“Why haven’t you been writing as much?”
“Oh, you know, don’t have much to say these days.”
Which is true. Lots of thoughts, not a lot of formation.
But the real truth?
“I read your blog — not all the time. Sometimes I feel like it’s too personal.”
So, there you go.
That’s what’s been keeping me away: this quick sentence from a friend that has made me reevaluate and second-guess almost every post I’ve thought of.
I don’t think of this blog as too personal.
“Really? You do?” I asked. “Because I was thinking how I leave so much out, how there are always these glaring holes of what’s really going on.”
~ ~ ~
This weekend, I posted pictures on Facebook of my trip to Brooklyn to visit my recently-relocated friend. We were smiling in the sun and looked absolutely ridiculous with ring pops.
What I left out was that we both tired of those ring pops before they were gone. That
I got lost on the subway a grand total of three times. That I had blisters like you read about. That I wandered the Metropolitan Museum of Art alone with a backpack weighing thirty pounds slung across my belly “to protect the art.”
That I couldn’t sleep on the train ride there or home because my mind was racing to the blur of the landscape.
Even today, I posted a picture of the girl I babysit. The caption?
A woman after my own heart — how do you not love kids who beg you to take them fishing?
The sun was beautiful on the water. It was still and quiet. The lily pads were in bloom and blue and red dragonflies swooped together among the flowers.
What I didn’t write?
That five minutes later, I had two whiney kids who couldn’t cast for the life of them (and apparently aren’t able to put a worm on a hook). There was pushing and accusations when a brother knotted the line, whining because it was so hot and the water bottles I’d painstakingly packed were “warm.”
It was only about half an hour later that I decided:
You know what? Let’s just sit with our feet in the water, ’cause this is exhausting and I can’t take it.
~ ~ ~
So what am I trying to say? Something about social media? How it’s a manicured version of ourselves? How we present only the good and beautiful and leave the ugly at home?
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some things that need to be ugly. It’s the unique parts that make someone worth reading. It’s the specific that makes writing resonate with you.
Sometimes armpits are hilarious. Sometimes they’re just gross.
More than that, though, it’s an echo of what I’ve written about earlier.
There’s always more going on under the surface. Perhaps I do get too personal here, but it’s usually because it feels comfortable. It feels like the space to write things I care about. It feels like the space to figure out what it means to be me — both as a writer and as a human.