...or at least tell me, tell me, tell me.
When I returned from my blogging hiatus, I came back with some distinct ideas about why I wanted to keep blogging in this space, but no clear goals, no concrete statements.
One of the things I consider most central to my character is that, in Susanna Kaysen's words: "I'm ambivalent." About damn near everything. While I consider myself to have fairly well-formed opinions about the many ideas and issues important to me and I'm usually quickly able to assess situations and make decisions, when it comes to my own self, I'm ambivalent about most things.
In fact, a lot of my personality comprises of two fairly opposite sides. I'm not shy, but have at times an intense dislike of social situations. In turns I can be very timid, or very aggressive. I have an almost overwhelming sense of empathy, but it often leads me to see people exactly as they are, not as they try to portray themselves, and sometimes this causes me to judge them too harshly. I love people and am endlessly fascinated by them, yet mostly prefer my own company. I care a great deal about what people think of me, but actually not at all. I'm fiercely loyal, but if I absolutely have to to distance myself emotionally from former friends I can do it with a casualness that shocks me. I'm very ambitious, but not at all driven.
This ambivalence often makes it difficult for me to make definitive statements regarding things I hold dear, or personal.
So believe me when I say, that I have puzzled over what you're about to read.
It has finally hit home to me that this is no longer just my small, personal log of thoughts, obsessions, events, or outfits. Not that it's that big, or I have a ton of readers either (You know how many readers really popular blogs have!?!?!? It's nuts, the mere idea of thousands, let alone tens of thousands of people reading your thoughts makes me hyperventilate), but I will admit that I no longer write only for myself, or even my small circle of visible internet friends and acquaintances.
I am however extremely ambivalent about what to do about it. As I outlined in the post before, I have some idea of how I would like this place to be, but at the same time this new, somewhat grudging (this has nothing to do with you dear reader, I've just been in a little bit of denial about this.) realization that this blog has a wider readership has thrown me for a loop.
I already know that there are certain topics where my more serious interests and yours intersect. I promise you that I'm still working on the increasingly convoluted posts on clothing and ethics and shopping for joy and self-image. There's a mother post on feminism and you, know, man-hating and a bra-burning how-to. But I'm also curious about what other points of convergence we might find.
With that in mind, I want to make the time I spend on this space really count. Yes, like I said before, I still want to use this blog to document my family's life and times as we go through the changes and seasons and upheavals; but I also want ask you, dear reader, what is it that you would like from me? What would you like to read about? What do you want more, what less?
Not to fret, I'm not going to cave in to the popular opinion. Being stubborn as hell, I will of course feel in no way obligated to give any of what you might request, but I am asking for your insights. For a little help from my friends.
(A homemade gift from Lissa. She came to visit with her sweet sister-in-law Nina and cute-as-all-get-out-babe Owynn. I was too busy chatting and admiring him to get any pics, but head on over here to see the most dear babe in the neighborhood.)
Rather than categorizing what I post the internet, I find the usual, often commercially-driven blog titles constricting and somewhat arbitrary and artificial. In a world populated by lifestyle bloggers, mommy bloggers, music bloggers, foodie bloggers and of course, style, or fashion bloggers, I don't even know what kind of a blog The Girl Who Married A Bear actually is. Can being poor, but extremely lucky, be considered a lifestyle? How about mixing feminism with food, music, beat poets, herbal medicine, movies, 70s clothes, fringe beliefs, animism and sarcasm? I haven't the faintest.
The reason I'm curious for your thoughts on this, is that even though I'm ambivalent and a little confused about what exactly it is that I want from my own, I know exactly what my blog-love-laundry-list is for the blogs I read:
1. Honesty and authenticity. Like most people who read blogs I go to them for inspiration, to see how different people live, how they experience the world, how they see themselves, and yeah, sometimes how they dress as well. However, an interesting, well-written, or beautifully curated blog will only win my undying love and doggedly loyal readership, if there's a vulnerable, openness to what the writer reveals about themselves. I'm not at all about the internet being your confessional, self-obsessed waste-basket, but acknowledging that your life is not perfect will win me over every time.
2. Having something to say. What can I say? Word. Girl. I love your homestead, your rad bohemian pad, your kick-ass recipes, your epic style, but you know what I love even more? If you can somehow make it relevant beyond your own sweet self. Create a conversation, broaden horizons, place things in a wider context, make a statement. Not all the time, not about everything, but sometimes.
3. Sisterhood. In the liberté, egalité, fraternité sense. What, you think I can't use the term "sisterhood"in the general the way "brotherhood" is used? Yes, I can. I love a blog that encourages conversation, lifts others up, links to potentially like-minded folks, spreads the love, takes criticism well and is always willing to learn, as well as teach and preach.
4. I like sassy, opinionated and determined writers, who are also humble and kind. And funny. Preferably in a self-depricating manner.
Come to think of it, I like my blogs pretty much how I like my friends. The above could define my list of characteristics I love and admire in people around me.
The idea that rather than letting the trivializing and shallow aspects of the internet trod us down and drive us out, we should work hard to build on the good parts of it, has come through loud and clear in my circle of online friends lately.
The internet is a little like politics in this country. Sure you could declare yourself better than it, retreat to your cabin in the wilderness, and be your own morally superior Thoreau, but maybe if we all stick around instead and try to improve the way things are, support each other and declare independence from that which we don't want, we might get somewhere wonderful together, or maybe even help turn the tide.
(Necklace of dreams from Nicole. I can't thank her enough for her kindness of which this necklace is the least. But more about that later.)
So if there's ever been something you've wanted wanted to tell me, some criticism you've held back, some subject you've particularly enjoyed, something you think I could do better, something you think I should do, or if you just really enjoy my fashion choices, or heck if there's something you've always wanted to ask me, now's the time.
I'd also like your recommendations on authentic, unique blogs you enjoy and think I would like. Having received a few of such tips lately and having finally gotten around to adding some old favorites too, you'll find mine on the link list to the right of this post.
And while we're on the topic of authentic women's voices I urge you to check out Mary's post series on cultivating a personal nature-based spirituality outside of Native appropriation and the sometimes hokey end of the New Age spectrum. This woman's writing, wisdom, kindness and insight just blows me away every time. I can't recommend her enough, I really can't. These topics are very central to the loose collection of interests I think a lot of us share and I love the clear language and concepts of Mary's post. There's no judgement here, only a desire for people to really look into themselves. As someone who's had their own struggles with this side of spirituality, and continues to wonder about where the lines must be toed, these posts leave me literally speechless with gratitude. I think when I finally get around to leaving a comment it might just be "Uumm...thanks."
ps. It's 7PM and the current score is: water 6, tea 5, pages 6.