(Photo by Tash)
I've been blogging for years. I've been reading blogs longer than I've been writing them, and I wanted to join in. I felt like I had something to offer, even when my writing wasn't so refined. I started my first blog on Diaryland when I was 19. It was 10 April 2001. I had printed out some of the 'best' (read: not that good in hindsight) entries, and I found the wad of paper when cleaning my spare bedroom over the weekend. My posts were written almost 12 years ago, and though it doesn't feel like very much time has passed, reading through my words shows just how much I've grown.
While I am mindful of being a responsible blogger in my current blogging foray, I had a lot to learn back then. I'd blog about working at a department store, mention other peoples' names (though seemingly never mine) when they probably didn't know I was writing about them, and I would copy and paste a lot of sad song lyrics. I'd write about Big Brother and Popstars - two things that I have no interest in now. I did write a lot about Felicity though - that love hasn't gone.The writing wasn't great - in fact, it was lazy - with excessive use of "cos", "kinda" and ellipses... The blog post topics were not so cohesive, some were brief and many were just Twitter-length fleeting thoughts (but not so quick witted) rather than exploring topics on a deeper level. To be honest, it was a boring read. Maybe it's because I hadn't had enough life experience as a 19 year old? Or maybe it was because I didn't give enough of myself on my blog.
What struck me most about these blog posts from 2001 was just how little I revealed about myself. It was as though I kept my online life so separate to my "real life" - I suppose hid my face and any information about my Ichthyosis from the world so that I could be a different person to people I had never met.
I was so reserved about the real me then. I was too scared to show my face on my blog because I feared no one would like it, just like no one liked it in the world I lived in then.
I blogged about being proud of my low weight and being ashamed of my appearance. Two things I never do now. How I've changed - now I edit for better quality writing, and not so much parts of my life I think others won't accept.
From 5 August 2001:
Seeing I was feeling a bit down, and found out I only weighed 50.5 kg this week, I decided to splurge and buy a Wonka Wicked Choc Mud Sludge bar, because there was a chance of winning a golden ticket.
I wondered why weight was so important to me then? A low weight especially. Did it come down to the magazines I read? Was it the nightclubs I visited, the way I'd get excited that a drunk boy had noticed my cleavage before my face? Was it that I was finally starting to feel like I was fitting, and so had to maintain some sense of normalcy? The way my body feels, moves and copes is far more important to me now.
I remember my online interactions from 1999 to 2001 (and probably beyond) - I'd use ICQ, and later online dating, fall in love with boys on there, they'd reciprocate (I think?), and I'd take a big metaphorical breath before sending them my photo, because I
From 4 April 2001:
I get worried about sending people my picture online, so I have devised a strategy to overcome the nerves: I send a pic of me next to a gorgeous person, and that way, the gorgeous person would take the attention away from me. Kinda like a decoy.
There seemed to be a mix of mistrust and kinship in the early days of interacting on the Internet. There probably still is. Mistrust in the sense that you thought anyone you spoke to online could be a murderer or a fraudster, and kinship in that you experience the "oh my god someone relates to how I feel and what I'm experiencing and that's never happened in my real life before!!". These two feelings tumbled around each other, never quite stopping to a calm. I didn't show my face or mention my name on that blog.
I hinted that there may be something wrong with me, that I may look different on that Diaryland blog. But I never came out and said it on that blog, nor the two subsequent blogs I had after that. And then one day I did. I introduced myself in my first post on this blog as having a chronic illness, as looking different. I don't know what prompted to be so open about my appearance on the internet. I guess it was the realisation that life online was real life. And the more I wrote, the more I became comfortable with the way I look
How long have you been blogging? What does your first blog or blog post say about you? Have you grown through writing?
Kirsty has a little link up over here - how fitting, considering my weekend find!