Monday, August 6, 2012

Thoughts On Sharing

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Blogging is such a strange thing, and so different from any other writing I do, or have done in the past. I recently came across notebooks and notebooks full of horrible/amazing poetry I wrote while in high school. It was all so angst-filled and in typical teenage fashion pretty dramatic. I wrote for me, so there was no need to sugar coat anything. If I had a bad night, I wrote about it. If I felt slighted, I wrote about it. I wrote and wrote and wrote, capturing the moment for what it was, and exactly what I was feeling.

In college I wrote everyday too. At that time I was using an online journal (Diaryland and later Livejournal) but I also kept numerous paper journals I'd write in each night. Writing was my therapy and again, I wrote a lot more when I was sad. I'm a "feeler" by nature, and it's impossible for me to read a book or a story without taking on some of the emotion, so throughout my last two years of college I devoured book after book and poem after poem, and felt all of it. At the same time I was a typical college student and with all of it came a lot of ups and downs. But I made it a priority to write it all out, and it got me out of my head.

And so writing has always been a huge part of my life, then and now. I think about this space and it's a bit different, as far as what I share and when. I typically steer clear from really getting into things that bother me- I try to keep it light and breezy. I try to walk a line between sharing and sharing too much, but there are times where I feel inauthentic because I'll catch myself toning down my happiness, or putting on a cheerful face when I'm not, including or omitting something when I have my audience in mind. It's easy to write when no one is reading. My challenge at times is trying to find that authentic voice, even though there is that audience.

At times I want to say so much more. I want to talk about how upset I feel about a certain difficult situation that I'll always have to deal with, and always have to take the high road. I want to talk about how grateful I feel for this life with Hank and Henry that it makes me want to cry. I want to talk about how sometimes I feel silly blogging because I don't always have fun and interesting things to talk about. I want to discuss how the biggest thing I am working on is not feeling guilty for things. I want to go on and on about how disgusted I feel by old friends who think being homosexual is "wrong," and I want to talk about how I sometimes think about unplugging completely and just doing our own thing, without any audience at all. But then I stop myself from getting too into it, because I guess in a way I feel like I'd be burdening you with things that are a little "too much," be it negative or positive. And so I keep it simple and I keep a little bit more on the surface than I really could, and I am not sure if this is a good thing.

I read back in my Livejournal frequently and I am often taken aback with how candid I was.  I sometimes find myself comparing my writing there to my writing here, but that was a different time, a much smaller audience, and that blog, although similar in ways, was so very different. At the same time I think I could stand to take a lesson or two from my old livejournal-ing self. This will never be an overly confessional blog, but catching myself doing that censoring, shutting things down because I feel just a little too vulnerable, or talking about something maybe one too many times because I don't want to talk about what's really on my mind, is something that only started happening as my blog gained more of an audience. I think it's inevitable, but I feel like there has to be a balance where I am still writing what I feel, because isn't that the essence of writing? Being bare and vulnerable, and putting little bits of yourself out there, setting them free, and sharing that part of you? It's a balance for sure, especially when there are other people's privacy involved, but it's important to me, and I never want to lose that part of this blog. So I will work on that.

I've been writing this post for what feels like forever, but held off on scheduling it because despite what my archives may tell you, I usually think that blogging about blogging is kind of annoying. After discussing privacy and sharing with a friend this morning and thinking more about the whole thing, I'm hitting publish anyway. As always, thank you for reading my whole mess of thoughts!

50 comments:

  1. Thank you posting and being honest about your life and how writing has helped you. its refreshing to have people be humble and nice in a world where people think highly of themselves.

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  2. I think you are a breath of fresh air, especially when it seems like 98% of bloggers are Christian Crafters (no offense to anyone:). I know that it must be difficult to share certain aspects of your life when you have such a large audience, but that’s why you stand out and why I enjoy reading. Stay true to yourself.

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  3. I don't have that feeling right now and ofcourse, I've only been blogging for a month but I can imagine that it is difficult, to share personal things when you know so many people will read it. But it is and will always be your decision. What I actually wanted to say is that it doesn't feel like there's a huge distance between let's say you and me. Sometimes I get that feeling with a blog, that it is written with the main purpose of blogging instead of actually sharing something but your blog does seem to have a nice balance. I hope you continue to keep blogging in a way that you like :) xo

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  4. This is perfect, Danielle. I can't tell you how much I've related to this and how great it was to read. I just re-started my blog and I'm finding myself not sure what to post. I didn't want to be too open and let people in on my darker thoughts. I didn't want to seem weak after what's happened to me these past few months. This makes me want to share it all, though. I really look up to you and I think it'd be great to see another side to you. A blog shouldn't be all about happiness or holding back true and honest feelings. You are by far my most favorite blogger because of your honesty.

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  5. I'm very much with you here. I think of how I was when I first started blogging, and I was so uncensored and unapologetic about writing what I felt and what I wanted. I wish I was more like that now, but like you, it makes me feel vulnerable and I'm always hesitant to get too opinionated, emotional, or controversial. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and want to make an effort to just write out what I want to say if I'm feeling inspired to do it.

    Trust me, you're not alone, and I think it's easy to allow this to happen in the blogging world without even realizing it until you want to publish something totally out of the norm for you. Personally, I'd love to hear what you have to say about some of the topics you've noted, maybe even laced with the swear words you mentioned in your previous post ;)

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  6. This is why I continue to read your blog. You're honest and I like that. And I'd have to agree with the anon,too.

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  7. I can relate to this post completely. I quit my old blog because I felt that I was writing for an audience rather than staying true to myself (granted, my audience was nowhere near as large as yours. I can't even imagine, really). For what it's worth, I feel that you are a very candid blogger and that's why I read you. I really, really hate reading cookie-cutter sugar-coated blogs.

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  8. I feel like this is me from last week. Every ounce of my being wanted to write a post about what was going on in the interweb and how it was affecting my heart to the point of tears. How each person that texted me a picture of them smiling in front of chick fil a I cried and my heart broke, how did they think this was going to make me happy. Was I supposed to text them back and say "way to go you made it public that you are a jerk". Don't they know that most of my family in New England is gay and that I adore my best friend Thomas who is also gay who I was chastised for being a best friend with while I worked at the most conservative mega church in the area. That people I worked with asked me not to invite him and some of my family to my wedding because they were afraid of how they were going to explain this to their partners. I was very angry and hurt last week and I wanted to write a post on it. But I stopped. I was afraid of the feedback from the people I used to work with. I was afraid of my heart getting hurt so instead I emailed my family members and my best friend, I affirmed how much I love them and I affirmed that they have such a great value in my heart.

    I sure am going to post a gazillion pictures on my blog/IG and facebook this week when Judah meets some of his gay aunts for the first time. I am going to hug the hell out of them and let them know that I LOVE THEM and I want my son to be raised knowing that their is nothing wrong with them. That he will be part of the future generation that will stand up for the rights of people, to stand up against bullying and to love on the people who do not feel loved. He will be a feeler and a fighter just like his mama.

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  9. such a great post, i can totally relate. thanks for sharing.

    www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com

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  10. I completely understand censoring some things, especially things that may hurt or offend people in your life. But please don't censor your thoughts, positive or negative.

    As always, love reading.

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  11. Go for it. You will lose readers and gain readers but you will have readers. Your honesty is fantastic. I am often aware of my mom.. my mom's friends who read my blog and that makes me not say fuck or talk deeply about my personal thoughts. I am in the process of simplifying my life and my blog including ditching sponsors. I think about them too... a bit too much. =) I'm getting back to writing for me.

    Kacie

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    Replies
    1. This is so true!! If they readers leave SO WHAT! Loved this!

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  12. I feel the same way - I try to post a balanced version of myself, which is not always the case. But I don't want to come off as horribly bitchy when I'm having a bad day and I don't want to sound like I'm bragging when I'm really excited about something. It might be good to sneak in those extremes every once in a while to show a more authentic version of ourselves.

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  13. I love that you wrote this and you are such a good writer. I find myself holding back on my true thoughts in order to keep my blog breezy and not alienate anyone that might not agree with me. However, I still like to be "me." There is a fine line between being genuine and over-sharing and I think you do a fantastic job walking this line :).

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  14. I wish you would share more of the positive AND negative because you have a unique voice and influence online. As someone who shares my heart, opinions and struggles a lot on my blog, it always feels scary hitting that publish button. But I know I'd have more regret not sharing it, than making myself vulnerable and open to the world.

    Yes you will get comments that will be negative, people will give you annoying unsolicited advice, you might lose a reader or two, but on the flip side, you will GAIN readers, realize that so many are in the same place as you mentally/emotionally and your words will affect people in a positive way. We all can feel so alone at times and this is a way for people to connect to the good, bad and ugly sides of life.

    Honestly for every post where I really share my heart or my stance on something, positive or negative, I always receive a private email or two from a reader thanking me for what I shared. They might share my opinion, or might not, but it opened their eyes to another point of view or they were encouraged by it. It means that my voice is doing something good in the land of blogging and that is something significant, at least to me. We all have an opportunity to change the world, to make it better, even if it's as simple as sharing a small piece of our heart on the internet.

    I hope this encourages you to write what you want - your audience is here waiting. :)

    Hugs,
    Kara

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  15. I love your honesty. I am glad you have this blog and this bigger audience or else I would have never found you. You are a great role model of what a wife, momma and citizen should be. Thank you for being you.

    Jen (over at my much less visited, teeny, tiny, with no audience blog. sweetpinkruffles.blogspot.com).

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  16. I love how honest and genuine you are when you blog, and I don't think you should ever censor yourself. This is your piece of the web where you get the chance to share your life, emotions, and opinions. Sure there will be many people who may disagree with some things that you write. But, there will also be tons of people who agree and who will be able to connect with you on a deeper level because of your openness.

    I always write about how I feel, and I am not afraid to put myself out on the line. I have written about my depression, my anxiety, and I have this thing where I write about my recent lessons learned. It's hard to look at myself in that light and put out all my mistakes for the blogging world to see, but then again it gives me a chance to grow into a better version of who I already am.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. I love reading your blog, and I am going to support it no matter what!

    :),
    blake
    steadythreesixty.blogspot.com

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  17. I know exactly what you mean and I am still very new to blogging. It is probably different for you since you have actual readers but I get your drift nonetheless and I enjoy your blog :)

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  18. It's funny you think you don't always have fun or interesting things to talk about...because you are actually one of the few blogs I come to that I feel like has consistent, honest writing. Sometimes I wonder how you keep up with it....and how you can constantly find interesting topics to write about. I admire your for that.

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  19. It is rather interesting if you think about it…
    This is your blog, readers are reading it for your content and your life; and yet at the same time some of us feel the need to not talk about certain things because maybe we don’t want to loose those readers, or to offend? I’m not sure… all I know is that I think it’s silly.

    I understand the whole part about keeping certain things private, but when it comes to feelings, whether they are good or bad, I feel as though they should be shared - especially if it is something that you keep going to again and again. If you loose readers what does it matter? This blog is for YOU.

    These are just my thoughts and I hope I didn’t offend anyone…

    Danielle, I read this blog because it is interesting and I can always find something I can relate to in your posts. You should speak your mind always, always, always. The true readers will stay here no matter what.

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  20. This is all so true...and it's something I know every blogger goes through, and it's something that has been keeping me away from my blog for the past few weeks, trying to piece through what exactly I want it to be for both myself and the blogosphere. It's the vulnerability and the possible negative consequences that give me the hardest time; I don't want to offend anyone, and I don't want to hear my mom say, "Rachel, should you really have written that? Your aunt reads your blog", and I don't want to lose any potential readers because of what I have to say...but avoiding those things makes me feel very forced and stifled. I recently realized that my blog isn't really what I want it to be, and so it's been a process of trying to figure that out. I'm tired of being so sugarcoated, and I'm ready to be more real. The people who make a difference, stand out, and are heard are usually the ones who do that, so I figure I just gotta suck it up and go for it. I loved this post, it's nice to know I'm not alone in all of my messy thoughts. Love your blog! =]

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  21. Your post couldn't have come at a better time. I just started a blog and struggle with how much I want to share. My dad died recently and I try so hard to refrain from talking about him too much yet at the same time, it IS what I'm dealing with and want to talk about. I guess it's all about finding that balance that makes YOU happy. As someone above said, you may lose readers but I know you'll gain so many more. This post is, by far, one of my favorites of yours because of its honesty, the realness. Thank you for sharing.

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  22. Interesting post. I Created my blog, months ago, but have only just done my first post. The thing that held me back was the question on how much to share and how PG to keep it. In real life I swear like it is punctuation, I question to include or not to include my potty mouth. How to keep a"true" voice? Do I show a warts and all? Or keep it upbeat? Have not found an answer. But since I have not got a readership, does it matter?

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  23. Brave girl—I’m so proud of you for being so vulnerable and honest! Two things resonated with me on today’s post, and I feel compelled to write my first “real comment.” I’m in love with your blog, for so many reasons, mainly because it’s amazing learning so many new things about an old friend. This afternoon I saw my profile on non-profit organization’s website which I am a board member of, and I freaked out a little when I saw my bio. I immediately sent the President an email with a new and censored profile. I disclosed a personal piece of information in my profile that I have never admitted in a public forum relating to WHY I have such a passion for serving children and especially those with mental health issues. The President responded, “Yours is my favorite. Request rejected! Unless you're really uncomfortable with it.” Sometimes it is uncomfortable to let the public in on things that are personal…but I firmly believe that growth doesn’t happen by staying in your comfort zone. Secondly, I made a big step today in working on my #1 goal of not feeling guilty about so many things, and I never knew that you were struggling with this too. Feeling guilty is something that has taken away some of the pleasure in fully enjoying some of the best times in my life—it’s just nice to know that I’m not alone!

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  24. Danielle, I think it's interesting how similar we are when it comes to writing journals. I grew up with an extremely personal paper journal (still have them all, one for each year since I was 12). I also had a Diaryland account, then a Livejournal account, both of which were slightly less angsty and hilarious (yes, I'm tooting my own horn). Finally, I started the blog I have today. It's less hilarious (sadly, maybe I'm just more lame), less personal, more journalistic. I record the moments I think are worth recording and are not oversharing. The rest of them? Well, I still have those paper journals, you know.

    But I've been thinking about blogging a lot lately. I even wrote a post where I asked my readers to come out of hiding and leave a comment because I know they're there, dammit! I kind of feel like there isn't much purpose blogging without a community. If I wanted to write for myself without feedback, I wouldn't publish online.

    Anyway, didn't mean to hijack your comments. Just wanted you to know your post hit home with me.

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  25. This is all I've been thinking about lately. Privacy, sharing, how things would be different if this or if that. I don't have any conclusions at all, but I guess this is a topic that's often on all of our minds. It's all a matter of choices.
    Like all of your readers, I love your blog and think that your writing is the best part.
    XO. elsie

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  26. I love the blog and your writing. It's great to read something that's written well.

    I think you should post more of the stuff that isn't perfect and pretty. Sometimes we all need to hear the other side to know that we're not alone over there. Sometimes things aren't perfect and it's nice to know that the seemingly perfect blog world can go through that too.

    But I do have to say that yours is one of the blogs I consistently enjoy and look forward to reading. Even if it's just a "currently" post or a few pics from your weekend. You can tell that you really love your life and there is nothing wrong with that. So keep sharing, cause I love reading it.

    -Diana
    http://designedbyDiana.blogspot.com

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  27. this is a great post. yes, that's true writing sometimes is like a theraphy. When i sad, i will more writing. Keep sharing. I love your blog
    ! Irene Wibowo

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  28. First of all, I have to tell you that I really admire you for being so transparent and honest with yourself and with us. I love your blog and all that you share in it. It is very inspiring and the way you write is amazing. You do whats feels right for you, what your heart and gut feels is the best, just keep listening to that. You are really unique and we all are full of contradictions, we are humans and we are in this journey to love, learn, share and enjoy! You have become such a great and special person in my life (even though I have not meet you personally) and I will always be grateful to you for all you teach me, for all the motivation and inspiration you give, and specially for always being you... just you! Go girl!!! Hugs!!
    Leandra Mesa

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  29. the thing I enjoy most about reading blogs is the realness to it. I only enjoy blogs that are obviously truly from/about a person's life. While DIY stuff can be fun, that's not my cup of tea. I don't know if it's because I was also huge into the LJ, but I just want to read closer to that. I think your blog is a great one. I love that you can hear your voice, and you are such a talented writer. I would also love more if you wanted to share more. My blog is fairly personal, but then again I don't have a big readership or sponsors. I also don't get it out via paper anymore, and maybe I should. Anyway, I have successfully rambled.

    -clare

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  30. I think your "whole mess of thoughts" have touched a whole lot of nerves, judging from these comments. And I'm sure you are not alone in struggling to find a balance between vulnerability and authenticity on a blog, alongside maintaining your own privacy, and respecting the privacy of your family. I know it's a struggle for me, and sometimes I edit too much. As a fiction writer, I have it so much easier OUTSIDE the blog. In fiction, I can expose myself and lay myself utterly bare, wearing the mask of one of my characters. Oh for that luxury in a blog.

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  31. thank you for being so open and honest. beautiful beautiful post!

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  32. Danielle, thank you for being so honest with us. I actually just wrote a post on my blog yesterday that revealed way more than I have in a while. Usually I just have time to post pictures with related commentary and I call it good. But so much has been happening with me in my life that I felt like I had to write about it. So many times we sugarcoat things because we think people don't want to hear about it, but often hearing about someone else's struggles, thoughts, feelings makes us feel less alone. I got a couple of nice responses to my post (on Facebook ... for some reason I get very few comments on my blog, though that could be because I have an exceedingly small readership), and it made my day to know that I made some of my friends feel less alone.

    With that said, I love your blog; it's actually the only one I consistently read anymore. Do what feels right to you; that's all anyone can ask of you. And keep up the great work!

    With love,
    Nicole
    www.notperfectbutbeautifullife.blogspot.com

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  33. I've been reading your blog for a while, but have yet to comment. I wanted to take the time to say that I look forward to reading your posts every day....even if they are "superficial". However, I do agree that it would be nice to hear some more candid thoughts. You are such an amazing write and have a great way of stating your thoughts/feelings without coming off as preachy/condescending.

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  34. Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing! I love your perspective. I think as bloggers it needs to be a good balance - some days you talk about shoes, or everyday things like what we eat, where we go. Sometimes it's just nice to get personal!

    Diana
    http://readingrubytuesday.blogspot.com/

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  35. Hi Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing. This is definitely something I think a lot about too. It's always a little scary to put more personal stuff out there, however, I actually really like when bloggers share the occasional post that isn't all peachy and perfect. Definitely makes them seem more real and easy to relate to. I'm trying to remember this with my own blog. Good luck with finding the balance! Your blog is great!:)

    Cari

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  36. This is always something I struggle with. I want my blog to be an online diary, documenting my life & inspiration, but sometimes I'm so guarded on my blog I realise it isn't really a true reflection of my life. I feel under pressure often that my blog should be a happy, lovely place that if I'm having a bad time, I should hide it. And at the same time, I don't think I want my blog to be too personal as some things I want to keep private. But if I catch myself writing posts that are too rose tinted, I will try and write a little more honestly, and show not everything is perfcet and lovely all of the time. But it is difficult to know how far I should go and how honestly I should write sometimes, so this post was really interesting to read! Thank you for writing your thoughts on the subject, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way when blogging x x

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  37. In addition to my blog I keep a Word Document Journal and several notebooks handy. Like you, I've written all my life for just myself. I love pouring back through my Word Journal or my bad poetry from high school. It reminds me of who I am as a writer and like you, sometimes I feel like I'm crossing the line into unauthentic territory. There is definitely a fine line between sharing/letting people in and sharing WAY too much. I think every blogger will forever be toeing that line in one aspect or another. I appreciate the light and fluffy posts and the real ones. It just takes that special kind of balance.

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  38. I used to blog what feels like forever ago. Before it turned into this HUGE thing.. where it seems like everyone is a 'blogger' now a days. I thought I did pretty fun things, and I have a bad memory so it just made sense for me to put it all down, and the people that followed it really seemed to enjoy it, which made me like doing it even more. This is talking like back in 2004 or 05 i can't even remember the site, i think it was Blog-City? They were changing their site and were either going to start deleting your blogs or start charging you. It was so hard, but I let them delete it, this was like 2007 and I had gone through so many life changes on that blog... and I started a new fresh one from 2007-2009 of crazy fun travelling adventures... and when I 'settled' on my job, and with my fiancé I just slowly stopped sharing.
    I don't know if it was because I felt I couldn't offer up the same carefree fun times that people liked to read about/live vicariously though and that no one wanted to read about day to day life working and dating my future husband. Or, if I got too busy living real life and didn't have the time to share anything anyway. (Sidenote: I just went to check and re-read some posts from my 2007-2009 blog from driving across the country and realized it's gone! That's sad, because like I said I have a horrible memory. I have another one I tried to start for crafty endeavours but gave up on that as well)

    Long story short!!!: I understand trying to find the balance of enjoying sharing and living just to live (and not to share). It pretty much fizzled my love of blogging.

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  39. I started out on Livejournal, too! I also have tons of old (and incredibly embarrassing) paper journals around here somewhere. I really need to find those and.. lock them up lol!

    Ashley

    http://youaremy-sonshine.blogspot.com

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  40. I've had a blog on and off for ages, and I keep giving it up because I don't feel authentic in it. I, too, just looked back at one of my embarrassing old journals where i wrote angsty stuff. It surprised me so much that while it seemed stupid at the time, looking back it's one of the few things I've written that conveys emotions. I'm a thinker and for the past four years the only writing I've had to do for school has been labs, so it's weird to think that I could write something that conveys emotion.

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  41. My favorite blogs to read are the ones that feel a little warts-and-all, that feel like their authors live lives comparable to mine, not overly glossy, weird Cosmo lives. I think that's part of the appeal of blogs as opposed to magazines. I just started a blog and it's definitely something I'm trying to keep in mind, I've already squelched the urge to skip over the parts that weren't as pretty or bouncy a couple of times! I love your writing and your blog and I hope you find a balance between honest and naked that's right for you.

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  42. Remember you got readers because we do care and like what you have to say! :) If people don't like it, they don't have to read. Your honest posts are raw and refreshing! It is nice to know that others think the same way we think sometimes! (I hope that made sense) Even though not many of us know you, we care about you and love your posts!

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  43. Hello, I came over from Kitty & Buck. I actually did a tiny "personal" post this week. I am sick of living my life censored. I actually was seeking advise from my readers. I used to journal like crazy and I actually miss it. I am going to start again. I find myself very sad lately because of the world and environmental issues. I blog about it because it's MY VOICE. I love it when blogger's are honest. Those are the blogs I follow. I read a few months ago on a blog that you shouldn't "air your dirty laundry" on your blog, or ever be negative. I don't agree with that at all!!!!

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  44. But on the other end I feel like a weirdo stalker for following your daily life and "getting to know" someone on the other side of the world who doesn't know I exist. That's the weird thing about blogging! I'd say just write what's in your heart - if we aren't "in to" that particular post we can stop reading it. You might lose some but you might gain some. I'm at a point in my own blog where I could turn it from purely informative to more personal, but unsure if I want to take that step!!

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  45. This is a really nice post, Danielle. I sometimes feel bad that I share TOO MUCH. That I am too negative and share too much about what I am feeling. I am going through hard times mentally, anxiety, kind of depression wise and I sometimes feel that maybe it's inappropriate to share so much about that on a blog for everyone to see. But I want to be honest and I think that it's not really being myself if I don't tell it all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  46. I've only been blogging for a few months and have a handful of followers, but I totally get this already. I try and maintain a positive space but sometimes, you just feel down. And then you face the dilemma of bringing everybody else down, stepping away or being inauthentic. It's tough to judge what other people want to read, I guess. Keep doing what you do - you're doing it right :)

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  47. This is a lovely post.

    Just like you, I've always been a diary-writer. I started writing diaries at 10 and I still do occasionally. They were an outlet for my emotions. I also had a Diaryland diary for a couple of years but I deleted it when my boyfriend at the time discovered it. I wish I hadn't. Like you, I recently found my angsty poetry and it was, frankly, embarrassing!

    I still have my diaries so I write all my personal malarkey in there. It means I get to keep my blog cheery but perhaps that's not honest enough? I don't know.

    Becky
    xx

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