“My So-Called Blog”

I made a resolution at the beginning of this new year that I would write more in my blog. Two problems immediately introduced themselves–one on Christmas day, the other daily since, both related.
On Christmas day, my father announced to the room that “Tanya has a blog. I read it all the time. I enjoy it so much.” (He forgot to mention that he also writes me an e-mail, then calls me to let me know that he’s written me an e-mail about having read the same entry in my blog twice, and by the way, who is Jason? Who is Kari?) My older siblings, my older cousins (everyone in my family is older than me except my husband and the new generation), my grandfather look at me blankly. My father is still looking merry, and somehow, simulataneous with his public reaction, secretly pleased. I feel like I’m in high school and Dad has just mentioned the fact that he’s been sneaking peaks at my journal again.
Come the new year, I didn’t write in my blog.
Then my birthday came, and John (my aforementioned younger spouse) was reading the other wordherder blogs and wondering why I wasn’t more involved in this interesting community, and I promised myself that my birthday was an excellent time to start writing in my blog. That was a week ago.
The second thing happened. My brother sent me a link to an article in the New York Times , “My So-Called Blog”, which discusses the blogging phenonenom in high schools, how teenagers catalog the banal experiences of their every day lives. Now, I’m fairly certain my brother has never read my blog and probably didn’t read the article (just sent it along because he thought it might interest me), so I’m not persuaded he was associating me with a high school blogger, but the discomfort I felt in the association was telling to me. One paragraph in particular touches on my reticence in blogging:
A result of all this self-chronicling is that the private experience of adolescence — a period traditionally marked by seizures of self-consciousness and personal confessions wrapped in layers and hidden in a sock drawer — has been made public. Peer into an online journal, and you find the operatic texture of teenage life with its fits of romantic misery, quick-change moods and sardonic inside jokes. Gossip spreads like poison. Diary writers compete for attention, then fret when they get it. And everything parents fear is true. (For one thing, their children view them as stupid and insane, with terrible musical taste.) But the linked journals also form a community, an intriguing, unchecked experiment in silent group therapy — a hive mind in which everyone commiserates about how it feels to be an outsider, in perfect choral unison.
I mean, for goodness sake, if you grew up writing your innermost thoughts and secrets in a journal and your father would sneak little peaks (sorry, Dad, I know you’re out there reading this–see how this perpetuates?) and you lived in a constant state of flux between NEEDING to write in the darn thing and FEARING that your older siblings would also get their hands on it and tear your heightened self-consciousness to further threads, wouldn’t blogging strike fear in your heart too?
But, I’ve decided to face my fears with this new year’s blog. Because, really, as the “My So-Called Blog” author points out:
As the reality-television stars put it, exposure may be painful at times, but it’s all part of the process of ”putting it out there,” risking judgment and letting people in. If teen bloggers give something up by sloughing off a self-protective layer, they get something back too — a new kind of intimacy, a sense that they are known and listened to. This is their life, for anyone to read. As long as their parents don’t find out.

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