08/17/01: A simple why
A day or so after I posted this, I received an email from my mom. "Surplus notecards?" she asked. "I'll take them!" She's in charge of a membership care committee at church, and they're forever looking for blank notecards to send to people.
So I dutifully bundled up all the extra notecards that aren't the type with sarcastic wit (I'm saving those for *me*!) or otherwise not appropriate to be sent by a church group, and stuck the bag on the dining room table to take with me next time I met her. And I racked my brain, trying to figure out if I'd mentioned the overflowing drawer to her in an email or in passing.
And then a second email came, where she mentioned that I had a slight error in my 'all about me' page - my sisters' and my names weren't just in the Top Ten. They were the Top Three, for the five years during which we were born.
The light bulb went on, finally. Even though I've dropped hints, and even sent them a link to an entry or two before, my mom was now reading my journal (Hi mom!).
It's not as if I've written this to hide anything. I've always tried to write it so that I wouldn't be worried if anyone I knew read it. But still, there was this little momentary surprise when she sent me those emails, and even more of a jolt when she mentioned in passing that one of my sisters showed her how to get here (hi sis!) too.
"It seems just a bit narcissist," my mom commented at one point during the conversation, and I suppose that in a way it is. I write this with the expectation that it will be read by more than just myself. I write for an audience, because after all, what's the point of posting all of this online if no one were to ever see it? Despite any pure and noble intentions that we who post our lives online may say in protest, it all boils down to the fact that we want someone - anyone - to read what we write, so that we become a little bit larger than our own ordinary selves. I don't mean that in a bad way, so please don't take this as condemnation - after all, I'm just as much a practitioner as the rest. I mean it in a positive way - the collective sharing of our daily lives and thoughts as a way of joining strangers together, no matter how tenuous the link.
I still keep my own, personal journal - partly on paper, and partly on the computer. Were someone to ever try to compile my memoirs (such as they are), I would not envy them the task of piecing together all three components - this and my two private journal counterparts. I may go for days without writing in the private one, but it is often that what I post online is a modified version of that which I record on paper (minus the things that I write only for me).
I have read journals written by people who bare their souls, and I have read the little 'about me' pages where they ask (sometimes politely, and sometimes a bit more forcefully) that people who actually know them in real life not read. And I often wonder why it is that these people do not realize that asking someone to not read their words is akin to setting a plate of fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies in front of a five-year old, giving them a stern warning not to touch, and then walking out of the room. It is human nature to rebel against what we are told to do. If told not to read something, then that makes it all the more imperative that it must be read (a tactic that might just work if teachers tried it on some of those dull and lengthy tomes we were forced to endure back in high school, by the way. Just a thought).
I keep writing because I enjoy spilling the words out into that clean white notepad window. I write because sometimes it helps me to find the humor in situations that I encounter. I write because maybe the people who know me outside of these pages will learn a little bit more about me, and the people who only know me through these words will find something that interests them; something that strikes a chord and makes them say 'yeah. Me too.'
I write this because this is who I am, and it's the best way I have to share.