Monday, January 25, 2010

So, Why the Blog?

Oh, what a marathon of a day. Mac woke up at 3 AM. You'd think the whole thing would make a baby nice and tired but that's not how it works. It makes them overtired and ornery. He wouldn't nap and he wouldn't go down until after 7PM tonight. He fought (bit, scratched, kicked, screamed) for four hours before succumbing to the land of nod. I won, but holy hell I'm tired. And homework rises in front of me like a mountain, a mountain for which I've been handed a plastic kiddy shovel and the instructions to move it by the end of the week.

Also, the depression meds, or absence of them, is kicking my butt. Nausea, lightheadedness, definite mood swings. With a rising level of fear I wonder if I have returned to the me of four months ago. But see I have this kind of armor now, built on the experience of being Mac's mom for six whole months, plus the endorphins from getting back to the gym. I will survive, hopefully without too much trauma-drama.

Also, Trev's been working double shifts since before Christmas. I miss him. He's really, really good at the husband and father stuff. So, bad day in a hard week in a tough month, and not the time to get any level of criticism about this blog. It was well intended, delivered face-to-face and meant as loving concern, all things I appreciate. But... just not good timing. After stewing about it for awhile, I realized there are some good questions I think it might be time to address.

(pause for a second to note that I made the best whole grain pecan-apple-banana muffins. Added a little butter, and I'm having a moment of heaven right now)

The concern is that I'm getting a bit too personal on this blog. Well, it wasn't worded that way; I was asked if I think I'm getting too personal on this blog. Since I wrote my posts without hesitation, obviously I didn't think they were too personal. The ones that went too far for my comfort never made it to the 'publish post' stage. But still, the question got me thinking about this space and its effect on people. Why am I doing this?

I started it when Trev and I were living in Toronto in 2005. I worked alone at home three provinces away from everyone I knew and I felt like I needed to reach out somehow (honestly, had Facebook existed, this blog probably wouldn't). It was a way to tell some stories to the people that I missed so much. Also, I was about to lose my job. I needed to reassure myself that I still had some creative muscle.

I realized about two years in that it was also the only record I was keeping of my life, especially my life with Trevor. Now when I write, I have the distinct impression that I'm writing specifically to remember. And ever since Mac, I feel this need to leave my story in my own words for when I'm gone (one day hopefully a long, long time from now).

So why not just journal privately? Because I have boxes of paper journals started over my lifetime with the first page filled and nothing more. There's something about writing online to real people that makes me feel accountable, like I'm not just navel-gazing. I have a reason to craft a good story (and thank you for providing me with an audience).

But am I going too far with my material? Possibly. Am I bringing up things better left for coffee with my best friend and no one else? Maybe. And don't I worry that it could affect my job prospects in future? Ah, good point. But after thinking about it long and hard (over the head of a screaming child), here's what I think:
  1. I obviously don't write under my real name. There is some protection in that.
  2. I never write about my work until it's long over and no one can be adversely affected. It's one of my rules.
  3. I keep my sizable, dramatic family out of it except for passing mention when appropriate.
  4. If the health district won't hire a nurse because she openly talks about health issues like pregnancy, birth complications, depression and abortion then... it's not a health district for which I want to work. I will never claim to be better than the patients I serve. I'm confident someone somewhere will hire a qualified RN with personal experience.*

Plus, this blog represents maybe 50% of my actual story. There are things I won't talk about here because they affect too many other people. The stuff I tell you is stuff that I feel I own outright, and I really don't own that much.

Recently I've put myself out there more than ever before. It was a good experience for me; scary, revealing, kind of like being naked and splayed open in front of a room full of strangers (birth metaphor, anyone?). I believe that there is absolution in telling the truth and telling it openly to those whose opinion you care about. Far more effective than ten Hail Mary's, at least to me. And, it was some of the most challenging writing I've done in a long time.

I am not perfect and this here is my imperfect blog. I appreciate you stopping by, I love your comments. I may take a break for the next little while to recover from what I'm going through right now, and to get some homework done. But I'll probably be back.

~ Working From Home Today

* I want to clarify that I believe a nurse is a professional first. I'm saying if the situation warranted it, and it were appropriate, I would not have a problem sharing a little about myself.

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6 comments:

Blogger Schmutzie ~ 11:12 PM

It is difficult to receive that kind of criticism/concern, because the nature of life blogging can be so personal. I occasionally have to check myself (see: lately all the time), and I wonder about how much I am willing to share or not. I find myself sharing a little less now than I used to, but I'm a also a littler happier with the outcome.

As someone who knows you but is removed, I want to assure you that you haven't crossed a line, at least with me, that made me feel uncomfortable.  


Blogger Tyler ~ 11:54 PM

The way I see it, you don't have to explain yourself or your blog to anyone. Hard as it might be to believe, I also wrestle with the whole "how much of myself do I put out there" question on my blog... and I don't get nearly as personal as you. I admire how much of yourself you share with your audience.  


Anonymous James ~ 11:37 AM

I take the opposite view: I don't think you're sharing enough!

I know you, not nearly as well as many other people do, yet I keep wanting more! Lot's more! For me, you're holding back, you selfish hack, not revealing nearly as much as you should.

If you were perfect, there would be no blog. If everyone were perfect, there would be no art.

As a person who has used blogging to exercise his demons by telling all--and I mean ALL--to an audience of friends via blogging, I encourage you to NEVER be shy, to NEVER hold anything back. The further you go, the better you'll feel and the more rewarding it will be fore you.

There are lots of times when I've been embarrassed or humiliated because I've regretted saying too much. Eventually, I get over it. (It helps to have comments from readers reassuring you from time to time. You've been one of those people who have reassured me and encouraged me in my blogging. So if it weren't for you, I probably would have held back. Thank you for that. It means more to me than you know and I have benefited immeasurably from the results.)

Blogging helps you heal and assist you in understanding yourself better. When I had a mental health blip, I feared that even my good friends might stigmatize me bit over it, perhaps permanently. But I don't care.

If my friends can't take the real me, they're not worth having as friends. Your anonymous readers can go to another blog if it's too much for them, but they won't go anywhere. There's never "too much information" when it comes to writing/blogging.

The deeper you go and the more you share, the more all your readers are rewarded. That's what keeps them coming here. A funny story with your husband is fine, but it's the soul-searching which makes your blog essential reading.

In my opinion, you've only scratched the surface with this blog and I'm really curious to see more.

Write to heal, write to learn. The last thing you should do is slow down now, you're only getting started.  


Anonymous Anonymous ~ 5:54 PM

sorry...... i did not want you you to think that I was bieng critical of your blogs. Being from another generation I am fearful of putting to much of my self out there. If you are ok with it so am I. I love your blogs and always look forward to reading them. I also fear the www. and don't trust how some use it. maybe Iwill learn with time. Keep up the good work, always thinking about you.  


Blogger notquiteawake ~ 7:30 PM

I can't possibly say it better than everyone who has already left a comment. I love your blog. Write what makes you feel comfortable and change it if you feel comfortable. The only time I have ever regretted a blog post is when I didn't trust my instincts which were telling me not to post what I did in the first place. Now I just post what I feel comfortable with and, if someone doesn't like what I've written, I'm ok with it because I do. I'm proud of you for sharing and I miss you so I'm glad you do. Keep it up!

P.S. James wins for best comment. Really well put.  


Anonymous Anonymous ~ 8:15 PM

BRA-VO!
(from someone who knows you well)

One of my favorite lyrics (from an Alice Cooper song) is:

"You are the only censor
if you don't like what I say
you have a choice
you can turn me off"

If you are alright putting it out there, then it is alright to be out there.  


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