Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where's The Line - Or The Lie?

Yesterday I went to a really interesting panel discussion at BlogHer about where to draw the line in personal blogging. The basic question was: Where do you draw the line about what you will blog about and what you won’t? And can you claim to be writing true stories when you might edit, exaggerate, or even plain make stuff up? This question is something I’ve grappled with a lot over the last four and a half years, and even more so recently. I was so inspired by the panel -- that included the hilarious and lovely Bloggess, Jenny Lawson -- that I sat right down in the middle of the Hilton hotel and started to write. Here’s what came out.

A few months ago, someone told me that they thought my blog was, basically, a lie.

Let me explain.

I have always been a perfectionist. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel the need to succeed, impress, and, above all, make the people around me comfortable and happy (Jeff might dispute this last point, but baby -- I can’t control my hormones, okay? They’re like Dementors, manifesting every time Harry Potter and friends stray too far from the grounds of Hogwarts OR whenever I am within seven days of my next period.)

Anyway, the point is that this perfectionism, over time, evolved into something less healthy than simple ambition and drive. It got to the point where if my life wasn’t perfect, I would lie. Sometimes I would lie outright, and sometimes I would lie by omission. I would scramble to cover up any cracks in the surface. Fear, anxiety, sadness, self-hatred, self-destruction -- none of this was allowed to show. When I was a teenager I had bad breakouts that lasted through my early twenties (and which have recently made a resurgence -- I’d like to take this moment to say a big fuck you to adult acne). I would spend hours painstakingly covering my blemishes and, later, scars, with heavy concealer. Sometimes I would wash my face halfway through the day and reapply, quite literally obsessed with putting on a good face. This strikes me now as a perfect metaphor for how I hid my emotional pain, too. I had some serious problems in my twenties that I successfully hid from my family and friends for many years.

Over the past decade I’ve made incredible progress with accepting my flaws and expressing my feelings. In many ways, this blog is both a reflection of and a tool for that progress But the truth is that I don’t often write about pain on this blog. And that’s why this person suggested (albeit gently, and without malice) that my blog walked the line between the truth and a lie.

His point was that since I choose to write only about funny, quirky, happy parts of my life, I’m lying by omission. I’m giving you, my readers (the ones who don’t know me personally, anyway) the impression that I don’t have any problems, that my life is one big, charming Scene From a Marriage, interspersed with hilarious follies and, of course, lots of drinking.

I don’t, for the record, believe that you think this. I trust that you are smart enough to realize that this blog is not a straightforward diary of my life, but an edited selection of pieces of information I choose to share.

When I started the blog, it was fairly free-form. Some posts were funny, some weren’t. But I found that I most enjoyed writing the funny posts, that I had a knack for it and got a great response from you guys, and so for the past two years I’ve steered the blog away from anything too messy or sad or emotionally complicated. This has become, with few exceptions, a humor blog. Which, on the one hand, I love, but on the other hand, can feel limiting. You know how people (well, not anybody I’d want to be around, but some people) say “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Well, if I don’t have something funny to say, I feel like I can’t say anything. I’ve painted myself into a corner. Or blogged myself into it, I guess. Anyway, I’m sick of being in the corner. Nobody puts Baby in the corner! (No one has ever called me Baby but whatever, you get it. And also, yes, in this scenario I am both Jennifer Grey and Jerry Orbach. And now I have to be Patrick Swayze, too, and drag myself out.)

In January of this year, I went through a really upsetting and difficult experience. I’m sorry to be vague right now, but I’m still figuring out how to share it with you -- I guess this post is an exploration of that conflict. Anyway, this thing happened, and my first instinct was to write about it. Which I did. But not here. There are a number of reasons why I didn’t write about it at the time, but a big one was this: It wasn’t funny. At all.

If you go back to my January posts, you’ll see an uninterrupted schedule of my regular, irreverent blogging. Reading it you’d never know that I was struggling. It’s a lie -- there’s no other way to say it. I was lying. I wanted you to think everything was fine.

So I guess all of this is to say, I guess I’ve been drawing my line between things that are light and funny and things that are heavy and potentially upsetting or sad. My blog is like the opposite of The Real World: When things stop getting real and start being polite! (Okay, not polite like not using the word douche every other post polite, but not sucking you into my personal demons polite.)

I know the two (funny and sad, light and heavy, polite and really fucking real) aren’t mutually exclusive, and I think they might even be able to overlap from time to time without horribly offending anyone. But I have my work cut out for me.

If you’re a blogger, where do you draw the line? Do you even have one? And how do you find the courage to cross it?
Share/Bookmark

81 comments :

  1. There is no line, because if you start worrying too much about lines, you start constraining your writing, which 110% isn't me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. First of all I don't think you are lying by omission. This blog is yours and therefore it's up to you what you do and don't post. You don't owe it to 'us' (and by that I mean faithful readers/fans) to share every nitty gritty detail of your life. I think of my blog as completely honest but do I write about my sex life or every aspect of my children's 'growing pains'. No. Out of respect for my family. I've often thought of starting a completely anonymous blog so I would be able to get a little more open. Reason being is I, like you and most bloggers, I would assume, find writing cathartic. I haven't gone there yet though because I don't know if I want to put my entire life on the Internet. So yes I have some lines and I haven't crossed them so far.

    You are one of my favourite bloggers. I just felt I should add that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have the exact same problem as you. Of course, my li'l ol' blog can scarcely be compared to yours, so this is on a much smaller scale.

    I've been blocked for over a week because I'm going through a really depressing time in my life, and I don't feel like I can write about it. For one, I hate to feel like I'm whining; and for two, I don't know how my family would react if they happened to read the blog (which I don't think any of them actually do, but whatever). But how do I go through something as big as cutting my dad out of my life, yet continue to blog about weight and funny things my kid said? It feels counter-intuitive.

    I also know EXACTLY what you went through/are going through with the skin issues. In my early twenties, we lived in L.A. and I had the worst skin of my life. Being around all those beautiful people all day made me even more determined to hide it from the world. It got to the point where I would call in sick to work if I was too red and puffy for the makeup to do it's job. Now that I'm 30, my skin is better than it's ever been, but I'll never have the perfect complexion I long for. I'm lucky if I have a few days a month with no blemishes, and I still need makeup every day to cover up the after-effects. :(

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that you are not alone. Also, if you got to the end of this comment, you have an excellent attention span. Blogging is a weird world, and I think you are doing a great job at selective sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's easy to lie to others, easier still to be honest with strangers because their opinions can't really hurt you. However, it takes guts to be honest with yourself. If this blog is for the entertainment of others, than let the nay-sayers kiss your ass. If this is for you, your betterment, the furthering of a goal or mission, then by all means reassess. However, do it for you, only if it's right for you.
    Personally, I find your wit refreshingly honest. I don't think I have been as naked in my own blog. So what that you put a humorous twist on it. Kudos to you for your hard-earned talent for skewering the heart of the matter and finding the common point we can all appreciate.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so glad you wrote and shared this with us. I am also a liar by omission, to a certain extent, actually, to a great extent. Some of my hard times I share on my blog (like job hunting), but most of my personal life stuff I keep to myself. I am also guilty of wearing Happy Face. Very few people (okay, practically no one) in my life know of the things I have endured over the years. I'm an extreme over-user of the word "fine".

    When I'm writing about the sucky times on my blog, I usually only stick to things that I would be okay with people in my real life knowing about (which isn't a lot). I prefer to keep things light, insightful and funny. I've never been the kind of person to off-load my problems onto others.

    I've also found, however, that blogging has made me more comfortable talking about the sucky things and sharing my personal life with my real life friends and family. There are some things though, that I just don't think people want to read about, mainly because I fear becoming that person. You know, the Debbie Downer blogger?

    In my opinion, it's your blog, write about what you want.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can relate. I used to be a perfectionist, so much so that much of my high school life I was overly stressed out and having panic attacks. I was struggling a lot and wasn't able to tell those closest to me what was wrong. College helped change things. My freshmen year was difficult, with a pyscho exboyfriend who tried to kill me, a friend's suicide, realizing that I could no longer maintain a 4.0 GPA and have a social life, and then another incident that I still have difficulty telling anybody about. However after freshmen year I made amazing friends that helped me open up. They helped me become more comfortable with my insecurities and now, for the most part, I can tell people what is going on without feeling like I'm burdening them somehow.

    I would have to agree that my blog is a bit of an outlet as well, except mine is more for my family and friends than anyone else so they already know me. I mostly blog about my travel and teaching experiences, but every once in a while I'll write what I'm really feeling and let them all know that even though I have been having a great time abroad, it isn't perfect and it still has its problems. Sometimes I feel like buying a one-way ticket back to the US, but I feel like I'd be giving up, and the perfectionist side of me isn't ok with that. Some days those feelings are really strong, but I never really tell anyone that. It's difficult to tell people when you're struggling.

    The thing is, I wouldn't consider it lying. I've been following your blog for quite sometime now and I love it, but I've never once thought that your life was perfect. I like reading it because of the humor, but I also like reading more serious posts. It helps remind us readers that you are indeed a real person. Of course where you draw the line of how much you want to share is up to you. I personally love raw honesty. I've written post that were difficult for me to write. These posts usually sit unpublished for a while, but then eventually I'll reread it, take a breath or two, and then click publish.

    This has turned into a novel...I hope it was at least somewhat helpful haha. Good luck discovering what is best for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Sassy!

    I, for one, would be totally into you being less polite and more real.

    I think you're actually in a good place to start doing this if that's what you want to do.

    I read your blog because, yes, you make me laugh pretty regularly and I appreciate that, especially when sitting in my classroom at the crack of dawn (why does school start so early?!). In addition to being funny, I like the way you write. Blogs are a funny thing, because you feel like you "know" someone even though you don't really know them... if that makes any sense. My guess is that many readers feel as I do - we like the blog, but part of that is we feel like we like the person writing the blog.

    So if you want to show more of your life, specifically the not-so-funny parts, I say go for it!

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I used to blog about everything, there were no lines for me. For me, however, it just got too heavy sometimes, as I can be moody. Sometimes I will literally be happy for months with no negative thoughts at all, and other times it feels like I can't find happiness in anything, and my blog would reflect this. I Think it would have freaked a normal person out, so I generally keep it a bit more upbeat and light these days. I let my frustrations show, just not too much.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Each blogger sets the purpose for his/her own blog. And while putting it out on the internet for all to see means you have an audience to consider, a blog is ultimately a place to express whatever and however the author chooses.

    The truth is always somewhere slightly outside the image we put forth of ourselves, and choosing to omit, edit, or embellish aspects of one's life on a blog does not a lie make. It just comes down to author voice and choice.

    I love your blog because you have a clear voice. Yes, it's super funny. But I think your voice is why so many people return.

    Enjoy the rest of BlogHer!

    ReplyDelete
  11. For the record, I would continue to read your blog even if it got, as you say, a little more real. I like your writing style, and I find you interesting. The humor is a lovely benefit, but it's certainly not all there is. Sometimes, tough stuff happens. That's life. Write about it!

    I do blog, and I have blogged for about the last seven (almost eight) years, though I have moved to different sites. I started when I was 17, so in a lot of ways, my blog is a reflection of that kind of emotion-based writing. It started as an outlet for all of the emotions that were raging inside.

    I guess, when it comes to drawing the line, I never really drew it until recently. I blogged freely about literally everything. Then my family found my blog. Needless to say, it didn't go well, and I have since had to be a lot more careful about what I say about them. It does feel a little bit like lying to know that there are portions of my life that I can't talk about even though I want to, but it's not worth all the drama to try.

    Unlike you, I'm not very good at humor writing. I have a great sense of wit when it comes to conversation, and I am frequently told that I'm funny. This, however, is not something I've learned to parlay into my writing. So, in a lot of ways, my blogging has always been about my hopes and fears and ups and downs. (If I'm being REALLY honest, it's a lot more about the downs than the ups.)

    There's a kind of catharsis that comes with putting it all out there. Even if no one reads it, I like knowing that there's potential for them to read it. Somehow, that makes me feel like going through the tough stuff is worth it.

    I guess what I'm trying to say here is go for it. If you feel like you hate it, then okay. At least you'll have tried. Just don't cross that bridge until you come to it. The funny thing about the blogosphere is how supportive it can be.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think all of us have that issue of wanting to share something, but fearing to be too burdensome in sharing something heavy. Since most of us aren't the children of Brad and Angelina, most of us have those not-funny-at-all situations. I know you're probably thinking "oh, you're still in high school, what do you know about real life?", and I'll admit, my worst times might not be as yours, but there are still those things that hurt, that even though it's been a while, I still don't feel comfortable sharing, even with with my closest friends.

    I love your blog! Sometimes I even get jealous of your life: you live in New York, you've got the perfect husband, decent job, successful blog, but I know that everything on here is probably silver coated. And as much as I enjoy your humorous stuff, I would also appreciate the more genuine, deep stuff (like this blog post).

    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anna-Maria12:36 PM

    I am not a blogger, but:
    truth and fiction are not exclusive. of course. and as soon as you write, you edit. always! no documetary film is "objective" or "true". we edit all the time. and neccessarily so. so write what you feel you need to write, and no, you are not in a corner. you have the total freedom on your blog, the luxury to write how and what you want. just because you can be incredibly funny doesn't mean you have to be every time. and i think there will always be a line, and should be for your own sanity, but it can be changed, moved and is generally not to be taken too seriously. so: don't worry, and if you do, write about it. if you want.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, I'm overwhelmed with the incredibly honest and thoughtful comments that came in within an hour os posting. An attempt at replying:

    @Richard: I agree that bloggers shouldn't think too much about the line, but for me there will always be some sort of line. For instance, my parents, friends, and boss all read my blog. I'm sure any potential employer will find it. So anything I post I have to be willing to share with them. As much as I want to be completely open, I have to consider this every time I post.

    @Penny Lane: Thank you so much. I don't feel I'm lying per se, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to be funny and more truthful. When I eventually have kids, I'll have to navigate a whole other set of boundary issues. How do you blog about your children without feeling like you're crossing a line of privacy (not for you, but for them)?

    @TB: I got to the end of the comment, and I'm so glad I did. It's cheesy, but it really makes me feel less alone to know that other people have the same issues.

    I'm so sorry that you're going through a depressing period. I know what it's like -- I have an anxiety disorder that sometimes manifests as depression, and Jeff has been clinically depressed as long as I've known him. I'm not currently on any medication, something I'm reconsidering.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, I know (in some ways) what you're going through and it means a lot to me that you shared it.

    One of the main reasons I want to start blogging more openly about the less funny parts of life is that I think it can be very helpful to people to know they're not alone.

    @Kim Scales: Thank you! It's tough because on the one hand I feel like people come here for a laugh, and if I get all Debbie Downer on them they'll stop reading. On the other hand I know I would write about difficult things with some humor -- but would that offend people? Ah, well, if I lose a few readers I'll be okay with it. I'd rather have people who appreciate that sometimes life (and blogging about it) is messy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. thank you. for your honesty. for your courage. for being you. i'm so glad you're here.

    and also, the captcha is pantsh. like jewish pants.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've thought about this one a lot, and the conclusion I keep coming back to is that I don't owe anyone "the truth," whatever the truth is. Your blog is required to be neither funny nor accurate, and it is particularly unnecessary (& impossible) for it to be complete! Write what you want to write: true, untrue, funny, sordid, awful, obfuscating, pointless, fantabulous... I think it's only once you start throwing buying-everything-I-eat-with-blog-money into the mix that you might start to get boxed in...

    ReplyDelete
  17. *raises hand* I'll keep reading!Real or really funny. Why don't you just have a bi-polar blog? For every funny post there is a real life one after it? Thanks for sharing all this!

    ReplyDelete
  18. More responses:

    @One Blonde Girl: I know how you feel, girl. My parents read the blog, which establishes a rule that I can't blog about anything I couldn't tell my parents. But some coworkers and my boss also read it, which means I also can't blog anything I wouldn't be comfortable with them knowing. And while my parents are privy to all of my personal struggles, my coworkers aren't, and I don't really want them to be.

    Sigh, this would all be fixed if I could just blog for a living. Come on, universe!

    @MissErica: I completely understand your struggles with perfectionism and anxiety. I often fanatsize about having no responsibilities -- no job, no blog, nothing to do but what I feel like doing. Obviously that isn't going to happen anytime soon, but I feel so easily overwhelmed lately that I feel like I need an out.

    I also feel like I burden people with bad or sad news. But I'm glad you're open to reading about it, and your support means so much to me. Thank you.

    @Kate: Thank you so much for that supportive comment. It makes me feel so much better knowing you guys are with me no matter what.

    @Koreywithak: I agree that there should be some editing and balance when blogging your emotions. I have just been avoiding any unfunny subject for so long it feels scary to consider crossing that line!

    @KK: Thank you. That's not an articulate way of expressing what your comment means, but it's all I can muster right now. Thank you.

    @jmplatz: You're so right -- I know the blogosphere will support me. And there are a lot of lessons to be learned from line-crossing. Early on in my blog I wrote about some friends -- without naming them -- very negatively, and they found it and now we're not friends. I'm sorry you had a similar experience with your family. But it's only through making those leaps (and mistakes) that we determine where our line needs to be. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Mindy: Aw. Thank you! That's exactly what I needed to hear.

    I love all you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  20. We don't have to tell everybody everything about ourselves. I don't get into anything too personal because I know my family and friends will read it. I have thought of starting an anonymous blog so I could use it as therapy. I'm always blown away by how much some people tell us. It's o.k. for them...but I'm not going to do it. Personal privacy is just fine too. I always get a laugh from your blog and I love that ....

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love the way you write. Write about whatever you want - I'll still want to read it. I think that this challenge speaks volumes of you as a writer and a people pleaser (Hello, Kettle?). Your decision will be another part of your journey.

    I think of my blog as 'warts and all', but I draw my line at tales that would expose/embarrass others unless I have their permission. All of my own stuff is fair game because I'm blogging in order to capture this time in my life. Not all of it's pretty. Most of it is mundane to anyone but me. It just is what it is, but it's mine :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. One word for my blog..."eclectic". Which much describes my personality. So it's just right that my blog reflects that as well.

    I blog as sort of a journal. I don't have quite the following that you do, but I do have people that I do not know that read...therefore I do try to keep vague with details of my life, but I do tend to get into some of the emotional areas and how I deal with that.

    Everyone who blogs does it for a reason. And if we all blogged for the same reasons, we wouldn't be following them around like puppies sometimes. I mean, I may blog about one particular thing, but love the fact that someone else blogs about things completely different.

    While I do get into some personal stuff with my blog, I also talk about current events, things I like. Things I dislike, and yes...I even try to be humorous with my blogging. HOwever, I try not to push that button too much....what I think is funny sometimes is not funny to the next person. SO, I like to keep the humor based blogs to professionals. Such as you, Sassy.

    I will tell you, more times than not..when I need a good laugh, I log in and look you up. Laughter is the best medicine, and when you know where to get it why wouldn't you?

    On the other hand, I do like being reminded sometimes that you ARE a REAL person. A human with human feelings and life situations. And while not all of those situations are able to be shared, and most likely not funny in nature....still, it affects you. And by all means, if blogging helps without spewing fourth too much personal data...by all means, vent woman!

    You are loved in the midwest.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Una, it's your blog, it's your world. Just do whatever you want to do. Who in the fuck do people think they are to judge you based on your blog posts anyway? Tell the truth, lie, whatever! You are an awesome person. People have dark sides and are not always happy. Those things go without saying! If you want to reflect that on your blog, do it. It's not required though.

    I'm one of the lucky ones who reads your blog that has had some interaction with you. I appreciate what you did for me, more than I can say.

    I'll bitch slap that stupid bastard if you want me to...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sassy-

    I started reading your blog right after I started blogging on Blogger. I was new to this writing for others to see thing and enjoyed taking some cues from someone as obviously talented as you. (And, no, that is NOT lip-service...I genuinely admire you.)

    I agree with the comments above that say you need to do what you need to do...for YOU. Don't change your blog for your fans, if you did, you wouldn't be true to yourself and that is the worst form of lying.

    As for where the line goes...it's whatever you decide you're comfortable with sharing. My own blog has it's down moments but I draw the line at names or overly personal details because I write anonymously. Personally, I don't think this is a form of lying by omission. And if any of my readers do think so, oh well. This is for me, no one else.

    I hope you don't stress about this too much and (as always) I look forward to your next post :)

    Kat

    ReplyDelete
  25. It's YOUR blog, you don't have to answer to anyone. The guy that called you a liar sounds like a creep.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm glad you felt compelled to open up and write this! If nothing else, as you can tell by the amount of support you've already gotten in your comments, you now know there are several readers out there who aren't going to judge you and will in fact embrace your sincerity, in whatever tone you put it.

    I've been trying to "establish" my blog for several months now, and I've never really picked it up and run with it. It's hard to move forward when you're not even sure what exactly it means to you. Is it some kind of therapy? Just a way to keep my friends in the loop or to record my memories? Or am I actually going to try to take it to that broader "entertainment" level?

    Fortunately, you're taking note of the signs that your blog is no longer providing you with what it ought to. You should get as much benefit from writing your posts as your readers get from reading them... if not more. And I'm certain that if you just let loose and ignored the apprehensions that surely plague you while you write, you would surprise both yourself and us, all while getting more satisfaction than ever out of what you've posted.

    Best of luck as you explore these boundaries!

    ReplyDelete
  27. No line. I figure if I'm not truly honest with my readers, then I'm not being honest with myself and then the point would be moot and totally not worth it. I'm funny sometimes, sometimes not so much, I blog what i think or feel at the time and don't worry so much if it isn't always interesting. Life isn't always interesting, I refuse to compromise myself on entertainment factor alone! ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's interesting to think about what bloggers "owe" their readers. My first instinct is to say that they owe nothing, that it's perfectly fine if just about everything is a lie ("This morning I rode my unicorn to my job as a marzipan architect..."); on the other hand, I think that most readers of personal blogs expect that what they're reading is mostly the truth. For me, there is absolutely a "line"-- if there is a chance that a close friend, family member, potential employer, etc. is reading, then I have to be careful to be at least a little protective of my life. Because I have this separation about what I am completely willing to share with the (eight, at most) people who read my blog, I assume that most others do as well. Ultimately, it comes down to what you are willing to share-- and while I absolutely love all the hilarious things you write, it makes sense that your life would not be one long "Scene From a Marriage." Given what I'm still thinking, as well as so many of the comments above mine, I don't think you'd be wanting for readers, and who knows? The blogosphere (god, I hate that word) can be a pretty supportive place sometimes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous2:50 PM

    A lie by omission exists only when there is a real or implied agreement by both parties for full disclosure around that particular issue. That implied agreement does not exist between you and I as writer and reader. You have offered up a delightful and entertaining blog written as though you have actually experienced the events depicted. I expect, like I would from any other artist, that you are selective about your words and your choices in how you present your material. That selectivity is what makes your story yours. Anyone who expects anything other from you (or any other artist they follow) is unreasonable and if they accuse you of being a liar (let's be honest here. That is indeed what they are accusing you of) they are completely wrong and a bit of an idiot. Share what you are comfortable with, write what you want, and if it continues to be done with the heart and talent you've shown so far, we will continue to read it and take pleasure and joy from your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Love your post top to bottom. Very honest.

    I also do a humor blog, and it really is the line you're always wondering if you should cross it or where you should cross it.

    I do post some non-funny posts sometimes, and you can always find a bit of humor to stick in there, but I think the truth is, people like to see a sad side to the funny people sometimes. For example, this post of mine (I promise I'm not shamelessly promoting my own blog, just sharing on topic) has been one of the most popular of my posts: http://www.danoah.com/2010/08/noahs-last-straw.html.

    I think that to hear somebody funny tackle the tough things in life, it gives a perspective to everybody else. Life's not all giggles and tickles, just run with it anyway.

    Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

    ReplyDelete
  31. No where is it written that your job as a blogger is to tell your reader everything about you. You get to have your own life, and you get to write about whatever you want. I am righteously certain that the line is wherever you put it, and the line you've been using has worked beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think people can get kind of uppity and judgemental when it comes to interwebz interactions. Y'know, the classic 'worldly advice on messageboards' and, as you've just experienced, the 'what a blog is really for' rant.

    My personal opinion? A blog is whatever you want it to be. I don't think, and would never think, someone is lying to me just because they choose not to divulge the more personal details of their lives in their blog. To be fair to you, the majority of readers here are probably weird strangers on the net that you'd rather not talk about awkward marital spats with, or that thing that's growing on your uncle's left nut that your aunt won't stop bringing up at Thanksgiving.

    In saying that, a lot of people choose to utilize a blog as a place to vent, and talk freely about personal tragedies and dramas that they would otherwise probably keep to themselves. (Or tell a hairdresser about) I've been told before that my blog gets too 'whiny' because I document the highs and lows of my life at the moment. I ignore that, though. I didn't sign a contract promising to always talk about interesting shit, and you didn't sign one promising to divulge every event in your personal life. You write what you want, and people can take it or leave it. Not to mention, while you or I might be happy enough to talk about Uncle's left nut growth, Uncle might not be overjoyed at his sudden internet popularity. There are other people involved in our personal lives who are not as happy about having certain aspects of those lives aired to complete strangers.

    If you want to start being less funny and more serious, good for you. But don't cross any lines you're not comfortable crossing, just because someone else makes you feel like you should. Regardless of what you choose to write about, I think (and I'm sure other readers will agree) that your posts will still be well worth the read.

    Damn, this is an essay. Sorry about that. :p

    ReplyDelete
  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I write about what I want to write about, not what I think my readers want to read. It's your blog. Be as real as you want to be, and don't worry how we're going to judge it. You are not obligated to tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth sohelpyougod. Okay?

    Btw, I love Jerry Orbach!

    ReplyDelete
  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Una,

    A. I thought I would save you some space in your comments so I just sent you an e-mail with my two cents.

    B. You're a good egg and I (along with hundreds of others) am excited to keep reading whatever you dish out.

    C. On a side note: thanks to your Dirty Dancing reference not only do I have a "Time of Your Life" station on Pandora now, but I have had that song stuck in my head all morning. Had you referenced Lou Bega in your post and had gotten the mamba song stuck in my head... there would have been hell to pay. So at least thank you for avoiding that one.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow. You seemed to have answered your own question. This post was insightful, questioning and personal and, as a result, inspired a huge response.

    After thinking about what you said, I am going to review what I blog about. I think the personal stuff takes some time to make you brave enough to blog about it. Humor is the safety blanket.

    Your blog and writing are very entertaining though!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Your blog is just that- your blog. You graciously have invited us to hear your stories, but that doesn't give us the right to snoop in your bathroom cabinets or dig in your underwear drawer (but would there be tootsie rolls?)
    I love your blog and look forward to it everyday. That said, I don't personally know you, and don't delude myself that I do, so I don't think I have the right to demand more personal information.

    For the record, I think you're only lying by omission if you purposefully leave something out that does pertain to the conversation. So unless your pain is stemming from nostalgic candy or 80s camp films, I think you're within every right to keep it personal.
    I hope your situation is happier, or at least more peaceful. You do bring a smile to my face daily, so I wish many back on you.
    And- adult acne SUCKS. I had maybe 5 pimples in high school. Come college- shazaam! And not in a good way. So I feel you there.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Line?
    Line?
    There ain't no stinking line.

    Your blog belongs to you to do as you wish. Ah freedom.

    Just so you'll know (as if you care) I come to you blog for the humor. It's refreshing not to get bogged down with all the other junk.

    ReplyDelete
  40. first off, i have to also give a big 'fuck you' to adult acne. i never had acne in high school - never more than a stray pimple once every few weeks. once i hit like like 21, forget it. horrible.

    also, i have recently started blogging and felt the same way - should i just blog about the funny/interesting/happy stuff? or the real me? i decided that my blog is MINE and writing is really an outlet for me. i like to share - and i decided to share all the shit - the funny and the not so funny. to me, and my like five regular readers, it's more important for me to be true to myself, and write what i want to regardless of whether people want to read it.

    i think it's a line of whether this blog is for YOU or for US. i for one would love to read any blog from you, not just the hysterically funny ones. but that's up to you, what you want to share. if sharing the hard times and depressing stuff in your life will help you, then you should blog about it. we'll be here for you :D

    http://justanotherwastedday.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  41. This post makes interesting food for thought Sassy. I love your blog and you are one of the main sources of inspiration when it came to starting a blog of my own. While I elected to have an anonymous blog (because I'm private, because I wouldn't want what I wrote to interfere with future employment opportunities, because I wanted the freedom to say what I wanted) I still find myself struggling with how much if any of my personal life I want to reveal. I too find that readers respond to my more humorous posts although I defintely try (even when ranting) to inject humor into my writing. I also find that I do edit what I write in order to maintain my anonymous status although the 'stories' I write about are 100% true. ...Whatever direction you decide to take your blog, I'm certain that you will maintain or continue to increase your readership because as someone else so rightfully pointed out 'we follow your blog because we like you'. Have a great rest of the weekend!!! - The Empress

    http://rantersbox.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love your blog just the way it is, Una. But I applaud you for addressing the criticism. Nicely done.

    http://georgiewrites.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. Far be it from me to be a critic, but this is one of the best I think you have ever written. Or, I should say it is one I have enjoyed the most.

    I started reading your blog because it was hilarious, and because your life was so different from mine that I found it interesting. I dial in when I need or want a laugh (okay, so it's daily...your addictive). I will still read it if you mix it up a little. It will only add another level of interest for me.

    That humor has been your main genre thus far can't be much of a shocker. This is your outlet, and you excel at humor. I would think that adding another dimension to your creative outlet would just be a reflection of your personal growth.

    You haven't been dishonest, only selective. But, it's your blog and your choice.

    My blog is a flipside of yours; there is some humor (I think, he says with a slight whine), but it's pretty candid, open, and longer (by comparison) essays of personal insight and epiphanies.

    Come to think of it, looking at the number of followers I have compared to you, maybe you should stick with the comedy.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Fear not about crossing the line - we love your blog because we can tell that there is so much more going on in your life than what you post. Many of your stories even the funniest about your childhood clearly have origins in if not difficulty at least awkwardness which if you were to look into all of us - you would see we all have something in common - and I am a midwestern country republican. We love your stories and know that in some ways the way you write is the way you express the pain and joy in a fun way. I think you would find that we would follow the happy and sad stories equally. I know I am glad to have found your blog in cyberspace.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Anonymous5:36 PM

    I don't blog, but read yours and just a few others faithfully. While your wit and humorous perspective always give me reason to laugh, I would never presume that just because I read your blog that I should impose limits on what you blog about. Do what feels honest for you. Ignore the rest of us. If someone doesn't like it, they can stop reading that day, and if they really don't like it, they can stop reading the blog altogether. It is like TV censorship. If you don't like what a network/show/etc. is doing, don't watch. We don't need someone else dictating what can entertain us.

    Have I rambled? Probably. But my real point is that I have been reading your work for over a year. I will continue even if you explore more personal, non-funny, issues. We all have those. I have a closet-full of non-designer scars I rarely show to anyone. If you are at the point where you are strong enough to share, I bet we are strong enough to support that. And if not, F@#$ 'em!

    I definitely rambled. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi again! I don't have time to address comments individually until later, but I just wanted to say a few blanket things:

    1. Thank you all for commenting and showing so much support.

    2. I'm definitely not going to change the blog or stop writing the kind of stuff I have been writing. It's just good to know that I have the freedom to share more IF I feel like it. Thanks for affirming that you read the blog for my voice and that you like me the way I am.

    3. Please, don't think your blogs aren't important because you don't have a lot of followers. Seriously, followers don't make a blog good. I got lots of followers due to a dumb stroke of luck, and so far I've fooled you into sticking around. Mwahahaha.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Sassy, I keep this short and sweet. I follow your blog because of the WAY you write and secondarily for WHAT you write. that is why I gave you my EOD award. You tell us what you want to tell us when and how you want to tell us. Fuck those who want to condemn you or anyone for "lies of ommission". they need to get a life. I blog based on what I want to write. Readers either like it and follow or move on. Such is the blogging world.

    ReplyDelete
  48. First of all, great post. Second, as has already been mentioned, I think "the line" is dictated by what your goal for the blog is. If it is purely meant for catharsis, and if for some reason you have no concern whatsoever about people in your life and current and future employers being up to speed on the intimate details of your life, then fire away.

    Otherwise, you obviously have to show some level of restraint. I don't think there is anything at all dishonest about focusing on the experiences in your life that you can relate in a humorous way.

    If, for your own personal reasons, you decide to share more then that is great. It is certainly not something that you owe to the readers of your blog, though. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sassy, your blog is fantastic. You have a distinctive
    voice and personality. Your posts are clever and always entertaining, and I've been reading your blog long enough to make an educated guess that if you took it into another direction every now and again, I'd still read with just as much enthusiasm. I can only speak for myself here, but I personally don't care whether every detail is truth, fiction, or lies by omission, or some combination of all these. It's just not something I think about. I read it because I like the way you write.
    I have grappled with the same issues with my own blog. Namely,
    -what's too "personal"?
    -how do I know if I'm sharing too much, and should I even worry about it?
    I don't know the answers, I only know that the ability to communicate well is a powerful tool, and a gift. My own rule of thumb as far as "the line" I guess, is that I don't share it on my blog if it's something that could hurt or embarrass anyone other than me. :)
    Just my humble two-cents.
    Keep on keepin' on, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I have a line, I don't share anything way to personal to me, or all of my writing, I don't cut down my ex when I really want to, and I guess as long as I'm using my blog in a constructive way(mostly towards writing) then I'm doing fine and don't plan n crossing my line.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi, Una.

    Recently, I was confronted with the same question you were - well, you were actually asked the question by someone who actually reads what you write; in my case, it was more (just, really) a mental conversation with myself. And I also added: should you really be commenting on other people's blog lives?

    I'm not a blogger. I mean, not like you. You are a WRITER; I post stuff. But I love posting stuff, and I write for myself. That's the conclusion I've come to.

    Should you be sharing your most intimate moments, or every moment in your life with your readers? Only if you want to do so. I think you should always write on your own terms, not because someone thinks that you're "lying". That's not a lie, it's writing. And I, for one, really enjoy reading you. 3609 blog followers + twitter + facebook know exactly what they like - you "just the way you are" (a little Bridget Jones here, just for you).

    So thanks, Una, for making me laugh. And when you decide to make me cry, well, I'm sure I will like that too.

    (As for leaving comments on other people's blogs or not, ... no comments.)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anonymous8:18 PM

    I say write to make yourself happy, whatever that is. If just being funny makes you happy, then just be funny. It never occurred to me that you don't have real problems or that you were 'lying,' I just thought you chose not to write about it.
    My blog is probably too real. My children tell me I'm depressing and only to write funny stuff. But I can't. I have a few funny ones, but I also do a lot of venting because it makes me happy. Of course no one is reading my blog, and now evidently my children aren't either! But, I write for me. It makes me happy.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I happen to think it is a little rude for somebody to call you a liar because you have a blog. I love your blog because it is funny and you are adorable. That being said, I would still love you if you got deep or sad or dramatic once in a while, but that's totally up to you. A blog is a way for us to frame ourselves. So what? I like to write about the funny stuff and not the heavy stuff because that's what I like to focus on in my real life. I have read blogs (and known people) whose entire lives revolve around the drama and they are so boring. Who cares about marriage troubles or what a pain in the ass your parents are? Everybody has marriage troubles and pain-in-the-ass parents every now and then and to somehow pretend you are special because you expound about those problems is silly. Let's entertain each other and make each other laugh instead! Keep doing what your doing, and don't worry about always having to be funny. Love ya!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I don't believe that not blogging about the not so funny things in our lives is lying by omission. It's more of a personal preference about what you want to share.

    I recently started a second blog where I am starting to blog about things that aren't always funny and my life outside of being a mom. For me it wasn't easy to blog about the tough things, but it does feel a little liberating after I hit publish. And having other people leave comments offering support and advice is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  55. All i can think to say is "Thank you."

    ReplyDelete
  56. Like you, I tend to write about the funny. I'd never thought of it as a lie. I guess it comes to what your blog is supposed to be. If you were a food blogger, you wouldn't necessarily share all the details of you life. At the same time, I think if you are being an honest writer pieces of your real life will come out in your writing.

    I definitely self-edit a lot, often without even thinking about it. Part of it has to do that I know A LOT of my family reads the blog, as well as the potential employer (which you mentioned). While I know the internet can be a great place to get support for hard times in life, I also know that I am a mostly private person. I like to process things internally and don't share everything with everyone. And I don't think that makes me a liar in my life. It's just who I am.

    But it is a hard line to walk. Am I keeping something to myself because I don't want to share or because I don't want people to think I'm anything less than perfect? (Although, to be honest, if they're reading my blog much, they probably aren't associating the word "perfect" with me.)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Just wanted to say that I really love your blog. And I like you too... When you're funny and when you're serious, like today. That's all.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I LOVE your blog AND you!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing a portion of your life with us!
    My blog probably has too many personal things. But that's me. I've been told by friends that "you never have to question where MB is feeling about you - she'll let you know". I took that as a compliment!
    Your posts are AMAZING!
    Thank you again!!!
    :) mb

    http://mycircusofalife.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  59. Una,

    Your voice & talent are divine! When you write about awkward childhood moments or make daily, petty insecurities and annoyances funny, I laugh because you are hilarious, but also because it makes me step back and laugh gently at myself. You already do a wonderful job of providing a sense of belonging to those of us who plunged our heads into our own pant-legs after reading your jean shorts column. As a fellow perfectionist who is learning to reveal my smushy parts to the world despite abject terror, thank you.

    So you know you're not alone: I used to spend two hours curling my hair before high school and I eventually started carrying a portable curling iron around in my bag so I could re-curl it at lunch. It burned the shit out of my stuff! My therapist even made me go to work without make-up as an exposure exercise to conquer anxiety. I will say that my adult acne and anxiety/depression got way better when I stared getting treated for a thyroid imbalance. I've been amazed how many women have skin and anxiety issues that are tied to hormones rather than a bad case of the crazies. :)

    Finally, for what it's worth, I never assumed your life was all sunny - just that you had a talent for making scatological lemonade when life hands you shit for lemons. I think that the funniest people I know are people who have known the depths of pain and who can laugh in spite of (because of?) it. Your writing is so funny because it's clear that you acknowledge at least some of your struggles. I say write what you want, and if being serious about serious struggles sends some folks away, good riddance. Even more, if being funny about serious pain offends people that's their loss.

    On a side note - you hit the nail on the head: poor Mondo really is the McLovin of PR :)

    Always a fan!

    ReplyDelete
  60. The bottom line for me is this: I love your blog. Reading it makes me happy. I would read your grocery list if you posted it. I fully understand that you're giving snipets of your life and I would guess that they are sometimes embelished. I dont think that means it's a lie to not share the darker moments. It's not. I would read your blog then too. But dont be too harsh on yourself. This blog is for much you as it is for your audience...if at the end of the day you're satisfied with what you share, then so be it.
    Blog on Sassy, blog on.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I agree with many of the above comments--that this is your blog, and you should be able to write whatever and however you want. I really enjoy reading your posts, not just because they are witty and amusing but because of your writer's voice. I enjoyed reading this more reflective, serious post just as much as I enjoy reading your lighthearted ones. If you feel like people have certain expectations for your blog, screw them! It's not like they are your employers and they're paying you to write certain things. You should feel free to write whatever you want. Just know that even if some only want to read the funny posts, I think a lot of us would still read it if you posted more serious ones along the way, even though many of us have never actually met you.

    ...I know that didn't exactly answer your question, but as a new blogger, I don't have a lot of personal input to offer. I just write about whatever I want, whether it's something going on in my life, or something funny I witnessed and had to share, or something completely random. I haven't had any serious personal drama since starting my blog a few months ago, and I don't know what I'd share...but I still say you should feel free to write whatever you want.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Agatha L Ottaheir12:02 AM

    Oh sassy...
    Did you not ever hear the phrase "if you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me"???
    Personally, i dont know that the hell goes on at these "blogher" meet ups, but it reminds me of 1970s encounter groups involving hand mirrors and probably many whisky sours.
    Just get on with your wine bladder flaunting self. There is nothing to improve on, and quite frankly the general public has done nothing to earn your deep vulnerable secrets. You read enough to know that urban angst (looking at you Foer) is pretty damn tiresome.
    Your brand of humour already encompasses all that without having to beg for acknowledgement. Seems no less "authentic" as a result. Shit , blogher is starting to remind me of art school critiques...
    Just tonight my sister and i were talking about the need for someone to address the comedy of old skool "scoliosis checks" that we endured back in the day. Apparently that health crisis has past, as no one knows what in the hell i am reffering to anymore, unless they are old enough to have read "Are You There God, its Me, Margeret"
    just keep on, you are a total inspiration and validation to more not-quite-fitting-in women than you know!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Everyone has already said pretty much what I wanted to say but it is still true.
    I don't have a super happy all the time blog and tbh I share way too much but that's how I am in real life.
    People can tell you that you aren't blogging the whole truth but there isn't a contract for us to tell everything or else your blog will be deleted.
    I had a previous blog about me and my now ex husband were doing. Now I have a blog about how I am putting the pieces back together after he left me. I don't care if people can't relate to me, I am writing for the people who can.
    Its helpful for me to sometimes scream and have what you call a "titty fit" and then just hit post and go have some caffeine.
    I write for me and only me cuz this is my life.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I decided toward the beginning of blogging that I would try to be as honest as possible. There are certain things I consider too private to blog about, like relationship problems or health issues (although the latter is not completely off the table if they're mine).

    But I DO put it out there when I'm struggling and depressed about my career and lack thereof, and the ups and downs that come with wanting to be a writer. I figure it might help people to know that other people go through stuff like that. And sometimes it helps to get confirmation in comments that they've been there. It can be encouraging.

    Basically it's all up to you - I think you should write about what you like to write about, that you're good at.

    ReplyDelete
  65. So many people have said that same thing, but I'm going to agree with them all and say it again:

    It's your blog, Una, and you can make it whatever you want it to be. People will either read it or they won't (and there are obviously a lot who do read it). You're clever, witty, and a very talented writer. And that's no lie!

    Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Although I have been consistently posting for only a few months now, I have had other blogs in the past. Long ago my old blog used to be a place for my true feelings, my inner thoughts, and my demons too. I look back and wonder if letting those thoughts out and creating words on a screen helped… maybe they did, I’m not too sure though.

    Now, my new blog is mostly geared toward the funny, albeit dry humor, and sometimes poetry. The stories with a touch of humor allow me to express my humoristic side, while the poetry sometimes allows for a more serious, or exploratory dive into many different emotions.\

    My new blog was designed to give an audience something to read, something to enjoy, and something to keep coming back to. Thus, by design, my blog isn’t meant to be a daily portrayal of the humdrum, the boring, the negative thoughts, or sad feelings; it is designed to be an outlet of my humoristic character, with a touch of art and expression here and there. Because of this, I will likely steer away from the off-topic demons and sadness… unless I’m immediately moved to express them to the world in this venue.

    I don’t know if this gives you direction, but I hope it goes to show that it’s ok to have a design, or theme, to a blog… it’s yours; do with it what you want.

    -JRM

    ReplyDelete
  67. Hey Sass,

    My SIL read recently (not sure which book, but it was about writers) that those who are humorous all the time are cynical and those who like to express emotional pain, etc. are healthier.

    I was surprised to find out I was cynical, but then it made sense. It's not that I can't cry with people or share about pain, but I much prefer tossing things off with humor. In terms of sharing, I think it also has to do with whether or not you've processed it already.

    My blog shares the emotional pain of things I've processed - my car accident and subsequent depression, my brother's suicide, the death we faced while living in Africa ... it's not too difficult to talk about. But my current insecurities and struggles are touched upon lightly with humor because I haven't sorted them through myself yet.

    Anyway, don't worry about what you write. Any readers you might lose through being real are not really worth keeping. And if you want to keep being humorous all the time, your readers will take it as lightly as its meant to be.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I have experienced alot of pain in my life and have been fairly quiet about it. Been through the therapy, the tell the secrets, etc.etc. but one thing consistent about me is my humor and somehow without the pain, I don't think I could be as funny as I am. I kinda love how the whole denial of pain created this other persona
    of me that is a total crack-up, colorful, unique individual who likes to tell her story but at a slant. Your wonderful insight into who you are is what keeps you sane. You know your different parts of yourself and can express it in a very interesting way. Personally, I go for your humor knowing already you are a real person with many layers. I am more interested in people who though they have pain don't get too confessional. I don't like the comments from that person who made it an "either or" situation of you lying by omission. Bullshit, simplistic thinking of morons. Hope it's not your Uncle or somethin.

    ReplyDelete
  69. i think that we, your readers, are smart enough to know that your life is more than what you share on this blog. like you said it is a humor blog and most of us thank you for a good laugh.
    my blog is private (only viewed by family and friends) and i still lie by omission - i mean please, who doesn't?
    sometimes opening up about pain is cathartic and sometimes it's just too much to reveal to thousands of strangers - write what you want and feel no guilt either way.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I've started blogs a few different times, and always ended up deleting them because I was afraid of my innermost thoughts, or even my jokes, being judged. My most recent blog, which I started just over a month ago, is primarily humorous because I feel like nobody really wants to read about my deep thoughts or the difficult things I go through. It makes me feel too vulnerable.

    But by only talking about "funny stuff" I feel like I'm leaving a whole side of myself out of the process. I think it's scary to put really personal things out there for all the world to see, and I don't think we should feel that we have to. My blog is an expression of myself, but not ALL sides of me. It's just one expression, out of many that I have.

    I don't think you should feel obligated to write about anything serious if you don't feel comfortable doing so. I love reading your blog because it makes me laugh, and helps me cope with the day-to-day shit of life with laughter. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Leaving out certain topics from your writing is not lying; there are things that are for you and only you, not to be shared with the world.

    Comedians are stereotyped as being lighthearted and happy-go-lucky; everything's a joke. But the truth is that most of us "funny people" are some of the most sensitive and serious people you could meet. We just cope with humor, and maybe hide behind it sometimes too. But that's okay. Everyone deals in different ways. Write what makes you happy, and what you feel you're best at writing. I think artists are at their best when they aren't creating to please others. If what you create brings people joy, or makes them think, or inspires them, all the better. But it's your expression, and you should feel free to make it what you want, and not give a shit what anyone else thinks.

    Sorry for the long diatribe :)

    Charity

    http://misadventuresofamarvelousmiss.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  71. I'm going to keep the "Aw, Una, it's YOUR thing" train rolling because I totally agree w/ that sentiment. I mean, come on. You entertain us for free on a daily basis. Surely, how you want to do it is totally your thing?

    That being said, I'd LOVE to hear more real stuff going on in your life. Not because it's honest and I somehow deserve that as your reader. Because I'm nosy.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Sassy,

    I read your blog first for your writer's voice and secondly for the content. I'm waiting for the day you get a book deal. I think as long as you feel like you're growing as a writer, it doesn't matter where your line is. You have the right to have a private life. It doesn't make you a liar to not share personal struggles with the world. When you feel like you're ready, you'll find a way to not cross your line, but maybe reset it.

    I don't think you've painted yourself into a corner at all because your voice is unique and even your more serious, less funny stories "fit" with your style. I don't care if you're writing about which toilet stall is the "pooping" stall or a traumatic event that happened, I'll still read anything you write.

    ReplyDelete
  73. That is a great question. If you were to suddenly mention something terrible that had happened to you, I would be surprised and I would feel awful for you because after all this time reading you, you feel like a friend. It's OK to mention stuff that's not funny, and it's OK not to mention it, too. There aren't any rules and people who want you to expose yourself completely are probably asking too much. Sometimes it's too raw and hurts to put it out there. Sometimes it helps.

    ReplyDelete
  74. As you might hear from Mr. Randy Jackson on American Idol -- I feel ya, dawg. Or, I'm feelin' this post, Dawg.

    I am not good with Anger as an emotion, just not good with it. Probably a good reason why I ended up 22 years old and 278lbs! (I had weight loss surgery and thankfully am a more normal chubby). I don't like writing about the bad stuff, either. In fact, even in my own personal diary that is made out of that weird stuff called Paper...it tends to have weeks and months skipped. I love funny stuff, I have a decent sense of humor..but I'm not that great at writing humor..so I'm in an even smaller corner called "poetic and/or poignant" blog posts. That leaves to me not posting much at all. Its not a good thing. We just have to be unafraid to look like a mess...and really, we are ALL a mess!

    ReplyDelete
  75. I don't think you are being dishonest at all. Plus I know how you feel. I also write a humor blog (pretty much only read by my mom, my boyfriend and a few others) and it always feels weird to write about raw emotional problem-y things. By that I mean everything is funny, even the bad stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I personally really enjoy reading your blogs because they are funny! Of course you aren't lying about having a perfect life, but I'd much rather read about your husband switching letters on a birthday cake to say "anus" than read the kind of sad teen-angst crap I wrote 6 years ago lol.

    The line has to be drawn when you decide what kind of blog you are creating. Funny, informative, personal, sad, just the highlights, whatever! If you establish a community on your blog where people grow to care about you because you are charming and witty, well they will probably be fine with a few sucky real-life moments here and there.

    Point is, I like reading about your silly things in life because it lightens up my day. I don't think you're lying, and even if it were all a true lie conjured up in your head while you rock back and forth in an insane asylum, and Jeff was your imaginary husband, well, I'd still read it because you are a talented, clever, and fun writer :)
    KT

    ReplyDelete
  77. I think your blog is pretty darned honest. You share a sizeable slice of your life. You can't tell anybody everything, at least that's what I think. Your blog is unfailingly entertaining. I have an extremely circumscribed blog, which often seems very dishonest to me. I stay completely off religion and politics, tho both in a way (what way I won't say) are deeply important to me. I keep my family and friends and job completely anonymous. It's barely a sliver of my life. Certainly, I hope, there's room for all kinds of blogs. Or all kinds of postings within a blog. Nobody's saying we can't bust out.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Sassy babes, at one of the lowest points i've ever been in, you made me snort milk out of my nose with laughter, you have a true gift & which ever way you want to go with it will be perfect, just don't stop :)

    ReplyDelete
  79. I love this post. We've all been there. What you share is real, even if it isn't complete. You have to keep a little bit of yourself to yourself just to stay sane.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Anne Sexton - though perhaps not, like, the ideal person to take life lessons from - said when asked about the autobiographical nature of work and how true it was, that the facts don't matter - it's the emotional truth that matters.

    The emotional truth of your writing always come through, and I don't think any reader here would be surprised to find that you are a complex enough person whose chosen a very specific prism to be seen through and to share with us!

    ReplyDelete
  81. First of all: holy crap, 80 comments! I'm glad to see how successful your blog has become. You deserve it. :)

    Secondly: I have struggled with this too. Some things are just personal; I don't write about the relationship problems between me and certain family members or the depression that I almost constantly feel. Those things are ever present, but I generally keep my blog material light and cheery. I suppose I project the positive attitude that I always endeavour to have.

    At first, I was afraid to blog about more serious matters because people really like the funny posts, but I like to think that people also appreciate seeing under the surface a bit. Other than the obsessive people or the shit disturbers, most people blog to establish real human connection by sharing and receiving. I like to think my little blog community is a safe place.

    Anyway, all that to say... I think you're a courageous writer, and I appreciate your candour. And, for the record, I'm just as interested in reading your non-funny posts as the funny ones.

    Take care!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...