Monday, November 4, 2013

A Decade of Blogging: Who I Was to Everyone Else

Yesterday I went on a hunt to dig up my old blogs. I have this weird thing where I like to go back and read what I used to write about. It reminds me of who I was, where I've been and how much I've changed. In doing so, I realized I have now been blogging for 10 years. I really can't believe this has been going on for so long.

I basically grew up on blogs. They were a magical place where I could post a jumbled mix of emotions and thoughts and sometimes people would respond and sometimes they wouldn't.

My first blog was set up on LiveJournal in 2003 by my best friend at the time. And actually, all its embarrassing content is still floating out there in cyberspace. I used it mostly through 2004 before making the switch to Xanga, the blog everyone was using. It was sort of like a precursor to Facebook in some ways and a perfect place for me to log my college era angst. That blog is no longer living, as I found Xanga 2.0 is on its way. But thanks to the technology wizards, I was able to download all of my old posts and begin importing them into WordPress. (And yes, I am doing that. I couldn't bear to lose a little piece of my life. So now I have WordPress.) Then, sometime in 2006 I decided I needed a new LiveJournal blog, why I don't know, but it became even more angsty than Xanga. It was home to a lot of relationship drama-related rants, and still lives today. Last, I started this blog late in 2008. I think it started as an attempt at writing a column- and current events-style blog and morphed into the catch-all that it is today. I can safely say I am not planning on starting a new blog any time soon. :)

Looking back, I always liked the way blogs enabled me to connect with people on a different level. I'm sure some would say it's an impersonal way to connect, but I'd argue it can be very personal. At times my friends and I were writing our deepest, darkest thoughts, things we could only admit while safely tucked behind our computer screens. It gave just enough anonymity to provide boldness, but enough identity for people to know who we really were. And I think that's what we wanted, to be known as our truest selves.

I was the honest, sensitive learner. I was always trying to understand the things that were happening in my life, wrestle with those things I couldn't understand or control, and admit exactly where I was in life. It was my voice when I couldn't speak a word. Sometimes blogging was about celebrating life and sometimes it was about the fight to keep my head above water. Sometimes it was lighthearted and filled with random quotes. Sometimes it was bleak, lonely and filled with questions. But no matter what it was, it always managed to do one thing: bring me together with people who said they felt the same, and that was the best part about blogging.

I'll never forget how it feels to finish a post and have someone tell me that I put words to their feelings, or that they're going through the same thing or that they understand where I'm at. It's the sort of connection you don't always find in everyday life. It's the kind of connection that happens in the moments when you have to be still, quiet, and think. You can't finish someone else's sentences, you can't interrupt the moment. You can only write and read.

After being a journaler since I was seven, there's definitely something different and sometimes better about blogging. When I go back and read a journal, I see who I was to myself. When I go back and read a blog, I see who I was to everyone else. I see a part of me that sought to be known and understood, that sought to wrestle through life with friends by my side. And I see the responses. Sometimes simple comments, sometimes emotional reflections, each special in their own way. And then I'm glad I was a blogger. I'm glad I can go back and re-read those moments where I grew up.

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