Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It Is Strange That I Don't Find It Strange

I am a very private person.

No, really.

And yet, I blog.

Being a private person, I do not advertise the fact. I do not talk about the blog with others. I do not hide the fact, I am certainly not ashamed, it is just personal, analogous to a doctor's appointment, a bout of stomach gas, the need for buying personal hygiene products. My immediate family knows about it and reads it. I just found out my favorite aunt, uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law (Hi, P,P,C, and J! Colin loved the card.) read it, which makes me all happy, as I have not seen them for several years and miss them so. A dear friend from way back just started to read and has started her own blog, so we can be part of each other's lives again, which is truly wonderful. My sister, Gail, who I adore but have not been close to for many years, reads and even comments, making me feel as though I have a bit of her back in my life. She also now reads Stacy's blog. She and Stacy were best friends for many, many years, but drifted apart, like the rest of us. Distance and divergent lives will do that.

Then there are the friends. New friends.

I feel like a bundle of contradictions. I crave friendship but am very, very shy. I have a very hard time joining in and inviting myself along to things. I make acquaintances easily but not real friends. I am not the sort to call and arrange get-togethers. I always figure people have something better to do. I hate to speak up in meetings or classes. I don't like big groups. I hate personal attention. I forbade baby showers for both kids (although each time, my office threw one despite my objections, but made them extremely low key). I do not have birthday parties for such a reason. I do have a few very close friends and, given my work, many acquaintances that I can chat with. Having to host even a smallish party throws me into a tailspin. Fortunately, we do not need to entertain much for Charles's work. (I adore having a few people over, though, and will happily mull over the food for days.)

Because of the blog, I now have a whole new set of friends of a completely different category. I am not even sure how to refer to them. I have settled on "blog-friends" as it seems most to the point. These are people whom I have never met and in the future will likely only meet a few. They have become an integral part of my life, though. Some don't even know I exist as, while I read them avidly, I do not comment. I won't link to them as it feels presumptuous but you can click on their links on the blog roll. (Getupgrrl's: Chez Miscarriage, Julie's: A Little Pregnant, Jo's: Leery Polyp, Akeeyu's: Herveryown, Skot's: Izzle Pfaff, Julia's: Uncommon Misconception.) Being at their site feels like a large party where I am lurking in the corner holding a glass of wine, listening, smiling, but not noticed. The writing is very sharp, funny. They do not worry about pissing people off. They write about the controversial and gleefully harpoon the trolls. I often laugh aloud despite myself. I learn from them.

Then there are the sites (Christine's, Julia's, Tertia's), where I do occasionally comment, if I feel as though I have something to say. I feel safe to do so, either because of the writer honestly soliciting responses or because of a sort of kinship. Julia actually in a way got me into the whole thing. It was her pregnancy diary that I followed most avidly 3 years ago when newly pregnant with Sara, wanting some community of women to go through things with. She seemed to have a jaw-dropping amount of things in common with me and I started leaving comments. We conversed via her site a bit and even met once when we had an overnight stay in the Twin Cities on our last trip back to Portland. I followed her from the sinking ship that was iparenting, to her blog, adding Linda as well.

When I jumped into the waters myself, I added the 3rd and nicest tier of blog-friends. While I have only known them a few months, it seems much, much longer as I have read their archives and have daily contact with one or the other of them through our writing and, most fun and satisfying, our comments. Jamie has enriched my life with gardening and cooking tutelage, generously sharing among other things, good pizza and pie crust recipes; Rozanne, likewise with the food and plants, as well as providing a link with my beloved Portland. Kismet provides beauty and another Portland connection; Cagey is hilarious and, now that she is knocked up, I get to relive the "a baby is coming" without the actual pregnancy and no sleep part. Mojavi, also with the funny, without the pregnancy. Linda and I share frighteningly similar book, movie, and humor tastes. Plus, she claims to be as much an introvert as I am. It is odd that we are friends of a sort here, yet in real life, would probably not be, given that whole shy thing. Gerah also seems way too similar to me as far as things that make us laugh and rage. I would love to just sit and have drinks with her for hours and watch her Kyra and my Sara get out every toy and play. Then, there is Johnny, adored Johnny, my beloved Portuguese multi-lingual vet student pal. We may never, ever meet, yet here she is, part of my life in a not insignificant way. We exchange e-mails, she feels like a cousin, we get each other's jokes. I don't understand the feeling of closeness but that is part of her magic. I am obviously not the only one who feels that way. She led me to Dana, fabulous, extrovert, Dana, with her love of karaoke. Opposites attract.

As an aside, how do I know these people, the majority, the ones I have never met, are who they say they are and not hairy men sitting in their mother's basement in dirty underwear claiming to be these wonderful women? I don't. And that's ok. I am not sending out my address or giving them money. (Well, except for Jamie, but any small risk was worth it for the relish and brownie pie. Oh, that brownie pie. I'd do it again in a flash.)

And now I see other connections being made. As a comment she left on Christine's blog led me to Cagey, who led me to Rozanne, who led me to Jamie and Mojavi or as a comment I left on Julia S's led Johnny to me (although I had lurked at her site some, before) and me to Dana, I see Johnny and Rozanne commenting to each other.

Community. Buddies of a sort.

It doesn't feel strange at all. It feels just fine.



Blogger Cagey said...

I hear ya, sister! BTW, I call you people Blog Friends (as opposed to RL Friends - real life friends).

This is why I smirk whenever someone refers to blogging as a "fad". Yes, yes, the numbers will go down eventually, but overall, blogging is here to stay (and has been around far longer than most pundits give credit for anyway). There are real experiences and friends to be had here.

Real tears, real laughter, real sharing.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Cagey said...

oooo, and one more thing.....

I was reading a blog once and went to comment but was blocked. The blogger had locked comments to only her groups of friends. I stopped reading the blog eventually because it was obvious it was just for the blogger and her friends. I remember thinking it was sad.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Stacy Moe said...

I agree...its been so nice connecting with you and Gail again, even if only virtually!

And it is great fun to have something creative to do.

You are a great writer among your many, many, many other talents and good qualities.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Very well expressed! I feel much the same way about blogging but have never gotten it together to actually write a post about it. I really feel like I've acquired some great new friends via blogging.

I'm surprised and then again not surprised to find out that you consider yourself very, very shy. You don't come across as shy on your blog or in your comments. But I think there are a lot of us bloggers out there who feel a bit more comfortable with the written word than the spoken word--and that's why it's such a great outlet.

I am not in the least bit worried that any of my blog friends aren't who they claim to be, either. Creepy, dirty-underwear-wearing pervs just wouldn't go to all the trouble of inventing a fake life and blogging about it.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

BTW: I resent you the onion tart recipe. Leave a comment on my blog if you didn't get it.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- I agree completely. Yes, individual blogs will come and go but I can't imagine that blogs themselves will go. They may morph into something else but the general idea will still be there. How not? It taps into some of our fondest things: That we have something to say that people want to read (odd, but true), satisfies that voyueristic bit in most of us, yet is generally safe, as we can reveal as much or as little as we want, choosing our words and pictures. Add in the warm fuzzies of finding a community, and what's not to love? That is sort of sad that she closed comments to all but her friends, but odd that the blog was there for anyone to read. Had she wanted it a private blog for her friends, she could have passworded the access to read it, not just the comments. Strikes one a bit like the clique that stands in the middle of a room full of people, whispering and giggling but not letting anyone else in, flaunting the exclusion. Their loss.

Stacy- Isn't it great? Charles doesn't get it but he is supportive, which is nice. Does Justin know you blog? Many don't tell their spouses, which I would think would be hard.

Rozanne- Introverted and shy. Not as bad as I was as a kid, though. I always feel I say the wrong things in social situations and get the polite smile as the person suddenly sees someone on the other side of the room that they need to go speak to. It is different if I am among friends that know me well, of course, as I don't feel the pressure and know they will forgive any gaffs. Blogging is much easier as I can stop and think, mull things over, pull back the words before they are actually "said". And, yes, I have no doubt that my blog friends are as they say, which is odd as I am rather cynical, too. Still, it is fun to imagine your name as "Bob", sitting in the dark in your mother's basement, concocting this alternate life as athletic, successful, funny Rozanne, next door neighbors, garden, slugs, photos and all. Obviously, I also am a bit twisted in what I find funny. It's ok if you now want to go talk to someone else across the room. I would.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

totally totally agree!! Even on vacation last week while not blogging I was thinking about what was going on with my favorite blogs and how they were doing. When I get back to the office I read all of them I have missed and feel like I am talking on the phone with "my girls :)"

12:19 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

I was away from the internet for 2 days and it nearly wiped out what remains of my sanity. I was shocked! I fully agree w you, blogging isn't a fad, it's a wonder. You know how much it's helped me - and others through me, at times, which is both beautiful and terribly sad. Being shy myself - yes, go ahead and laugh - I couln't agree w you more. Again.

And it's not MY magic, dahling, it's yours. Or ours. Or simply proof that empathy virtually works. Oh and we shall meet, of that you can be sure. Ihave a flat on the beach I intend to lure you into, wee ones, welcome as well, so I'm afraid Charles, our Jeff, simply will have to fly and that's that. Who could resist the ocean at one's doorstep? Literally? There you go.

1:16 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

You know, it's funny. I have "met" so many varied people through the blogging world and each person is completely different from the next. I've read a lot of blogs that haven't kept my attention for very long and other blogs that I click on obsessively to see if the person has updated.

I've been asked why I read what the media disparagingly refers to as "mommy blogs" since I have no children and don't want them and my answer is the same when I am explaining why I read the blog of a drag queen from CA - I like people who are interesting, intelligent, funny, real. I may not have children but it doesn't mean I can't appreciate them for their wisdom and humor. I may not be a drag queen but it doesn't mean that I don't find the whole culture fascinating.

Plus, I'm kind of anti-social. I much rather prefer communicating with people through email and comments then face to face. Not many people appreciate me (deal with my oddness) and I am, quite honestly, very odd. I keep telling Keem that I am her practice for when she has a child.

I think that if we were at a party, I'd want to talk to you because I usually feel like I'm the one standing there out of place. You could tell me about the power tools you have and your kids antics. I could tell you about how I am the Queen of the Universe. It would be fun.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Mojavi- That's exactly it. We have become a part of each other's lives. How cool is that?

Johnny- OK, I am truly having a hard time with you being shy, but as we are being all open and honest, I will buy it for now. (When we meet, as you assure me we will, I will see for myself. That beach flat sounds truly wonderful. The beach is my favorite of all places and I could eat nothing but seafood for the rest of my life and die a contented woman.) The support I have seen has been amazing, not just with what you have been through, but so many others. Even with the bit we just faced with Colin, it was just plain nice to know you all cared. It IS a wonder.

Dana- You? Anti-social? Well, since I gave Johnny a pass, I will take you at your word, but I must say your stories belie it. I must check out the drag queen blog. One of the things that causes me much sadness and dismay is the narrow-mindedness of many of those I work with: Homophobia, racism, and quick ridiculing of anything and anyone out of the mainstream. I think reading about what is going on in the life of a drag queen would be terribly cool. I also imagine his life has many more similarities with mine than differences. It also makes me feel good that you would want to talk to me at a party. I am easy to find, just look off to the periphery. If anyone pulls out a karaoke machine, though, I will be just a current of air as I slip through the door. We will have to find another topic, though, as I only own a drill and sander as power tools, unless you count the electric screwdriver, blender, and food processor.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I stumbled across a link to your blog somewhere, and I've been lurking ever since. This post really struck a chord with me. I think you've put into words what a lot of us feel.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Teri- Thanks. That really means something. I checked out your blog. We seem to have some things in common. I will be back.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

What a great post. And as you read, the other day on my blog I was feeling the exact same way.

I will assure you, I am NO HAIRY MAN in a basement. In fact, I just finished waxing my bikini line for my trip tomorrow. I am not hairy at all.


Should we all meet in person I wonder? What if we weren't what we expected of eachother in real life?

What if it ruined the "image" we had of the other person?

I think you and I should totally sit down over a bottle of wine and let the girls run around together.

I worry sometimes about who I should or should not give my blog information to... For example, I have a client who is about my age and he and I have a lot in common... He's got young kids and lives near me and has suggested we all get together outside of work... We went out to lunch today and he was asking me about my life, my hobbies, etc. and I gave him my blog address.

I then thought afterward that maybe that was not the right thing to. As you know, I can be a bit too honest. Hope I don't offend him. Then again, he may love it. Who knows.

Wow. I can't stop writing.

9:53 PM  
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