I’ve been wanting to talk about what it’s like to have a blog.
Well, it’s a MAGICAL THING, folks!
No, but seriously. I wanted to write about how it feels to write about my life.
And post it on the internet.
How it feels to know that old friends and my mom’s parish priests and a few ex-boyfriends are here. Keeping tabs on me.
And how I have little to no interaction with any of them in real life.
And how that makes me hesitant sometimes. To continue to write and reveal and pour things out, most of them silly and sarcastic but some of them heartfelt and genuine. How I feel like sometimes I want to highlight this entire thing and press DELETE because I’m not really sure what the point is.
So, okay. I guess I should back up.
After a recent post about stepping back into the dating world, I actually DID step back into the dating world.
I did not achieve WORLD DOMINATION via dating everyone in sight as I had so hoped I would do. Rather, I went on a date. Singular. One.
It felt great to do that! and I thought YES! AM TOTALLY CAPABLE OF DOING THIS. DATING IN THE REAL WORLD. However, a few nights before we went out, we exchanged e-mail addresses and after I clicked SEND, I realized that he had my last name.
And could therefore Google me.
And I know by now that Google turns up some fun things—an article about me from a college theater festival, a picture taken of me on FameGame.com from a Marc Jacobs after party and oh, yeah, my blog.
Hi! Potential people I might date! HOW ARE YOU? HERE IS MY LIFE STORY.
Laurie recently wrote about this in a way that is so brilliant that I will simply cut and paste it. She speaks English much better than I do.
When people I know in real life read my blog, it can sometimes create an awkward imbalance. Especially for acquaintances, people I’ve just met, and friends with whom I’ve fallen out of touch, my blog can create a one-sided feeling of connectedness. There are times when people I barely know hold me to the standards you’d hold a close friend, forgetting that I know almost nothing about them or their lives, and that most of what they know about me is a public presentation.
These people aren’t delusional; I’ve been guilty of this in the reverse. I know as well as anyone that when reading a person’s blog, especially one that’s fairly personal, it’s hard to not feel like that person is my friend. But, for me, it’s important to draw a distinction between the presence and energy I offer my close friends and what I offer to those with whom I haven’t built that kind of relationship. This is one of my biggest personal struggles.
In dating relationships, this one-sidedness is of particular concern. Can you imagine if someone you’d been seeing for a week could click on your blog and, in a few short hours, learn the gory details of your last three relationships, leaving you to learn about theirs the old-fashioned way? What if they suddenly knew– or thought they knew– all your weakest moments and your finest hours, your insecurities and your quirks and your inside jokes, while you were still wondering what they studied in college?
So. Just. Yeah. What she said.
It makes things awkward for the person who Googled me because they have to then confess that they did that and risk sounding all stalkerish. (Though personally, I do not find that stalkerish at all. Probably because I do it too.) It makes things awkward for me because I have to somehow bring up the blog in a natural way while also possibly suggesting they stay away from it for awhile.
It also makes things sucky for YOU, the reader, because don’t you want to hear juicy details about my dates? I MEAN, DON’T YOU!?!?!?
And I was so thrilled that I was going to have some interesting things to say! So excited that I could be open on here about my dating experiences. Except I totally forgot that this is the INTERNET and therefore, NOT A PRIVATE DIARY a la 7th grade.
How does one HANDLE THIS!?
A few years ago, I was infatuated with a boy who lived in Atlanta. We spent most of our brief relationship on the telephone. Early on, out of nowhere, he got quiet and said, “Soooo, I don’t want you to think I’m crazy…”
“I googled you today looking for your myspace page or whatever. And instead, uh, I found your blog. I want to first say that you are HILARIOUS. So funny. And also that, um, it made me feel a little weird because it’s really personal. And I don’t know you that well yet so…if it’s okay with you, I’d like to get to know you the old-fashioned way.”
And then my heart melted into a puddle on the floor because WAY TO BE HONEST AND AWESOME, DUDE.
Things haven’t always gone so well. There was also that time when I wrote an entire blog post about how I didn’t feel like dating anyone, didn’t feel like dealing with all the bullshit, etc. And then proceeded to go on four dates with a guy. Who then googled me and found that blog post.
“Uh, so, you know how, when you’re bored…you…google people you know?”
“Um. I guess?”
“I googled you and…”
“Found my blog…”
“Yes. And I want to know why you told the whole internet you didn’t want to date anybody and didn’t tell me.”
UM. WHAT. UH. AHHHHHHHHHH.
And then I jumped out a window and killed myself.
So, there you have it. Best and worst reactions from people I have dated re: The Blog.
And there is middle ground, of course.
An ex of mine had his own blog. It came up in conversation before we were dating, when we were just friends getting to know each other. It made everything really easy until, uh, we broke up. BUT STILL — getting it out there in the first place was simple.
My most recent boyfriend knew about my blog long before we dated as well. He encouraged my writing and I would sometimes blog sitting next to him on the couch as we watched television. He’d read it the next day at work and leave a comment.
Knowing my real name is attached to my writing holds me accountable. It forces me to think about the people who could find it and read it. It demands that I keep healthy boundaries and write with respect. These are things one might do naturally; I had to acquire that skill and I hurt many people while I learned that lesson. And I must confess that sometimes I’m pissed I learned that lesson at all because I have got some GREAT STORIES that now I just can’t tell.
People still get mad sometimes. I’ve had boyfriends get upset that I wrote about them. I’ve had boyfriends get upset that I didn’t write about them. I’ve had friends accuse me of writing on my blog instead of communicating my true feelings in person. I’ve been told by family members that my writing is un-Christian and rude, unflattering and harmful.
I try to speak the truth. I try to be present in my real life first and foremost. I try to paint a portrait of myself that is more than a little bit accurate. I try to expose my flaws and strengths equally. I will completely respect anyone who comes to me and says “Please do not write about me on there.”
I think I have.
But I’m back to the original question which is, how do you tell someone you have the blog in the first place? Specifically in a romantic situation?
HEY, THANKS FOR PAYING FOR DINNER AND FOR TONGUEKISSING ME AND ALL BUT I THINK YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT I’M GOING TO GO HOME AND WRITE ABOUT THIS ON THE INTERNET.
They deserve privacy.
But I still crave this creative outlet.
And omitting facts sometimes feels like lying.
So, what to do, what to do?
I don’t have any answers. When I find them, I’ll let you know.
For now, all you need to know is that I went on a date. And it totally didn’t suck. Not in the slightest. Not even a little at all.