on blogging and authenticity.

Friday, March 21, 2014

a photo booth strip in which... we were not ready.

a few weeks ago, i posted a photo to instagram asking, in so many words, what people looked for in blogs.

the general consensus was authenticity.

i understand that.  because i look for that too.

but even so, it's hard.  it doesn't feel entirely safe to be authentic.  cause, this isn't really a reciprocal relationship.  the blogger-reader relationship is a funny one in which you guys know me so much better than i know you.  and, it's all done amidst this weird space called the internet where tone and eye contact and gestures and laughter and tears--all things that build trust and encourage authenticity--are entirely absent.  in life, i'm a fairly non confrontational person, emotional, and i don't have a very thick skin.  and with those close to me, i'm pretty much an open book.  but putting myself out there via blog?  daunting.  even though, time and time again, i'm reminded that by far the majority of you out there are good and kind and gracious.  i've made real and true friends here, i've had emails that have brought me to tears.  i have so many memories in words and pictures stored here whose details would otherwise be fuzzy.  and the posts that i've revealed the most are some of my very favorite and that's in large part due to the response from you all.

and yet!  sharing is hard.  i'm regularly frustrated by how much i have to say and how little i actually do say.  i'm regularly frustrated by some of the meanness i see on the internet.  i'm regularly frustrated that i allow it to intimidate me.  by how little slack we cut each other, by the assumptions that are made.  i'm regularly frustrated by people who are so quick to be offended, and people who are so quick to offend.

on the other hand... i'm regularly impressed by this medium and it's ability to raise awareness on certain issues.  i'm regularly impressed by the way both friends and strangers rally around someone hurting and how quick their story is passed down the lane and offered up in prayers and love.  i'm regularly impressed by the bravery of many.  by the writing and the pictures.  i'm regularly impressed by the relationships in my life that were born out of this blog.  

and so, here we are.

we carry on.

33 comments:

  1. I'm kind of struggling with this right now as I build my own blog. I want it to be both a record of our family and my life but also a way to connect with others out there. So how to balance how I want things to be remembered without giving up too much personally to strangers is really the question. I actually think you do a wonderful job of this and I have enjoyed reading your blog and watching your family grow and change. You had a baby about 2-3 months after I had my first and it's been fun to see someone going through the same issues we have. You have what I think is the right amount of transparency. Also, have you read The Circle by Dave Eggers? Creepy concept overall, but I always liked the idea of a true identity online. No more trolls!

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    1. i wish i had some sage words of advice, but i don't! be true to yourself, but share only things you wouldn't mind your postman, child's principal, and mother-in-law reading. ha.

      i see in your picture that you now have 3 (!!) -- congrats to you on your adorable family.

      (haven't read that book, no!)

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    2. Thanks! But it's no comparing to your brood! You have to be very careful going for baby number two - you might get numbers 2 and 3!

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  2. yep. agree on all accounts. i think it is good to have a little bit of a guard up when it comes to blogging, even though you want to spill it all. how many times i've written posts in my head that never made it to my blog! ones that i feared would reveal a bit too much or heaven forbid, spark controversy. whatever you are doing though, keep doing it. yours is one of only a handful of blogs i read anymore. you seem genuine and write well and i like to think if we'd have been the same age and crossed life paths at the same time we would have been friends - that is the true measure of a great blog, in my opinion.

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    1. i agree. the guard is a good thing. a frustrating, but mostly good thing!

      thank you tessa! you're really kind.

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  3. Amen sistah. It's a tough line, but I feel like you're most definitely the most authentic blogger I know. You don't sugarcoat things. Being an authentic blogger doesn't mean you need to share everything all the time, but you don't let me think you're life is all sunshine and roses. You're a great lady, and I'm so glad I've gotten to know you :)

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    1. thanks so much, alex. that really means so much. i guess it's frustrating because I KNOW i have so much more i could/want to say. so while you think i'm being authentic, i still feel as though i leave a lot out? not that it's bad, to draw that line, but is sometimes frustrating.

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  4. This quote gas always worked for me! I wish we were all a little but more gentle with each other on the Internet. 'If we could all look into each other's hearts, and understand the unique challenges each of us face, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.' Marvin J Ashton

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    1. amen. that's a beautiful quote, aubry. (my other favorite--be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.) i wrote about it once but can't find the post - i was gonna link to it. ah well. thank you aubry!

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  5. Do stop blogging, I love your blog and your "authenticity" it is one of the few blogs I read and feel most "real" :) Thank you!

    Lisa

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    1. It was suppose to say don't stop blogging!! ahhh!

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    2. ha! that was a funny slip. thank you!

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  6. non-confrontational, emotional, not a thick skin... that is me exactly, too!! blogging is funny, isn't it! although, i have a little bit of a "don't get tooooo vulnerable" wall in real life, so sometimes i actually find that i can over-share easier on the internet where i think no one i really know is looking. but then some aunt-in-law will say she read my blog and i'll be like well dangit. now you probably know about a feeling i had and shared. anyway, i think you do a great job walking the line between personal but not too much!

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    1. though steve might not agree that i'm non confrontational :) i think overall, that's totally me. but i'm totally the oversharer in life.... not here!

      thanks brittany!

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  7. yes! talk about a double edged sword. it's a delicate balance: authenticity and privacy. but like you said, it takes a certain degree of bravery to share words/pictures/life. i can tell you're courageous and strong and smart enough to find an equilibrium your comfortable with. we enjoy and appreciate everything you choose to share so carry on, friend, carry on.

    www.currenttempo.com

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  8. Is it weird to tell you I love you and this blog of yours cause I just do (even though I don't know you in real life)!!! Happy Friday, friend!!! Carry on! :)

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  9. "it doesn't feel entirely safe to be authentic. cause, this isn't really a reciprocal relationship. "

    wow. I must say i never looked at it like that. I am one of those that crave a more realist look at bloggers lives, however I blog as well so for me to ask that of another blogger is one thing. I totally get what you are saying though, you open yourself up to a lot of judgement. People behind fake names and no pictures can say whatever hurtful thing they want to say to you but you can't really give a fair enough response. I say share what you want, do what makes you comfortable. Thank you for enlightening me.

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    1. yes! i wish i could see all of you and your reactions and body language and you could see my face and tone as i write... it'd be so different! and so much better, i think!

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  10. Hm. I don't really think it's that difficult to be authentic online as long as you set your boundaries and refuse to cross them, don't forget why you're blogging, and don't get caught up in the comparison machine. Yeah, those things are EASY to accomplish, haha :) . I think bloggers need to be more willing to engage in community, which means sometimes calling each other out (in a nice way) on being inauthentic, but then I guess that's easier said than done, too.

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    1. you are right, rachel. there's totally a nice way to do it. i've had a handful of comments that could be considered "mean" and all but one were at least constructive and i could see where the writer was coming from. i think there's a constructive "meanness" that comes from a genuine place and then there's a meanness that's nasty and uncalled for. it'd be unfair to call it all the latter and i think some bloggers might? there's a difference! i've seen (thankfully not here, except for that one comment) some of the really nasty stuff (on instagram, a lot of the time, actually) and it's pretty terrible.

      the balance is worth figuring out though, i think.

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  11. This is perfect. This also reminds me of a interview you posted previously where you commented that the bigger your blog grows, the more nervous you become about people reading it. Strangely, I'm also sometimes more comfortable with complete strangers reading my blog than people I actually know. Vulnerability is hard, but I agree with you that it is ultimately what makes reading and writing blogs worth it.

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    1. yes! that interview was the first time i really put it into words. i do think though, by and large, that more good has come out of blogging (for me anyway) than any bad... by far!

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  12. I'm glad you open up as much as you do, I really enjoy your posts. Thank you :)

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  13. Do what feels good and right to you. I treat my blog like my life: I put out there what anybody can read/know. Lots of friends and coworkers read my blog, so I try to just be on there how I am in real life. There are not many things that make me feel embarrased or uncomfortable, but there are certain things I would never share on the blog, or at work.
    Being authentic to me means showing the good and the bad days, not only the perfect little moments but also the many imperfect ones. The dust on my bookshelves, make-up free face, my fears and insecurities. I have found that it feels empowering to be real, and takes away pressure - I don't have to strive for perfection.

    Great post!

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  14. Spot on. I actually get annoyed when people say they want bloggers to either share more of their personal lives or bare more of their soul. So, at one point, there was this weird pressure to "Tell you things I've never told anyone," because, quite frankly, we'd all already bared our souls and everyone knew what we wanted them to know.

    Anyway, I hear ya. I also know that blogging is a brave thing and to ask people to always agree with or be nice to what I have to say isn't fair. It's a weird balance, isn't it?

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  15. There is a line, and it's a fuzzy one, no doubt about it. I feel trepidatious because I blog about my husband and his autism a lot, and I'm worried about the day when someone makes a hurtful comment or doesn't understand. I've already gotten comments implying that I'm some sort of martyr and asking how I "do it".

    I find you to be authentic, and I can't say that to be authentic necessarily requires full disclosure on all things at all times. It's hard to gather into words but here's my best attempt:

    Your last post, about making granola with Parker, let's use that as our test subject. If you were one of the many bloggers who sadly have put up that wall and, in my very subjective opinion, have become inauthentic, you would have written that post a little something like this:

    "Today Parker and I made Mame's granola. He dumped a little on the counter but we had fun. This is my mom's recipe, here it is, with photos. You can sub out A for B etc".

    However, your Bridget-flavored post went something like this:

    "His little toddler-isms, I could watch them forever. He says reen-bach which refers to granola in the green box. I thought granola would be something he'd like making with me since it basically calls for dumping...It's fun, a delight..."

    I guess I can't tangibly explain why the two examples above differ. I suppose the best way would be to say that in the second one, in your way of telling us the granola story, you tell us how it makes you feel (and how it makes Parker feel), rather than informing us that you did it.

    Maybe that is what comprises authenticity in our blogs? Not that we necessarily reveal all, but that in what we reveal, we tell stories of what we felt, what our hearts saw, rather than simply what we did.

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    1. I really appreciated this comment and I think you hit the nail on the head! You're so articulate.

      Thank you for it - and I say keep blogging from the heart as you do. Most likely the potential mean comment will come from a place of misunderstanding.

      xo!

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    2. I really liked this comment, too. telling a story of "feelings" more than just a mundane activity list.

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  16. It makes so much sense when you write it out. Thanks for that...authenticity is what I look for too but than again, you are right! It can be lost among thought out words and edited photos and mannerisms. Heart you because I feel you really are one of those true gems.

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  17. It's so very hard. Because of my blog, I've had people claw at me before and it hurts, like real bad. But just as you said, I've had even more people embrace me and more friendships formed that are invaluable to me, so it's often very, very hard to decipher when to open my "book" and when to snap it shut. I try and choose the open book more often than not, and 1) don't engage with mean-hearted people 2) remember that often those who hurt others do so because they themselves are hurting (I can't remember who said that, Rumi? Dalai Lama?) but of course that is much easier said than done. I will say that being hurt in the ways I have has allowed me to offer exponentially more grace to people on their blogs, instagrams, tweets, etc. I assume the best of people, always. You do good work, Bridget. XO

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  18. i think you should stop blogging and just get on facetime with us...

    but seriously, i agree. it's hard to be honest... i've just decided that there's a line that i'm comfortable sharing up to and after that, well too bad. my life. come to london and we can go to tea and you can have that part... the blogs just to remember the highlights and to connect.

    you're one of the good ones. don't forget that. you wouldn't have criticism if LOTS of people weren't interested. (and the 99% of those that read you, do it because they LIKE you.)

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talk to me.

(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)

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