Blog reading, and the risks it entails

When I was in high school, I loved reading friends’ LiveJournals. It was a little voyeuristic, and I always thought it would be neat to see myself mentioned…neat may be an understatement. As my social life was very thin in the first half of high school, the thought that events I had taken part in and maybe even myself would be written about by someone else would reinforce the fact that I was socially wanted. Of course, this backfired…the only times I was really referenced in any blog during high school was when I was in a fight with someone. The last person who mentioned me by name in a positive light did so and then proceeded not to speak with me for nearly four years. Not entirely her fault, admittedly.

So I still get into this thing sometimes, and I see it now as more destructive…this is one reason that I don’t call out people in any of my writing or make my writings too personal, because I see little value in it now. It was more than gossip, I hope, but even projecting real relationships into a context-less space is…iffy to say the least.

I’ve been captivated by friends’ blogs several times recently, one of those times inspired my post on memoir. And I did it again this month, getting pulled into a story that I wasn’t involved with, per se, but that I found familiar. Writing is a great outlet for pain, but even while cathartic it can be isolating if you feel like you’re throwing thoughts out into the aether. And I saw someone who was throwing thoughts out into the aether…who looked isolated at a vulnerable moment. And that brought back some memories.

I, like many people, have struggled with depressive episodes at semi-regular points in my life. I would never venture to call myself depressed, because my process involves accepting a drop in productivity, saying “fuck you, brain!”, and maybe allowing a lapse into comforting decisions (that is to say, watching TV in my pajamas while eating ramen and drinking whiskey instead of writing). I’m not depressed, I’m just human.

When I read about the struggles of someone who is not as lucky as I brain chemical-wise, I want so desperately to help and I harbor some delusions that maybe what I can say matters. Somewhere in my mind, I know it doesn’t. And I know that my own saviour complex isn’t necessarily altruistic. Things are weird like that.

These days I’m more realistic about my ability to actually be a help. If someone is willing to let you in it will be based on real friendship, not spending a sum total of three or four hours together and me reading a blog after our meeting. So maybe there isn’t anything I can actually do. Even as I write this I’m not entirely sure I want the author of this blog to know that they are the subject of this posting.

I’ve come to accept that you cannot reach through the internet and fix someone’s pain, as much as that’s something I want to do. All I can do is offer this to the author that briefly caught my attention today: you aren’t alone, your pain is real…and please keep writing.


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