Monday, August 29, 2005

A Card of Thanks

When I started blogging this February, I did not have much of an agenda. I used to keep a journal before I got married, which kept me sane in some insane times. I mused, pontificated and poked fun at myself - and found the experience to be the cheapest form of therapy (and also less likely to be bad for my health). With marriage, kids and career, the time that I allowed for myself quietly slipped away. Until that day in February when Eric had been away for almost 2 months on exercise. I was bored and lonely, I felt isolated from the world but at the same time holed myself in the house (mostly due to bad weather and precocious kids) - and felt like I needed to say something - and considered journaling to be equivalent to decent adult conversation. Since I had been an adept diarist, I wondered how the public dimension would alter or change what I wanted to say. It did change my rhetoric quite dramatically. And this is a good thing. When scribing my inner thoughts on paper, I tended to be funny, but I was also self deprecating (both consciously and not). There were more doodles and thoughtful consideration of pens and their nib size. I also tended to obsess about my "issues" and eventually realized that journaling was contributing to their perpetuation. I had to stop writing about it, as a step to healing those demons. When I stopped writting about my baggage, I had nothing else to say, and therefore discontinued the practice. I was not getting the same fix. This also coincided with the filling of my days (and nights) with diapers and spit-up.

Blogging is different for me. I do offer a performance. But I think I am expressing part of my personality that normally manifests in every day conversation. I do like to joke and see the funny side of things. And for all the heartache and stress, the kids are excellent material. While of the otherhand, parenting to me can be mundane and dull, and for me, isolating. The funny stuff reminds me that they are as intellectually stimulating as a conversation with a Phd in Phenomenology. I have spent days feeling dreary and not in the least bit interested in another sibling fight, catering another meal, cleaning up another shitty ass, reading the same story over and over again, listening to the same damn DVD again, cleaning and wiping and dusting and washing and folding yet another item. I've learned, probably the hard way, that "good" parenting is as much about the way you look at things, as it is about they way you do things. Getting in the habit of finding the ridiculous and absurd is ultimately more productive than seeing only the routine and mundane.

But when the shitty stuff happens, as it will happen to us all, there is nothing more validating and comforting than 8 very kind comments from people who took time out of their own day to read and respond to my crappy day. And in this regard, blogging trumps traditional journaling hands down.



Candace said...

I can't tell you how many times I've written something really HARD to even think about, let alone discuss openly...and have been so pleasantly surprised by the warmth and encouragement from, basically, total strangers.

It's wonderful, isn't it? And you're such a good writer...I'm glad I found you.

Heather said...

>>>feeling warm and fuzzy<<<<

Thanks (again!)

Kim said...

Awwww. I love reading your blog. You show a whole different side of your personality (than what we see at that other place I know you from). And you're really funny! Of course, I can relate on the kid issues. Baby K might be a runner just like yours. That kid exhausts me!

Jeff said...

Hello! I discovered your wonderful blog about a week ago.

A friend of mine likes to rail about how culture determines a lot of norms around pregnancy and mothering. (When she was pregnant, she hated it when people fawned over and fondled her extended belly--"OH how wonderful!" She wasn't as excited.) Reading about your recent experiences reminds me of this.

This is just a note to say I think your writing is brilliant and much appreciated.

Mary P. said...

Initially I saw blogging as something I did to please myself. I hadn't taken the audience into account, nor realized how interactive it would become. Isn't it great? Even though most commenters are strangers by one definition, they also become a genuine community. And that is not a thing to be disparaged.

hotboy said...

Guy looking after daughter. Going to mother and toddler clubs instead of being rich and famous. Not one of the girls; odd at coffee mornings. One day I looked at this thing and wondered what it was called. Count five. A telephone. Nothing is more gruelling than being responsible for progeny. It's a marathon. But selfless. We're all wee bits of each other. Maybe. Be worth it, of course. But there are times when you have to give yourself up and that's not easy!

robmcj said...

I've been thinking about what you said. And I think perhaps there's a time for wallowing (whether with a journal or with friends etc. who let you rant on); and a time for just writing it down as a part of moving on. Signing off on that issue. The trick is to move from the wallowing to the closure as quickly as possible (for that person and that issue).

Any distressing personal stuff that I blog about has first been through the wallowing phase a number of times - that's how it gets to the point where I can post it in a matter-of-fact or light-hearted way.

I think one reason I find resolution through blogging, is that I feel readers are kind of witnessing my moving on, my new-found comfort with a previously-distressing issue. Whether they make much comment or not, they give support and acceptance. I don't know if it would be so effective if the stats on blogpatrol told me that nobody at all was reading.

I hope that makes some sense. I'm still thinking it through.

I also understand what you mean about performance. I think it's quite helpful to have to strike a balance between:

- responsibility for not boring or appalling the reader, not taking up too much of their time/bandwidth (which I am actually doing in this comment but I've nearly finished);


- recklessly and selfishly letting it all hang out.

I'd better stop now.