I'm quite serious when I say I'm blogging to save my life these days. I have a large file cabinet drawer full of volumes of handwritten journals, dating back to my adolescence, and they too have kept me afloat during treacherous times. I am an introvert, perhaps a bona fide loner, and the act of fully entering my inner life renews and supports me in ways that being an actor in the world simply doesn't. For some years, instead of journaling, I wrote letters to my therapist, sending them by email. Later, I tried keeping a journal in word documents on my computer, but that never really worked. Once I'm typing rather than hand-writing, I am self-conscious enough to need the writing to be good, hopefully very good, and at minimum, as good as I can make it.
I started blogging on myspace about 18 months ago, and found the experience tremendously satisfying and freeing. I'm sure it is knowing that my words are being read. This is the relationship I crave. Writer to reader, a life observed, God watching over me--but not in an engaged, intrusive way, just watching. Someone to watch over me. This is what I need: to be seen absent the need to be engaged or interfered with. Psychologists call it the observing ego. For me, the idea of being seen makes me labor over the words I choose, makes me take great care with sentences and punctuation, makes me strain for a perfect paragraph. Makes me a writer.
I'm thinking that, unlike journaling which is a private matter, blogging has both inhibited and disinhibited me. I can destroy the handwritten journals with no one the wiser. (But will I?) I suppose exposure becomes the writer's dilemma once one assumes she is being read. Parts of self get embroidered into the text and parts of self involve others who also show up disguised or otherwise in the writing. This happens whether the writing is fiction, poetry, blogging, or creative prose. Readers may know me or come to know me through the writing. Readers may see themselves, or others that they have relationships with, drawn with my sensibility and interpretations. You can say too much, or not enough. For example, I know exactly what triggered the depression I entered a year ago now, but don't feel comfortable sharing it in a blog. Truth is, I have gone back to early entries and deleted certain events that I feel that are better left concealed.
The essence of blogging for me is digging down to find authenticity within myself. When I feel a need to censor, I get furious. But when I let go of a truth that may cause harm somewhere, I feel deep shame. It is in the gap between fury and shame where the writing is strongest.
I am not saying what is on my mind tonight, hoping that it will be revealed in time. And yet I need to speak, to write, to make something of what I cannot speak. So let it be this: I blog. I am blogging. I will continue to blog. I am blogging to save my life.