Last week , I was talking to someone who reads the blog . ‘I’m not sure how people who don’t know you can get it. What you write is just like who you are. I read about you and because I know you in person, it makes sense.’
But today I was challenged by a different friend (yes, I have two!) who asked me this: ‘Why’, he said, ‘do you beat yourself up online?’
I thought about it for a moment. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Well’, he said. ‘The person I see in front of me, is very different to the one I read about. She’s confident and outgoing – normal. But when I read your posts, I see someone very different. If I didn’t know you, I’d say she was completely mad. How can you be both?’
Who is right? Or are both? Are we different in private and public – and if so, does it make us liars? Or just human? Modern life requires a bit of compartmentalisation – but to what extent?
This has made me think about blogging – and whether or not what we write or say really represents who we are. To a certain extent, writing mediates a person. You can pick and choose what you want to present – not just to make yourself look better, but to cut yourself down. This can be defensive or false modesty or a cultural tic or honesty – all at the same time. But then, if you write most days over a sustained period of time- could you hide who you are, even if you wanted to?
We’re limited, not just in our medium of communication, but in self-awareness and understanding. Life is often more complicated than a blog can explain. I don’t understand it – or even myself. I don’t want to write an online diary with Sunday-school answers, but sometimes that’s what comes out. Is it ‘worthwhile’? Honest? ‘My day was terrible but God is good’. Trite, but also true. Go figure.
When I started blogging, I thought about doing it anonymously. But I wanted to stick a finger up to the idea that mental health issues or brokenness or whatever you want to call it, is unacceptable. To point to the gospel that declares me righteous and beautiful, no matter what I’ve done. To nail my colours to the mast and say ‘it’s ok to be who we are’. That’s why Jesus came. It would be great to help other people – but more than this, I write to preach to myself. To remind myself that the gospel is true and that being real is more important than being ‘normal’.