Lately, I’ve been unsure whether this blog should be public or private, professional or personal.
Personal blogging tends to leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable; professional (or heavily ‘public face’ curated at least) leaves me constrained.
Even more recently, however, I’ve been reminded (by, for example, reading Barbara Browning’s The Gift) that it’s that intersection and interplay and in-between space that I actually really enjoy. That I need to remember it’s not one or the other – it’s never one or the other, even if you kid yourself it is. So I should toughen up and let it be. It means I might disclose too much occasionally and perhaps feel a little embarrassed. It means my ‘public face’ potentially becomes less and less consistent or, if not that, certainly richer and more complex. Which, of course, has both advantages and disadvantages depending on the audience and the moment.
Which is an interesting question – who do I imagine is the audience and the moment for this blog? I’ve never really established that in my mind. I was never, for example, trying to establish a blog that was for [insert group of people]. In part though, it’s me: it’s a kind of writing/reminding myself into being. But it’s also this idea of someone (or some people) with whom I could have an interesting conversation. Even if that conversation happens indirectly and asynchronously through internet snippets, videos, books, performances, ideas…
A disadvantage of this is, of course, a loss of control of narrative about the self. Or, really what I mean is a loss of branding. The kind of branding you need to do in certain situations where it’s important to present a cohesive, focused, context-sensitive version of yourself (at work, in certain relationships, in job interviews, etc.). But, we all understand that process, don’t we? That we all dial down (or up) certain aspects of ourselves for different situations? We just don’t really talk about it that much.
Re: dialing down or up I’m picturing a kind of sound-mixing board. One of those ones with the sliders and knobs. Most people have adopted a series of ‘presets’ for different situations that will foreground or limit certain qualities, personality traits, etc. Unfortunately, I think those pre-sets, once established, are often not as dynamic and open for review as they should be. That means we miss out on the richness and diversity that someone might bring or it can also mean that – if your sliders get stuck – you can’t adapt so well to a new situation (e.g. we’ve probably all experienced working with or being the person who works in one organisation, team or business but then doesn’t make the adjustments necessary for a new context).
Anyway, these are the kinds of things I think about when writing (or not writing) a blog post. But I think I’m going to try to let it go. Embrace, and trust, the chaos and remember that probably very few people think about or worry about this as much as I do.
Browning’s fiction comes with the warning that any encounter with her, even a brief one, might carry the risk of deeper involvement.
You had me at ‘risk of deeper involvement’ and ‘inappropriate intimacies’…
Off to start reading The Gift now.