My favorite joke-y answer to the “So what do you DO?” question is that I am a Professional Oversharer. Even though that’s probably too true to actually be considered a joke. I never once sat down and figured out What My Blog Will Be About, or drew up a preemptive list of topics I wouldn’t discuss or anything like that, mostly because I just didn’t know any better.
A few of the online writers I really admired back in 2003 (when I started my blog) all used their full names and the ones who used pseudonyms seemed to have specific work-related reasons for doing so. I didn’t. In fact, I saw having my name on the blog as a plus — since this was back before Facebook, I figured the blog would be a good way for old friends to track me down and get back in touch. And also for ex-boyfriends to see how awesome my life was, so there, NYAH.
Good things and not-so-good things come of this slapdash, make-up-the-rules-as-you-go-along approach, of course. On the one hand, my lack of anonymity kept me honest, at least when it came to writing about other people. I couldn’t write nasty-funny stories about co-workers or bosses or my in-laws. I never had to deal with being “outed” at work or receiving an angry email from a friend/family member whose feelings were hurt when she stumbled on my blog and read all the mean things I said about her…or about someone else who she thought was her so the damage was done. (One of those scenarios seemed to happen on a weekly basis in the blogosphere back then. MAJOR DRAMAZ, I TELL YOU.) Everyone knew I had a blog, they could choose to read it or ignore it, but they knew they wouldn’t find themselves there in an unflattering light.
(CUT TO: My Christmas vacation with my family, and the multiple commands of “DON’T YOU DARE BLOG ABOUT THIS, AMY.”)
The downside — beyond the whole “but what will your CHILDREN think about their names and photos and stories blah blah blah” topic, which is just too heavy and involved for a Friday — is that I developed no real filter for stories about myself. Since I was Blog Fodder Target #1, I was usually entirely too eager to share anything and everything vaguely interesting or funny that happened to me. Personal? Private? Embarrassing? I…simply do not understand those words. Are they Latin?
Make no mistake, there are entries in my archives that make me cringe. Things I cannot believe I told the Internet about. Neuroses laid bare, bodily functions written about in excruciating detail, going on and on about my feeeeeeeeeelings in long-winded, overwrought prose that in my head sounded deep and writerly and now is like, OMG, shut up, get over it, white girl problems, STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER AND FIND A HOBBY THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE WRITING EXTENSIVELY FROM THE INSIDE OF YOUR OWN SKULL.
So now, eight years later, I’ve got a digital trail of thousands and thousands of entries — not just on my own blog, but on other people’s blogs and group blogs and corporate blogs and just…all over the damn Internet. I sometimes think about tracking a few specific entries down and quietly deleting them, but then I can’t remember enough about them to find them in my massive, disorganized and crumbly-around-the-edges blog dashboard or I think about the Wayback Machine so what’s the point and then I get distracted by a baby vomiting down my cleavage and think: Eh. Whatever. People know I’m a mess. Does it really matter if they know that I used to be even more of a mess? Or just a different kind of mess? You own your words about other people, so just own the words about yourself. Even the ones that you maybe regret a little bit, a few years later.
Anyway. Point is: I wrote this entire post while pumping my boobs via one of those super-attractive hands-free pumping bras. Just. You know. Felt like sharing that little tidbit. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.