You know how sometimes you’re in a room crowded full of people, and everyone is practically shouting to be heard, and all of a sudden you say something particularly intimate as loud as you can - just when the rest of the room falls silent? Or when you’re in the middle of telling an anecdote and you’re suddenly so aware of the people listening to you that you lose the thread of your story?
That’s how blogging feels lately to me. I’ve suddenly become aware of all of you out there on the other side of the fourth wall. I’m self-conscious, and I can’t seem to shake it off.
This hasn’t been a problem for me up until now. I’ve been content to just blather on shamelessly, without really contemplating who might be reading. Usually I am thinking of a particular person or a small group of people when I write something - sometimes it’s just for me, and I’m remarkably good at blocking the rest of you out - but lately all I can hear is your collective expectation. All of you, even the random googlers looking for information about pineapples and infertility <http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=pineapple+and+infertility&meta=>or the Ikea dog weiner <http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=ikea+dog+weiner&meta=>.
When I write intimate stuff about the boys, or how I’m still coping with the aftermath of the miscarriage, or any of the personal dreck, I am suddenly picturing some of you out there tapping your toes and checking your watch and wondering when I’ll get on with it.
But when I blog about the world outside my head (sometimes it’s hard to remember there IS a world outside my head), I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I’m fishing for comments. And when I write what I think is a really great post and I get minimal feedback, I’m perplexed. (I know, I’m spoiled for comments. I know.)
More than a year ago, a friend of mine was talking to a friend of hers who happened to read my blog but didn’t know me in person. The comment that got relayed back to me was something along the lines of “I can’t believe how open she is about personal stuff” and I was never quite sure how to take that. Is that a compliment or a criticism?
And more recently, as the news of my miscarriage spread through the gossip channels at work one woman, instead of saying ‘Did you hear about Dani?’ asked our mutual colleague ‘Have you read Dani’s blog lately?’ You know too many people at work read your blog when…
I think that’s part of the reason why I’ve been posting so much lately (and this is the third post I’ve written today, and so far the only one remotely worth publishing), because I am so self-conscious that I want to put up not just any post but a good post. Every day. Just don’t ask me what the criterion are for a good post, because I have no idea. I’m holding myself accountable to a set of rules that don’t exist.
(Plus, my head is overfull these days. Too much time in my head leads to both an excess of blogging and an excess of neediness. Bear with me, this too shall pass.)
It’s a classic ‘be careful what you wish for’ scenario. All along, I just wanted this little blog to be popular in a way I never was. I’d love to be cool enough to admit that I write for me and that the rest of you out there don’t matter, but you do. I’m an attention junkie to the core, and I thrive on the affirmation that you like blog - through the comments, the hits, the eco-system ranking. I kind of wish I could get over that, but it’s not likely to happen any time soon. And yes, I’m well aware of the fact that you just bathed me in the affection of your votes for the CBAs just two short weeks ago. What can I say, no matter how good the high, a junkie still needs another fix.
In closing, I either want you to remain silent and ignore me so I can forget you are all there, or shower me with comments and compliments so I can bask in the warmth of your affection. I’m not sure which. Can you do both?