Why do I blog?

I had a particularly nasty comment (my first real “flame” in internet-land! A milestone!) on one of my posts a bit ago, and was over-analyzing myself over it (those that know me well are not surprised, I’m sure). She (I just get the feeling she was a “she” although it was an anonymous comment) had me pegged as a self-absorbed yuppie, “shop till you drop” kind of girl, which is so far from the truth it is laughable. However, there was maybe a 10% truth hidden in that comment somewhere…I think although I still agree with everything I wrote in that post, I do think perhaps it was too soon to start looking for answers about why the attacks happened and I got too political too soon. My post on retrospect read like I was saying that the Virginia Tech shooter would not have felt the need to kill if he had just recycled and bought a hybrid car. Ugh.

Anyway, it got me thinking about why I blog. I do actually appreciate comments like that because they force me to look at myself and help me grow as a person. And self-reflection is the biggest thing I get out of blogging. Which is probably the biggest thing all bloggers share, I think, so I’ll skip the explanation on that one.

But the main reason I blog is that I get to engage parts of my personality that are usually starving in my real life. I live in a conservative part of my state and I do not share many political beliefs with most of my in-town friends and family members. Often in my real life I have to keep my mouth shut about current events and other things as my almost complete disagreeance of everything they just said wouldn’t make polite conversation. I do have exceptions in some friendships – I have a close friend who is liberal but she is about to move to Portland. 😦 I have other conservative friends who don’t mind listening to what I believe and why although I’m kind of seen as a hippy-dippy in that particular group and that makes me the butt of many a well-meaning joke. So I have found that on my blog I can have political conversations with myself and with other bloggers who think in similar ways. Even (especially?) bloggers who have different views than I do make me think and it seems that in blog-land we can really open ourselves up and not only say what we think but why. I love that.

Some of you know that I had another blog before this one. It’s a convoluted story of why I started this one instead frought with paranoia and schizophrenic thinking, but I’ll try to sum up as best as I can because it is an important part of the story of why I blog.  I started my old blog anonymously and then later attached my name to it. I “came out” because I decided that while on my old blog I felt freer to talk about things that were pretty intimate to say the least, I don’t like to stand behind a wall while I blog. But then the reality of all the intimate stuff hit me and then the possible move to England came along, and I thought, “what a perfect time to start a fresh blog – do it right from the beginning and do all the things I wished I had done on the old one.” WordPress was part of that as was actually inviting real-life friends and family into the conversation. It turns out that some of them had found me anyway but had assumed I wanted my privacy so were respecting that by not telling me they knew about my blog (but still were reading it LOL). On this blog, I sent out a link on my Christmas email letter as at the time it was about 99% sure we were moving to England in about 2 months and this blog was going to be a place to update family and friends. Although that hasn’t (yet) happened and the blog has taken a different turn at least for the moment, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and long-time friends all know about this place and I know some of them read, although rarely comment. (Um, people?  I have Statcounter which tells me where the latest visitors of my blog came from – if I know only one person in your town, I know that it’s probably you.  Comment!  I don’t bite.)  I really like that I can share pieces of my true self here with people who matter most in my life – it means they know me more authentically. (I just wish they all had blogs too so I could know them more authentically as well.) My blog is a great way to expose myself (no, not THAT way) and people can choose to read or not to read it. And I don’t have to see the disapproval on their faces if they disagree with me. 😉

I do miss my old blog, though, as on that one I really just let it all hang out.  But much of what I wrote about was more intimate than I would share with typical family members.  None of my uncles or cousins really want to read about my first experience with sex after a vaginal hysterectomy, I am sure.  At the time I was writing a lot about birth as I was on the precipice of starting to take classes to become a doula or childbirth educator.  Now I’ve sort of put that whole idea on hold just because of the possible international move.  I put up a breastfeeding, sex or birth post occasionally this blog, but not from a first-person perspective.  I miss that rawness and openness, but I like the sharing with real-life friends even more, it seems, and I don’t want to chase them away.

I also blog because it exercises my adult brain. As a stay-at-home mom, parts of my intellectual brain are not always used (although there are many things like discipline that exercise my brain pretty well). I do miss much about my old career in marketing – things like putting a product launch together, for example, engaged me creatively. And I miss writing. Blogging allows me to write with short spurts of my free time. Writing keeps my brain tuned up as it nourishes my soul.

So why do you blog?

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9 Responses to “Why do I blog?”


  1. 1 Dan May 1, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Me? I’m just in it for the comments.

  2. 2 circuitBeta May 1, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    The why I started and the why I continue are different.

    Why continue?

    I figured out with the first post that it was quite different to write for a potential audience than myself. The difference is in the exercise of determining what parts of my head to expose to the open air and what parts to keep protected. Where before my thoughts might get shoved away in a notepad or the back of my brain. Not much more than leftovers on the table, waste unseen by you or anyone.

    Why uncork the bottle?

    Its my bottle so reflection is not the answer. At this point I would have to say its about exposing the me that I am to anyone who cares to know. Though I make an effort to keep what I think to be personal out, there could be nothing more personal than letting people know how it is you think. The accumulation makes every post more personal, and with each one I think about stopping.

  3. 3 Dan May 2, 2007 at 3:49 am

    In actual fact I started blogging mainly as a way of recording the early years of my daughters (and then my son’s) lives for posterity, and in the main that is why I continue.

    I also enjoy the interaction with others though, and I get something out of the actual writing process itself – it beats sitting on my arse watching TV anyway.

    I’ve never really exposed something highly personal about me though, I take the policy of exposing nothing i wouldn’t want my neighbors to know.

  4. 4 John Goes May 2, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    The blog which can be spoken is not the eternal blog.
    The reason for blogging which can be named, is not the eternal reason.

    The unbloggable blog is the eternally real.
    Blogging things is the origin of all
    particular things.

    Free from desiring to blog,
    you realize the mystery.
    Caught in obsessive blogging,
    you see only superficial manifestations.

    Yet mystery and manifestations
    arise from the same source.
    This source is called the darkness.

    Darkness within darkness.
    The gateway to all understanding.

    In other words, I am, therefore I blog.

  5. 5 americanmum May 3, 2007 at 9:51 am

    Dan – I always knew you were a comment whore 🙂

    CircuitBeta – I completely understand the considering quitting after each post. Even with anonymity and care not to expose private life stuff, it is hard. And I know you as a pretty private person so I can see that would be extra difficult. I think it is easier for women as we tend to be pretty open with our girlfriends. My girls know pretty much everything (yep, the Jens and a couple of others). No wonder more women blog than men. But seriously, though, you add something unique to the dialog out there. It is engaging to read your thoughts – you make me think – and it would be a shame if you stopped. The awkwardness of sharing personal thoughts gets easier with practice. And now I don’t know how I survived without it. Now the more open I am on my blog, the happier my soul is 🙂

    John – I’ve never been good with deciphering others’ poetry, but how I translated it to my own life is that free from being caught up with desires to be a “popular” blogger, you get closer to the truth in your blogging for just you. Which in my experiences is true. (My first blog started to get quite an audience and that got a bit scary for me.) Am I close? I have to say that this is the first time I’ve been serenaded on a blog, though 😉

  6. 6 John Goes May 3, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Good guess, but I was just mixing it up with some ancient Chinese Taoist poetry.

    http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html

    1
    The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.

    The unnamable is the eternally real.
    Naming is the origin
    of all particular things.

    Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
    Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

    Yet mystery and manifestations
    arise from the same source.
    This source is called darkness.

    Darkness within darkness.
    The gateway to all understanding.

  7. 7 Kaitlin May 3, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I’m really glad that you blog! You are one of the people whose writings have led me to feel like blogging is our generation’s version of grassroots activism. It’s easy, in this day and age, to feel like everything that’s happening in the world is bad (all you have to do is turn on the TV or read the newspaper to get that impression), to think that you just might be the only person on the planet who doesn’t agree with the latest steps taken by the US government, and to assume that you’re the only non-yuppie you know who is buying organic vegetables for global reasons. 😉 But finding your blog, among others, has taught me that we’re not as alone as we thought. There’s something *very* refreshing about what’s happening in the blog-o-sphere, and I’m guessing it has a lot to do with the honest and open posts like the ones you write here.

    Incidentally, I found your first blog while sitting in the middle of my Geriatrics lecture. The professor was discussing vaginal prolapse, but not in a very direct manner (go figure–goddess forbid that we should be direct in medical school!); I Googled it and your blog appeared. :-} So, while I’m sure you don’t want your relatives reading about your innermost personal life, you’d be surprised at what comes of your writings. Not the least of which is education of a medical student about a very important bit of women’s health care!

    Kudos to you for speaking up and speaking out! 🙂

  8. 8 americanmum May 3, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Kaitlin,

    So that’s how you found me! Oh, and the other day I saw that you actually nominated my old blog for a couple of awards! I am incredibly flattered 🙂 And for “hottest mommy blogger?” It’s not every day I get called a MILF 🙂

    Actually I really don’t mind if my relatives read about my innermost thoughts. But I do think they might mind, so I’ve toned it down here, at least for the time being.

    And thank you so much for telling me the story about the Google search! I love the idea that it might have helped someone out there. That’s a huge one of my “whys” of blogging that I didn’t mention. Who knows if my story of prolapse/hysterectomy is typical, but I do love that there is a med student reading actual patients’ accounts of their medical/hospital experiences. I imagine that is very rare, and I bet it will make you a fabulous doctor.

    Oh, and if you decide to specialize in OB/GYN despite the bodily fluids/”teh suck” pelvic exams (what was up with that?), I know of a little town that needs some new blood…

  9. 9 americanmum May 3, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, and Kaitlin, I forgot to mention just how much YOUR blog must be helping present and future medical students. And hopefully their teachers. I have a new-found respect for med students since I’ve been reading your blog. I spent quite a bit of time on it just the other day and read a bit of your archives and it was quite the ride.


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