Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Blogdentity Crisis

Crisis may be too strong a word. But still, this blog has definitely changed. When we first began in April 2004, this was our purpose:

There are thousands of us out here, in the online netherworld, shopping for love and companionship over the Internet...We have experienced the joy of an email from someone we thought we found interesting, only to be disappointed in real life. We have encountered people who lied about their height and interests. We have chatted with people online who seem witty with the 10-20 second IM delay, and moved the relationship to the phone, only to find that their conversational skills are clearly lacking. We have wondered how to handle the delicate situations we encounter, and have sought advice from friends. Now, there's one more friend to consult... The goal of this blog is to record our experiences, good and bad, of men and women, serial JDaters and novices, from NYC to L.A. and everywhere in between. When the muse inspires, there will be features, rants and raves on related subjects. But this is your blog, your forum. Speak.

I vowed to myself that I wouldn't write about the people in my life, because it wasn't fair to present a story that was half theirs, but strip them of their voices. Besides, just because the chemistry wasn't right with me didn't mean that person wouldn't make a great boyfriend/husband/companion for someone else. The one time I wrote about a specific person in a blog post happened on My Urban Kvetch, and it was after a decade. And I had learned that he had just been married. And, just to be sure he was unrecognizable, I changed his name. I was extremely careful about such things. As weeks and months wore on, with my commitment to being a neutral zone open to all and that wasn't about me, content was less of the "speak and be heard" variety and more of a way for singles-columnist me to track trends and patterns in online and offline dating, with the occasional foray into "I can't believe he (or she) did this (or that)." But over the last several weeks, the content has changed*, and not in a manner that's totally comfortable for me. And these are posts that I may yet live to regret, because they, in some small way, violate that promise I made to myself when I started blogging. I'm still not naming names or specifics. I'm writing about the emotional fallout from such encounters or expectations thwarted, often in so abstract a manner that it can confuse people who don't know me. I write as myself, under my own name, of my own experiences. I'm trying to reinforce my emotional fortitude by being more open about how I feel, writing my way through perceived and actual betrayals of whatever magnitude, and letting that come through in my writing. And at the same time, I'm trying to maintain the reputations of the people who, often through no real fault of their own, made me feel this way. Because the inquisition is all internal, it's easy for me to write about what I'm feeling, and extremely difficult to push that "Publish" button. I've learned that with a few exceptions, people protect their own interests, and that's a lesson I could stand to internalize, in moderation, at least. I find myself wondering if this kind of writing does me a disservice, even if I don't name names. Perhaps it would be better to slay my demons privately instead of expelling my disappointments into the blogosphere to land in the ears of the similarly disappointed. Perhaps I should refocus the blog on observing the trends and contributing snarky commentary that keeps everyone laughing, and feeling like they've found a community. But then again, the emotional posts seem to have found their own audience, and a network of support has reached back from an Internet void to embrace me and provide me with desperately-needed comfort. I'll have to give this some serious thought. Your feedback, as always, is welcome. *The posts that inspired this one: The Single Gal's Survival Guide...Up Late...Emotional Jetlag

9 comments:

Needsabetterjob said...

I think it doesn't matter much. Your writing is very enjoyable, engrossing, and entertaining. I am sure that you would do everything in good taste, that you will leave out the nasty details. If you feel it would help you to be more specific then you should but the fallout could be some guys freaking out then about asking you out in the first place, if they are afraid that you will blog about them, otoh, some persons may find that exciting.

Chutzpah said...

Feeling the same way since I've been outed. Now that comfortable venting of angst is lost to the embarrassment that people know my dirty laundry and what's even worse...some people have requested to smell it!

T.A.B. said...

I was anonymous when I first posted. Now I am less and less so, to the point where I wonder why even write about the things that disturb me. Yet I still do.

annabel lee said...

You know how when somebody has a really wonderful speaking voice, people say, "I'd listen to him/her read the phonebook"? You're the writing equivalent of that. Your words are so many things: honest, open, wry, fun, deep, provocative, profound. Whatever you choose to write, I will want to read. I'm just grateful that you choose to write at all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the people who have posted above me. I really do enjoy reading this blog and I find that no matter what you write about I read the whole post and I enjoy it.

Roz

Lyss said...

I agree with Anabel Lee. I fid both sides of your writing personality equally fulfilling. Amusment (at trends) and empathy (with the softer side of Esther). We've all been there. Not all of us are brave enough to write about it.

Joel F said...

I really like your blog, but at times I find it to be very enigmatic. I find reading about what's going on in your life the most interesting part of your blog, for what it's worth.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Thanks for weighing in, everyone. I know I can be enigmatic at times. I think the lack of specificity also reveals my discomfort with calling people out on their behavior, as well as a general Catch-22 when it comes to blogging in general. I get a lot out of writing through the experiences, and it really helps me when I feel validated by others who have gone through whatever-it-is before me. By the same token, what I publish will be there forever, with my name on it, accessible to employers, boyfriends, family, etc...so I feel a great responsibility not to hobble my future self (or my would-be-paramours' future selves) because of one experience.

Whatever, more than you needed to know. And somehow, less. Although that's why some of you come here. Sorry for the esoterica. I'm not hanging up my hat anytime soon, but I'm thinkin' before I'm postin'.

PepGiraffe said...

I know, it's a late comment. Too bad. The posts you reference have been two of my favorites. FYI.