I started an online journal connected with a small group of friends in 1999 on livejournal. Just before finding this community, actually I was invited to join by a friend, I was just started to discover my own reality of not being straight. Within this community, I started making friends with people like me. People discovering who they are. Trans friends. Gay friends. Queers that like me were starting to find that they weren’t fitting into their social groups the way they had in the past. With their support, I began to discover and accept myself. I began writing. A lot. Through comments and conversations online with like minded people, I realized that I wasn’t alone. I found the confidence to come out to my friends and family. And I kept writing online.
I eventually moved to a different format to reach a larger (and less private) audience in which I discovered an online community. What started as a coming out space was soon a trying to get pregnant space and then (and now) a parenting, exploring, writing space that is here.
I’ve had some the typical issues of struggling with privacy concerns. I had a friendship end because of something I wrote online. Things got complicated. I stopped writing, made some changes in facebook privacy, and freaked out a bit. Then I calmed down, started writing again, removed some privacy, and went back out there. Soon after, I started getting involved with google+. I met some people there that seemed amazing. Creative. Challenging. And they were. Until something went wrong, they freaked out and once again I found myself wanting to go into a cave and leave the internet forever.
Because it’s hard. It’s hard to put yourself out there for everyone to see and judge. Yes, you get loads of encouragement and support and I’ve met and formed incredible friendships with amazing people. I’ve learned so much. I learn so much. Every minute. I’m challenged. Blown away. Inspired. With the good there’s always the bad. With the bad, there’s so much good. Way more good, in my experience. Thankfully.
I’ve watched a lot of people leave this online community I’ve known. They’ve stopped writing. Deleted accounts. Blocked friends and closed themselves off. I’ve certainly had moments of wanting all of that, but there’s too much awesome here for me to go anywhere. I love it here. I certainly can’t stop writing, that’s not an option. And while privacy is real and a concern for many, it’s not much of one for me. I have a few personal rules that I hold myself to and the rest is out there. It’s been worth it.
I’m in this for days like Monday: emailing with a blogger I read and admire who took time for me to encourage me in something I’m working on, an email from a reader who has been reading for a few weeks and wanted to ask some questions, and emailing with blogher about one of my posts. Okay, so Monday was very much about email. It isn’t always. It’s about this community. It’s about connecting online with friends, family, and strangers that become friends through sharing our lives with our words, our pictures, by being funny, smart, sad, going through a hard time. This is what community looks like to me. And I’m here to stay.
Thanks so much to Debbi for asking the question: How did you start blogging? as a part of last week’s Writing Challenge. If you would like to challenge me, you can email me here, or leave a comment. You can also find me on facebook and twitter.