Blogging is a very strange process. You are publishing your words (and therefore your opinions, your feelings, your news) in an extremely public forum -- anybody with a computer anywhere in the world, whether stranger or friend, can read what you say. Yet the vast majority of people who know me don't read blogs or knitting blogs, and therefore don't read mine. Most aren't even aware that I have a blog. Some have no idea what a "blog" is.
Because you write in isolation, and because the process is so mechanized and impersonal -- type away, click on the Publish button and it's all out there to see -- you are deceived into overlooking the fact that you are putting a lot of yourself out there. That also means that you are publishing intimate details about your life, and of necessity, about the other people in your life.
This is an on-going tension in blogging. How do I remain true to my own voice, how do I communicate what's going on in my life (because ultimately, a blog is just an on-line journal) without crossing that line of demarcation between the public and the private? This is something I think about frequently. I often write blog posts that I never publish. I sometimes edit posts, occasionally quite extensively, even after they've been published. (Second thoughts about what I want out there in the ether forever.) And sometimes I intentionally push my own limits because there are things I think are important to get out there. Certain issues are important to me and I'm willing to start some uncomfortable conversations every once in a while, even if it alienates some readers who have different opinions. And in all honesty, sometimes it's neediness. I have met many compassionate kindred spirits through this blog, and I treasure your support.
Right now we are having some family "issues." (Isn't "issues" a great euphemism? It can mean anything from a minor outpatient surgery to a full-frontal nervous breakdown, it encompasses substance abuse, verbal abuse, incarceration, mental illness and medical crises, and a world of other ills.) Some of them have to do with my mother-in-law, who was abruptly rushed to the hospital and appears to be facing a beyond-Stage-1-but-we-don't-know-how-bad diagnosis of colon cancer, with the added flair caused by her unmanaged bipolar illness. Some of them have to do with my father, who has been an alcoholic my whole life and is on something of a bender.
When these issues feel overwhelming to me, it's hard not to blog about them. Even though I'm painfully aware that these kinds of issues fall in that nether world of blogdom, that gray area between what is appropriate to blog about and what will cause pain to the other people in my life.
I grew up in a household where unpleasant truths were to be denied and ignored at all cost. I didn't like living that way. If some people now find me too in-your-face, too open and forthright, it's because I grew up in a family that ignored the elephant in the room -- and was miserable and fucked-up as a result of it. For me, part of living an honest life is naming the things that my family dared not talk about, facing them and trying to work through them.
So that's, I guess, what this blog post is about.
Like everyone else, I'm a mass of contradictions. I had a fabulous, fun weekend -- then came home to DefCon 12 crisis mode. I take great pleasure and joy in my fiber pursuits -- and it helps me deal with ugly, intractable issues in my "family of origin" (and my husband's). Sometimes my blog posts are humorous and perky and chipper, and sometimes they touch a deeper, more conflicted part of my soul.
Today, I felt like expressing some of the less humorous and less perky parts of my life, in a way that is honest but doesn't go too far over the line of invading the privacy of my family members. If I'm especially scatterbrained, if my email response time is slow, your forbearance is appreciated. I'm having an unhumorous, unperky kind of day today.