This is my 42nd blog post. (I had planned on writing about this topic as my 40th post, but I misread the WordPress dashboard. Sigh.) Those who have followed my musings from the beginning have read about my klutzy mistakes, my abusive ex, my friend issues. I’ve shared stories about my urinary incontinence, how I feel about playdates, and how I feel about the environment. With these disclosures, I’ve joined the ranks of fellow bloggers who talk about dealing with their own cancer, their mother’s cancer, their failed marriages, their use of sex toys. In retrospect, I can’t think of a single topic that hasn’t been covered in the blogosphere. We bloggers seem to have little or no filter when it comes to normally off-topic topics.
You, as a reader, may enjoy the voyeurism, but it’s a little weird for us on the writing end. It’s very strange, as a writer, to put these types of things out there. Things that most people reserve for close friends. At least it is for me. Sure, I’ve written a story for Redbook about growing up with a mother who yelled. A story I wrote for Parents — in excruciating detail, I might add — about my miscarriage was one of the most commented stories I’ve ever had the privilege to work on. But only a handful of the people in my real life ever cracked open those magazines. I could hide behind the relative anonymity of the newsstand.
On the flip side, as a blogger, it’s also weird knowing that my friends, family, and acquaintances are right here reading every word. Words that I might not say out loud to people I care about. And while I love that they are reading my stuff — please, please keep reading, everyone — it often has an impact on the way we interact offline.
Take my husband. Last night he commented that he loved my blog, but he thought I wrote a lot like a single mother. “There’s not a lot in there about me,” he complained. Another example: On Sunday night I had dinner with two girlfriends. Amy was in my Friday Favorites about friends; Lori, who is one of my oldest and dearest of friends, was not. She joked around about it, but I think inside the jokes was a little bit of truth. It hurt her feelings that she was omitted.
Other friends have reacted to blog posts, too. On Monday I had a playdate. Precisely ten minutes before Keira’s naptime everyone picked up and rushed out of here. They had all read my post about Playdate Dos and Don’ts, I’m convinced, and they didn’t want to hang around past what they thought was my limit. They didn’t want to be pegged “unsupportive.” That’s not the first time I felt uncomfortable because of my playdate post. A few weeks ago we were having a playdate with a new friend. While the girls were standing next to each other her daughter tapped my daughter’s chest ever so lightly. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. And yet the woman picked up her child like she had stabbed Keira with a Mr. Potato Head arm, hustling her onto a time-out before I could say a word. I actually felt ashamed. Here, this nice woman was afraid of offending me because of something I had written.
Of course, there’s nothing I can do about how people react to what I write. I can’t edit or censor myself. One of the cardinal rules of blogging is that you have to put your heart and soul on the screen or your readers are going to smell fakery and fear and leave. But not before they flame you for your insincerity. So I guess I’m going to keep putting it all out there. And my friends? I hope they will understand that, as my friends, they shouldn’t take my blog so literally. Still, just in case: Have I mentioned how much I love my husband, Chris and my friend Lori?!?
Do you blog? If so, what’s been the most difficult part for you? As a blog reader, how do you feel about reading such personal commentary? Does it ever change the way you feel about what goes on in your own life? Please share your thoughts below.