Monday, April 20, 2009

I’ve been struggling with something for the past month and I think I’ve finally come to a decision.

I’ve doing a complete overhaul of my personal vs. public online persona.

As the universe drops hints in your lap and gives you direction – a friend of mine recently left Facebook. Her decision, inspiring. Her reasons, good. I was chewing on a public/personal dilemma of my own and her post helped me frame it up. So here I am… still thinking of it… still trying to decide what to do and then another friend dropped her two cents on the matter.

I’ve come to decision. Pretty cool of me, to finally come to a decision, I think. I’m chaffing myself with my own back patting, here.

I don’t like what happened to me over the past year… I mean, I really don’t like it. I’ve always liked my little life. I never really shared too much – many a friend has told me that I’m hard to get to know. Fair enough, I’m quite comfortable with that. I don’t know why I felt I had to change myself in that regard. But I know when I started making the change.

When I started a blog… then Facebook followed shortly thereafter. Faceless social networking whispered in my ear that it was God’s gift to a person like me. I was sold. This could turn me into a social butterfly without the anxiety of having to call someone or mingle at a party – both activities that make me break into a small sweat. I can do them and there is the odd time that I genuinely enjoy one or the other… but as a rule, they aren’t things that I usually enjoy doing. But I’m great (i.e. way more comfortable) when I do visit someone at their house, or they visit mine… I’m super great (comfortable) writing letters and emails. And since I’ve comfortable with the writing – it made it all the easier to blog.

So – here I am… a blogger. It’s a new experience; I’m stoked by the newness of it. It’s fun for awhile. Then my separation occurred and I blogged about it, always careful not to make mention of names or to call out other people – I tried my darndest to keep the context framed carefully around “just my thoughts and feelings”. But I was in a bad place, a dark depression and my mouth just kept getting bigger and bigger. I wasn’t in my right mind and it was difficult to reign myself in. The more I blogged about my present agony the better the feedback I kept getting. People encouraging me to “get it all out”. In a previous life, getting it all out wouldn’t have been a problem – I would have journaled it privately and not have shared it with the world.

Well, I’m back to a good place again – I feel almost more like me than I ever have before and I’m looking back at my blogging career and not feeling good about any of it. Not. one. wit. I’m not comfortable with how big my mouth got. I like that once before, only a select few would have been privy to those deep, dark thoughts… and I just gave them away, like a girl giving it up to the first boy that stokes her ego. And I kept going and going and going with it. People kept encouraging me on and heh… stoking my ego. So I rolled with it because the words felt good even when the actions didn’t. Recently I’ve been in contact with someone from my online support group who spoke of things I mentioned in my blog, quite awhile ago. I felt moderately violated and realized I had no one to blame but myself – I was the one who made that information public, after all… and here this person I had never met before was speaking of experiences I would have preferred to remain private… well, that was the last straw, really. I knew then that I was totally done with blogging. When I wasn’t feeling the sting of big-mouthed regret I was feeling the pull of having to make an entry every once in awhile – like it was homework. Like I was doing it to please others when really – it wasn’t pleasing me at all.

So – I’m not a blogger anymore. The past few years of entries – deleted. Oh, I’m sure they’re still floating around somewhere – the past, while having no control over the my present since can never be totally erased, nor would I wish it to be – but delete them I did and save any of them I didn’t. And I was happy to do it. One of those moments where you truly feel like you’ve reclaimed something. I now have a certain measure of privacy back and am breathing easier.

I regret the public online presence I developed during my separation. I regret that so much of what I was going through became general knowledge instead of a personal experience. So many people now know much more than I wish they would know. Certainly this has all been a learning experience. I have no intentions of making the details of reconciliation a public affair. I’m taking my life back for myself.

Facebook is a different beast. Those darned status updates are addictive and for some reason I keep feeling the pull to fill in the blank. Jasmine is making pumpkin muffins or Jasmine is feeling happy.. etc. etc. It’s sort of like mini-blogging. For me the challenge that lies ahead is to consider my private/public presence when I do a status update. I’m going to place a sticky note by my monitor to remind me to first ask myself “Is this something you really want to make known?” I’m not going to leave Facebook as I’ve come to use it as a great networking tool and have made great contacts in the art and comic world… and I love uploading photos there – I’m just going to try and be more careful with it. Facebook can be both useful and dangerous. It will be a challenge.

I might keep the Mommy Blog, as it pleases me to talk of my children whereas it doesn’t please me to talk so much of my own affairs. And I will continue to try pursue my work and make many mentions of it online.

So – that’s the long and short of it. Jasmine is retreating and becoming more of a private person again. I was pushing myself to be more social because I thought I had to be (and many people were encouraging much the same) when really, it never felt good. I’m going with what feels good. I just wish to press the fact that I am not walling myself off. If you wish – call me, write me, visit me. I am here. I have not disappeared. I’ve just decided to stop wasting my life on the task of updating people about my life. That is groovy for some people but not so much for me. And that’s okay. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. Things are getting busier and busier for me – you may not hear from me for awhile but don’t let that stop you from contacting me if you feel the need to reach out. Like I said, I am here. I’m just taking control of my life again.

I feel like I’ve joined the revolution against online social networking. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite for announcing it on a blog. I feel like I’ve done some much needed spring cleaning and gotten rid of a lot of distracting clutter. Goodbye blog. Goodbye to treating Facebook like a blog. I feel very free. It’s time to get back to the business of being me again and not spending my time writing letters to the world trying to convince them that I’m trying to be anything else.

You know where to find me. It just won’t be here. ;) I'll be in the funny-pages.