‘Yes, self’, I said, ‘you may write a blog post this evening, on the strict condition that you are done by 10pm. Because, and stop me if you are already aware of this, you are tired enough to be an actual menace to society’.
Cue stream-of-consciousness (it’s 9.51).
Yesterday I led a couple of workshops on blogging for teenagers. I’m not always on solid ground with teenagers, which I think is mostly because I’m extremely uncool and hyper-aware of it, so I get all awkward. But these were great. They laughed obligingly at my baby-poop stories, joined in my lame-o personality quiz, and we all had an inappropriate giggle at an innuendo I accidentally wrote on one of my slides. Totally not the time or the place, and frankly what you deserve when you put together a slideshow at 1am. But they laughed instead of letting me flounder in an awkward silence, so we were all winners.
Preparing this made me think a lot about blogging. How you can write your life the way you want it to be, or the way it actually is. When I was a teenager I was caught always between the bravado I pushed in front of people and the insecurity that seethed underneath. Blogging can be a lot like that – too shiny-perfect on one hand, too woe-is-me misery memoir on the other. Sometimes I think that turning into an adult means learning how to occupy the middle space between bravado and insecurity: taking long, square, compassionate looks at your vulnerable places, allowing them house-room alongside your strengths, and holding them out so others can understand you better.
The blog I want (and don’t always manage) sits in that middle space, too. Good days and bad. Leaving equal room for the vibrant and vulnerable. If we start from the assumption that we’re all vulnerable somewhere, then maybe there’s space on the internet for us to sit alongside each other, swing our legs, pass around some cheesecake, and be ourselves.