Blogging is kind of like writing in a diary–except it’s public and anybody can read it. And though normally, we don’t like people peeking at our secret journal entries, we actually hope that our blogging posts will get lots of attention. Isn’t that ironic? I think it’s because we want to be noticed, to be validated, and to feel important. And although revealing our weaknesses and struggles to those around us can sometimes backfire when they don’t respond how we think they should, blogging can be a “safer” way for us to share what’s on the inside. If somebody writes a distasteful comment, we can ignore it. If we don’t like the way we said something in a post, we can edit it. If we don’t like the post at all, we can delete it. Can’t do that in normal life.
Normal life is not as clean. Not as tidy. Not as under control. Blogging is a sort of retreat from the chaos and unpredictability of our daily craziness. It’s a way to package the story of what’s currently happening in our lives in a nice, neat little box, and feel like we have some control over it after all. It’s also a way of stepping back from it for a moment, and giving ourselves the chance to relax enough to view it from a different perspective. And it helps.
Take me, for example. I had a pretty bad day yesterday, and today. Now, I could choose to write about it as a way of venting my frustration, and would probably feel better after I got some comforting comments from my blogging friends (which I always very much appreciate, by the way). But I wouldn’t have to tell them everything. I could leave out the uglier parts, and just be vague about the details. After letting off steam, I would feel calmer at least, and that would help me to confront the problem. I’d come back from my writing with an increased ability to navigate the craziness.
So, am I going to tell you what happened? Well, blogging does have its limitations. Let’s just say that my brain is (still) adjusting to toys scattered all over the floor; cardboard boxes, tools, bikes and all sorts of other stuff cluttering the porch; children’s voices that call to me (loudly) all at the same time; dinner that has to be made somehow on a counter crowded with dirty dishes; papers stuffed in drawers and sticking off the edges of shelves; and smelly diapers that suddenly and urgently have to be changed just after I pick up the phone. I could add to the list, but you get my point. My mind sometimes feels overwhelmed with the chaos of it all, and I feel that I can’t cope. For the moment.
I shout at my children about how messy the house is, and why can’t they help me keep things clean without me always having to tell them to do it. Why do I have to tell them, Do this, do that–why can’t they just see a piece of trash on the floor and pick it up without me having to say, You, go pick up that piece of trash. Etc., etc. Then, today, I wanted to get so much done, and the baby kept crying and wouldn’t stay asleep for five minutes, that by the evening, I was so depressed I gave my family cereal for dinner, and went off to bed with the baby. I only came out here to type this post after she finally went to sleep, after all day of not wanting to! Deep breath.
Okay, tomorrow’s a new day. Babies will be babies. Children will be children. Houses will sometimes be messy. Order and serenity will return to this abode. Not everything can be perfect, but it can at least improve, with work and persistence. Don’t forget patience. And resilience. Wow, I feel better already. Maybe one of my future posts will be about how I managed to control my stress over not being in control of the things that cause stress. After surmounting this obstacle and recovering my state of calm, then I will look back, and say, This is how I overcame that problem. And I will give other people pointers on how to keep their counters clean, and how to (not) talk on the phone and change diapers at the same time.
To take at look at how I felt about this issue a few days later, read my article And after the Storm, a Calm…