What does my blog mean to me?
Many a time, as I’ve sat by myself at night when the sounds of the day have quietened down and noises of the night have become louder, such as that of the whooshing of the AC, or thud of the softly falling snow or rain, the zzzzzing of the ups and downs of voltage brightening or dimming the tubelight or the buzzzzz of a single mosquito trapped in the mosquito net, or the dulled sounds of boats in the fog or the frogs croaking outside with the glow worms, depending on which part of the world I am in, I’ve wondered what the blog means when the writing has or hasn’t come.
Whereas my writings on other social media such as status updates or pictures uploaded to Facebook have often been a result of the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings when the impulse has come, the blog has been more about emotion recollected in tranquility. It has been something in between offhand writing that has quickly happened while making other plans and the other kind of more ponderous compositions I do where emotion, in many ways, has had to be kept in abeyance because logic is king. By consensus, emotion has almost been something to be ashamed of in that kind of writing.
In that sense, the blog has been spontaneous, something like facing myself, a mirror that has changed with time. It has been a way of recording moments when the emotion hasn’t passed completely and yet a way to see myself later when the moment has passed. It has been a way to record unfiltered thoughts and a way to see what those thoughts look like when I’m already embarrassed about my enthusiasm.
It has been about aggregating my many selves, seeing them in a cluster in one place, watching a collection of discrete people I know as myself that I’m more used to thinking of as a single person–a continuous whole that I have assumed to be me.
It has also been about spotting recurring thoughts as patterns over months and even years (or at least the year and a half I’ve been blogging) and so a means of recognizing myself.
I’ve wondered what it would have been like had I been blogging for ever instead of just the year and half. What would it be like to read my adolescent aspirations now, those sweeping powerful feelings and those newly formed ideas untainted as yet by the cynicism of experience? What would it have been like to have blogged in my twenties talking about dilemmas and ambitions that are like the pages of a well worn book now revisited too many times with if’s and but’s?
Would the act of having written down my various young selves have changed the self that I am today?
Does blogging change us as we blog about ourselves through the months and years?
Recently, I sat down to read my diaries from my late teen years. I am hesitant to tell my adolescent self from where I am now that I felt a little embarrassed at all the emotions mixed with ideas that overflowed the bounds of sentences then into too many exclamations of wonder. But I am also a little bit nostalgic about what I could feel then and can’t feel now without reservations.
The diaries were a simple mirror to what I was then written only to myself, unmitigated by a consciousness of a public audience. But if I had blogged publicly, how would I have tempered my thoughts? Would that consciousness of and engagement with a public readership have shaped my ideas differently? Would I have been a slightly different person today because of that?
Increasingly, as I’ve wandered from place to place and met more and more different kinds of people, as I’ve re-met people I knew in childhood who have grown in directions different from mine, it has become more and more difficult to find an anchor, a central point of origin for who I am today. It has been difficult to tether myself, to find a home to which I can trace myself back to something that I was then and hence something that I am now and someone I can be.
Perhaps if I had steadily recorded myself in a blog for as long as I can remember, I would have had a home now. Perhaps if I can keep blogging long enough into the future, I can build a home.