This post has two parts with two purposes in mind.
Part I is related to blogging with a goal in mind — to connect with other bloggers.
Part II is related to day-to-day life in order to keep long-time readers abreast with my latest thoughts and happenings.
Feel free to read any or all depending on what is relevent or interesting to you. If nothing else, you are definitely going to want to read the quote at the end. It’s kind of the thread in this whole thing.
Part I – Commenting on other blogs (hello bloggers!)
I made a comment on a blog post yesterday that has continued to make me think. As part of an assignment in Blogging101, the author of Strange Vegetables wrote about how she felt about commenting on other blogs just for an assignment. She didn’t want to do it for fear of coming off as insincere. I get that. When I make comments I also want them to come from a natural place, which is why I commented on her post. I understood where she was coming from.
Further, when I started blogging I was uncertain about the level of interaction I wanted with other bloggers in general. I didn’t jump into commenting and making friends with other bloggers that I didn’t know. It was intimidating. What if they didn’t take my comment the right way? What if they are creepy? Do I really want more strangers looking at my own blog since leaving a comment gives them a link back to it?
I’ve since overcome some of these struggles, even though I can forever hear my Dad in my head harping to me about some of the pitfalls of the Internet…
It is dangerous to interact with people you don’t know!
There are fakes out there!
The Internet is a cesspool! (My favorite)
Why do you want to put that information out there?!
You spend too much time on the Internet!
Most of his beliefs come out of concern, and many are a result of a generational disconnect. He didn’t grow up with the Internet and doesn’t understand as much as my generation, who knows a little of both worlds.
For example, I remember when the Internet was born. I was almost done with high school, so it never played a role in the classroom there, however, I did go through college learning and using it as it gained momentum and is now a way of life. Still, I respect many of the “old-fashioned” means of communicating – cards, letters, phone calls — but I also understand the value of the Internet in today’s world.
The Internet is not the enemy, and in fact, it is a brilliant and an unrivaled source of information and fantastic place for people all over the world to connect. I understand that as in face-to-face relationships, not everyone is your friend, and I try to pay attention to privacy issues. The adage, “once it’s out there, it’s out there” shouldn’t be taken lightly either. But these orange cones don’t need to hold me back.
In my life and through blogging and other social media platforms, I have found a balance of what works for me and my family. I don’t have all the answers though, and I find myself asking and answering the following questions over and over and over again.
How much is too much to share?
Is okay to use pictures of my family?
What kinds of pictures and images are appropriate?
Should I write about sensitive topics or heartaches?
Who is my audience?
What if something I write turns someone off?
Will someone ever stalk me or or steal or use my content inappropriately?
Is anyone even reading this?
Will my kids be glad or mad I wrote about them in the future?
These are only some of the questions that I am constantly asking myself and redefining answers for as I go forth in life… as my family grows and changes… as we went through a major move to a new state and type of life last year… as sometimes it just feels cathartic to share some of the burdens… as my kids do funny things… as I experience joy. These are issues I am continually monitoring.
I won’t know the answers to some of my questions for years. Worry about that is useless. At this point, I don’t feel like I have written anything compromising to my family — the main thing I try to avoid — but have I written something that the general public maybe didn’t need to know or uploaded an image that I might regret later? Possibly, but worry is useless there, too.
The only thing I am sure of right now is that writing fuels me and I need to write and I do have an audience and my readers are important to me and I want to connect with other bloggers and I will continue to blog as a family blogger until it doesn’t feel right any more. I also know I can’t take back anything I have written so far. And mostly, I wouldn’t want to. It’s part of how I was/am feeling at the time and that in itself is valid.
To other bloggers who can relate to what I am saying, I wish you peace as you comment on other blogs and interact with other writers online, and especially when you hit that blue “Publish” button in WordPress and wonder, Is this appropriate or good enough, and will someone else be able to relate?
Part II – Day-to-day life (and HUGE topic swing)
Motherhood — I try to keep toys out of my bedroom and bathroom – and my kids know it – but it’s not always easy. This morning I took note of a white rubber goose on the counter of my bathroom sink, a Spider-Man mask on the floor, a pair of my shoes sitting outside the shower (I didn’t put them there), two purple Care Bears sitting on top of some dirty socks, and a creepy plastic monkey perched on the end of my dresser like he was King.
I think I need to have a talk with those two.
Travel — The kids and I are flying to Germany on Sunday. We will be in Europe for one month. Holy cow! The excitement and nerves are building. At this point, my only hope for our trip is that neither of them puts the seatbelt buckle on the plane into their mouth. If we can get overcome that hurdle I think it’ll be a nice summer.
Running — I ran four miles this morning without my stopwatch. The battery needs replaced. During my run I had no idea what my pace was, other than moving forward. When I realized this morning I would have to run without my watch I felt immediate angst. How would I be able to check my time at the mile markers? Once into the run I felt free, a good precursor to my upcoming trip. I am looking forward to loosening the grip on some of my otherwise stringent standards for myself… AND my kids. I think I’ll let Oma and Opa give them extra candy this summer. They deserve it. We’ve all been working hard over the last year. I think I deserve to put my watch in a closed drawer for a while and run free.
Luke the Pug — He doesn’t have a passport, so as always, he has to stay home. I will make sure he gets extra treats from my mom while we are away. He deserves to be fed.
Quote at the end (you made it!)
I leave you with a quote from my cousin’s former high school English teacher because the underlying thread in all of the above is writing. She likened writing to a woman’s skirt. She said, “Stories should be long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to keep it interesting.”
Write on, Mrs. Mills.
I hope I have done both today.