Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog Anonymous

My blog has been a bit quieter recently as I struggle with an internal debate. And I suspect this debate is one that many bloggers have had at one time or another. My dilemma is around  how much is too much to write? How much honesty is too much? Is it better to keep my opinions to myself lest I offend someone? But in doing any of the above doesn't it negate the very reason to blog? Yes, no, maybe.....

First I have been asking myself the question of why I blog. My answer is, it depends. I started blogging when we first moved overseas as a way of keeping family and friends abreast of what was going on in our lives. But over the past three plus years the nature and intent of my blog has been changing. Some days I blog to share my experiences with the world--we have had some amazing travel experiences and I write about many of them. Other times I blog to share my opinion about what I see around me and on occasion, to ask for a reality check about whether others may be feeling the same way. Sometimes I write to let off steam over person frustrations or to share my struggles with the hope of hearing that I am not completely alone. I am careful to not use my blog as a forum to jump all over an individual or a group or to intentionally make anyone feel bad. When I discuss negative experiences or personal frustrations I try to mask individual identities lest I come across as being accusatory. But sometimes it inadvertently happens and feelings do get hurt.

But this brings me back to the very nature of a blog. I fully understand that when I blog I am putting my thoughts, ideas, and feelings (essentially anything they chose to write about) out there for the entire world to see. Does the entire world read it? Unlikely. But do some people see what is written? Absolutely. And while my blog may not have a huge following, by reader comments, personal emails and blog statistics, I do know that what I write reaches a fair number of people. The majority of the people who read my blog are complete strangers to me while others are fellow members of the blogging community that I know only virtually. Some of the people who read my blog are personal friends while others are family. But increasingly, more people I personally know are reading what I write and here lies my deepest dilemma.

When I blog I am comforted by the perceived anonymity of it all; I can vent about bad days, bad experiences and bad behaving family members and no one is the wiser. Unless they read it. Over the years I've had a few people try to initiate me in online arguments when they take issue with something I've written. Initially these comments will cause me to pause and revisit and re-think about what I've written but more often than not, I stand by my original words. It is so much easier to dismiss the grumblings of strangers than it is when I know the complainants personally. On more than one occasion the person who takes issue with what I've written isn't even the subject of my blog entry. Or they might be and they start a campaign to convince me that I am wrong. But it is my blog---so can I be wrong on this page when what I've written is clearly my opinion. Isn't that what freedom of speech is all about?

So this brings me back to the blog silence as of late. My mind has been reeling with lots of feelings and issues that I've just been itching to put into words here. I've even gone as far as writing them out but when I go to hit the publish button I pause. I wonder if my being honest and open is worth the potential heartache that might ensue if the "wrong" person reads what I've written. Do I simply need to grow a thicker skin and publish what I want or should I simply stifle my words on my own blog in the name of harmony and peace?

But there is another option out there that I have been exploring; it is the world of anonymous blogging. There are entire blogs out there where writers contribute their pieces to be published anonymously. I love these sites for their brutal honesty about so many of the issues we all struggle with. It is on these pages that I feel as though I have peers who are honest about their struggles with friends, family and life in general. Its refreshing. And I feel as though many of my unpublished posts would find the perfect home on these sites. Perhaps it is here that I need to start devoting some of my writing energy. Is it ideal? I think not. But for the sake of "world peace" it might be the best option.

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