Actual thought: “I’ve written a lot about writing this week, so I should write something about feelings.” Except, I don’t have a lot of feelings right now. It’s rare, but sometimes it happens. At least, I don’t have the ocean wave kind of feelings where nothing is still and I might be swept away at any moment. So I thought about how I might use this opportunity to go below the surface and maybe write about some of the feelings that aren’t so obvious.
As I was trying to figure out how to do that, I stopped to ask myself why I was doing it. If you don’t have a lot of feelings right now, then why not just write about the hundred other things that interest you or, if you really insist on feelings, this caffeinated adrenaline-excitement can’t-sit-still thing you’ve got going on?
What I realized is that I hold myself to this strange blog standard where if I’m not making myself vulnerable, then I’m doing it wrong. If this was a life standard, then I’d be failing most of the time, but it’s only a blog standard and mostly unconscious. I’m always trying to push myself into uncomfortable territory. Sometimes when I’m nervous about a post or feeling like I have been misunderstood, I think, “Uh, you know you don’t have to do this, right?” Yes, I know. But, I want to.
Many of the bloggers I know started off this same way and have either stopped blogging, because they no longer feel compelled to write about their feelings, or moved their blogs in a more professional direction where it doesn’t make sense to write about feelings. This is probably why I held onto semi-anonymity for so long, because it is a strange thing to write about your feelings under your full name, especially when you’re not a person who wears all of that on your sleeve in your daily life.
The consequences of writing about my feelings are a great deal more profound than my actual reasons. I have figured a lot of things out and become a far more confident person (a thing several people have pointed out to me recently). I have met some of the best friends I’ve ever had. My mind has been opened to so many possibilities. My life is utterly changed.
I am confused and amazed by all of that, but none of it drives me to write. I write about my feelings, because I think feelings are fascinating. I’m compelled to write about them, because they interest me more than anything else. If I compared them to fiction, then I’d probably end up saying something I don’t really mean, but I think personal essays and memoirs are incredibly important and they move me on a level only music reaches easily. And why music? Because music is about feelings!
I don’t think that being honest on a blog makes me a better person. If you want to be a rock or an island, then that’s okay too. If you have a lot of feelings, but prefer to keep them safe behind walls, then I understand that and did it myself for a very long time. I take the personal risk of writing about my feelings in public, because it’s what I like to do. In fact, it’s kind of what I want to do with my life.
I attached my name to all of my feelings when I realized that what I wanted most was to be a writer who writes about personal things. I figured I might as well get started living this strange life.