It Seems I’m Not The Only One

That has doubts and has begun questioning. Asking why we do it, why we put ourselves out there. Why we share, share and overshare. Why we blog, why we write. Why we give so much of ourselves, without second thought. Without thinking about how people will read into what we’re saying. It’s no secret that I’ve not been present on this blog for a long, long time. Sure, I’ve written posts, posted pictures and attempted to maintain a semblance of regularity occasionally in relation to these two activities, until eventually I stopped trying altogether.

Well, not entirely. I’d sit down in front of my not-so-white macbook daily, with WordPress open, and a fresh blank post blinking at me, before closing it down and moving onto a task that didn’t require me to discuss my feelings, my life or anything deep. I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t know how to say that, either. I didn’t know how to express something that’s much deeper than blogger/writers’ block. And then I put my finger on what it was. (No laughing when I tell you, okay?) – It’s an identity crisis. Sorta a quarter-life crisis thing, except I’m turning 27 – so it’s late. Me, a late bloomer? There’s a first time for everything, I guess.

And like everything else, when I think about it and try to analyse it, my mind wants to scuttle away. To avoid. To deny. To pretend that there’s nothing that could possibly be wrong, and that if I just ignore it long enough and try hard enough, it will eventually sort itself out, without me having to look it in the eye at all.

An identity crisis sounds lame. It sounds self-absorbed and it sounds childish. Surely at the (almost) ripe-old age of 27, I should know who I am? But I don’t. Where did it start? Probably with revealing my actual real life name and identity. Something I never discussed on my blog, something I just did, without thought for the consequences. There was a relative amount of safety and security in being on the other side of anonymous, whilst still maintaining sufficient (for lack of a better word) notoriety that people would still be able to identify me as well as identify with me. Sure, I may have hid behind a a pseudonym, but I was still accountable for my opinions and I was still someone. I just didn’t realise that revealing the someone behind the pseudonym would have such an affect on the ability to express myself.

In part this has to do with the fact that pretty much everyone in my life has now, at some point read my blog. My fiance, my parents, my fiance’s friends and probably even at least one of my grandparents (The one that sits on Facebook, sipping vodka smoothies and poking everyone on her friends list, incessantly). Old friends from school days, and even one of the moms I used to see daily when The Kid was still going to a daymother last year, told me she read my blog.

It sounds weird, and it sounds totally contradictory – but when I first started this blog, back in 2006, I never intended for anyone to read it. Sure, I could have kept it private and completely blocked off from the outside world, but there was a measure of therapeutic value in putting my thoughts out there, on the interwebs and setting them free. And then I got my first reader/commenter and I realised the value in this blogging thing. The value of affirmation. That you’re not alone. That whilst your problems might be identical – there are other things that you have in common with other people’s lives. The fact that life goes on, regardless.

So what’s the difference between me (real actual me) and me pre-identity crisis? The fact that I now think before I hit publish. Which means that I now usually keep my mouth shut, instead of exploding all over my blog and Twitter. This doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped writing altogether – I haven’t. To do so would be impossible. No, I’m still writing here (about being a parent) and for this magazine, about other stuff. There are a few more places where you might see my name, face and words pop up too, occasionally but I won’t go into that now. Suffice it to say that the words have not abandoned me entirely, they just seem to do so whenever I want to bring them near a blog post.

Five years. That’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to something vaguely resembling a hobby. But for me, blogging used to be more than a hobby. It used to be something I did without thinking too much about it – much like breathing. Something I needed to do, in order to function.  I’ve lost my breath and my ability to blog without thinking. But not my purpose. Or reason.

I still need to express myself. I still need to write things down to process them. So I don’t forget them. Or so that I can forget them. I still need that affirmation. That reassurance that it’s not just me. That I’m not alone. Yes, I’ve lost my breath and my voice, but I can get it back – right? It’s not just me, right?

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11 Responses to It Seems I’m Not The Only One

  1. T says:

    Not just you dude.

  2. Cath says:

    I get you. I share less and less of my real life online nowadays, just because I’ve become more private. I’ve just become, not guarded, but selective. I think it’s normal, and it’s okay.

    It’s totally okay.

  3. Nadia says:

    Tam, this is the exact reason I won’t start a blog… I totally get it…

  4. Super Sarah says:

    This sounds just like what I have been going through…. complete midlife crisis combined with blogging complex and accompanying angst! It will get better, you will get through this and some time and perspective will definitely help!

  5. Jenty says:

    You’re not the only one… I blog about much lighter topics than I used to. I think too much before I blog now, because of who reads my blog.
    In fact, I’ve been in a really bad head space for a while, but haven’t been able to blog too much about it because of the people that I know read my blog (even though I didn’t post some posts to Facebook… I got comments about content so I know they’re reading via a reader of sorts)
    Jenty´s last blog post ..The start of Project Bucket List to 40

  6. Angel says:

    OMG I’m working on such a similar post for my blog right now! Its been brewing for weeks!
    Angel´s last blog post ..The Winner Of The Samsung Omnia 7 Windows Phone Is…

  7. BlindCripple says:

    So, I know you linked me here, but I had to add to it…

    I feel the exact same way you do. I started out relatively anonymous, and that’s has completely turned around. There’s still no link from the once-referred to “Real World” of Facebook. I never wanted, and still don’t want, those people in my life to read my completely open-hearted writing. But now I’m not anonymous and the things I write affect more than just me, which is hard to accept as the blog is supposed to be for me. People *do* relate and sympathise and it’s the support that many people crave. It gives some people a voice. Blogging is the best thing I did for myself in the last few years. Without it, I’m not sure how I would’ve dealt with the things life threw at me. I am certainly thankful for it.

    I’ve said before, but you were the reason I started blogging. I remember it well. So there is a lot in me that says you shouldn’t stop. It’s just sad how real life took over the way it has and made our therapy not so easy to attain. I have no answers for you, I’m in the same boat. I don’t know how to speak the way I used to with everyone actually knowing it’s me. The reality of it, though, is that I miss it. Terribly. And knowing what it’s already done for me and how writing has made me feel, I find it hard just to forget it. Perhaps it’s just something we have to suck up and do for ourselves again, and now worry about the real world? I know I’m going to try and see how it goes…
    BlindCripple´s last blog post ..A Little Bit About A Prospective Return

  8. Frank says:

    Well, you learned to think before writing with almost 27. This might become useful one day. Myself, 41, sometimes just can’t think before writing, I just have to let it out. Usually this is at work, because I like what I’m doing and I care about the company I work for. Now, that had cost me, money, promotions, …. So learning to THINK before you write will become useful one day, believe me.

    PS: Why am I still work for them? I leave jobs for two reasons: getting bored, stop caring. And both didn’t happen yet. 🙂

  9. Boldly Benny says:

    Since my blog has always been so personal I have done my best to remain out of the ‘bloglight’. It took me forever to actually meet up with other bloggers and since relocating I have shied away from any blogger meet-ups. It’s just been the way I approached my blog.
    You’re just reaching a phase of transition. You always had the community of blogging, but as more people have told you they read your blog you’ve become more cautious. That’s okay, it’s just a phase of working out where this leaves you and how you want to approach your blog.
    I have been grappling with how my blog has changed, I now confide in people rather than my blog, but I enjoy the freedom of blogging too much to switch it off. Next step is deciding what to do next. You’ll work it out.
    As for the quarter-life crises, I found it plagued me for most of my 20s! I’m almost 30 and I say bring it on. No more self questioning!
    Boldly Benny´s last blog post ..Love this

  10. Oh I hear you, but as my stuff is mostly parent orientated I am still ok. But some things I do not blog about.

    And you are so correct about a mid life crises of sorts. Do you know that it is an international trend to chnage your job, stury again, whatever, at around 30 (there is a term for this – but can not remember right now)
    cat@juggling act´s last blog post ..Baby it’s cold outside.

  11. sleepyjane says:

    No, it’s not just you. I used to post every day. Now it’s a handful of times a month. Ever since putting my real identity out there I’ve started to really, really think about what I write. It’s not a bad thing I suppose but I wish I still had that thing that helped me put everything into the blogosphere without worrying who’s going to read and misinterpret what I said. Circles, running around in circles.

    I miss blogging like it used to be.

    We’ll be back though right?
    sleepyjane´s last blog post ..I’m still alive

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