A good friend and delightful blogger took her thoughts private this week. Today, I want to write about some things here that people who occasionally peruse this blog might see, and I don't want them to. These two things got me thinking a little about public/private personas and blogging my thoughts on this here internet thing. You see, although this blog makes it seem otherwise, I can be a very private person at times. While I do not mind sharing the experiences I have regularly in a very public forum, I sometimes balk at sharing my innermost thoughts and dearest feelings here, lest it leave me vulnerable.
I have journaled most of my life--I have the volumes of filled in books back home to prove it. Sometimes I've been religious about recording my thoughts, story ideas, snippets of poetry, and listing ideas; other times I just write an entry now and then. I am always most centered in my life when I am writing regularly. Writing is, and always has been, a compulsion for me as much as an outlet and a desire. When I'm not writing, I feel lost and aimless. One of the best parts about living in Korea is that it seems to be affording me the time and inspiration to write regularly in this blog, in my private journals, and working on my publishable writing projects.
The internet has revolutionized literacy. The way the educated persons of my generation read and write is completely different than the generation before; and the generation after will be even more radically altered. The reader has asserted himself in the reader-writer-text (see Louise Rosenblatt's ideas) interaction in a more active way as readers become the writers in comments and pick and choose which parts of a web page they will read. And while, thanks to the internet, I can be a writer who other people occasionally read (which is awesome), I still feel a distinction between me and a "published" writer--which is what I'd like to be one of these days.
I first started blogging towards the end of college at livejournal after my career at the school newspaper died. It was pretty addictive. Then some horribly sad melodramatic things happened with my group of immediate friends that made me pull back from public journaling. I started a journal at some other site that I wish I could remember because that was a very intense period of my life and I can't find those journals anymore; though lord knows they are probably still out there in cyberspace somewhere. I went back to livejournal after awhile and kept it sporadically while teaching in the US because it allowed pretty cool privacy options (public, friends-only, and private). I have since made all of that journal private. I still occasionally post there for myself when I want to write in a blog, but don't want to share it with others. I will probably have a lengthy post there later today (because of the aforementioned things I want to write about, but find myself censoring).
I have blogged before about blogging. The act of meta-blogging is very helpful for me to keep in touch with the purpose of blogging, because this is by no means the only writing I am doing; it is simply the most public at this time.
I really try to reveal as much as I can here, because I know it makes the writing more interesting. I admire how open some people can be in their blogs about things I probably wouldn't be comfortable revealing, like Amanda on her developing relationship or Uncle Keith on aging. But it can be hard to bring myself to do that. I want to apologize to my readers for holding back where I feel I have to, but I will keep seeking to get braver in my writing as I have in my life.
I have a strange obsession with secrets. My stint as a crisis hotline counselor fed that obsession nicely, as does reading Post Secrets (I really want those books!). However, while I seek to know others' secrets--sharing my own, especially those about how much I care for people which can be quite a lot, remains a difficult challenge for me.
I've been trying much harder to live the philosophy of never letting opportunities go by for telling the people I love how much I care about them, but it's not easy for me. I have my dad's reserved and critical nature. It's protective. I have a tendency to genuinely like everyone I meet. Not that I don't see negative things in people, I do. I just really like people--even (perhaps especially) flawed ones. Even as a teacher in the U.S., I liked all my students, even the jerks.
I tend not to tell people this, though. They think I'm dopey. From some past bad experiences in the past, I really fear that the reactions of those same people to me tends to be pretty negative. I've been hurt by this before. The more you put yourself "out there"--through blogging, admitting you like people, trying new things--the more opportunities there are to be hurt. For example, living abroad and blogging as I do, I've discovered that now I can be hurt by silence, by a lack of response or communication when I put myself out there.
Maybe I have grown two emotional centers--two hearts. I vacillate between wearing my open, gushy, vulnerable heart on my sleeve--the one that usually guides this blog--and hiding behind the strong fortresses I've built around my secret heart--the one I hide even from myself sometimes--after many years of being disappointed and hurt too easily. But which one is true? Which one is better?
I don't know.