What Blogging Has Taught Me

Monday, May 30, 2011

I started this blog in 2007 as a place to essentially blurt out my thoughts in rants and other highly-energetic forms of writing. This week, I have been going through all (literally: every single one) of my blog posts in order to retroactively label and interlink them (as per the advice of Darren Rowse of Problogger) with more current posts, and it has brought me to see how I've changed over the years since I've started this blog. So, I would like to share some of the interesting reflections I've had on writing here and growing up.

When I was in high school, I was working on my identity quite a bit. I started this blog when I was halfway through high school, just starting to define myself, and still transitioning from youth to adult. Although I am still on that path, I see in my writing from that time a lot of fear and insecurity accompanying bits of my current personality and style. Like adult teeth, I watched them start to peek through very delicately in some posts.

On the insecurity front, I have made a complete transformation when it comes to my body image and how I deal with food. In some of my earlier posts, diet mentality was rampant: as I was reading, I found countless posts that include resolutions to be skinnier and to reward myself when I got down to a certain number. Beneath it all, I can remember the subtle disappointment and self-loathing I had for being "too big" and not reaching some health standard that was set for me. It brought back memories of the year when I was 140 pounds and a doctor (not my regular one) advised me to get to 110 without giving any advice on why or how to get there. I have since found fat-positivity blogs and Golda Poretsky, which have really shaped my current view: all bodies are different, being slim should not be fetishized, and the numbers on the scale are more or less arbitrary in terms of measuring how healthful you are. Yet I find it very interesting to see what a change in perspective I have gone through in just the last few years - it's like night and day!

I was also much less guarded in my early blogging; I would share my emotions freely and bring up personal topics without the critical mentality that I take to them now. In some ways, that was refreshing, though I can also see how it made me just another teen blogger who wasn't sure how to use the platform at the time. From most of my posts though, I found a genuine sense of excitement. I miss that! While not all the posts are rosy, many of them are genuinely thrilled and extemporaneous, lyrical even. As some of my poetry from the time attests, I was full of the passion to get things out on the page. I appreciate the ability to use that fire in my daily life now, but I suppose that my fight for outward optimism has somewhat mellowed. I am comfortable with that part of me on a deep level, although it may not come out so readily as before.

Through all of my writing, I see the fiendishly artistic, struggling to be articulate, and almost sickeningly productive self that I have always striven to be. My listing ways are well-documented on this blog, as well as my amazing participation in everything from editing the newspaper to seeing the Dalai Lama. I explore spirituality and gender in those posts. I produce amazing photography in those posts. And, best of all, I see myself grow and change as the years and experiences pass on by. While I must admit that I see a turning point around the time when I went to Barnard pre-college, my writing gets better in increments and I feel proud of some of those early posts.

However, like Ira Glass says, "for the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good." My experience reading my own work did disappoint me - I cringed and rolled my eyes at a lot of posts. But, if I hadn't passed through those rings of fire, I believe I wouldn't be here today. And for that, I am thankful.

So, I open it up to you. Are there any transformational experiences you've gone through in your life or have you grown inch by inch? What, if anything, has made you self-reflect? Let me know in the comments!