Thursday, July 1, 2010
On The Blog-Self OR Whether to Let "Real" Friends Read Your Blog
I was at a long-time friend's brother's graduation party recently when talk turned, briefly, to my blog. When we starting talking about this blog, I tend to get a bit blushy and embarrassed and hope the conversation will change before anything I don't particularly want to discuss comes up.
It's not that I write really anything on this blog that I'm embarrassed of-- I just show different sides of me than I do in "real life."
That's what a friend of mine said when we mentioned my blog last time. She said it's interesting to look at because it's like seeing a different person at times-- and this is coming from someone I've been hanging out with for the past 15 years. It didn't turn into an in-depth discussion, but it got me thinking about what it's really meant to allow the people I know in person to read what I write her, in relative anonymity, on the Internet.
Over the past year or so, I've been disclosing a lot more information here that's truly personal than I've ever done before. You all have been privy to internal struggles that I hadn't really discussed with anyone. I've talked about bad relationships, weight and body image, being a non-drinker, and a slew of other things that I really don't like to get into with my friends. It's strange to think, sometimes, that I'd rather talk about very personal things to strangers than the people I've grown up with. Maybe growing up with these people is what makes it the hardest for me to feel completely comfortable disclosing certain information: I sometimes feel like they've known me for so long that it places me in a box, where I sometimes would rather not see myself, us, growing up so fast and maturing and making mistakes and being romantically involved, etc. etc.
I don't know if this post will be awfully articulate when I'm done. It's hard to put into words what I feel when I know someone I actually know has seen something I wrote here.
First, yes, this is me. Everything I say here is a genuine part of who I am, just like the things I say to another person face-to-face is.
I guess that knowing Vanessa Who Blogs along with Vanessa Outside Her Blog is how you know the whole of me right now. And the idea of someone getting to know everything about me all at once is actually pretty terrifying. It's not that either Vanessa is any more genuine-- you need all of it, I suppose, to really get who I am.
What's most interesting to me about this, though, is that I never intended friends to see this blog, as it is today. Before I started writing more "lifestyle" based posts and things on body image and the like, this was supposed to be a fashion blog. It was something I was really into-- I still am-- and I wanted to take a crack at writing about it. I found that shows and clothes weren't really my passion, and I started writing about topics that were, at times, intensely personal, topics I felt I truly had some stake in and passion for. The blog that I originally wanted to show off to friends had a lot less "me" in it, and as this blog changed, I wasn't quite as comfortable with the idea of friends seeing what I had to say.
My blog is still listed as my website on my Facebook, and I don't have any real desire for friends to stop reading it; that said, it's still a little awkward to remember who sees this at times (no offense to any IRL friends reading this post!) I wonder if I'd known the direction my writing here would take if I'd still have made my blog public. I know of several bloggers who say their Internet space is kept secret from friends... and I tend to believe I would have been one of them. I'm often glad I'm not, though.
There's something to knowing that my friends know a side of me I'm just starting to know myself that makes them even a little more dear to me: that these people can take me for my passions and my mistakes is awfully wonderful.
Is your blog self different than you in person? Do your "real" friends know you have a blog? If they do, do they read it? Do you talk about it? If you've chosen to keep them out, why?