May 26th, 2009

Sometimes when I write an entry in this blog or the publisher’s note in the magazine I started, I feel like I’ve lost my voice. That I’m just an empty chair at the dinner table of life. In this blog, I often adjust my voice for the readers I want,  and I unconsciously strive for niceness or spirituality or thoughtfulness, when really I am just fucking confused or pissed off or randomly human. But I am constantly visiting sites that have a “nice blog” icon, and there is so much adorableness and cuteness and wonderful parenting in the blogs I read that I wonder where the messy, smelly humans live. In the magazine, I also tailor what I say–snipping off an angry opinion (God forbid I should come across as bitter or aggressive) or sewing up an editorial into a nice, neat conclusion. We all crave tidy Oprah closures, but how many of us can say month after month, “This I Know” for sure? To tell you the Truth, my life has not been tidy or neatly stitched. It’s a patchwork of regrettable relatives, death marches, bad decisions, loose ends, shouting matches, psycho lovers, lost chances and lasting regrets–as well as bone-shattering beauty, hopeless love, yearning for the impossible and some amazing improbable luck. I can dress up my past as yaya sisterhood, sounthern eccentricity summed up in some cute after-dinner stories (yes, my aunt kidnapped my mother and kept a gun on top of the refrigerator in case the sheriff called), but really it is also badly dressed, redneck, real-life Walmart sadness. All of which is to ask–am I the only one who has a blog life and a real life? 

9 Responses to “Emptiness”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ohmigod. I don’t even have a blog or a bloglife, but I totally get this entry. I just read it and I feel out of breath . . . with recognition. Here’s what I think: some (lots?)of us understand that we and our histories are messy, but we don’t know what to do with that information. Maybe yours is stranger that most. Who knows? (It’s not a contest.) But I do NOT think that you are somehow shirking some truth requirement because you resist cynical or pessimistic interpretations or observations of your life or your dilemmas. (I actually suspect that a straight whining cynicism would be easier to compose. . . and far less interesting to read.) Instead, in spite of the fact that you may be pissed or confused, I think that your struggle to make some sense – even temporary or tentative sense – of random pieces of your life is an undertaking that matters. I take it as a gift – a generous homemade, imperfect gift – that you have offered to the rest of us. What you write is not fake, even if it doesn’t represent the whole of what you are thinking. Even if it’s just a passing thought, even if it’s not forever true and only an idea you are trying on or wish were true – well, I feel lucky to read what you have been thinking.

  2. corine says:

    Great post. You know what they say: if you have got nothing nice to say don’t say nutting. It is sooo easy to pigeon-hole oneself. I’ve seen it with mommy blogs, funny blogs, political blogs, design blogs.. Once you get great feedback for a certain post it’s tempting to continue in that direction, and before you know it you are only presenting a caricature of yourself. I think the key is to do what’s uncomfortable. For example, for me, to be serious is sometimes uncomfortable, I’m afraid to be boring. When the urge to be entertaining comes to me, I sometime have to do a serious, boring or only image post as self-medication. In other words, i make myself do the opposite of what I imagine is expected of me, going as far as not posting for days and not apologizing for it.

  3. angie says:

    Right before I read your blog, I was thinking about how putting myself out there in my own blog creates a platform for the real me… yet, it also stirs up insecurity and a desire to be (or appear) perfect. My story, from childhood til now, is messy, and I’ve covered a lot of it up with a smile and polite conversation. But maybe more people can relate than I think. I love how “anonymous” said your post made her “out of breath” with recognition. I may put on a mask sometimes in a lame attempt to protect myself, but I’m always hoping people will see right through it.

    Nikki, it’s just my opinion, but whether you’re saying fuck or just thinking it, it comes through. So for that, I thank you!

  4. V-Grrrl says:

    When I started my blog in 2005, it was more open and personal–and more popular. A blog stalker, family privacy concerns, and an upcoming move back into the working world made me change my approach.

    I think the real me is still there but it’s often between the lines, not front and center. It is easier to share my confusion, questions, and vulnerability than my bitterness, rage, anger.

    And that’s probably because I’m a woman and uncomfortable with those emotions when they surface, afraid to share them except with my closest confidants.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hallelujah to this post. If I see the fucking “keep calm and carry on” motto on another I may just puke.

    I ditto what Diane has said and hope you know how much your writing (here especially) makes my life more livable, relevant and sane.

    Your story is meant to be told – all of it. And thank God for us that you are here and sharing it. Please don’t edit the yearning, regrets, mishaps or relatives – good or bad, it’s made you you.

    big sparkly hug,

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t blog but I read many different blogs on a fairly regular basis and have wondered the same thing. The seeming “perfection” is a bit of a turn off. I am messy and complicated and I want to know that there are more like me out there. You do that for me. That is what has kept me coming back to see what you have to say…honesty, putting it out there good and not so good alike. We need so much more honesty in this world of ours. Thank you!

  7. frida says:

    My project this summer is to write a little book(let) just for myself. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you all so very very much.

  8. Your friend says:

    What would happen if you just started right here, right now, telling the whole truth? Not tailoring it for a perceived audience? Come on, I dare you!

  9. dragonflyreflections says:

    Oh yes! I definitely struggle with this. Someone recently gave me a “lemonade” award (implying I’m good at converting lemons to, you know, lemonade). I was honored, don’t get me wrong, because we all like to get awards – right? But I was also a little ashamed because in my real life? Not so much lemonade these days and I haven’t been very honest about that in my blog entries. In fact, as you suggest, every time I sit down to blog lately, words just seem to escape me! I want to be authentic, but I don’t want to chase anybody off and I tend to think the blogosphere prefers the “nice” blogs to the raw and honest ones. BTW – the “nice blog” people wouldn’t return my emails, so I guess I wasn’t nice enough. I’m sort of honored by that too. 🙂