Monday, February 1, 2010

Never Let an (Identity) Crisis Go to Waste

Last semester I took a class about new literacies. We studied how things like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger are changing how we communicate with each other, how we teach, and how we learn.

We also examined how people establish their identities online, which has given me reason to more closely examine my own online identity.

If one were to judge who I am based solely on this blog, they might assume that I'm a mother who abandoned her kids to run away to Mexico and was never heard from again after I was kidnapped by narcotraficantes.

 Do these look like narcotraficantes to you?

 But rest assured, that is not what happened. I came back from Mexico at the beginning of August, just like I planned, and I have been running like a hamster on a wheel ever since.

Another impression that a reader of this blog could get is that I am inconsistent, slightly smart-alecky, full of analogies, and that I swing from blinding optimism to the depths of depression on a regular basis.

All of those conclusions would be true.

Still I wonder...Does my blog paint an accurate picture of who I am? When I began,I was at a transition point in my life. I had stayed home with my children for so many years that my brain was turning to oatmeal. Going back to school had reminded me that I loved manipulating words on a page (or a screen) the way a florist tries a blossom here and spray of baby's breath there until a bouquet is just right.

I didn't want to be branded a "mommy blogger"--not because mommy blogs aren't a delight,I have several friends who enchant me with the way they faithfully chronicle the little moments that bring life joy. I avoided the mommy blog genre because I had been "Mom" for so long that I had forgotten I even had any other name. I needed to carve out a space where I could rediscover myself, so I purposefully kept mention of husband and children to a minimum. I wove their presence into my story instead of making them be my story.

I envisioned my corner of cyberspace as a place where I could primarily experiment with words and develop my voice as a writer--and just because I like pretty pictures of yarn-stuff, I could also throw in some knitting here and there. I thought that having a blog would help me to feel committed to writing regularly. As my schooling progressed, however, I found that I didn't have much time to experiment with words that weren't for an assignment or to knit anything worthy of display. I can say, though, that over the last couple of years I have gotten to know myself better, I now realize that I do have a name (that isn't Mom), and I am learning to blend the Mommy and not-Mommy parts of my life together better.

Where does that leave this blog? Well, when I started thinking about the direction I wanted to take things here, I ran across a post that discussed bloggers having an obligation to their readers, an obligation to post regularly and post something worth the time it would take to read it. (That was way back in October, and I can't find the link now to save my life. Sorry.) I can honestly say I don't feel obligated to "my readers". I'm sure all three of you have better things to do than wonder if I've posted any new ramblings.

At the other end of the spectrum is the blogging without obligation movement, which says that bloggers should just post whatever they want, whenever they feel like it.

It is cute and sassy and oh-so-free, but still doesn't seem quite right.

I guess at the end of the day, I have an obligation to myself. I want to become a better writer, and I've heard that might actually require doing some writing, so I am  crafting a plan to fit that writing into my schedule. I may reinvent this blog; I may start a different blog; I may use quill and ink on parchment and lock the scribblings away in a trunk, never to be seen again. Now that I am aware that I am crafting an online identity--intentionally or not--I will try to be more intentional about it, but because I'm still not that clear on my offline identity,I still don't know exactly how to shape this online persona. One thing that I am sure of:  I am still inconsistent, slightly smart-alecky, full of analogies, and I still swing from blinding optimism to the depths of depression on a regular basis, so this wishy-washy declaration of who I am and what I am doing here should really come as no surprise.


Mark and Lisa said...

Your blog is more than "remotely interesting"! Love it! Keep it up!

Leslie Limon said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my recipe blog to leave a comment! I'm just north of Guadalajara and am curious as to how long you were there?

BTW, great post! I read a great piece of advice somewhere that said it's your blog, so write about anything you want! :D