Monday, August 20, 2012

A Wig Worth Wearing

This is an experiment of sorts. Not a real experiment with test tubes and precipitates and whatnot, and not a social experiment with pantsless subway rides and shock treatments administered by college students, but just an experiment to see if I can still do this.

I used to “blog”. I used to be a blogger. I used to write “the blogs”. For 8 years or so I wrote and posted photos and made comments on people’s lives and stories and pictures. I stopped though, in large part because between Twitter, Facebook, real life and emails I just didn’t have that much to say anymore. And I wrote “I’ll upload those pictures soon, I promise” or “Sorry I haven’t updated in a while!” so many times the promises lost meaning and I was left wondering “who gives a tinker’s cuss about whether my Halloween photos from 2007 make it onto the tubes of the web?” . The answer was: nobody. Well, maybe not nobody, but certainly not enough people to warrant the guilt I would feel. Making and then breaking promises left me feeling drained and remorseful, so little by little I withdrew, ensuring I didn’t have to keep up with it all.

This is nothing new. When I was 9 years old I had a diary. It was the size of my now-adult palm, hard-covered black with “wacky” stripes of neon pink and orange and green all surrounding the funky block lettering of the word “diary”. These details should give you a rough idea of how old I am, incidentally. Inside that diary were increasingly sporadic entries containing the thoughts, dreams and opinions of pre-pubescent me, up until the age of 14 or so (coincidentally enough, around the time I got my first boyfriend). The entries were usually about what happened at school or boys I liked or how much I hated my little sister, or perfectly debated and meticulously documented paragraphs of impotent rage at bullying or my parents or another of life’s blows. One entry was about my 8th grade crush on Hugh Grant – yeah, I don’t know either. But then I got a boyfriend, like I said, and I found out high school was actually okay and the entries stopped cold – less than 1/3rd of the way through the book the size of my grownup hand.

When I was 17 or so I got another diary as a gift. It had the year printed on the outside, like a challenge – “Write in here after this year, and you’ve failed the test.” And the pages filled again, this time with swooping cursive instead of bubbled, heart-dotted printing and chronicled the ups and downs of high school plays and worries about future tests and future paths- nothing too deep, nothing too long, just a place to get things out. Like its Lisa Frank knock-off predecessor, it, too, fell away, shortly after I realized that University would be okay, too (though the torch was gallantly taken up again whenever I agonized over a few boys. Gloria Steinhem, eat your heart out).

When I was in University (stay with me, almost done) I started blogging. This was a horse of a different colour (can anyone else say that without picturing this? I can’t.) I blogged to keep in touch with my friends who’d all gone off to University. I had gone to University in my home city and was hungry for details about their lives. I realize now that I adopted a sort of “toughened” online persona, all curse words and feigned bitterness as I navigated my way through unfulfilling jobs and difficult classes. As the years went on, that fell away a bit, revealing more of my calm side. And funnily enough, even though I’d started it for friends, people I didn’t know started reading my blog. People who thought I was funny, people who agreed and disagreed with what I’d said and thought out their comments and put it in my “guestbook”.(And probably a few people who said my blog sucked and called me the c-word because, really, what’s an online forum without a little thoughtless name-calling?) One of my blog readers even became a close friend and though we’ve only met in person twice, the second time we did was when I was in her wedding party. I switched formats, styles, and focuses over the years but usually kept up with it. Until the aforementioned guilt at lack of updating took me over and I just full-on, no announcement, stopped writing.

So I’ve had practice with starting things and stopping them due to lack of interest or free time or commitment but I still miss it. I miss writing in more than 140 characters. I miss interacting with people who only know me in an online forum but still connect with me through the spinning spheres and neon lines of code that make up the Internet (note: my only exposure to the inner workings of the Internet is the 1996 movie “Hackers”). And I miss writing something without bureaucratic jargon.

TL;DR: I’m back. And I’m here. Let’s wear the wig one more time, kids. Together.