Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is it quiet in here, or it is just me?

Blogs are a strange thing sometimes.

I began writing this blog because I wanted to write, and I wanted to join a community of other people who liked to write. It's not just about the writing, of course, but about the sharing. I could write in a journal or a private file, but instead I have this space, where some people stop by, where I write for anyone to read. And by anyone, I mean people I know, and then some. (I am still amazed when Blogger tells me that someone in Indonesia or Latvia is a faithful reader. Hello there in Indonesia! Hello Latvia! I do hope you'll say hello yourself one day.) So I'm writing, I'm sharing, and a few people are reading it. The internet is a crazy place.

Is it just narcissism that makes me want to spill all my thoughts? (Don't answer that). Is it just run-of-the-navel gazing? (Probably.)

I have a voice, but sometimes I feel as though it's been quiet for too long. It's not that I'm quiet, exactly, because honestly, I rarely stop talking. Just ask my husband, or my mum, or that unsuspecting woman at the store I was snooping around in the other day, who learned--without asking, of course--how excited I was for Alyce to have her first day of Junior Kindergarten. And that I was torn between the butterfly and the fairy tale lunch bag (I didn't get either because I need more time to snoop out my options). Talking isn't my problem. Sometimes, though, I still feel quiet, as though I'm not saying what I want to.

I have my suspicions about why I lost my voice. I used to feel so confident about how I saw the world. I felt strong and passionate and I shared my feelings with anyone who would listen. I was younger, and braver, and I truly felt the world open up for me just a little bit more each day. I had some fears, some anxieties, but nothing that stood in my way. I really do wonder sometimes how people didn't get more annoyed with me, with all that confidence. But if they had asked me to take it down a notch, I'm not sure I would have listened to them. It was too much fun to speak my mind, to feel excited and passionate and ready to tell the world.

So I feel like I've lost that voice a bit. I share a few things, and what I do write in many ways faithfully reflects my little piece of the world, but so often I want to share much more. I tend to spend some, ahem, time reading blogs and articles online, and when I stumble on a great post or debate my first response is that I want in on the action. I'm a reader and writer by trade, and so much of me wants to stand up (so to speak) and add my own take. For example, I come across some incredibly thoughtful pieces on motherhood and identity that make me want to jump in and say Ooh ooh ooh. Me, too! Or, Here are all the reasons that this doesn't make any sense to me, or This is making my brain hurt it's so messed up. But as soon as I decide to turn my reaction into a post of my own, I feel quiet. I become a little afraid, that my voice is wrong. I worry that I'll offend someone, or that I'll bore them. I worry that I've forgotten how to craft an argument. I worry so much that I never raise my voice.

Other times my fear involves a different kind of sharing. What has surprised me since beginning this blog is how much I would enjoy writing honestly, in the wide open space of the internet, about my life.  I'm in the centre of quite the transition right now, and all I want to do is share how I feel. I want to complain about not being able to find a job, about wanting to start a dream job but having to wait just a little bit longer, about the stress of starting over new, with very little money and a whole lot of responsibility. About the fact that my work-loving husband can't work because of his immigration status. But again, I don't. This time my fear is that kind of fear you can really touch, those practical things that a worrier like me will worry about. If someone googles me will they find this blog? Will they dismiss me? Will someone reject my application for a job because I'm some crazy over-sharer who spends too much photographing her kids and then imagining that anyone else actually wants to see them?

I feel a bit ridiculous, as one who blogs, saying that I can't find my voice sometimes. And seriously, I annoy people daily with how much I can talk in a single day. But I don't know how else to describe it. Beginning this process of trying to write honestly about my life, in such a way as to join a community of other people online, has brought me face to face with this shrinking voice of mine. In graduate school I always felt like a fraud, but I know from speaking with other graduate students that most of them felt the same way. A constant sense of inadequacy is par for the course in graduate school. But to sometimes feel like a fraud now, in a world of my own making, feels unbearable to me. All the photos and stories I post now, mostly about The Children, mean a lot to me, and I have no intention of slowing down on those. This blog is in part a way to document our lives as a family and I'm already grateful for it.  It doesn't have to be more that that, but I want it to be.

For those of you blog, how do you deal with this? How do you create your boundaries for sharing with all of us? I'd love to hear your advice on this.


  1. I don't have any answers, darling girl. I do face an element of the same dilemma; for me it's more trying to work out which bits of me are worth sharing online (ie; will anyone be interested in THAT?!) as measured against which bits of me I want to put out there for which I will (inevitably) be judged. And the two bits are not necessarily jointly exhaustive. Sometimes I have nothing to say; sometimes everything.

    It's confusing!

    Maybe your struggle is because of the lack of parallel between the paths of your two most familiar worlds; the once-was "DLL, PhD" with "D, Mrs L, Mama/Wife/Girl"? Your academic life was so focused, direct, determined, understood and the path was clear, the steps were obvious. You've still got all that focus and determination, but you're carving a new path, and maybe there is some residual energy there left unspent?

    Be all that as it may - don't stop talking! You've got a lot to say and it's all worth hearing, because you're LOVELY and CLEVER and WONDERFUL.

  2. Mammy P, you are very, very wise. I hadn't thought of it in that way, but you're right, it's all about that strange pull between two worlds. I guess that's why I show up here all the time, trying to figure out what direction I'm facing.

    And we want to hear as much as you'll share!

  3. Danielle, I enjoy whatever you have to say. I've been reading your blog when I can, which means checking in every month or so and catching up on what I've missed. (I think maybe I started due to The Momoir Project, but it could have been a link from someone else's blog too. Yes, the internet is amazingly strange.)

    Anyway, the trouble I have when writing posts is that I know my family is reading my blog and so I have to censor what I say somewhat. I don't want to hear about it later, you know? But still it's my voice there, which is what I love about it.

    The more I write, the stronger my voice becomes.

  4. Naomi, I get that. I know my mum reads my blog sometimes, and I worry about what she might think. Of course there's my husband, and though he is very supportive, he's also a very private person, so figuring out how I want to write about things is sometimes a challenge.

    But yes, the more we write, we'll figure this all out!