Book 4-ish, Chapter 1. Aka, a reflection on the word ‘again’

Oh look, I’ve started another blog. This can, more generally, be defined thus:

I have succumbed, again, to a strange desire – present in greater or lesser levels pretty much constantly – to publish online a series of short texts which are unlikely to mean anything to anyone except me, again. I wonder why, again. My wonderings lead me to more or less self-flagellating conclusions, ranging from sheer narcissism to misplaced boredom, again. But with each failed attempt at this, there is commonality, and it is the desire to be vulnerable, the desire to be heard, even if it’s just in potentia. Again.

Now, I’m not sure why I’m leading with what’s about to follow, apart from the fact that I’ve copy-pasted it straight from a backup of an old blog that I started years ago, with only minimal editing. It still holds true, but I’m experiencing a lot of resistance to the idea that I want to blog because I Can’t Do Feelings Otherwise…

…but I have issues around, well, feelings. Particularly my feelings. I don’t mean that I’m particularly aloof, private or closed-off – I don’t think. Or at least, I don’t mean to be. But when I try to pin the things down for long enough to actually talk about them, in real-time, face to face interaction, when I have the other person’s feelings and meanings and words and intonation and expression and posture and life situation and the sort of day they’ve been having to try to consider, it all explodes in a messy unformed blob of near-approximations and misnomers and slip-ups and… frustration. (See also, Issue #1: Possible Neurodivergence). Because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s the feeling that I’m not making myself clear; that the other person is not understanding me because I am just not able to convey what I’m carrying around inside me in an adequate way. Paradoxically, too, it’s not that I don’t understand the feelings. It’s just that language seems to be the least appropriate tool to convey that understanding.

I have a fear that people will misunderstand me because of my imperfect ability to express myself, that they will build up a picture of me based on inaccurate data points, that their view of me will be, basically, a lie, and that it will be all my fault. (See also, the future post where I detail my identity crises being a bisexual woman in a heterosexual marriage which allows people to assume, so neatly, that I’m straight, and I don’t feel it appropriate to correct them, unless it comes up, which it doesn’t, because why would they ever think otherwise?). This manifests itself in something that I now feel fairly confident labelling Issue #2: Social Anxiety, but it’s taken me a very long time to get to that point, partly because I love public speaking, I’m perfectly happy talking to strangers, and I don’t like parties because I’m an introvert, not because I’m anxious about them. No, I get anxious talking to my friends, but that, again, is a post for another day.

But back to language, and its imperfections. Written language, at least, does have that beautiful luxury of being patient with you.  My keyboard doesn’t look expectantly at me when I don’t answer straight away, or get confused when I delete whole paragraphs or move them to the end, or feel disappointed when I actually just don’t want to talk about it right now, can’t talk about it right now, don’t see the point of talking about it right now, don’t know what ‘it’ is right now.

All this talking, this rather liquid confessing, was something I didn’t think I could ever bring myself to do. It seemed foolhardy to me, like an uncooked egg deciding to to come out of its shell: there would be a risk of spreading out too far, turning into a formless puddle.

– Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman

Something keeps pulling me back to blogging, over and above just writing this in a personal journal. I speculate that this is because I need to actually put effort into my explanations when I think someone might read it, and that this allows me to actually go deeper into whatever I’m writing about. Maybe I want that vague sense of accountability that comes with publishing. And hey, I can dream that I might actually say something useful and entertaining. I don’t envisage this blog to be a constant stream of self-indulgent navel-gazing. Even I couldn’t bear that, hah.

And I believe that there’s another reason for wanting to start this blog now, and why this time might be different from all the others, (she says, naively), and that is my changing relationship with Facebook. When I first joined back in 2005, it felt like a positive place, where status updates could be meaningful and interesting little micro-blogs which provided insight into people’s lives, or witty comments that made people smile, or think. Now, everything is instant-gratification graphicalised like-farming, where people seem to be encouraged to be their own commodifiers and advertisers, and my God I hate that. I really hate that. I want the meaningful interactions that Facebook once facilitated, and I don’t want to whore myself out on the market of likes and shares in the hopes of getting something genuine.

So here I am, again, back at this point of the cycle, again, where I view blogging as a potential outlet with the anonymity of a computer screen and all the time in the world, again.

Maybe this time.