Recently someone who called herself "Deb" commented on one of my posts:
Wow. You are such a mess and so damn proud of it.
I responded, "Thank you," but I actually wish I were proud of it. The truth is that it's not correct to say I'm proud of being a mess, however much it seems like I must be. My blogging is motivated by a desire for connection.
We're all familiar with the relief that comes from knowing you're not the only one who's going through a particular experience. That's what I achieve by sharing my experiences on this blog. I don't always hear directly from readers who commiserate with my depression or my divorce or my struggling self esteem, but blogging is like sending a message in a bottle. It makes me feel a little bit better to know that there's at least some hope that my words will reach someone and make contact.
Even if I don't hear from anyone on a particular post, my blog gets enough hits a day that I know someone's reading it. And even if no one reads it who can identify with my pain, blogging still supports one of my primary goals in life: understanding. I constantly want to understand people: why they feel as they do, what they believe and what makes them act in certain ways. Of course, I'll never understand most people. Their inner mechanisms are beyond my comprehension and often people don't know what drives them, so they can't explain it. Baffled by the world, I shift my focus: if I can't understand someone else, I at least want them to understand me.
This blog is me explaining myself so others can understand me. One of my core beliefs is that understanding leads to safety. I believe that being understood by others is safer for me than not being understood by others. I want to be known. I want you to see how my emotions work because that makes me feel connected to you, even if I never hear from you.
It makes little sense, I know. It's irrational, but that's how I see things. If you want to understand me, I will give you every chance. Am I self-absorbed? Definitely. Exhibitionistic? Sure. Narcissistic? Maybe. But spilling out my problems online is not an act of pride any more than a patient explaining her symptoms to a doctor is acting proud. It's the desire to be understood, especially when that understanding might help heal my pain. Writing these things out is part of how I process my life. You could call my blogging very cheap therapy and I won't argue.
My question, Deb, is: what makes you want to read this?