Blog notes from the heart

15:38. Why do I feel so blocked again, from posting on this site? I think it’s because I no longer understand its purpose.

When I started my second blog on WordPress, that purpose seemed clear; it was to engage with the extension of the word “sober.” Sober: this word I had long detested and written off. “Serious, sensible, and solemn.” Oh no, I wanted no sombre feeling, I wanted only playfulness, wildness, cheerfulness. But finally, I had neither extreme, so I decided to relax on my linguistic nitpicking, and go for “sobriety,” after all; a further-developed word, that seemed inherently cheerful and optimistic, had a natural joyful ring. The jury’s still out on its future; it lives only in the present day.

But here, on this place I called Bloomwords, what was I doing here? I know I had a few different objectives, rolled into one blog: I wanted to share or show or experiment with aspects of my writing work; I wanted to find like-minded community; I wanted to share or show writing techniques, tips or tricks that I’d learned from experience or from others; and perhaps, build some kind of creative portfolio.

Then something changed. I’m not sure exactly when, or how; and those ideas which I do have as to why, I’m not ready to elaborate on yet; but something changed.

I suddenly became even more fearful than when I started this endeavour, and believe me, I was fearful when I started it. Who among us isn’t, or at least, wasn’t, in the beginning? To share one’s creative work is to expose the life of us, at least if we’ve done well; “done well,” meaning, shared some kind of truth, some kind of personal story. Even if the story, or the poem, in some cases, is said to be fiction, it comes from some place inside ourselves; it comes from our own base of experience.

We may read another’s work and think “what a great story, this has touched the soul of me.” Meanwhile, we may share our own seed of truth and think, “what shame lurks here; what bad soul have I, that I could have produced this textual offspring, or that this could be part of my story.” At least, that’s how I often feel, about much of my own output.

Anyway. I feel a sense of friendship still lingering here, and I still want to post things for friends. What kind of things? Imperfect things, nonsensical things perhaps, mental meanderings, class notes, book notes, old work, half-thought-out partially-read-book reviews, and recommendations of other blogs or creations.

But I do that, or I overdo that, or even under-do it and/or undo that, and then I feel awful, like such a failure inside. And then I feel terrible for feeling that way. Such neurosis! I never in a million years would have imagined myself as a future neurotic, years ago. But perhaps I was already one then. It took me so long to understand the meaning of the word. Or perhaps, I only inhabited this term when I learned it…

I have published some strange things recently; some pieces with very good intent to connect friends from here and there, but which perhaps missed the mark; or offended others by unintended omission. Other pieces driven by some reactive force against perceived negative feedback, the latter of which I now disparage and cringe at and can’t even bear to re-read. I’ve made those posts private; put the lids on them to let them pickle a while; perhaps they belong only as preserved organs in my own little natural history museum, or perhaps they must be incinerated as operative waste. Or perhaps, like some previously-made-private posts, I’ll one day quietly make them public again.

I made both of my entire blogs private some short time ago, and even thought about giving up blogging completely; but I missed the feeling of community I’d found here, and I missed these spaces with which to connect with others. I then tried the method of only consuming, reading others’ blogs, once again; input without output; but somehow the community relationship feels one-sided that way. I want to give as well as take, talk as well as listen.

And that’s how this all began… I’d read blogs for so long, that finally, it only made sense to produce one, or several.

Besides making selective posts private, I have done other odd things. I’ve recently removed nearly a hundred followers. I got tired and quit, but might later remove more. I’ve removed followers from both blogs, before. That doesn’t make me look nor sound too good, perhaps, but it makes me feel good.

I suppose I like things cozy, or more real, or seemingly controlled, depending how we look at it. Those followers did not interact (unless I’ve clicked a few of you by mistake, which certainly is likely; I’m still a digital klutz; for that I’m sorry). They/you can always follow again, for better or for worse.

I felt like this: I could maintain a blog with hundreds of silent “followers,” and feel intimidated, and ultimately not write for anyone; or I could maintain a conversation with a core group of existing or potential friends, and continue for a while yet.

I admire those who can allow their “followers” to accrue, and just write from their heart without ever looking back, without ever self-judging, only casting their view outwards and onwards. But whether that’s more or less evolved, it’s certainly not me.

I sometimes idly wonder what the ratio is, of women whose blogs ultimately disappear, versus men’s. I remember one female-identifying, anonymous blogger who followed me here on Bloomwords in the very beginning, also with a flowery name. I genuinely liked her blog, very much, in fact, and followed her back.

She was a brilliant community-builder, she soon had thousands of followers, and many long and insightful comments on every post, instigated by good questions, which is how she always finished each piece. Then she deleted (not made private, but actually *deleted,* at least according to what she said) all her past posts, and blogged truthfully about that.

Then she nearly deleted her entire blog, and blogged about that. She was one of my favourite bloggers due to this fascinating meta-blogging narrative, somewhat like my own at times but completely in her own style, and further along the path, thus more experienced in the blog-world. Many of us, her followers, gave long, personal replies, spurred by her queries, and by her honesty and generosity, to reveal our own truths, anxieties and/or encouragements. She received those replies so graciously, and efficiently, with a simple line or two of thanks. May they rest in peace.

One day she changed her blog’s name, then another day, changed it again. Then, finally, she disappeared.

“This domain is parked,” says the Internet, if you visit her old URLs, now.

But she was so sparkly, so truthful, so friendly, so kind! What happened to her? I miss her. I miss those words by wildflower…

Perhaps, she needed more mud; perhaps, she will return as a lotus.

 

* * *

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.com

45 thoughts on “Blog notes from the heart

  1. I wonder if your question about how many women vs men stop blogging and delete their blogs doesn’t go to the heart of the issue. We learn to question ourselves, doubt ourselves, run ourselves down. We learn to be uncomfortable being loud and public and visible. We learn to be nice.

    For what it’s worth, my recent series of blogs on Brexit have kicked up a few arguments in the comments section. I appreciate those (these are people who disagree but are taking the time to say so, and some of whom stay with me in spite of that) and at the same time I recoil–or some part of me does. I don’t like arguments, at least not when they’re with me (I don’t mind them when I’m moderating someone else’s argument). I don’t like having to defend my position. I’ll do it anyway.

    You’ll do, I trust, what’s right for you. In friendship.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ellen, your comment just actually brought a tear or two to my eye, so you’ve definitely hit the nerve I only alluded to. In fact, the core issue. I agree, this is how I feel, ever doubtful of myself, ever critical of myself, ever self-effacing. And yes, very uncomfortable being outspoken, once I have been, and certainly not comfortable being public nor visible. I do, in fact, yearn to be nice at all times. Or perhaps that’s untrue. I fear being disliked, at all times. It feels like inviting a death wish. And I can see, from other women who have publicly suffered that that might not be an unreasonable feeling.

      I appreciate so much your own notes here regarding your own blog, and I agree with you; I genuinely appreciate direct commenters who take the time to explain their disagreement, and express it respectfully.

      In my own case, I felt that there were some “newcomers” (literally, freshly-created and anonymous blogs/bloggers) who were making what seemed to be passive aggressive blog posts and/or comments that were unclear and non-direct, but hateful nonetheless.

      I love your last statement. It gives me heart. Thank you, friend. Your time and words here mean a huge lot to me.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. p.s. Although I loved your last statement too, I actually meant to say, “your second-to-last(-ish) statement” — i.e. “I don’t like having to defend my position. I’ll do it anyway.” Yes! Empowering, and inspiring.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve quit writing, the whole thing, several times, but as you’ve read, it didn’t stick. I’d like to write something smart alecky about not being good at stick with anything, even quitting, but. . .

    Hmmm. I guess I just did.

    Anyhoo, I quit but ALWAYS came back. My reasons for returning might be different, but I absolutely get where you’re coming from.

    And, to be completely selfish here, I’m glad. I do so enjoy your special take on things, and moreover, your unique way of expressing them. You’re blog is for me, what the ghost lady’s blog is for you.

    Also, I’m with you on the followers. The people who interact with me are really my followers, not the numbers. If I go by interaction, I only have 3 or 4 followers, which, honestly, is fine. Yeah, I’d like to “reach” more people, but as long as there is someone who reads and gets something from my rambling scribbles, I’m happy. More so when it’s someone as awesome as you, and you go OUT of your way. How freakin’ cool is that?!?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Aww, this is so lovely and wonderful. And now I feel a bit regretful about my female-oriented comments. I know this happens for men as well, I just forget sometimes.

      I absolutely love when you drop by, your comments are among the ones I look most forward to. And I remember you came here via my comment on another blogger’s blog. So, thoughtful or heartfelt or meaningful comments *are* important, and the stuff of real community. I would miss you a lot if you disappeared from blogland. That’s for sure. So, thanks very much Aeryk, for sticking around — in spite of the wordpress glitches on your blog. :))))

      Liked by 3 people

      1. NO worries about the female oriented comments. I’m in a weird situation, which, for me, works. I have worked for the past 23 years in a mostly female environment (K-12 school). My boss is a woman. Most of my co-workers are women. I think there’s 6 or 7 guys in the 50 (ish) staff of employees. Where I volunteer, Writespace, it’s all women. I think there’s one guy but I’ve never met him. A few instructors are guys, but there are only two male volunteers. Most of the classes I’ve taken were all female (except for me). So, this is a long way round saying, “it’s all good.”

        I’m hoping if I stick around long enough the problems will fix themselves. Or, more realistically, someone at WordPress will fix them. Either way.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Phew! 😅Thanks for relieving me of that little anxiety for the moment. Well, that perhaps helps explain why you make such a good friend around here.

          Writespace, so cool! What a great place to volunteer. Bit jeals. :))

          And yes, let’s hope the tech glitches get ironed out on your blog. But I also hope you stay. Either way.

          Liked by 3 people

            1. “Shitty Movie Details in the can” 😂👌love it.

              I have nothing scheduled. Zip, nada. But, hoping to share a few more MasterClass notes. Did one of Christina Aguilera’s lessons tonight while cooking burritos. That gal is amazing! Very uplifting songs too. And her tips on performing live, I think, could apply somewhat to writing.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Did you do the all-you-can-take-in-a-year subscription to MasterClass? I took the Neil Gaiman one, by itself and it was SO good. There are a couple others that look interesting so I was thinking about doing the full subscription.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I did the all-access pass for one year (and then renewed for another year). I first subscribed March 2018, I’d kept nearly signing up from their mailing list, and then the price kept going down as they turned on the hard-sell, and then I bought it went it went down to €150 and I was able to renew at that price too. Honestly the value is insane. It’s not much more than Netflix costs (I think?) and this basically substitutes as TV for me, when I’m in the mood to watch something rather than read. Only problem is I have class-ADD and keep class-hopping. Have done parts of Timbaland, James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour, Annie Leibovitz, Joyce Carol Oates, Malcolm Gladwell, Garry Kasparov, Chris Hadfield, Judy Blume… and now, Christina Aguilera. Only one I’ve finished so far was Steve Martin, which is the first one I started with, so yay me. He’s amazing too, by the way.

                  Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! Pallavi, thank you so much for sharing this. It helps me to no end, to know I’m not alone in my goofy-feeling insecurity. Also to know that others make their posts private. I feel so guilty when I do this! And I keep trying to make posts that I won’t make private afterwards, but it doesn’t always work. To be honest, I had the urge to make this post private, minutes after posting it, but then Ellen liked and commented on it, which saved it from immediate disappearance. Thanks for your “saving grace” as well. :))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know what to say to this, because, as you might guess, you have echoed my feelings here so beautifully. As though my heart had whispered them to you and you put them into words. You are a wonderful friend to many on here, and give your time and heart and soul to your writing and to your thoughts on other’s writing. Isn’t it so incredible (but not the good kind of incredible) that doing that can lead to feelings of shame and fear. It ‘should’ be the opposite! I’m pretty sure I read somewhere you mention Brene Brown. This makes me think of her ted talk on shame and vulnerability. I always find that so inspirational. Just as I find your posts and your humanity.
    Hugs to you my friend xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Well Rachel, once again you’ve expressed it perfectly; that it “should” be the opposite. But maybe it wouldn’t be as worthwhile, if it was? And as you know by now, I feel it’s *you* who has this talent of saying things as I would have liked to have said them, or as wish I could have said them. I chalk it up to kindred-spirit-hood. And am very grateful for it. Hugs back dear friend 💛xoxoxoxo

      Liked by 3 people

        1. My friend, once again your heart is speaking to mine, but I guess the question is, must we post freely, in spite of shame and fear, and if so, how? And yes, I love Brené Brown, and think she has some answers to that.

          Ashamed now to say I haven’t read her books (yet! I have long lists of books I want to read :)), but I have watched several of her talks, or clips of some talks… particularly I remember one called The Man in the Arena (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s6DQrqVHxM). Also I loved her on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast (episode 12. https://soundcloud.com/riverheadbooks/ep-12-big-strong-magic).

          About the fellow flower blogger, I guess I should clarify that I wouldn’t exactly call that a friendship… hard to put my finger on why… maybe because she didn’t seem to comment on our accounts, we only commented on hers, as far as I could tell, certainly in my case at least. But I do miss her blog and do hope she returns. 💕🌸

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Ahhh thank you for these links. I look forward to watching them. I haven’t read Brene’s book either, in fact I don’t read nearly as much as I should now, I used to read so much it was nearly too much. Now I find the time and concentration much more difficult.

            Have a wonderful day 🌺💕

            Liked by 2 people

    2. I especially would like to echo the words and feelings of Rachel here.

      Oh Nadine, you are such a sensitive soul, and that in itself has intrinsic values.

      Sometimes, over the course of our lives and through trials and tribulations, we wonder into a labyrinth, and it may take us a while to find our way out; or we might just feel comfortable to stay wondering inside, exploring a little, hesitating here and there.

      Sooner or latter, you will find your own bearing and footing, and you will shine in the way that will resonate most with your truest self. In any case, even having an altered ego or being in an altered state could impart us certain visions or perspectives.

      Indeed, I hope that you will find a stalwart position on which to live an examined life. May you flourish with wisdom and maturity!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a marvellous, heartening comment, dear SoundEagle. You have a meticulous and thoughtful but also very compassionate way with words, and I also very much appreciate the time you often take to read and “like” others’ comments on my posts, since that triggers notifications in WP and gets me to re-read them and cherish them again.

        Your encouragement here is so sensitively articulated, and I sense another kindred spirit. Your belief in my finding my footing, and shining from a place of truest self, and perhaps hinting at embracing my alter(ed) ego, as perhaps you yourself have, helps me gain strength on the path. Your last words are also perfect! Thank you so much!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very powerful lucid post, posing questions every poet asks herself even on the best days. Admired this curiously apt analogy:

    “put the lids on them to let them pickle a while; perhaps they belong only as preserved organs in my own little natural history museum, or perhaps they must be incinerated as operative waste”

    Never surrender, Nadine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kim, coming from you, whose work I admire very much, it’s hard to express how much this means to me without getting ridiculously gushy, as is my tendency. From my heart, sincerely, thank you. ❤︎

      As an aside, also for anyone else reading this, and by way of further opening my “cabinet of curiosities” (a term I first read in a book by Austin Kleon, called “Show Your Work”): that particular section you’ve quoted was churned up not only from the afore-mentioned term and book, but also from a memory I have of some famous literary writer’s striking story, read decades ago (was it Atwood? I feel terrible at my lacking memory, someone please correct me or add in) which involved the main character having a tumour removed, which she later kept in a jar on a shelf. It was particularly memorable because the tumour contained teeth.

      I’ve been thinking about your last line. I deeply appreciate it and I will carry it with me like a post for the flag of the word itself. Because while I was writing this post, I believed it was only brought into existence through my surrender to the present moment at that time. But now that I ponder further, or rather write further (here, now, thanks to you), I realize it was actually instigated by a deeper survival instinct, i.e. the one you mention: “Never surrender.”

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The online environment is tricky for me to navigate. (I was going to generalise about it being tricky for everyone, then thought I should just own my own difficulty.) I relate to so much of what you shared here. My initial fear-free period was way back in 2000. I’ve been merrily second-guessing, deleting and reincarnating on various sites for years now and although I’m embarrassed by it, it works for me. In a sort of three-legged fashion. 🙂

    My mother used to tell me I was too outspoken. That pops into my head a lot while I’m expressing any sort of opinion, observation or idea.

    Thanks to catfishers and stalkers, I’m less trusting now and prefer to meet online friends at least once in person before letting my guard down. Sometimes it isn’t possible, so the cautious phase is longer. It’s such a shame, because the pure delight incited by sweetly perceptive, generous comments is then filtered through my self preservation system. Not corrupted exactly, but subdued. I still get such a kick out of the subdued version though! Even when I’m tongue tied in reply.

    I’m glad that you’re doing what works for you, and appreciate being let in on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So many amazing comments from friends here, both older and newer-to-me in the blogging world. I love hearing more about your process and blogging history, which explains, at least a little bit, the brilliance of your current blog, which as you know, I was lucky enough to come to read recently due to your liking my comment on another blogger’s post. (Am I allowed to say that? I always love to document connection process, because I find myself more and more forgetful, as connections build.) I’m very “curious,” shall we say, perhaps sometimes to my detriment — when time permits, I will usually check out the blog of anyone who likes a post or comment of mine. In your blog’s case, as it has in some others, it felt like striking gold.

      I’m going to have to look up the word catfish again, but stalkers yes. I feared those long before I began, and then I made myself forget about them, and then the fear ramped up very recently to high voltage. I became completely paranoid, which ruined my ability to connect with anyone in a real way, for some time there. You’ve said it perfectly, about the filtering of the delight through self-preservation. To quote another friend’s blog name, it’s “a fine balance.” One I certainly haven’t mastered.

      Thank you so much for showing up here with your kind and disarming words; means a lot. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Pot calling the kettle… dude, you think too much. Be weird, be wonderful, be you. We all spend too much time worried about the opinions of our readers. To this day most of my favorite blog posts of mine resonated with no one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is so heart wrenching and poignant. It strikes, at once, so many chords in the heart. As if someone — you — took every writer’s heart out and then wrung all the emotions out of it and poured them all here in this write-up. This is exactly how we, all, feel, at one point in time or the other. Nadine, I have not read anything so dishearteningly haunting and brutally honest in a long long time.
    Each written word in this post is a gem.

    Notwithstanding everything, you have us, your readers — and friends –, by your side…
    I pray hope you do not deprive us of your wonderful thoughts by making things any more private than they should be.

    Love from India…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Akarsh, I was so touched to see this comment from you. Another person whose work I admire so much. (Massive fan, hello, massive understatement.) Your friendship, and writing, means a lot to me because you do seem to reach into, and expose, that soul of the writer (or perhaps, each person, in general?) in every piece you write. So, your words here mean more than I can bumblingly say. Just thank you, friend, and much love from France. ❤︎

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I quit a lot. Sometimes I just forget about my blog and then two months later I realise I haven’t posted in two months and start getting worried about what people will think about that. Most of my posts don’t make sense, either. But I always come back in the end, although some times it takes longer than others. Hope you figure this whole blogging business out again 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Whatever reasons we unravel to express our desires is important to the fundamental principles of our underlying selves. Glad to see your back again, and I know that the ambivalence and uncertainty are temporary and you will keep sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a thoughtful piece Nadine (and thank goodness you’re back from a personal POV!). Speaking purely from a selfish standpoint, your writing has always given me a great deal of pleasure. I’d be fascinated to see a quantitative piece of research on blog gender statistics – what is the percentage of start ups female/male/non-binary and how long those blogs tend to last. Just know that you’ll always have an audience here!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Matthew, and likewise to you, thank goodness you’re back (from my perspective — have missed you just a tad since *I’ve* been back :)). (Understatement. :)) I agree it would be fascinating to see some facts and stats on blog survival as related to gender. Either way, I so much appreciate your encouragement. And I love reading your stories, book reviews and of course, with special fondness, your daikus. 😊It would not at all be as interesting, educational, nor as happy-feeling for me here, without you. ❤︎

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: 22/10 – 28/10 incl. Rick Danko, Freeze, blog-notes and Adam Scott | Observation Blogger

  12. I totally get this! I have felt somewhat the same lately! I originally started a blog back near the Millenium, and then stopped. Imagine where I might be now, if I had kept it going all these years. You are human with all that being human entails. Be kind to yourself as you would a dear friend! That said, please continue to write those…’Imperfect things, nonsensical things perhaps, mental meanderings, class notes, book notes, old work, half-thought-out partially-read-book reviews, and recommendations of other blogs or creations.’ Do not give up! You never know where it may lead you! Your writing is so engaging and inspiring! 🙂 xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve deleted ALL my blogs, one after the other, ever since I started blogging in 2004 (I came to WordPress dot com in 2009, but did it here, too.) I’ve currently got three blogs, one that’s not yet public but if I ever get enough energy to write it in, it will be; one that’s about a year old (the one on the account I’m commenting from) but which I only write in sporadically; and one that’s been going over two and a half years. The latter’s probably the longest-lived of all my blogs. I hope to keep it going for many years yet, but am aware that it probably won’t happen. The other one that’s currently public, I know myself so well I’ve actually written in the about page that one day it will go. That’s just the way I am. I accept that.

    We change as we write our blogs, sometimes they no longer suit us or our expectations don’t suit them. It’s just a fact of blogging life.

    As for how many women vs men stop blogging or delete their blogs… I have seen both, I’m not sure the scale is tipped more on one side than the other. However, the men that end their blogs tend to do it either because they’ve hit a period of depression that they’re unable to climb out of, or because something traumatic has happened in their lives, such as the death of a parent or partner. I see that with women’s blogs too, but women tend to blog through it instead.

    Like

  14. PS. Deleting followers is a very good thing to do. I do it, too. If people can’t be bothered to interact, why the heck are they following? I have cut down on the amount of blogs I follow these days, which is not to say that I’m not interested in any but that I don’t have the energy for many. Oh, but I do have a blogroll…

    Like

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