Sunday, November 15, 2009

Connecting With My True Self...and Others

I used to think blogging was for dorks...narcissistic techies who had way too much time on their hands.

I decided to start a blog because I was desperate to write. I used to write. All the time. But then I had kids. And like so many other parts of my personality, my writing desire was shoved down into the Diaper Genie.

Originally, my only purpose was to write. I needed to have somewhere to document my thoughts, frustrations, musings...mostly on motherhood but also on all things Me. I never thought my blog would start feeling like a little part of me. I never thought I'd be as proud of it as I am. And I absolutely, most definitely, never thought I'd make actual connections with others out there in the blogging world.

I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the pseudo-anonymity of the Internet. Maybe it's luck that I've stumbled onto other bloggers with whom I can relate. Maybe it's that the timing is just right: I have "grown up," gotten married, bought a "real" house, had my 2 children, and now I'm back to Me. Re-finding me. Re-evaluating me. Re-creating me. And somehow, through writing this blog and reading others', I've peeled off some of the layers...gotten rid of some of the pretenses. And "met" some really incredible women.

I think this is one of the side-effects of blogging that really amazes some of us. We start interacting through this world and somehow, become friends, confidants, cheerleaders. We make connections with other people in a way that is very different from real life. Here, we decide if we "like" each other based on our experiences, our commonalities, our shared lives and the written word. It is amazingly helpful...a relief, know that you are not the only one thinking some of the same thoughts, going through the same experiences, battling the same demons, revelling in the same joys. I think that's why Sarah and Jen at Momalom decided to start Five for Ten...because really, all we want is to be heard and understood, and in order for that to happen, we must be open to others and connect.

Recently, I was "talking" to Sarah, whose honesty is so raw that it can either frighten or inspire you. We were discussing, via our comments and emails, why it is that we can be so honest and bare on our blogs, but in real the playground, at our kids' schools, at work, even with actual friends...we feel the need to put up facades.

I'm someone who has always prided myself on just putting myself out there: you either like me, or you don't. I usually say what I'm thinking, and I don't like to blend in too much. But...

I've realized over the last year or so, as I've looked around at the people who I've chosen to surround myself with, that I have censored myself with most of them. I feel misunderstood, a lot. I feel alone, a lot. I feel, very often, that I'm a little bit insane in a world that looks down on the the crazy people. And you know what? I've decided I kinda like being a little nuts.

It seems that a lot of people are quick to judge. Quick to criticize. Quick to decide how life should be lived.

I don't want to live like that. I don't want to be with people like that. I want to be out there. I want to make connections with other people. I don't care if they're "like me." I just want them to be whoever and whatever they are and not be afraid of that...and be willing to present themselves to me in that way and then return the favor.

It's not that I've pretended to be something I'm not. It's not that I haven't been Who I Am. It's that I've chosen only select parts of Me to be on display with certain people. My uptight friends? They get Type A Liz. My wild friends? They get Loud Liz. My stuffy friends? They only get Serious Liz. I hold back the sides of me that don't really match with the other person...just in case.

It was during one of those email chats with Sarah, when we were discussing our abilities to be so honest in our blogs that I mentioned: "We put ourselves out there and who ever wants in, joins us, and those who don't, simply don't return."

The more I thought about that, the more I reread that line, the more I realized: I want to live my life like that, too. Unapologetic. So, really, it's up to you. Join me, or just don't return. Either way, it's totally okay.


  1. It's funny how often we compartmentalize (sp?) who were are and how we are depending on who we are with...ans really, it defeats the purpose of trying to get to know or understand someone if you can't just BE...I think you get to a point in your life when you are ok with who you are and the crap you have gone through, and you really don't need anyone's approval. It's kind of nice to be a grown up, don't you think? Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing.

  2. yay!
    It is amazing how much people in general seem to censor themselves and how much we judge others.
    I'm am really trying right now to look at that, especially the judging others part, and let go. There are some people in my life passing fairly critical judgement about me, what I do, and how I do it and I'm really over it.

  3. I think just about everyone wants to authentic, and a little bit nuts. It's sad that so many of us just can't get up the nerve to do it.
    I'm not there just yet, but I'm working on. The more I let myself be free, the better it feels to be me.

  4. I think at times we censor ourselves for very valid reasons. Conversations at work, need to be work appropriate. We all have been confounded at one time or another by someone's private cell phone conversation in a very public place. Other times I think we censor ourselves because of that BIG FEAR: rejection! That especially applies to friends that we like and invest time into the friendship. Then as we get to know our friends better, their likes and dislikes, we realize that certain things that might hinder the friendship, at which point we must decide how much "authenticity" the friendship can take. Sometimes, perhaps not often enough, we get lucky and find a friend who is truly non judgemental. Life seems to be always about finding that balance.

  5. Oh Lizzie Liz Liz. I'm so glad you wrote about this. I agree with the ANONYMOUS commenter above that certain people or moments call for certain sides of us. That we can't be talking about our sex life with our co-workers, or diving into politics on the playground (who's got the attention span for that?). But the truth is that we do become people that we think we ought to become - for OTHER people - that we aren't truly comfortable with. Yes? Well, something like that.

    Mostly it is about being authentic. Being honest in as much as our honesty will be appreciated in any given moment.

    As far as the blogging...I thought it was geeky and techie, too! Until I saw what it could become. Until I found people like you. People I knew right away were REAL people. MY KIND of people. And now? Now I am totally who I am on the blog. 100%. All the way. And it is freeing. Freedom. Freely me. Free to be.

    Oh and one last thing...I hope that the raw honesty of ME that you mentioned...I hope it doesn't frighten YOU. :)

  6. Sign me up. Alas, I am a joiner (is that a word?) A big, resounding thank you to Sarah and Jen and their ingenious brainchild for bringing you to me, and me to you. This is the first post I have read on your blog, but it is enough for me to realize that I am in. I too ask myself - and constantly - why I do this. Why I devote serious chunks of time and mental energy to this virtual wilderness. Why I expose bits and pieces of who I am to a sea of strangers.

    And I do not have all of the answers or even the majority of them, but THIS is it. The rueful randomness, the bartering of words and ideas and insecurities. The threadbare authenticity, the connections, the eternity of questions, the lovely and instructive lack of answers. The space to roam. To flee. To find.

  7. Whenever I meet a new person or visit a new blog (kind of the same thing), I have to take a deep breath and just put it out there. If the person thinks I'm crazy or smart, amazing or mediocre, inspiring or overwhelming ... it's not my business. My business is just being the person I am and accepting that I am *enough*.

    I love when I meet people who are doing the same thing and practicing being the authentic person they are without putting on acts or pretenses. You are one of those people.

  8. If blogging is for dorks, then I'm comfortable with my dorkette status.

    We all need a place we can just "be" - with less judgment, and more community. That's what this gives us. And it's HUGE.

  9. Totally agree Liz. It can get exhausting to keep changing who you "are" depending on the company. I actually struggle with this a lot. One friend for one thing and another for something else. It makes me realize that none of them are "perfect" friends, but who is, I guess. I recently took a look at my blog and my thoughts on my blog and realized that I wasn't being 100% "me" in my writing. I was trying so hard to find something funny to say every day that I wasn't talking from my heart, which was my point of starting this blog in the first place. So now, I've decided, that some days, you'll find me quite serious and introspective and others, silly and simple with my thoughts. That's me. And as you say, if you don't like it... that's really fine.

  10. Ha ha. Dorkette. Love it.
    Anyway. Liz, thank you for sharing the peeling away of your layers with us. We feel so lucky to have found you, and so fast! We are fairly new to this blogging world, and sometimes I still feel a little cautious or stalled. But then I jump in, I write a post, I read a post, and it feels real. And it feels like me. And I totally know what you mean. About finding "me" again. Because I am there too!

  11. Blogging started as online journaling for me. I love it! I cannot imagine how I would have gotten through some of my life - a job I didn't like, the trials and tribulations of being a single mom to all ages, dating AGAIN at 40 plus - without the kind, and sometimes not so kind, words of people I have and have not met in real life.

    Liz - you can work towards being authentic! It does eventually work out but I am not sure how long it takes as it is a road I still travel. I finally gave up - yes, even in this economy - a job that I just could not see eye to eye with the owner on. My life has felt so much better since then, though less money. Be you with everyone you meet. If they truly cannot take who you are, you are probably better off that they know that and are not in your life.

  12. Are we the same person??!! I do think we might be LOL!!

    I agree with every word you have written above....just what I have been feeling but am not really eloquent enough to express.

    I never imagined what my blog would become - and yes, like you, that I would be really proud of it. It definitely does feel like "me"....interestingly some of my "real life" friends have discovered it - I secretly think they might be surprised by it and this "other" side of me that I have shown....they are also loving it too, which is lovely.

    I think I too am at a similar stage to youngest is now 4 and during this last year, I have definitely felt some changes in felt the right time to create something for me.....and my blog is just that. One of the best things is that I have surprised myself - and it's a wonderful thing to discover you can do that at any age.

    Really great writing Liz....I'm going to go and read it again....WELL DONE!

    Simone xo

    PS Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog today, I loved it!

  13. Thanks for that post! It was really inspirational to me and I'm going to work even more on myself and letting the real me shine through in everything I do.


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