It’s coming up to seven years since I started blogging here and it occurred to me how much has changed in my relationship to blogging. When I started, and for quite a long time after, I was terrified most times I pushed the “Publish” button.
I was scared I was going to be attacked, ridiculed, mocked, heckled. In Australia, we have a well-worn trope called the “tall poppy syndrome” which says that someone sticking their head above the parapet – ie, standing out from the crowd in any way – will have it lopped off. And here I was talking about overtly intellectual stuff in a country that prides itself on its anti-intellectualism.
One of the things I was most scared of was using “big words” and there were many times I battled myself to retain a “big word” rather than switching to something more familiar. Another fear was that people in my professional life could easily google my name and discover who I was in my personal life. I was like George Costanza, one compartment couldn’t collide with another :)
It wasn’t till later that I realised my country no longer mattered so much on the internet. Most readers were from the US anyway and this was one reason why what I feared didn’t eventuate. Another was the size of audience; I had a tiny, perfectly formed audience.
What made the biggest difference was what I discovered after a little while. I discovered that authenticity provides its own protection (I’m going to switch to using the word “transparency” for “authenticity” because people give lots of meanings to the latter).
The more transparent I became, the more solid the ground beneath my feet. I learnt that one is unshakeable, unmessable-with, once there is nothing being withheld. If there is even the tiniest skerrick remaining in the Unsaid, one’s footing is precarious and one can be messed with.
Nowadays, there is no fear. There is joy, especially on those happy occasions when I say something to myself in such a way that it vanishes in the saying. It completes itself, sinking back into that whence it came such that five minutes later I can scarcely remember the topic. And there is curiosity, community and love.
I’m grateful to be living at this time when blogging has become available to all. It is a gift to me and my life.