Blogging confessions and forbidden fruit

Blogging comes with an array of ready-made steriotypes. You know the ones, the "You must have too much time on your hands", the "How can you connect to people who are blips in cyber space?", the "Bloggers must be prideful and vain to post about their lives and feature pictures taken of themselves!", and my favorite "Blogs don't show real life". When I hear those kind of statements I usually alternate between an expression similar to the one my son is wearing in the picture above and laughing out loud.

This is not a post written on the defensive, it is a post written about how statements like that make me rethink (again) why I blog and reestablish my goals and parameters on blogging. It is good to get shaken up now and than and put all those convictions back into concrete.

Ashley Ann over at Under the Sycamore wrote one of my favorite posts of all time that pretty much summed up my thoughts on blogging.

My thoughts went in this direction when I read a blog recently where the author had been told, "Blogs don't tell the real story. Reality isn't as nice as what we try to portray." I'll admit that I bristled when I read it. Not because it was aimed at me but because I don't agree. In fact I didn't even let myself comment right then because I knew a whole stream of defenses would leap out and smother my ultimate point.

But I've been thinking about it for a few days and the stew is ready for serving. I think I have it concentrated down and all my comebacks and attitude have been steamed away, leaving only the truth I want to tell.

I pondered parts of me or my life that I may not bring to light on this blog.
I listed them in my head.

  • I am an on and off diet and fitness nut.
  • My children drive me a little crazy and don't always behave.
  • My husband and I have the occasional argument
  • My family teases me mercilessly for taking so many pictures
  • I start projects and don't always finish them
  • I am sometimes impatient and stressed out by trivial things
  • I have to work around a tight budget
  • 'Greener' mindsets are creeping into my life
  • My house is seldom super clean
  • We are working to establish what is causing some health problems with our middle child
  • I hate doing laundry
And I'm sure there are more. But as I read over that list I realized that these are all things that can easily be figured out about me, either gleaned from my writing (past of future) or by the fact that they are normal and pretty much everybody shares them.

So why blog and why not focus more on those darker spots?
Blogging is honestly the best therapy I've found. It mixes the writing I need to work through my issues or refocus my vision on my life's beauty, plus the accountability of knowing someone will read the words I write.

Kelle Hampton says it well in her book Bloom, "Usually by the last words of my entry and through the process of thinking about things long enough to put them into personal essay, I had figured things out a bit more. closing my laptop after a good writing session became synonymous with getting up off the therapist’s couch and thanking her for the hour of her time. Except my pocket got to keep the $115, thank you very much."

I can't say I blog to share pictures with my family who live far away or that I blog for my children to read someday. I blog to settle my thoughts, I blog to let off creative steam, I blog to share and connect with other people and I blog to remember.

As for the hiding behind lovely pictures of beautiful things, well that's a multi-faceted thing. There are times that I voice the troubles I'm dealing with. Those are the posts that settle my mind and maybe make a connection with someone who has faced the same thing. As for the 'pretty posts' those are reminders to myself about how great I have it (even when I don't always feel like that). Those are entries into my memory-cache that I want to remember forever. Sometimes people don't remember things and I guess blogging is an insurance policy that will pay up someday when I want to know what I was thinking "back then".

Mostly I try to write things I would enjoy reading. I don't really want to read a whole lot about someone's dirty laundry. I have enough of my own.

So here we are, Pip and I, sitting on the couch eating blackberries right out of the container. I confess, I was using any excuse not to do laundry. We cuddled and slurped and it felt a bit like forbidden fruit, eating juicy berries on light colored upholstery. I spent a second feeling guilty because I was enjoying not having my older two home. I love them, but it's nice to savor my 'baby' now and then. I'll admit the rest of the house wasn't clean and there IS mess right around the edges of this shot. I cleaned child-sized fingerprints off my lens with the edge of my shirt and my socks probably had holes in the heels.

His face wasn't clean and he was singing a song I wouldn't have chosen to teach him.

There was a few odd pieces of folded laundry laying around waiting for a moment's inspiration to put them away. My windows weren't clean, my dog needed a bath, I probably needed a bath.

But you know what I see when I look at these pictures?

I see that I am smiling.
I see that my boy has grown just in the time since I took these pictures.
I see a few minutes of bliss we shared in the middle of a busy day.

It reminds me of a poem I wrote long ago,

Memory's Masterpiece
I see it there inside me
complete in my mind's eye
I'm caught by the urge to smile
and the sudden need to cry

I draw close, engulfed by the clearness
yet something says, push it away
echoes of storms fill the shadows
held back by the light of new day

Images on the mind's canvas
of joys and laughs through the years
there too, reminders of blunders
moments of struggles and fears

I cannot go back and change it
this picture of my story
lights and darks blended
painted by a mem'ry

--Raimie Keough (2003)

So I am reminded again that I have a beautiful life.
It is not perfect.
I have many issues and am not perfect either.

Not perfect but real.
And it's the reality I want to remember.

Blogging for Bliss in NE


  1. well said...love you my very 'for real' niece.
    'auntie' cyndie

  2. It would be fun to see why people DO blog. I started to blog because I wanted faraway family to see pictures of my grandkids. And really, that is still mostly why I blog, and also for that reason, that "there is something in there that needs to come out" :)

  3. Um. I'm sorry I made you bristle. Really! But glad you could pen such an awesome post as a result. I blog because I love to and the thoughts write themselves most of the times I post something. It isn't work to me like some people describe. And based on the way you can creatively share your thoughts, it isn't work to you either. Hoping for smoother posts for you to read! :-)

  4. Well said. I think I blog at different times for different reasons. Certainly not to give an impression our life is perfect, that is for sure!

  5. these comments about cyber-connections/writing (whether it be blogging, FB, forums, etc) not being 'real', not 'presenting reality as it is, but only an idealized facet or a false ideal' have made me bristle too.
    perhaps only snippets are or can be presented at a time, only a portion or a facet, but that doesn't mean it isn't real and honest .... it shows a part of who and where and what you are at that moment in time. a part worth remembering, recording, sharing ....
    I don't blog (I remain in hiding!), but do enjoy others' blogs, even of people I don't really know but feel like I know in a way because who they are comes through in their writing. it's real; they're real. (chairman's wife, I confess to loving your blog/writing/personality - even though you wouldn't know me from the man in the moon's wife ;p )
    thanks for this post, Raimie.

  6. I love your blog, Raimie. It is very refreshing, very real, and very funny!!! I started blogging because my daughter did and she was getting so much joy out of it that I thought, "I need to do this". I'd actually been thinking about it for a long, long time! Anyway, it is THE BEST THERAPY!!! You are right about that. Thanks for the inspiration, always!

  7. For me blogging is a virtual version of what I have been doing all my life, keeping a visual diary/journal/sketchbook of things that interest me. My blog is part of my story, but I don't do it to entertain people (it's wonderful for my families overseas to keep up with the arty side of my life) etc. Nobody can get a full picture of who we are (we wear so many hats in this life) unless we walk around blithering on about every aspect of every part of our life as mothers, wives, neighbours etc. What the complaints tell me is they have a very unrealistic expectation and understanding about blogging.

  8. Dear Blogging Girl o'mine,

    Your blog makes me happy. Mostly because I know you are writing "for real".

    love the poem, and
    love you, for real

  9. I wholeheartedly agree with this post, and you said it perfectly! Sometimes there are things that don't really need to be shared/remembered, but you have a knack for putting an inspiring spin on even the 'not-as-pleasant' things. Keep up the good work :)


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