I started blogging when I was 14 years old. My brother created a website for me using a program called HomeSite and I borrowed a bright blue tie-dye background from some design website which let you download stuff for free. My entries were dated like a diary and I usually put a quote underneath the date, sometimes from a poem, sometimes from a showtune.
I would write a post downstairs in the living room and then call up to my brother who was on his own computer (I think that he made himself? Built himself? What?) in his room and ask DID YOU READ IT? DID IT WORK???
I used full names because Google wasn’t a thing yet and I wrote completely without thought, as evidenced by the numerous times I got in trouble with my parents and friends who accused me (rightly so) of writing about things instead of communicating with people directly and also for hurting their feelings and being generally annoying. ALL TRUE! OH, THE AGE OF FOURTEEN!
(Also, free lesson: you should not put the full name of anyone on a website without their permission but you should ESPECIALLY not put the full name of a good Christian girl you know from high school on your website and write that you were astonished to learn she smoked pot at a party. This is just a tip for all you 14 year olds out there. Good thing my parents were like WHAT THAT IS NOT OKAY so I took it down and then my mom later was like SERIOUSLY SHE SMOKES POT? HOW CAN THAT BE? SHE GOES TO CHURCH!!!! So basically both mine and my mom’s innocence were shattered in that moment.)
(Also, it was 1998 and my parents were teaching me internet etiquette. INCREDIBLE! AHEAD OF THEIR TIME!)
Anyway. I believe I still continued to blog inappropriately until, oh, I don’t know, I’m probably still doing it. Throughout my twenties, I took my blog pretty seriously and while I often tried to express myself in a light-hearted way, I realize as I re-read some old posts (AND CRINGE GAH AWFUL WHAT), that I used my blog a lot to work out tons of more serious things – heart breaks and friendship rifts, career questions and confusion about growing up, babysitting, babysitting, babysitting, my dad who got sick, my dad who got better, fights with my mom, love for my mom.
So many of those posts embarrass me now, especially because a lot of them are still up and available and can be clicked through by anyone. From time to time, I still feel pangs of guilt when I think about pieces of people I overshared and hurtful things I said. I can’t explain it but it felt so important to share my perspective and pretend people were listening and I must admit that I still think that’s true and that feeling ultimately overrides any hesitancy to write or embarrassment I feel when someone says to my face I HAVE NO IDEA WHY PEOPLE HAVE BLOGS. I THINK THAT’S SO WEIRD.
(I find that usually the people that say this are the same people on Facebook who post status updates about their bodily functions or how drunk they are so…okay!)
It’s a fine line as always, to write because you feel compelled to and share because you see value in it and…wanting to keep it all private. I struggle more and more with that now which is why I’m quieter than ever in this space. It’s kind of astonishing to think that I’m still maintaining a website that is now fifteen years old! No longer in journal form, though. Rarely do I post a quote. Even its title, The Spectrum, which didn’t really used to mean anything except perhaps that I spanned a whole lot of topics, means something different now, which leads me to believe a lot of people come here looking for me to write about kids with special needs or autism.
(I am sorry to let you down.)
Along with sharing too much and embarrassing myself and others, when I re-read older posts, I actually can see myself developing a writing style. I can see my sense of humor grow too, what I found funny, what I took seriously. I can read pieces here and there and actually watch myself grow, instantly transport to that place and time and see how differently I looked at things. It’s hard not to judge young Laura for BEING AN IDIOT A LOT. But it’s easy to love her too, for trying. And oh man, she tries so hard all the time. There’s something sweet in being able to see that. Of course there is.
I don’t really have a point except to say that I really still love this blog. My Mondo Beyondo list on the side is so irrelevant at this point I need to take it down or do it over. I haven’t posted a book I’ve read all year. (Fifty Shades of Grey, it was as awful as everyone said it was going to be.) I should probably spend a weekend taking down posts that include people that are not in my life anymore, for their sake and mine.
But ultimately, oh well.
I don’t really have anything to say to people who don’t understand blogging or why you would put certain things on the internet. Hell, I don’t even know why I’ve put certain things on the internet but I do know that it’s helped me so much in so many ways. Being able to go back and re-read parts of my life can certainly stress me out but it’s really great too, not to mention all the people who have cheered me on in the comments, made me think and made me laugh, made me feel valuable.
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS THIS FEELS LIKE GOODBYE!
It’s not. I just like it here. I’m trying to write more. Sometimes I get stuck. Truth be told, I’ve also been dealing with a lot of anxiety which is a relatively new phenomenon in my life. It runs in my family but it’s only just showed itself to me over the past year or so. It’s very scary, to say the least and it makes me have a lot of compassion for people who have dealt with this their whole lives.
Hopefully soon I can talk more about it! Right now I don’t have a lot to say except that…anxiety has been making me anxious?
HA HA ROCK ON!
But I love The Spectrum and I just wanted to let it know.
Good. Glad we got that out.