Friday, February 13, 2009

My window

*Frog and Toad Are Still Friends is one of the first blogs I ever read and it remains one of my favorite. Time and time again its author Beck makes me catch my breath with the beauty of how she adept she is at capturing the poignancy of everyday life. Enjoy..."

My house is an old, old house and has an old house’s tall, narrow windows.

For several years after we moved in, we just never bothered putting up curtains – we were too poor to buy any that we liked, for one, and for another it just never occurred to us. Windows were for us to look out of, and it never occurred to us that people could look back in. It wasn’t until we finally did put up curtains on every window that it began to bother me to stand at the window exposed and looking out, with unseen people possibly returning my gaze.

I started blogging after a very serious, near-fatal illness nearly three years ago. I had read blogs in a casual sort of way before then, never commenting and not one of those blogs, oddly enough, do I read now, so I knew that they existed and I’d actually started a handful of short-lived blogs before then but lacked the compulsion and self-discipline to keep at them for longer than a week or two.

But then I got very sick and for months afterwards there was this dark curtain about me – how sick was I? Was I, in fact, dying? And it was that pressing question that started me at my blog, which was from the start light-hearted and silly while the real me was still laying down for much of the day, my actual bruised heart stuttering within me. I deleted that blog recently with a great feeling of relief, and although I now wish that I’d saved a handful of posts, I don’t really regret it. The false cheer of those early posts bothered me.

I think we’re lying (to ourselves, but still) when we say that we’re writing for the future, for some later version of our children who will read us, maybe, with understanding eyes. My blog definitely has a short lifespan – it will all be deleted someday, although I will make a point of saving a few things this time around, like the roses I kept from when my husband and I were not yet husband and wife but very, very young and dating. It’s not meant for my children, but I am writing for someone, and who is this invisible audience, this reading eye?

Doesn’t it bother you to have strangers reading your private stuff?” an acquaintance asked me recently, which I responded to with a bemused shrug. Obviously not – I’m not a secretive person to begin with, but rather a smiling, friendly sort, quick to befriend and confide…. So my heart is pretty much on constant display anyhow, which is just as risky with one person as it is with one hundred, really.

The whole idea of what I write as being private, though, is a bit of a hard one for me to think about. After I was so sick, I felt very damaged inside for a very long time, like I was still half-dead and so when I started blogging, the me I wrote about was as much a creation as it was a reflection of any private reality. I wrote because of my paralysing fear that I was vanishing, that my hands would quickly become dust. So blogging was a rebellion of sorts, a way of making myself again out of mere words.

My friend worries that I have turned a light on in my life, that I am leaning out a bright window into the darkness, seen by unseen eyes. But what I primarily see is my own reflection, thrown back against the darkness, my shadowy, constructed self.

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Nowheymama said...

Oh, Beck. Beautiful as always.

painted maypole said...

hmmm... now I'm thinking...

it's so hard to describe WHY I blog. what i get out of it.

this was lovely.

Heather said...

Wow Beck. Just wow.

flutter said...

Beck is amazing.

Marian Dean said...

I think you have certainly put into words what so many of us wonder. Why do we blog?
In a way it was the same for me, I was getting old and 'disappearing'. what was my life about? I was never a scholastic bod, but I had managed to rear 5 lovely kids, decent, hard working, honest ones. Not criminals or druggies.
Anyway I'm rambling on a bit here. Really just wanted to say 'Well Done' on your post.
Love Granny said...

I am shuddering over the thought of you deleting the blog... Not because I'd miss you so much (though I would) but because so much of you is within those words. It may be only a small part, but it is real and valid. The idea of deleting mine has never occurred to me.

Karen MEG said...

Beck, I am just speechless over this post... and totally in awe.

Beck said...

Thanks! What's funny is that I forgot ALL about guest posting on Friday - although I'd even MADE A NOTE ABOUT IT the night before.
So it's a good thing that I blog, because otherwise I'd forget what I did, like, yesterday.

Unknown said...

I do sometimes get a sense of "Oh Crud! What have I done?" (Usually after I make the odd frank reference to something like my period or my bra and then I realize that the guy who I taught in Bible school read it.) But it isn't that often. As much as I am a pretty open person in real life, and I try to be open on my blog, I have edited myself--a lot. More than I want to. But I agree with you. I don't write for the future. I write for myself. Here and now, baby.

Now... if I could just write like some people I know. That would be AWESOME!

Unknown said...

Here you are!

Curtain-less windows always give me the heebie jeebies. But besides that, I do think that blogging is not really for others. It is for us. I mean, perhaps one day our kids will want to read it but more likely they will not. I mean, that is OLD stuff my MOM wrote. Geez!

I think blogging is for me. And I am not nearly as transparent and all out there on my blog as I really want to be. But something holds me back.

I though at first it was the desire to paint this picture of this person I want others to think I am. 'Cause really, we are who we want to be on a blog. But now I know it is only because I am not always comfortable enough with who I am to be assured others will like me for me.

So that's my thought, for what it is worth.

Great post by the way. Loved it.

His Girl said...

as always, an incredible post that makes me think...
I never really think about the fact that my windows are curtainless on my blog until someone I know in real life talks about it... then I feel all exposed and I wonder if I should draw them closed...

well worded, sis. so good at what you do.

Barrie said...

I knew I'd find you. And a very interesting post as well.