Kelly recently wrote, before she stopped this blog, that she was struggling with what was okay to post to her blog. Not due to a lack of content or ideas for writing, but due to the need to protect other people’s privacy and about the difficulty in writing publicly about the harder parts of relationships (as opposed to the happy, good things).
This got me thinking about how I handle that here and how I’ve handled it in the past. This has absolutely nothing to do with Kelly, or her relationship, other than her getting me to start thinking about all of it!
I write my entries solely from my own perspective and try very hard to never, ever post on someone else’s behalf. I mention in my “about” section that there are plenty of times when Coffee is a part of something but doesn’t factor (much or at all) into the blog recount. To be clear, he has never asked that I not include him, and most of the time I think we’re on the same page in our interpretation of things, but it’s not my job to tell the world what he’s thinking or feeling. Sometimes he’ll prod me to blog about something and I’ll quickly remind him that he’s free to get his own blog if he feels something is important enough to document!
When it comes to my kids, obviously, I password protect the entries that are (to my thinking) too personal for the general public to read. I found it easy, in the early days, to post about what was going on and how it was happening. As they’ve gotten older and we’ve had some challenges, it didn’t seem fair to put that out so openly to the world. It’s important to me that my kids be allowed to form their own online presence, as they choose, and as they get older, without me painting an indelible picture of them ahead of time. (They are my kids – they are other people’s friends, nephews, cousins, etc. – my experiences shouldn’t colour anyone else’s perception of them.)
At the same time, I continue to blog about those kid-related things, and share with people I know, because the feedback, ideas, support, and conversations are helpful to me. I imagine that having even more people read and comment would be really helpful (and possibly awful) but it wouldn’t be fair to expose the kids that openly. As is, I know some people find the fact that I blog about the kids at all to be a crappy thing. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that.
When blogging, I don’t claim that my perspective on things is necessarily accurate – I’m aware that what I see, and do, is based largely on my past and my emotions and my experiences. Sometimes my own perspective changes within a few days of posting something! When it comes to the kids, I try (and am sometimes successful) to write my observations and my own feelings about it – rather then trying to guess the kids’ perspectives. Even when I’m guessing what the kids are thinking, it’s more out of the idea of trying the thought on for myself so I can see how to work with it, sit with it, or process it.
With my relationship, well.. there are challenges in any relationship – though I think there are fewer in my relationship with Coffee than I’ve ever experienced before this. There aren’t too many things that we argue about, and there aren’t too many things that we can’t work through, and most of our differences are small enough that they’re not worth getting upset over. There isn’t a lot of conflict to write about, not many arguments, and not many times when I want to smother him with a pillow.
I have a policy, too, of not writing about negative things until and unless I’ve discussed it with Coffee. It is far easier, generally speaking, to sit down and hammer out an angry/annoyed/irritated/whatever blog post than it is to articulate all the myriad feelings and thoughts and emotions to someone directly. Of course. The problem (if you can call it that) is that Coffee and I tend to resolve things fairly quickly when we discuss them. If I’m annoyed by X, Y and Z, and we sit down to talk about it, chances are really good we’ll end that discussion with me feeling okay about all of it. Or, at the very least, like I’ll be okay with all of it soon.
So, I might as well sit down and have that discussion first. Save myself some time. I know, even when I’m really mad about something, that Coffee shares my perspective of how to make our relationship work. Give-and-take. Listening. Being willing to bend. Deciding what’s important and what isn’t. I know that if I go to him, upset, he’ll want to find a way to fix it with me.
There’s no point in soliciting feedback from anyone outside of our relationship. If we’re arguing over something, it doesn’t matter what YOU think. It matters that we find a way to resolve it for ourselves in a way that makes us comfortable. That way may not be what YOU would advise. Again, I am so glad that we solve things so easily together. Sometimes I blog about the process we use to solve things, but not much about what we’re solving. Our problems, generally, are in motion. We’re working on them, actively.
So, generally, my blog serves two purposes – the first is to document things for the sake of remembering them or sharing them. The second is to work things out for myself – about myself, usually, in some way. I find it much easier to think when I’m typing. Facebook is a lovely place for short, quick interactions – my blog is a good place for longer, more rambly things.
Like Kelly’s partner, Coffee is a private person who doesn’t talk much about himself. He doesn’t have an active blog, he doesn’t pop up on Facebook to talk about what he did on the weekend, and he rarely updates his G+ account. He doesn’t process his emotions or feelings by writing them down and asking for feedback. At the same time, he has never requested that I not blog about something – though, he admits, there are some things (related to the kids, specifically) that he isn’t thrilled with having out in the open, even under password. I think there’s only been a hand full of times, in over a decade together, where he has asked me to change something – like changing a name of someone or removing a location. Sometimes I roll my eyes about it but, almost always, I give in.
I’ve been blogging since 1993 – I was 18 years old. That’s 20 years of blogging and so, yes, I’ve definitely made mistakes during that time. (HOW OLD AM I? OHMYGOD.) I have carelessly blogged about people without ever considering that they might read it. And, without question, I have handled some conflicts by passive-aggressively writing about them publicly. I’ve posted things without thinking too much about who could be reading and whether it was even safe to write about it. There’s been lots of self-centred stuff (which I maintain is a-okay for a personal blog) and lots of ridiculous stuff thrown in, too.
But.. I love the ‘sanity check’ of blogging. That I can post something difficult, throw something out there, and get feedback from a variety of people – some of whom are not my biggest fans. I get emails from people offering up their perspective or advice or just some commiseration. Sometimes it’s an email to thank me for posting a recipe or a link. It’s all good.
I am awful at leaving comments on people’s blogs, in general because I read them through RSS, but I devour every post from my friends (and some strangers, too). I love reading about people’s thoughts, experiences, ideas.. I love being part of that community. I love the photos and the random updates and watching people change and grow. I will miss Kelly’s personal blog for all of those reasons.
Me, I can’t seem to stay away from blogging. Even when I think it might be time to close up shop… I keep coming back.