Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This Blogging Thing is Hard

Blogs are enormously and unavoidably self indulgent.  They can be lots of other things as well, and I might go so far as to say all creative pursuits are self indulgent on some level, so I do not mean to condemn them.  Heck, I enjoy working on mine and I also enjoy regularly reading many of them.  My blog is particularly confessional.  It’s certainly not an original theme.  I feel compelled to write because I find it personally helpful, and because I think life would be easier if “private shames” like mental illness, miscarriage, marriage trouble, and parenting challenges were destigmatized.  I don’t have any delusions of grandeur that my blog, with its tiny readership, is going to engender this change.  I’m just trying to add my two cents to the dialogue. 

The problem is when I write about my life I am also writing about the lives of people around me.  Certain family members have made it clear to me that I need to OK it with them before I post about them, and I am sensitive to that.  Certain family members seem pretty cool with it.  Out of respect for Z I ask him to read posts that concern him and our relationship before I publish them.  He has been extremely generous about me airing our dirty laundry. 

Yesterday I wrote a post that concerned marital hurt and how our fighting has evolved over the years.  He was in his car for a long period, driving back to Syracuse from Ithaca for work so I read it to him in the hopes of getting the all clear.  When I was done he told me for the first time that he was completely uncomfortable with me publishing the piece.  He was very kind and said it was honest and fair, but he said it was too raw.  He just didn’t want it out there on the internet.  To me it was a pretty redemptive story, about the unavoidable fighting that happens in a marriage and how through a lot of work and self awareness on both of our parts we have been able to learn to fight constructively.  That isn’t to say we don’t hurt each other big time, but we have come a long way in how we navigate that hurt.

We went back and forth about the post a lot last night.  And we realized we were in a terrible position where one of us would feel guilty and one of us would feel angry not matter what the outcome was.  I also worried that I had opened the door for my content to be censored.  Z worried about the details of our life that he would like to remain private ending up on the web for anyone to find with a little digging.  Ultimately he suggested that the specific story was not necessary in writing about emotional growth in a marriage.  He said there isn’t just one way to do anything.  At first I was dismissive, particularly because the piece was already written exactly how I wanted it to be.  But then I cooled off a bit and understood he was right.  The same problem can be solved in any number of ways.  It will be a challenge, but I will try and rewrite the piece.

The balancing act of being true to myself while not making my husband uncomfortable in my writing seems a little harder.  He was so frustrated last night he said he just wants me to post what I post without talking to him about it first, and let the chips fall where they may.  Can you tell he hates confrontation?  I don’t want to do that because I do respect him, and I want him to treat me with the same respect when it comes to other issues in our life.  So I really don’t know what to do.  Tomorrow I will try and rewrite the post.  I will continue to write honestly about our marriage, motherhood, being crazy.  But I have no idea how to strike the balance between writing with uncensored honesty and making those I write about comfortable.  I’m unpardonably naive, but this whole blogging thing is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.   

Sunday morning. 

T found Z's old drafting brush and felt the need to brush everyone's hair with it.  


4 comments:

  1. Maybe just the writing is the catharsis. Does it have to be read?

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  2. I see j's point and agree that the action itself can be useful, but i can also see how in this instance, the argument is already out of the bottle. I know that the concept of 'audience' frequently impacts what and how i write and writing a personal journal differs greatly from a public journal. I do not have any advice for you, i am just here to share the pain. I have some similar concerns with my writing and my blogging. Many of my concerns are related to business relationships and employability - but there are some personal relationships involved as well. I have not found a great solution yet.

    Some things i write and know that i have to keep them private for now. Some things i write and publish but with password protection to limit the audience. I think it is great that you can and do talk to Z about these issues and that despite the difficulty, you are both trying to find a way to make it work. As i writer, i feel your pain, but i also really respect the solution.

    I would hope that you can view the re-write as a chance to examine the issues from another perspective and hopefully learn even more than you did in the first edition. (Save the first edition. In a week, or a month, or a year, it is possible the specific events will not carry the same meaning, and you can post a compare and contrast - perhaps a good one year from now retrospective?)

    And finally a note on Z. As you know, i have never met Z and i know very very little about him. Not only do i not pre-judge Z because of things you write here - i truthfully do not remember very much about him from reading this blog. I don't mean that in a bad way, i just mean that learning about Z is not my objective in reading your blog. We do learn some about our family in the reading, but we learn more about your brain. I think that i would read your blog even if i did not know you and someone else suggested it. The process of self-examination, the pursuit of reason and meaning, the struggle for personal growth, and the writing - these are the things for which i come.

    All i "know" about Z from reading here is that he cares about you and your son, he makes stuff with wood and i think he teaches other people to make stuff with wood, he wears suspenders and uncommon hats, and he too is committed to your relationship and family and to figuring out how to make it work.

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  3. Thank you for your kind words, Nick. The stuff you know about Z is true. I hope you get to meet him some day.

    And I hope you are soaking up the sun right now.

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  4. Hello;
    You remind me of a friend I had.
    Get a new husband.
    GoodBye.

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