As you can see from yesterday’s blogs I went to Mumsnet Blogfest. It was a great experience and I learned some blogging things, but more than that I learned lots of things about me because Blogfest raised lots of questions for me about me.
One of these questions was – why do I blog?
I began blogging as mumtoteens just a few months ago. I didn’t begin blogging to get a book deal or to get noticed or even to be read.
All I wanted and actually needed was to get the words out of me. Because once they were out of me I could begin to get my thoughts straight and understand what I needed to get us all to the other side.
If I hadn’t blogged about Teenboy moving out to University I wouldn’t have understood why, when he’d made the last year of my life hell and I couldn’t wait to see the back of him, it was so difficult for me to watch him go.
If I hadn’t blogged about Teengirl’s friend’s suicide I wouldn’t have understood what it was that troubled me about it.
I was relatively young when I had teenboy and so none of my friends have 18 year old’s and for all they’re there to talk to and I do, what I don’t do is be as honest about how I feel or how I deal with it as I am when I blog. There’s also the small issue that these parents don’t always want to have to think about what they’re gorgeous pre-teen may force them to face as they grow into independence and push the boundaries.
So I’ve discovered (despite not thinking I really wanted to my blog to be read) that it’s always, always really special for me when I get comments from people who validate me as a parent (cos we all want to know we’re doing the right thing, and our ego loves it when our peers recognise what we’re doing). And when I get comments from people who’ve experienced the same things and how they overcame them or just got through them. They mean so much more to me than I thought they ever would. And that’s been a lovely surprise for me.
For me blogging and subsequently writing is about honesty. I can’t help myself, when I write I show myself, I’m laid bare even when I hide behind metaphors and similes and wordy descriptions.
I can’t hide and I can’t lie when I write. I write honestly and openly because I can’t write any other way.
And that’s what I want to read. I’m not interested in the superficiality of life. I want to read the nitty gritty, the guts and gore, the gruesome, hurtful, happy, joyful, terrible train wreck parts of life.
Tim Dowling, said at Blogfest that he can only blog about his family because they’re lives are quite normal, that if anything terrible happened in their lives he wouldn’t be able to write about it.
Fair enough this was in the context of privacy on a public stage, but come on Tim, really? I only want to read your real life not a construct that you call real life because you’re afraid of total and absolute honesty.
The writers I like and the singers I listen to expose themselves. They take that huge risk and lay their pain out there for me to trample all over if I so wish. And they also lay their hurt out there in the hope that it reaches just one person who can relate to it. And I think, that they put it out there because they just can’t keep in inside any longer.
And that’s why I blog. I just can’t keep it inside any longer and I don’t care if my honesty scares you or upsets you. I’m not writing it for you, I’m writing it for me.
Why do I write anonymously and is it ok for me to do this?
I don’t ever want to censor what I write or censor me or my natural candour (friends tell me my life is an open book).
As I said above, I want to be honest and open because that’s cathartic for me.
But I’m talking about my children on here and I don’t believe I should write about them and expose their identities because I don’t censor what I write about them or how I feel about them. This is another reason for my anonymity.
Zoe Strimpel, one of the amazing and wonderful guest speakers at Blogfest, asked me how I would feel if Teenboy read something I’d written and he didn’t know I felt like this about him?
The only thing I could say was that he knows how I feel about him because I’m as open and honest at home as I am on this blog.
And when I thought more about Zoe’s question last night when I couldn’t sleep I realised that the only thing Teenboy would discover that he didn’t know if he read my blog would be just how much I absolutely and totally love him.
Because I do tell him I love him and I’m there for him but he’s my child and our children very rarely fully understand how much we truly, madly, deeply love them.
And to me there’s nothing bad about my son discovering and understanding how much I love him.
I don’t tell my friends about my blog. I mention that I blog, but I don’t give them the ‘fuck blog cards’ that I handed out at Blogfest because I want to keep my anonymity as much as I can. They can find me if they want but so far they haven’t really bothered but either’s fine with me.
Teengirl and teenboy know about the blog, I often discuss with them what I’ve been blogging about. I know for sure that Teenboy hasn’t bothered to read it because he doesn’t read – ever. Teengirl may have read it but she’s keeping that close to her chest and that’s fine by me. She has a blog and I haven’t read it because it’s hers, for her by her. It’s not for me.
Whereas mine is for them if they want it and perhaps when they’re adults with children of their own they might want to visit it and find out just how I felt about them.
I wouldn’t mind that…
And finally, why did I use the word FUCK as my picture header?
Firstly, it’s a photograph I took at a Fatboy Slim gig this summer, so it’s mine I haven’t pilfered it from anywhere else.
And I use it quite simply because fuck is often my most used word. It, and it’s many variations, is used to prefix words such ‘sake’; ‘hell’; ‘off’. And it’s often used as a suffix to words such as ‘oh’; ‘you’; ‘fuck’.
Having teenagers drives to you swearing.
PS I bloody loved Liz Jones at Blogfest.
I heard the audience’s collective breath when she announced that when she discovered her husband was having an affair she thought “great, that’s me got a couple of columns sorted.”
As an ex-journalist I knew exactly what she meant, because there’s nothing more important than the story.
Unfortunately the mummy bloggers in the audience who may have at sometime had very high powered and professional jobs but who have never been journalists or reporters didn’t get it.
But Liz, just so you know, I did and despite your scathing anti-mummy blogger (but honest) column in The Mail I still love you.
And I think it goes without saying that Caitlin Moran is amazing and I am slightly in love with her. When they asked for questions all I could think of was to stand up and ask her to marry me!
I was somewhat pleased that her talk dealt with some of the things I’ve been blogging about lately. Caitlin and me, we’re like the same person with the same thoughts!?!
Joyful writing. What a nice thought.