a place for every one of us, and all our words, then let mine be the place where I can slow down, do my best to absorb everything that's good and most of all, share it with care but without worrying about the risk.
Coming to that conclusion here, in black and white, as they say, is a lot more refreshing than I imagined it could be.


* Alternately titled: No this is not just a sneaky way of posting more photos


Danielle said...

I'm jealous of your travels but like to live vicariously, so never feel you can't share them! I know what you mean about the struggle on what to say though. I at times want to write and/or vent about things that maybe I can't anymore due to some people that read my blog and it's frustrating to a degree to have to keep things out as I started my blog as a place to put it all out in the open...ah well.

brookem said...

just run, you are a very talented writer. i always enjoy the way you write, the way you explain things and tell your stories, and share yourself with your readers so very much.
i totally hear you about how putting it all out there, the good, the bad, the in between, can feel risky (and sometimes risque!, or maybe that's just me). methinks you've got a great grasp on it all. your writing does always seem authentic, real, and relateable. i know i will continue to keep coming back. you're one of my favorites that's for sure!

Bre said...

You know, it's such an interesting conundrum - I like to think of the internet as a "judgement free zone" (I mean, come on, I've seen the search terms that lead to my blog, and the fact that I'm NOT JUDGING is pretty amazing!)but when it comes down to it it's just the same as any community. What you say to people and how you phrase it matters and will have an infulence in the interactions that you have with other folks.

That being said - there comes a point when you have to say "screw those beeyotches, this blog is for me!" and write what your gut tells you to write.

And you know, whatever that may be, I'll still think you're quite fabulous!:)

Cravey said...

I once blogged about the fact that I was happy with the decisions I'd made not to marry. An anonymouse commenter left me an incredibly nasty comment about how selfish I must be. It stung.

But, it didn't change my mind. I believe when I read your writing, that your intention is indeed clear. It is sharing, not one-upping or gloating.

There will always be those people that will 'attack' you for their perception - accept that you can't control their perception.

If their is something valid in their perspective hopefully they will be mature enough to state it for your consideration and leave the attacks behind.

Write on sister.

Cravey said...


make that "anonymous" not anonymouse and
change 'their' to there.

it's early. forgive my sins.


Sempre Libera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sempre Libera said...

Blogging is a funny thing - it's both intensely personal and incredibly public all at the same time. But just as you can't please everyone in life, you can't please everyone online... so as Cravey said, write on!

Backofpack said...

Your writing is glorious - descriptive, crisp, to the point and very, very insightful. As one of those on the older end of the age range you mentioned, and quite possibley the Internet Mom that you spoke of, I have not ever been offended by your posts. I love the perspective they bring and the clarity of your thoughts. Once in a while I read without commenting - but only because I have no commentary - for instance, I love when you write about the current state of dating - it's a glimpse of a world my sons reside in, but I do not. If I were to comment they would all have to start "In my day..." and that's just too old-fogeyish for me. (Not too mention the fact that I was not allowed to date till I was 16 and I met Eric six months dating experience is limited (though we did date for five years before we married)) (Sorry, that was random).

Okay, what was my point? Oh yes, don't change a thing. You strike a perfect balance!

AaroN said...

I've shared many of my opinions with fellow bloggers. Much, to their acclaim, some to no response at all and others who took offense. You're no more likely to encounter that here than you are on the Internet. It's the missunderstanding that occurs without through the use of words instead of speech.

sue said...

You know? I really don't mind what someone writes. If they get a little too "out there" for me, I just skip that post. If arguments get strained on comments, I just step away from the comments. I think we're all different people and I just enjoy seeing all the little pieces of everyone and how we all fit together somehow to make this world. Say whatever you want to say... I'll listen. ;)

justacoolcat said...

Always write from the gut and how it feels best.

Wait . . . did you call me a wacky cyclist?

I'm never reading this blog again.

appletini said...

What a great post!
I guess it's human nature to judge, especially those that are not happy with themselves.....
I LOVE your writing, keep doing what you're doing :)

Sizzle said...

i have never once thought you were gloating. you take us on your adventures! and you have a great attitude about life- one that so many of us should emulate.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

You make some really good points. It is difficult sometimes to know what to share and what impact those posts are going to have on others. But you have to also remember that people have a choice whether or not to read. If they feel uncomfortable or envious or judgemental reading something, they are free not to read it.

I love the way you write and the thoughfulness of your posts and I love seeing little bits of the world that I would not see elsewhere, right here, so I'm staying.

Anonymous said...

First, I love your blog. I never think you gloat. I realize we all have our own crap - some of us blog about it more than others (I know I blog a lot about crap because it is a release I have since I don't have my mom to get things out). But, I think it is great to share your adventures, your stories, your opinions. I think blogging is like any friendship - we are vulnerable to criticism and putting ourselves out there for others to get to know us for better or worse. Sometimes we offend others and I think that is okay because no relationship is perfect - its a learning experience. Anyway I guess what I'm trying to say thanks for sharing your stories and try not to worry what the world thinks too much you are who you are and the great people of the world will accept you that way.

Jen said...

I'm quite new to your blog, but I have come to look forward to your beautiful writing style and your insightful-ness. Nevertheless, who cares, right? It's your blog, and you'll "write" if you want to! ; )

OC said...

I enjoy your writing - just the way it is. I don't think you are gloating or anything of that sort either. Sometimes posts are a reflection, sometimes details on part of a day, and sometimes just stream of consciousness. All are good. As long as you enjoy writing, we'll enjoy reading!

Database Diva said...

I can relate to the predicament of not wanting to offend. There are times and places when I don't want to offend anyone, and other times and places where I hope to incite a riot. When I frequent message boards I try to take the high road, unless I feel that people are passing off their opinions as fact. There is always another point of view, and I sometimes feel compelled to share it, even if it isn't my own. That being said, my internet behavior is a lot like my real world behavior. I try to observe at least a little decorum in public, but in my own home I can say whatever is on my mind. My blog is my internet home, and I feel perfectly at ease saying whatever silly thing comes to mind. Best of all, if anyone gets nasty with me, I can kick their post straight to oblivion. How cool is that?

dawn said...

I totally understand your caution with posts. My blog doesn't necessarily have a theme beyond my professed Christianity.

So, even when I'm complaining, I try to filter it thru that lens.

e.b. said...

I think everyone echoed my sentiments above, but I can nod my head in agreement with their comments. I am also "pleased" to know that others fret over similar issues, including the gloating or bragging feelings when good things happen. But I have come to decide, like you, it is two sided, because with the good comes the bad and that is just about true for everyone.
I love your photos so there never has to be an excuse for them in my book!

Joe said...

To thine own self be true! Write what you want to write. You might offend some readers but you'll keep others and maybe even gain some new ones. In time, you'll figure out who your target audience is and you can tweak your words specifically for them. But I say write YOUR stories and write them in YOUR words.

adam said...

Don't forget your blog is only a partial and likely incomplete picture of you and your opinions. Just like they say, you shouldn't judge someone, only by their appearance. You surely shouldn't judge someone only by what they say on their blog.

Besides, it just happens to be that a lot of us enjoy what we have seen: both your writing (storytelling), your opinions and your way of looking at the world. If I ever decide to take a relaxing vacation on a beach near sparkling clear water I know who to talk to. I've toyed with that idea. But for some reason I keep taking vacations which require a lot of hard work!