I have been keeping an online journal on and off (mostly off) since I think 1999? Can any Marigold homies back me up on that? I think it’s right. It’s close, anyway. So 14 years of having a lot of my life online, in one way or another.
I think 10 of those years were on Livejournal, which I started because I was looking for new friends in Halifax and found Sara Pellerin, whose Livejournal was so completely charming that I eventually caved and got an account on, so I could interact with her.
I made some of my best friends on Livejournal. I fell in love on Livejournal. I made big mistakes on Livejournal, and also wrote a lot of things that I am proud of. I didn’t want my first post in this new space to be about Livejournal. But it seems like it is going to be.
I added a new friend on Livejournal yesterday, after meeting her at a Digital Media Mixer. I wonder how long Digital Media Mixers have been a thing? Probably longer than I know. But probably not when I first started keeping an online journal.
— Can I just say that I remember the first time a friend of mine told me she was keeping an online journal, I could not for the life of me see how that made any sense at all? I know I talked to a lot of people about it, and we all incredulously agreed that keeping a JOURNAL ONLINE was unfathomable. I think it was a year after that that I started my own.
You know how Google Plus has “circles” you can add people to? Ha ha of course you don’t, no one uses Google Plus. Well anyway, when you add people on there, you can choose any number of circles to add them to, from “friends” to “lovers” to “co-workers” to “people who I feel like I should know who they are but don’t”. People were really stoked about this when Google Plus started, because you could choose to which group you wanted each of your posts to be visible.
Livejournal has that, too. And when I added this woman to my Livejournal list, it asked me which of my filters I wanted to add her to. I had I think 15 or 20? Some of them are practical, like “Halifax people” (for when I lived there and was inviting people to things), but so many of them just shine a bright light on how neurotic I am. I have a handful of lists that are a variation on “trusted beloveds”, as well as several lists that are everyone EXCEPT a particular person.
A friend of mine recently talked to me about why he hates doing any kind of personal writing in public. One of the main reasons is that he is worried that people will see what he writes and use it against him somehow. And I get that, in some ways, but he is talking about future employers and rational things like that.
My list of filters shows that I am most scared of being truly myself with people who I consider my friends. And for sure there was a time that people knowing things about my (sex) life could have negatively affected my (married) life, but for years that hasn’t been the case. I have just become too concerned about what people will think of me, because I can’t shake the feeling that I am somehow made vulnerable by people’s opinions.
I guess my plan isn’t to shake that exactly. My plan is to become fine with it. Because, like pretty much everyone else in my demographic, I’ve spent hours watching and re-watching Brene Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability, and it makes a lot of sense to me. Using science (rather than crystals or reiki or whatever), she outlines how resisting vulnerability keeps us from connecting to each other.
You guys all I want to do is connect to other people. I mean, obviously that is not ideal and I need to work on my internal motivation and all of that. But honestly, willingness to be vulnerable helps me with that, too. Nothing makes it harder to figure out what’s actually up with me than trying to figure out what should be up with me or what other people might think about various things that might be up with me. So I guess I am learning to be authentic with myself and others at the same time, which makes a fair amount of sense.
So here is my new online journalling space, literally without filters. Let’s find things out together!
p.s. In case you haven’t seen Brown’s TED talk yet (and it is totally okay to be someone who hasn’t seen something that lots of folks have), here it is!