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It’s not a personal blog if I’m not personal

I’m notorious among many for stirring controversy, for better or worse. A lot of people offline know me for the worst side of it, something I’m unlikely to live down with them that is also likely the cause to why few take me seriously.

There was a question in a group I was a member of, by a woman about personal blogging and bloggers, regarding how much they share.

Caucasion thighs outside pool; feet inside pool

How personal is too personal?

Is what I’m sharing “too personal”?

It all comes down to personal opinion what someone finds “too personal” for themselves. No one’s making anyone post anything they’re not comfortable with.

The reason this question struck such a nerve in me is because I consider myself reticent. I’m an open book, save the things I deem too personal.

My reticence confuses a lot of people because of this blog of mine, because they don’t understand why I mightn’t want to talk about certain feelings after I divulged much of what I find worth spending time on on here, because I’ve put it into writing.

Or it’s that I’ve posted about periods and reusable menstrual products on my blog, but am not interested in discussing this other topic they wish to discuss because I don’t feel that it’s their business.

I write about abuse and neglect and my dysfunctional family and my estrangement with my mom — though not as often as I did previously. Other times, I’m cryptic as hieroglyphics, and however much I share at any point is up to me, but somehow it’s still never enough or always too much.

If my family had it their way, I would never have had a blog to begin with.

My story would have died with me, because this is the way of my family:

  • We don’t talk about it.
  • We ignore when other people make us feel shitty and continue living with a smile on our face, even if we’re dying on the inside.
  • We don’t dare ever let anyone see our problems, let alone that we’re suffering.

All it takes is one teeny, tiny complaint to someone who thinks they have agency over me.

Hurtling out of the conflagration at 78 seconds are the Challenger’s left wing, main engines (still burning residual propellant) and the forward fuselage (crew cabin). [source]

I can be reviewing books and get tattled on for saying I relate to the main character who cut herself or whose mother abandoned her.

I can cryptically write about a person a family member doesn’t even know, and that same relative get upset that I’m talking about them/someone they know.

The thing about individuals sharing their stories that a lot of people fail to realize — especially those who don’t understand blogging, because this is precisely why personal blogging works — is that our stories are relatable because, hello, humanity relies on stories and storytelling and everything in between.

If you think something is about you, that’s your problem. Calling someone — who isn’t defaming you — out on it, or gossiping/tattling about it to another person, is child’s play. We’re so not in kindergarten anymore!

How does that saying go again?

You’re so vain you think this post is about you?

Or if you think something is about you, then maybe it is. Except for when it’s not.

Me putting parts of myself out there doesn’t mean everything about me is fair game and anyone is entitled to such intel. I decide what to put out into the world about myself, and I retain the right not to put something out there — for any reason whatsoever, anytime I want. It’s up to me what I share, not anyone else.

I don’t write with vengeance in mind anymore, but with the ability to reflect and look at things with the perspective of hindsight, and all I can do is hope that someone else takes my writing in that way rather than with the idea that I’m out for revenge.

It’s kind of like my first visit with my psychiatrist. Something he got totally right is how I see my mother: not as a bitch, not as someone I pretend is dead—but a victim. I spent all this time explaining a few things, he assumed she was a victim, saying, “So she’s a victim, too,” and I said, “Yes.”

(I’ve since changed to a female psychiatrist.)

Offline, select people will trash talk my mother, and this is what I don’t write about, because I have such a hard time fitting it into something: I stop them, because she’s not their mother. They don’t know about the bad and the good times we shared. They don’t know what I know; they haven’t seen what I’ve seen.

What they do learn is that no one is allowed to talk bad about my mom to me, only I am, because she’s my mom. It’s typical for daughters to have issues with their moms. It’s all the more typical for those relationships to fall apart, for them to fight, for them to makeup, for them to be friends as they both age on.

…even if that is not my story. 🤷‍♀️

I don’t share the whole story all the time.

I hold back to protect people and myself. I didn’t do this in the past, for my story was screaming to get outside my body so it could be heard and not ignored. I’ve matured. I prefer people not to nitpick how I blog, but all I can do is work to pilot my own body — not control others.

But now that I’ve moved, I want to.

I want to share more than I used to.

I kept a lot of my self-expression tucked away under the covers, or hidden in a dusty box beneath my bed. Fear of those escaping clouded my mind on the daily. I was miserable and often felt trapped in a prison of my own creation — as though I’d jumped out of the frying pan and into the fryer.

It wasn’t safe for me to be my full self in Garland. I had to be a straight, white, civilized woman.

I was told a few times that I had the freedom to be who I wanted to be, but the more I expressed myself, the more I was criticized — from gaudy nails to wrinkled flannels.

So many times in the recent three years, I’ve bit my arm in frustration, at night, because there was so much I wanted to say. There was so much I wanted to blog about, and yet…I’ve had to keep it all in.

Subtleties in vagueness

I’ve dropped hints here and there. Some people know and think nothing of it, but it’s a big deal to me because it’s a part of my identity. It’s also a way in which I’ve struggled, something I find too important about individual stories to be ignored.

How else are we going to change the world if we dismiss its worst attributes?

(The name of my theme is quite a hint.)

I’m tired of hiding.

Letter board that says "Camp as a row of tents" atop a gay Pride flag

I don’t know what the future of Janepedia looks like blog-wise, but I’m anxious-excited about it.

To be frank: I would very much love to be known as an endearing top lesbian blogger. 😅

Among other things. 😊

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2 Responses

Author’s gravatar

Wow Jane. I love this entry because I feel the same way about my blog and my personal story. We might not have the same issues but I do get the part about you wanting to express your feelings and share your story, but at the same time keeping some things to yourself. You’re right, YOU determine what you want to share with others and sharing a part of yourself in this space doesn’t automatically mean that the rest of your story is fair game to everyone who wants a piece of it.

This is your space, and you can do anything you want with it! If you want to share absolutely everything, fine. If you just want to write about something but not give the full details? Okay! If you want to be cryptic about something, that’s cool too as long as it helps you express yourself 🙂

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Author’s gravatar

I’ve had times where I worry about sharing too much (or holding back when I wanted to say more). It can be a really hard balance, but you just have to figure out what works for you and others may have to just live with it. Sounds like you’re taking control of your life, so good for you!

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