Not so long ago, a social media guru of my acquaintance sent an email regarding one of my blog posts—the one about me not writing anymore. I’ve felt, for much of the past few months, that I shouldn’t post anything that actually resembled my life, because of the divorce and because there were other people involved. Namely, Thomas and the girls. And because I often find it difficult to write about anything unless it’s something I’m truly interested in or passionate about or getting paid for (sorry I have to say that because it’s my job), I have said nothing. For a long time, I have said nothing.
It has not been as amicable as we had hoped. It has not been as respectful as we had hoped. It has not been something upon which I have hopes that we can eventually re-build a friendship. And so I have said nothing. Because I did not think it something that you wanted to hear, or that I cared to inflict upon you.
But there was this email from the social media guru of my acquaintance. When I wrote, “I don’t write anymore,” he (and one other,) asked, “Why do you need an audience?” It took me a long time to figure out why it mattered.
I need an audience—I need you—because of the way I write. It’s a conversation. When I write in a journal, when I know that it’s only for me, I leave stuff out. I forget words. I sound like a 15 year old, trying to impress my inner self, the self that has already heard the jokes and the one-liners that might make someone else laugh.
But when I write here, I write for both of us, and whether you like it or not, I write for myself and for you. And some of you tell me that that’s OK, that you’re OK with that arrangement. Even those of you who wonder at the liberties that I take with the English language and proper sentence structure.
Writing to you, talking to you, having this conversation with you—some of you for five plus years—has allowed me to become a better writer, and indeed, to better understand myself. I certainly don’t think I’m brilliant, but I know that I am a better writer because of this blog and because of you. I appreciate all of the times you have told me you loved what I wrote, as well as all of the times you’ve told me that I was wrong. And I have been wrong. About a lot of things. But not, I think, about this.
And so, to the Social Media Guru of My Acquaintance I say this: I need an audience because I need people. I like people. I used to be painfully shy; it was hard for me to get to know people. But, in part because of this blog, it’s become easier over time. I like people and I like to feel close to them, even if they are half the world away. I like to know what they think and how they feel and who they are and what makes them . . . well, really, what makes them them. I like talking to them. Talking to you.
I have loved being Left Coast Mom. I have loved writing this blog. And I will continue to write this blog because I am OK admitting that I need you. That I need an audience. All twelve of you (inside joke).