A formal introduction to this blog and my hopes for it.
I have what I affectionately refer to as a blog graveyard due to my habit of starting blogs when I think of a clever name for them and then abandoning them during periods of feeling like what I'm writing isn't good enough or useful enough to be worth putting out there. Writing on its own has always felt quite therapeutic and I've proven to myself time and again that it's an incredibly effective way for me to consolidate my thoughts about things and to learn about myself. So this is my latest attempt at reforming how I think about blogging.
I've ported over some past posts from dead blogs (and I may add more) but this is the first one I'm officially writing on this blog and I want to use it to talk a bit about why I'm doing this at all and what makes this attempt different from all the previous ones. The history of my blog graveyard is relevant to this.
The one blog that has miraculously continued to escape abandonment for the last 8 or 9 years is tibackme.wordpress.com. Don't bother going to that link, though, because it's a private site. I've used it as an online journal of sorts, chronicling changes of location, relationships, mood, my beliefs and values and the things that generally matter to me.
One of the advantages of having this chronicle of my development is that it lets me go back in time -- which, incidentally, is why the blog is called tibackme - it's a rebus. When I look back I see that there are some things I grew out of easily but there are other questions of identity that I've been wrestling with for years. Increasingly, I feel like there is no end to these questions, that I'm just on a lifelong expedition to chip away at answering them, with little glimpses of light in reflective writing and in therapy sessions and conversations with friends.
I always thought that the secret to my private blog's long life was its privacy. I thought that privacy was what allowed me to take for granted that I was going to make mistakes and that I was going to change and grow. But it turns out that that isn't what it is. What my private blog writing shares with less private but extremely intimate moments of connection with other people is actually vulnerability.
I never felt like more public spaces online had room for vulnerability. This is why I ended up off Facebook and Instagram many years ago. It felt too dissonant and artificial for me. So I was very surprised to find so much vulnerability on Twitter when I initially started participating more. I've shared a lot of stuff on Twitter that I previously would have saved for my private blog and I've been amazed at how much community I have gained as a result of it, in this odd, digital way. And aside from community I have gained a lot in the way of understanding my own identity better by being able to talk to a wider group of people about the things I feel.
Over time my Twitter threads have grown longer, my DMs with people have gotten deeper, and I've had relationships that began on Twitter bloom in contexts off Twitter. It's been wonderful and it has encouraged me to share more, sometimes even in more formal contexts, about things that are deeply personal to me, about me. I've had people read my writing (especially about my queerness) and tell me that they feel seen in it. It's been very interesting to hear that as someone who felt at many points in my life like I was the only person who felt a certain way (about my sexuality, about my gender, about my perception of the world) - completely different from everyone else and importantly, from what I was supposed to feel.
All my previous attempts at reframing the way I thought about blogging were by trying to focus on the benefits of the writing and forget about the fears of it being public. This attempt differs from the previous ones in that the public aspect is absolutely central to it. After all, my Twitter isn't private at all, and I spend a lot of time there making mistakes, changing and growing, and other people (confoundingly) seem to want to be a part of that. What I want this blog to be is really a sort of extension of what Twitter has been for me -- a space to explore the things I'm exploring in longer form and in a medium that is still widely accessible for those who wish to engage with it vulnerably.
I'm excited I finally set it up and I'm looking forward to exorcising some writing demons around all the Feelings I'm having on the cusp of my latest big move (from Canada to Germany for a PhD). I am also still a little scared about blogging publicly and vulnerably, especially in a context so closely associated with my name and identity. I hope the worst that happens is just that no one reads what I have to say. But really I hope that people do read it and connect with it and want to talk to me about it and that together, we will save this blog from ending up in the graveyard with all the others.
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