Confession: More than anything else, blogging for two years has meant living in perpetual surprise.
You surprised me.
First of all, you surprised me just by showing up.
And then you surprised me with your responses, your warm living unmanageable responses. You’re talkative or taciturn when I least expect it. Your agreement startles me as much as your disagreement. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you are real people, separate from me. You aren’t numbers or stats or ego boosters. Your presence is an honor and your words are a gift.
You surprise me when you say this, “I hope you don’t mind I shared your post on facebook…” Umm. No. I like to be read and I don’t mind. May heaven multiply your breed.
And this, “I’m sorry to say I’m one of your silent readers. Hope you don’t mind that I don’t comment.” Listen to me here. You are not spying, you are not stealing, you are not obligated to respond in any way. I put it out there for your enjoyment. So enjoy. My pleasure.
You surprise me with your loyalty. Some of you read me though you don’t have the time, because you love me in real life. Thank you so much… but please remember. Unless your name is Ryan Zook the-one-person-I-cannot-live-without-who-took-vows-before-God-and-these-witnesses-to-stick-with-me-forever, you may unsubscribe. For one thing, you are free to, and for another, I will never know.
Fellow bloggers surprised me by welcoming me into a fraternity I didn’t know existed. Happy, happy surprise. Delightful interplay. I link to her burger recipe and she links to my Christmas project. She emails me privately to ask about this church life thing; I email her to ask what she does with negative feedback. To her I say “What on earth is going on in your comment section?” and she says “Now listen to me. Take some time and don’t post again until you feel like it.” I tell her “Bout time to update already—ahem!” while she faithfully reads each new chapter of my verbosity and responds with joy and friendship again and again and again… It’s a sort of team, and a very safe one. I love it.
I’ve also surprised myself.
I’m surprised that I think in bullet points.
Surprised that I’m afraid so much of the time.
Surprised that the life of my brain actually interests others. In real life I’m very brave about things like thunderstorms and spiders and bad men, and very shy about things like self-disclosure. I may “come across as authentic and caring and witty”, but in person I am sometimes desperately uncomfortable and cannot think of anything to say. I don’t like talking about myself. I’m always certain I’m taking up too much airtime.
Surprised to discover long, long into my blogging career that I had a vow to become Big. Where did that come from? I broke it (and a plastic knife) in a coffee shop on Christmas Eve, so I could stay sane. I don’t have to be Big. I tell myself that every week, and I feel so free.
Surprised to realize that no matter where my blog goes from here—bigger or smaller or nonexistent—I think I’ll always see the first year or two as my golden age. I wrote about anything and everything because I was new and naïve. And I felt like I had a personal relationship with each of you. I’m losing that, and it worries me terribly. It is important to me to take good care of you.
Surprise after surprise. In fact, I think I’ve been wearing my startled rabbit look for most of these two years. It’s been good–really good–and I thank you.
Next up, the displacement theory, my final thoughts on this blogging topic.