Once upon a time, not so long ago and not that far away, I had a blog that nobody read. It was just a private little blog where I poured my emotions into, bad spelling, nonsensical logic and disconnected thoughts were abound. I still remember the day I discovered that somebody linked to my blog. Oh! the excitement that I felt. The thought that somebody in a far away place read, understood and perhaps was even touched by something that I had written and felt it worthy to go through the trouble of placing a link to his blog. I was so happy, I felt validated, in-fact I liked the attention; I felt that I mattered somehow. It made me want to write more, put more juice into it, reach more people. There were more links, better links, more important links, even “oh my god” mentions in the press.
And then, and then and then everybody started to read my blog. And then people started to form opinions about my blog, some people even had several opinions about my blog, and then people would let me know what they thought of my blog.
There are those who are mad because I mentioned so and so in one of my posts and didn’t mention them. There are those who are mad because they got mentioned but not in the way that they want to be mentioned. There are those who start conversations with me by saying “this is not for your blog”. There are those who watch what they say around me because they know that I could blog about it and humiliate them in public.
Suddenly, it felt like it mattered what I thought, the way it never mattered before. Suddenly I had this power, a magical weapon, that I could unleash on a whim, I could intimidate people with. But with this power came restrictions.
My daugher’s teacher told me that she enjoys reading my blog. “Oh Nooooooooo!” I thought to myself when she said that. I now can’t write anything that might make me seem like a freak. I want my daughter’s teacher to think that we are “Normal”. I can’t write about the hysterical reaction I had when my husband decided to renovate the house.
My husband’s students at the university read my blog. Which means I can’t discuss anything too risqué, like sexuality, or funky behavior, because in academia my husband wants to look respectable.
I still remember the hysteria and panic I felt when a young man from my husband’s hometown of 20,000 sent me an email telling me how happy he was to find a blog mentioning this tiny little town outside of Nazareth. “Heavens help me”. I went through every single post I had ever written to make sure that I never mention my husband’s hometown or my in-laws in a negative manner. In a Palestinian village of 20,000 once one person gets a good piece of gossip in days everybody in the village is talking about it within the week. That day, as soon as I got home, I told my husband in the most dire tone of voice “I got an email from a man from your home town, his name is xxx, be prepared that your family might find out about my blog”. I spent many nights awake in bed thinking what my in-laws will say about the blog once they read it. They thought I was this nice sweet daughter in-law who always smiles and seems so positive.
Respectable, Normal, Sweet, my blog became after a while … and also boring. I looked though my last several posts and they are all so painfully dull. Where did the fire go, the honesty … all gone.
To blog or not not blog …. that is not my question. I feel pretty committed. To blog as if nobody reads my blog? That is the real question.