Thursday, January 1, 2015

breaking the rule of never blogging about blogging- when is 'authenticity' wrong?

I want 2015 to be my year of blogging joyfully. I want to bring more light to the world, especially in my little niche of being Byzantine Catholic, other-schooling, trying to be a better wife & mother, working on being healthier and simpler. 

I didn't want to start out the year with a response to a mega-blogger's latest post. Some readers might remember the last time I did that- with Fr Barron's blog Word on Fire

Skimming the blog enjoying the small things, I was disappointed to read this response of the mommy & special needs blogger Kelle Hampton when her husband called her "middle-aged" after she celebrated her 36th birthday-

“You know,” I told him, “just so you know, I’m fine with the term 'middle age'. Everyone knows the middle’s where it’s at. The cream in Oreo cookies, the meat in a burger, and—oh hey, look! I found another great middle for you.” I raised my right hand and pulled the four outer fingers down so the middle one had the stage for its sun salutation. " (Kelle Hampton- enjoying the small things- Dec 31, 2014)
So this wife and mother of three- a blogger whose focus is on 'enjoying the small things'- (her children who have the starring role in stories and photos on the blog and Instagram) is loud and proud about giving her husband the middle finger when he says something she does not like.  She does not seem embarrassed or sorry for treating the father of her three children this way. I believe she would say that she is being authentic. The rest of the post is a reflection on writing our stories- whether tragic or quotidian. 

Must we revel in our marital squabbles in order to be authentic? Do we need to expose our children to strangers knowing every 'small thing' about them and daily photo sessions, smiles coerced with blowing air in their faces and tickles?

I think the question of balancing authenticity and privacy will be the next thing we bloggers need to face. It is much like the exercises on Facebook and Twitter that teachers use- showing their young students how far and fast a photo or tweet can go. If privacy and dignity on-line are important for middle-schoolers, isn't it also vital for our marriages and minor children that we protect them from strangers knowing all the 'small things'- good and bad?

So, this blog will have to remain 'unauthentic.' I share a bit, but not a lot. I don't remember ever posting an argument. We have our struggles, but we also have a private life. Photos of the children are pretty rare here. If you met us in real life, we would have new things to share because you would not know all the small things every day. I am authentic in that I don't lie, but sometimes I have to change details to 'protect the innocent.' But usually I don't post it. As Anne of Green Gables protested- "if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't." Perhaps that quotation from Anne should be everyone's inspiration for 2015. Let's spread light when we can.

15 comments:

  1. beautifully said!

    Happy New Year!
    Blessings
    Karen

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    1. thanks Karen and happy 2015 to you! ...it might not seem like it- but I hate confrontation even if the mega blogger will never click over (I left her a message- letting her know I wrote this)

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  2. I stopped reading Kelle's blog a long time ago...she feels all at once too raw and too staged, somehow? It's how a lot of mega bloggers feel to me.

    That line is so hard to walk, between what is appropriate and what isn't. On one hand, I want to share what I learn in truly difficult or personal situations; I want to offer a light to others who might be struggling in similar situations. But I can't do that at the risk of profaning what is sacred space: my home and the relationships with those that live in it. Those kinds of intimate details, if they can ever be shared, can only be revealed to our closest intimates, in whom we have absolute trust.

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    1. I hear you, Martha! probably the line is with monetizing a blog that has a family.children/wife focus. Just too personal...a non-religious blog that I think gets the balance right is 'Posie gets cozy' (link is on my blog reader)- she makes money by selling her beautiful embroidery kits but now her blog has photos of her adopted daughter. But it doesn't feel exploitative. People might say she is not being authentic because she doesn't complain that her husband left his dirty socks on the floor (they all do!)- she doesn't say her life is perfect, but she focuses on the beautiful.

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  3. This is a great point! Sometimes I think the mega-bloggers are a little too transparent under the auspices of being authentic but really it's about being popular. I appreciate your blog because you are never so authentic. I look forward to seeing it pop into my email because I never have worry about it. It can be difficult to find that balance but you do it beautifully.

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    1. Happy 2015 & thanks Mellisa- I think privacy gets more important as the kids get older...but I hate knowing so much about Kelle's family even though I stop by there infrequently. Maybe I just have a hard time with 'Mommy blogs' in general. Like Mother, Like Daughter does it best, I think

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  4. i wholeheartedly agree. there is a lot in my life that i keep off the blog (and to a degree, facebook and twitter) because it doesn't serve a purpose to advertise it.

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    1. I guess my gauge is (mostly about writing about marriage and kids)- if I shouldn't tell my mother, I won't tell the internet universe. I don't share everything about my marriage with my awesome mom- so why would I be open about it with strangers? I know some writers and bloggers are more 'raw'- but that isn't me- also, minor children can easily be exploited....so I try to be careful about sharing too much

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  5. You put your finger right on what has been making me dissatisfied with a lot of bloggers lately. I feel like yelling at the computer, "If you have to spill your guts in writing, get off the internet and buy a diary (with a key)!!" It's especially amusing when the blogger has described themselves previously as "really a very private, introverted person." Mega eye-roll. I think one thing that plagues the modern world is a huge lack of common sense and prudence. My husband has said the same, but also adds "modesty" - and what he means by it is not just the way people dress, but how they behave. You can dress to get inappropriate attention, but you can behave (write, speak) to get attention. Maybe a lot of bloggers are searching for validation.

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    1. it is probably like the rest of life- everything has to get more and more extreme to garner any attention (or readers)- oh well...luckily I am content to remain a microblog, so I don't have to be crazy or anything- I would like to write more and better...but I don't feel pressured to (like those who live off a monetized site)

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  6. Well, I wish you well, but beware. Happy New Year FNLF. You will still apparently have others to take the narrow path and find true happiness. Without Christ there is no lasting happiness, but I do believe God does let us travel down other paths sometimes, just to reach the end and come back to Him with more wisdom. God Bless you and your this year and all who read this wonderful blog.

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  7. Thanks for your modesty. Good post.

    Love,

    Dad

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  8. Very well said! I agree! As someone who really enjoys blogging and sharing things important to me, I also struggle with sharing a million pictures of my precious boy for anyone to see. I struggle with sharing too much of our life. I agree that you don't have to share every minute of your life to be authentic. Thanks so much for linking up with Tuesday Talk today!

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  9. All of this sharing every small thing makes me wonder how these kids will feel in 10, 20, and 30 years from now when everyone can see and read everything about how they were potty trained to their parents' fights? I thought about this recently when reading an adoption post recently where the adoptive mom told the child's entire story highlighting how she was an abandoned orphan. It just makes me so sad to think this little girl's private story is out there for the world to read. (I'm an adoptive mom so this one really got me.) So I agree with you. I think we as bloggers need to be honest and personal but find a balance and still keep many things private. Thanks for linking up with us for Tuesday Talk! - Jess www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

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    1. I have a friend who fosters babies 2 and under in emergency situations- she doesn't blog, but she posts on facebook (only 'friends' can see her posts) - she only posts the sweet feet or hands of her babies and doesn't post even the real name of whichever baby she is taking care of- of course, fostering is different than adopted or bio kids but I think she has made a good balance of sharing yet protecting her kids

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