Confession time: I wrote a post yesterday and then came back a few hours later and deleted it.
For most of you, that may be no big deal but I've always disliked the idea of deleting posts once they're up- I feel like it's dishonest. I've discussed before on this blog the self-conscious construction that underpins what style bloggers do: that they usually upload photos of them looking at their most attractive and share what they are comfortable with sharing of their life. You certainly don't find an all-access recount of a blogger's life on a style blog, which is partly what makes them such compelling reading (for me, at least.)
As readers, we engage with what is presented and slowly glean more and more of their personality, reading between the lines to build a connection with them. You don't get an autobiography, but enough to sustain your interest and the rest is engaging because we're seeing their perspective on fashion- trying on how they want their world to be for just a little while.
Maybe for that reason- that what we are able to engage with as readers is so highly edited- I feel that what makes it past the 'Publish Post' button is precious and, once up, fair game- thus why I'm not a proponent of deleting posts.
Yet I came home from dinner last night and reread what I had hastily posted and I felt exposed. I had shared that I had spent most of yesterday wrestling with a handful of sentences to work them into a 300 word abstract and mentioned celebrating with wine and cheese after emailing it to my supervisor. In short, I had written out my little struggle and my little triumph and when I went back, I cringed to think of what you would think of me- you now knew that I had spent hours tweaking what was a very short document and then needed to congratulate myself on getting it done. I simultaneously felt ridiculous because my work day yesterday was in many ways insignificant- why would you care to read it? It was all about me- me writing about myself. Who. Cares?
So I deleted it, went to bed, and woke up feeling a bit fraudulent. This merry-go-round of affect is partly why I wanted to keep a blog in the first place- who knew there would be such an internal struggle between a felt obligation to readers and a desire to hide the parts of myself that don't present me as effortlessly capable and efficient? And it takes the thoughts I have been having about whether writing about your everyday lived experience on a blog is narcississtic or not and it turns them inwards on myself.
I don't quite know what to make of it all. Yet here is another post all about myself! Though I feel like this issue is also bigger than just me. Does it matter what you think of me if this blog is 'just for myself'? (I guess the fact that I care shows that it's not 'just for myself'- and this is true. You write publicly in order to be read.) These affective responses are bound up in doing personal blogging, I think, and they reveal something about the complexity of sharing aspects of your selfhood in such a public way. You render yourself vulnerable when you put photographs of yourself up or write candidly about your ideas and experiences because there's no ideological remove between what you state and who you are.
So. Disclaimer: I love writing and sometimes the process is fast and smooth and exciting. At other times it feels like you're drawing each word one-by-one out of a swamp, rinsing it off and shuffling it around a bunch of other retrieved words until they say something cogent. Sometimes it's so hard to get the wording of a simple (in your head) idea right that it takes hours to make it sing. It's a frustrating, slow process and (thankfully) it's rewarding when the blasted thing is somewhat close to what you actually want to say.
Why did I feel so embarrassed to admit it? My own pride, I think. But yesterday was what it was, the work got done and here is another day with another set of things to be grappled with and thought through. Onwards I go, and hopefully there's more wine and cheese waiting at the end of it.