For the past week or so, I've been feeling... shy, about blogging anything really personal.
Well, that's not the right word, exactly. It's not shyness, I don't think. I feel a little...I don't know. Silenced? Reserved? Stifled?
Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:
You blog. You open your heart. Even if you don't mention specific names or places, you talk about your life, the people you care about, the way you're feeling about what you see and experience in your daily pursuit of happiness. You reach out to other bloggers and make blogger friends (which sometimes become real-life friends, or maybe it happens the other way around) and you put your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see.
And you trust.
Even as some of us blog anonymously or somewhat anonymously with pen names and obscure facts to draw the curtain over the most vulnerable parts of our real lives, if we have an open blog we are still doing the cyber-equivalent of walking up to total strangers and saying, Here, here is my heart. Please be nice to it.
Only some people don't know how to be nice. Or respectful. Some people walk around with anger, or sadness, or huge damn chips on their shoulders, certain that the world owed them something and they did not get it. Shattered by this thought, they don't dare risk creating something for themselves and watching it fail - how much better is it, then, to be a critic, a person who has never attempted to create anything, yet feels utterly entitled to sit back and comment on what others have made?
So they troll. They lurk. They drop by, unannounced, uninvited, into blogs where you post, quite innocuously, about your day or your dreams or your dentist appointment. And these people, these invaders, these unwelcome, ungracious guests, sit back, feeling superior in the knowledge that they will never have to risk a damn thing, and leave snide comments designed specifically to fuck with your mind, or crush your heart, or take your words, your innocent words, and twist them into something guilty and dirty.
They will never know what it's like, to put their heart on the page and offer it up to the rest of the world. They will never know what it's like to gain the respect and approval of people they've never met simply by crafting a good story or using a combination of syntax, grammar, and vocabulary to wrench peoples' hearts and make them sit back in their chair and think Holy God I thought I was the only one who ever felt that way.
They will never know anything but alone.
So here's my advice, as I watched more than a couple friends in the past month quit blogging because of bad experiences with people who do not know the meaning of words like respect or boundaries:
Pick your five favorite people in the world. They should be alive, preferably, unless you believe that after people pass away they can still be aware of what's going on here on Earth, although I'd advise you to amend that belief to not include sexual activity or showering. Otherwise things get weird, fast.
Anyways. Pick your five favorite people, and write your blog for them. It doesn't even matter if those five people actually read your blog. The point is, don't try to please everyone else, people that you've never met before who are gonna come and go and follow or not follow you. Write for the people you know, for the people you love and who love you. And let everything else go. Let everyone else go.
This above all: write for yourself. Always, always, always. Blog because you love writing or telling stories or catching up on everyone else's lives. But don't blog to make everyone happy. Because some people are determined to be unhappy, and that has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Don't let the bastards grind you down.
5 weeks ago