Opinions, Identity

When you think about it, blogging is a lot like high school. Sure, we’re a little older, a little wiser and we’ve been using Facebook longer than most of today’s actual high school students, but there are similarities.

We may not have lunch tables to sit at or cliques to linger with in the common area by the senior lockers between class periods, but we still have cliques. To name a few, we have twenty-something blogs, food blogs, tech blogs, design blogs and mommy blogs (or mom blogs, parenting blogs, let’s all pretend I’m PC). Some of us belong to more than one clique, just like in high school. Some of us don’t really feel like we belong to any clique in particular but rather float from group to group, collecting pieces of identity as you go like you might pick up pieces of sea glass on the beach, which jingle from their temporary home in your pocket every once in awhile to remind you of their presence.

We all know that ‘who we are in our blog is not necessarily the person we are in real life.’ Some of us hide parts of ourselves that we don’t want the world to see and others share parts of ourselves that the world would never see otherwise.

I’ve always struggled with making decisions, small decisions, like what kind of sprinkles I want on my cone or which color notebook I should pick to bring to my client meeting at work. I agonize over whether to take the 7:00 cycling class at my gym - or should I take the 8:00 class? I analyze the consequences of ordering a turkey sandwich on ciabatta bread rather than whole wheat as if it will determine the path of the rest of my life.

If you ask me what I think about the slow-food movement, gay marriage or Obama’s health care reform policy, there is a good chance that I’ll voice opinions similar to those of the people around me. I mean, I’m not going to sell out or anything but if someone’s argument makes logical sense I”m more likely to just nod and smile. Not because I’m afraid to stand up for what I believe in because when push comes to shove, believe me, I’ll go to bat.

However sometimes, instances, I try to either avoid confrontation entirely or avoid getting into a debate where I can’t adequately defend my choices - even if that choice is as mundane as chocolate sprinkles on an ice cream cone. Sometimes.

When I blog, I can write about an issue that has long since interested me or a topic that popped in my mind when I was walking down the street past Port Authority that very afternoon, caught my quick reflection in the thick-paned glass window and almost didn’t recognize myself. I say what I think, what I feel and what I know, from my eyes and my perspective. I might be telling a story that’s already been told, but it’s never been told my way.

On the internet, I am the only person who gets to see what I’m writing before I hit send. No one needs to edit it (although, sometimes when I catch typos I wish someone had!). If I have something to say that you don’t like, well, I don’t have to see the expression on your face when I read it and I’m none the wiser. I can sit at my computer screen assuming that everyone loves everything I say and it’s an overall win.

Even though the internet can act as a safety net, it also lets me practice putting my opinion out there. It’s shown me that there are a lot of people out there who actually agree with things that I have to say and who have gone through similar experiences to mine. It reinforces how not-alone we all are and that is certainly something I wish I knew in high school.

7 Responses to “Opinions, Identity”

  1. Matt says:

    When you say we are not alone, are you talking about aliens?

    No?

  2. brandy says:

    I was thinking of this the other day and definitely relate to some of what you are saying. Sometimes I feel like my blog would be more interesting if I was angrier- angry blogs seem to get a lot of attention. Or if there was always some big drama going on in my life… but sometimes I’m sort of boring. Which, I like. Weirdly.

  3. DocE says:

    This is great and I feel so much the same way - it’s been a really wonderful learning and growing experience for me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ashley says:

    The last paragraph really sums up my experience blogging. I have become a lot more comfortable throwing my ideas out into the world. I think I’m more prepared for people to disagree with me, but the wonderful thing has been discovering how many people can relate.

  5. alexa - cleveland's a plum says:

    i think it’s helped me grow up and streamline myself and thoughts as well.

  6. Princess Pointful says:

    I think blogging probably helps us all be a little more confident and kind by providing such an outlet, really.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I must agree completely. Blogging for me, has enabled me to not only sum up my opinions and thoughts but relate closer to those who differ in opinion or thoughts. Great post! :)

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