A New Hope -the hidden beauty of blogging

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I am experiencing mixed feelings about my entry into the blogging world. On the one hand I am incredibly grateful and feel surprisingly supported and understood. It is an amazing and unforeseen element to this world that has really got me thinking. The endless array of blogs I read are so real and raw – it is literally like people are bleeding their truth – and the honesty of it takes me breath away. In this way it is quite different from other forms of social media. These other forms – facebook, twitter, Instagram, tinder etc – seem to so often be based on superficialities. People can craft themselves into whatever they want to be, or appear to be, in those places. They are escapist forums. Within them are tangled webs of deceit, and veils draped over everything meaningful or real or dark. It is for that reason that they have always held little value for me. I refused to even join face-book until last year. And the only reason I conceded was to create an artist page. Up until then I was dead against facebook or anything remotely like it, and I still am to a degree. The world of social media is stripping humanity of its ability to relate on a deeper level. It is robbing our children of the ability to interact face to face, and create meaningful relationships. My feelings on it are probably best surmised through the speech of one of my book characters, Tanner, in my first novel, ‘Chase Hope’, set in 2008:

“‘Facebook Chase, is the epitome of this generation’s problem. It represents the degradation of modern society. The technological age, though it is glorified and adored by the masses, is, in fact, destroying everything that’s good about the world. Real human contact is becoming obsolete. People don’t need to actually talk face to face and engage with one another anymore. Instead they pin up stupid insignificant details of their lives, equipped with photographic evidence of the meaningless nature of their identities, on a computer screen so that the people who they misleadingly refer to as friends, can keep in touch and up to date with what they are doing, without that individual ever having to talk to anyone directly or in a personal way. They think – I’ll just pin it all up on my wall, then I can’t stand accused of not keeping in touch with my overwhelmingly large number of acquaintances who I offer nothing of value to, I can’t stand accused of not inviting people to my social gatherings. I, in fact, don’t have to even open my mouth to converse again because facebook is happy to do it for me. Facebook says these are the details of my life if you’re interested, and if I’m at all interested in who’s dating who, or who has updated their status, then I might consider checking their page, but it’s my choice.’
Tanner paused for emphasis. ‘The thing is Chase; it’s this collective mentality that is stripping the world of meaning. People go about their silly business not ever really connecting with others, and then when they actually want to have some sort of meaningful relationship, they find themselves completely unequipped, and confused about how to negotiate one, let alone keep one. BASICALLY facebook (and modern technology in general) is an excuse for people to be lazy, whilst simultaneously sating their voyeuristic need to involve themselves in other people’s business‘.”

I still believe this to be true, except now the world of facebook has branched out even further to include many other forums of superficiality. The world of social media is, quite literally, a screen for people to hide behind.
The blogging world, however, is proving to be the exact opposite of that. Sure, there’s a lot of superficial crap being written and read, but the stuff that I engage with is deep and honest and courageous. People are spilling their dark spaces and black wounds onto the screen. They are revealing their deepest vulnerabilities and insecurities, their biggest mistakes and most heartfelt desires and regrets. It is really a remarkable phenomenon that I did not expect. Rather than isolating people, it is bringing strangers together who identify with one another on a deep level. That is something really wonderful, which should be embraced. I am deeply touched by the strangers who follow me, who find some value in what I am putting out into the world, and who take the time to offer kind words and understanding in their commentary. And I’m finding that I am more and more compelled to reach out to others too. I read the dark, haunting things written by younger women, some who are struggling with depression and self-harm tendencies, and my heart breaks for them. I find myself wanting to reach out through the barriers of time and distance to help them. If I can convince one girl, who feels completely alone and fucked up because she cut herself last night, that she is not alone and that someone understands, then I am offering something of true value. And that, in turn, is helping me find value in myself, and making me feel that I am not alone in the things that I battle.

But there is another side to the blogging experience that I struggle with. And it is the popularity contest element of it. I think this is a product of the imprint made by all the social media forums that came before it. The number of ‘friends’ on facebook, the number of ‘likes’, can be taken as a reflection of your worth and how ‘likeable’ you are to the world. It shouldn’t be of course, and that’s why I refused to buy into the world of social media until now. But even I am not above that crap. I want to be liked and valued just as much as anyone else. I eagerly pounce on my phone whenever an email notification pops up, to see if it’s another like or follow. I want more. I am greedy for them. They are fuelling the need in me to be worthwhile and valued. And I hate that I am not above it. I hate that I am buying into the popularity contest of it. Because it’s not a popularity contest. The things that I am writing about, and that I am reading and liking, are products of the darkest and boldest elements in humanity. For that reason alone it should have nothing whatsoever to do with being popular. It runs so much deeper than that, and that’s why I love it. And I think that’s why I care about the likes and the follows on here, whilst I never have on facebook or any other type of superfluous media. I bleed into my blog. So if people like or follow me, then it is the real, authentic me that they are accepting. That is a wonderful and refreshing feeling. I was worried, when I first started, that some of the things I had done, and confessed, would be shunned and criticised, as well they should be. But I have been surprised and overwhelmed by just how kind, accepting and forgiving people are of the fallibilities in me. It actually gives me a whole new perspective on the world. It gives me, for the first time in years, a strange sense of hope for the future – that even in this day and age of technological advancement and the general degradation of intimate face-to-face connections – strangers can find and identify with one another on a deep level. We just have to use the technology that has been forced on us in the right way. I realise now that I don’t have to fight against the rise of technology and social media, forbidding my children to access it and all its flaws; I just have to use it the right way, and show my kids how to use it the right way – to build human connections, explore and share ideas, unlock their individual potential and find support when support is needed.
I need the blogging world. I found it at the most critical and crucial time in my life. I thought it would just be a way of using my inherent need to write to get my feelings out. But it has proved to be so much more than that. What I have found is a world where I am accepted and supported, just as I am, right down to my deepest and most vulnerable core. And it is a world where I can reciprocate that understanding and empathy on a daily basis. I thank every soul that has followed me, or given me a like, or even taken the time to read something that came from me – for you are all helping me to rebuild the very foundation of who I am.

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21 thoughts on “A New Hope -the hidden beauty of blogging”

  1. I can relate with you from the bottom of my heart. I am feeling the same and and I am surprise with what I’ve found out in this blogging community, I felt like I should have started it long ago.Our deepest desire to be like and to be accepted is inherent in everyone of us, no one can be free of that desire whether we admit it or not.And it’s ok. It’s ok to be human.I think we are recieving here one of love’s spirit, something that can transcend the barriers of space and time. Would love to hear from you agian.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 100 percent why i left facebook and came here. Outside of my friends list there was just so much hate.

    I think its different to want likes and comments on writing. Its all so personal and someone reading something that came from within you and digging it gives a different validation than any friend request can.

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  3. A wonderful piece of writing, filled with soul-searching emotion. Until we find ourselves, and reward ourselves with the gift of self-love, the world can seem a bleak place. I hope your journey is peaceful.

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    1. Thankyou so much that means a lot. I actually wanted to compliment you on your writing – youre a fascinating individual – so i’m humbled you are getting something out of my writing

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  4. Wow, this post really touched me. I feel exactly the same way about blogging vs other social media as you describe. When I blog it is the real, raw me that I put out there. Facebook is very superficial I find. I too have gone through a period of self-harm in my younger years, a black period in my life. It is tremendously important to reach out and let people know they are not alone when they are going through times like that…when they feel the most unlovable. I not only liked this post but am now following your blog. Your words really resonate with me and I am eager to read more of your writing. =)

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  5. I can really relate to this as well. I bleed too..every time I post, it seems. But it has been so incredibly good for my soul and my growth.
    There are good people in this community and I appreciate the fact I don’t have to hide who I am here.

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  6. I know exactly what you mean about the popularity contest. I used to be on Blogger, and because it wasn’t as connected as WordPress, I didn’t feel the pressure to be liked (well, in the beginning I did!). I too have found a great deal of support through blogging, and if I can touch just one person, come a across something that makes me think “Yes, me too!” or learn something new, then I feel it’s worthwhile. I recently took a break because I was being dragged into the trap of liking as many blogs as I could so they’d like me back. What a mistake! I’m finally back to my original attitude, and hope to not feel so compelled to blog and read blogs on any kind of regular schedule. I do have to say, though, that I get a twinge of excitement when I look at my stats and see that someone in a far off country has visited my blog!

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    1. Haha it’s quite impossible to not be delighted with those stats isn’t it?! I also try not to fall into the trap of liking just so that those people will like my work – I want to really hear people. But we are human too I guess and the need to be liked and accepted is normal to a degree. I’m so glad I found this community 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A well written article. Yes, my experience with Facebook is that I have not been able to develop a single meaningful relationship. The social media is hyped with the plasticity of images. I appreciate the genuine individuality of your writing. The prose downright honest and at the same time coherently meaningful. Anand Bose from Kerala.

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  8. I share some of the feeling/thoughts you’ve expressed here. I don’t do Facebook, and my Twitter account lasted 36 hours… I started blogging in Summer 2011, and a lot has changed for me since then. I really enjoyed being “popular” for the first time in my life…but eventually it became exhausting. People expected me to be whatever it was they thought they saw in my posts and comment exchanges–essentially, I couldn’t have a bad day, as that didn’t work for them–they wanted “the cheerleader” to inspire them. To make it worse, I eagerly formed relationships outside the blogs–email/phone calls/a few personal visits with local people. None of this worked out well. I’ve had close to 50 blogs (begun and quit)… I’ve stopped accepting blog awards (too much work), and I discourage email contact. Another facet of blogging that can be tricky is when people “follow”, who have NOTHING in common with my blog, or me. I’m a picky reader, so I don’t follow everybody who happens to follow or comment at my blog. There are a few people I connect with–we have the same sense of humor, and/or sincerely like each other’s writing–and I look forward to their comments; but as far as stats, I don’t give a rip about numbers–they mean nothing to me–it’s the few “real” people who count. Well, I’ve taken up enough space on your blog–I wish you the very best of blog experiences!

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    1. Thankyou for taking the time to tell me about your experiences its very insightful. That pressure to deliver something of worth is easy to get pulled into, in order to win likes and praise. I am not above craving that, but i consistently keep checking myself, to make sure that it is the real and unedited version of me that i put out there. Good luck with everything x

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      1. Thanks–as we’ve agreed, it’s part of the human condition to want to be “liked”, accepted, approved of and loved. That “checking” you mentioned will help us stay in balance. Best to you!

        Liked by 1 person

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