Thursday, September 27, 2007

Retrospective.

As of the 20th of August, this blog had been up for five years, Five!

As I was getting ready for bed Monday night, I started wondering how I got to blogging in the first place.

August 2002 was a period of change for me. I was just twenty-one. Only a month out of what was my first--and, even to this date, most--serious relationship, I was starting to re-evaluate the person who I was and the person who I wanted to become. I had been in love; we had talked about getting married once we were finished our degrees. But we just weren't that compatible. Different interests are one thing, but different emotional languages are quite another. He didn't communicate the way I needed him to, and I felt that I couldn't communicate who I was or what I felt to him in the way that I wanted to. So much of myself was I afraid of revealing to him lest he suddenly decide he didn't like what he saw. I wasn't always so afraid, but I learned to be. He had a bad habit of getting scared of his feelings for me and then abruptly breaking up with me--only to want to reconcile a short time later. And I had the equally bad habit of taking him back. I learned to be self-denying and non-confrontational; I learned to try not to be so damn scary.

August 2002 found me trying to shed those lessons. It found me, in the language of Monday night's season premiere of "How I Met Your Mother," trying to "win the break-up."

I had my long hair--which he had loved and lauded, and which I had maintained even though I had really wanted a change--lopped off into a bob. I wish I could say that the new style was a conscious decision on account of its 1920s-era symbolism, but I can't. The appropriateness of my bob occurs to me only now: cutting my hair was, literally and symbolically, an act of defiance. It was a way for me, at least superficially, to re-discover, to free the person I was from his expectations, under which I had long-allowed myself to be smothered. I can't tell you how much pleasure--and yet still annoyance--I derived from the disapproval he voiced when we had met up for a one-month-post-break-up cup of coffee.

August 2002 found me admitting to myself that yes, indeed, I was a feminist. What's more, it found me increasingly more willing and able to admit it to others. I couldn't, wouldn't, do that during my relationship with my ex; he had made his opinion of feminism well-known to me.

August 2002 found both my passion to write and what would later be expressed as my determination to make a career of writing renewed. I was wondering who this new me was going to be, and I was sure she was going to be a writer! And it is with that in mind that I conceived and dedicated this blog:
Well, this is it. I thought I'd finally be brave and delve into the world of on-line journalling. It's strangely comforting--knowing that there's an audience for my private thoughts. Perhaps there is a closet exihibitionist in me after all! Maybe it's just the writer in me. I dunno. As it rolls off my tongue, that phrase seems to have all the grace of a dancing elephant. I still have misgivings about calling myself a writer. Despite what Professor Garber told me. I don't know if the name "writer" will ever feel natural to me. It's like how Sylvia Plath said that for every success she appeared to have, she had "acres of doubt and misgiving." "Writer." Perhaps its one of those things that you have to grow into. Or maybe I'll wake up one morning and it will have been "thrust upon" me. Maybe I'll feel differently if either Lichen or A Room of One's Own decides to publish one of my stories? Who knows? Until that growth spurt, I'll continue yammering on here and on my computer. At the very least it'll give me the time to really listen to myself.


To blogging I turned less out of a desire to "win the break-up" than to allow myself time and space to write. It is for that reason, I think, that I've more-or-less stuck with it for so long.

But my blogging seems less about my writing nowadays. I suppose this development was foreshadowed even in that first year, what with the myriad of quizzes and memes I posted. Nowadays, when I do update, I post YouTube videos I like, or links to articles that I've enjoyed or been annoyed about; there seems to be less of my own voice coming through here, and no, that's due only in part to self-censorship (since August 2002, I've learned just how little control a writer has over her e-audience.) The other part? I'm not sure.

Of what I am now sure is a growing desire to renew the dedication of this blog: not only do I want this space to allow me to maintain the friendships blogging helped me to form during that first year (with Jae at come back to what you know, and Becky--the Diana Barry to my Anne Shirley, whom I wish lived close enough to get together for lunch or tea, or for me to drop by with a homemade pie or to offer to watch Emma so that she and Jerry could have some alone time--at grrrl meets world.), but I want it to help me to rediscover that creative voice of mine, about which I was so sure back in August 2002, which has been so silent these past two and a half years.

3 comments:

Erik said...

I have truly enjoyed reading your blog. Congratulations on 5yrs! I love your artsy postings, insights, openness, compassion, dedication to others and the planet.

I appreciate artists willing to share so much of their person with the world.

As a goddess protector, I encourage you to continue embracing feminism and expounding on feminist issues in the years to come.

Each voice in the choir makes the movement more beautiful.

Erik

Truth & Beauty

Becky said...

I've been at it for 5 years, too!

I love love love the analogy of our friendship as Diana Barry to Anne Shirley. We truly are kindred spirits!

I know I don't get around here as much, but I always enjoy reading your thoughts -- be it here, on Facebook, or in the comments you leave me on my space. You're articulate, kind, and wise ... and to think, if it weren't for blogging, we wouldn't even be friends!

Take care, girl, and we'll talk soon.

Natalie said...

Erik, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! I look forward to hearing more from you around here, as well as over at your corner of the blogosphere!

Becky, thank you. You've been with me here pretty much from the beginning (I think it was October when I first stumbled across your blog!) Thank you for your warmth, your kindness, your support, and--above all--your friendship. I cannot tell you how much it means to me and how much I look forward to seeing where the next five years will lead us! xo