Mamacita says: I’ve been blogging for six years now, and it has changed me. Even the way I blogged in the beginning has changed. I think that part has changed for a lot of people.
When most of us first started putting bits and pieces of ourselves “out there” for “strangers” to see, we didn’t use our real names. We made up fake or cute names for ourselves, and for our spouses and children, too. After all, the internet is huge and strange and full of dark, creepy neighborhoods and “iffy” people, and if nobody knew who we really were, we felt safer. Well, I did. Now, most of us don’t bother with the original fake names; we use our real names because everybody knows anyway. Heck, pole dancers are coming out of the woodwork these days, trying to buy “Mamacita” from me, but they can’t have it. Not officially, anyway. They can sign their posts that way but they can’t have the url’s or the Twitter name.
But, most of you know who I am now. I don’t mind. I like it. Some of you know where I live because you’ve been here, and that makes me happy, too.
Fake internet names. It’s almost funny now.
Then something happened.
Those internet strangers. . . they turned into real people. Then the real people turned into real people with actual names and locations. And then, well, then. . . a lot of them turned into real and actual friends.
Not just people with whom we exchanged advice and ideas and conversation, but friends.
I know there are those who do not believe an internet friend is the same thing as a real-life friend, but they are wrong. In fact, I think we sometimes end up knowing more about an internet friend – assuming (and we have to assume this) – that we’re all telling the truth about ourselves – and I think we are. Oh, there’s the occasional scam. I’ve been scammed that way myself twice, BIG TIME.
This made me perhaps a bit more wary, but ultimately, I trust people because that’s how people become trustworthy, and I know that 99.99% of the blogosphere- at least the neighbors I’m familiar with – is populated with awesome people, and I’m proud to know them.
Proud to know them, both online and off. Yes, I’ve met many of my online friends for realz, as the kids say, and it’s bloody awesome when that happens.
Conventions, conferences, meetings, Tweet-ups. . . . these are safe and convenient ways to meet online acquaintances and friends, but let me tell you something. When someone you have come to know well and like and love to talk to invites you out to visit, that’s a happening one never forgets. It’s a blind friendship date, and mine turned out wonderfully. You know who you are, you wonderful, beautiful, fabulous people you.
But I digress.
Blogging has changed me. It has encouraged me to be retrospective, to look inward and find ideas I didn’t even know I had. It has helped me understand myself and other people. It has forced me to look at things I’ve done, or that other people did, with fresh eyes. It has helped me forgive. It has made me look closely and from afar, because both microscope and telescope are equally important. It has helped me deal with various situations. It has renewed my trust in people. It has helped me find myself, and others.
Part of these changes came naturally, as a result of this new way of looking at and expressing myself. However, some of the changes came in another way.
Total strangers who had something to say about what I had said. People who were kind, and unkind, and full of wonderful advice. People who came back to this blog again and again, like people with something in common who meet for lunch. Occasionally someone told me off, which I occasionally needed. People made accusations, and yelled at me with capital letters. Sometimes my daughter and sister commented, telling me that my personal view of a situation or occurrence wasn’t necessarily the only one. We all need to be reminded of THAT, you know. It helped. All of it helped.
In other words, after six years of blogging, I think I know myself better. I think I understand other people a little better. I think I’m able to look back at certain situations with a more understanding eye. I’ve “met” people who were hurting much more than I was, people who were much more talented than I am, people who were WAY nicer than I am, people who were mean and hateful and dishonest, people who were kind and loving and genuine, people whose creative talent made me stand up in awe, people I’ve actually really met, people I can’t wait to meet, people who banded together and raised money for someone in need who they’d never actually met, people who were hurting, people who were helping, people who were living in the Blogosphere as if it were an actual neighborhood (which it IS), people I’m now working for, people I’d love to work for, people I like so much there simply are no words. . . . .
Before I moved to the Blogosphere, my world was pretty limited. I taught in the same room in the same building all day and then I went home. Sometimes, after school, I waited tables all night and cooked in a deli all weekend. We never had much money. Every day was pretty much the same, and I’d been working with the same people for years and years. It’s not just online that people are fooled about other people.
Once I moved into the blogosphere, though, my entire life was different. I had a different job, different schedule, different EVERYTHING, including a different outlook on life. It took a little while to let my guard down and trust people, but once I did, it was liberating. It was like one of those corny commercials that show a woman running along the beach, arms uplifted, living the moment. It seriously was. And we all know that most corny things are also true things.
Anyway, now that Scheiss Weekly is six years old, I wanted to thank you all for freeing me from the cage in which I was apparently living, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. A public school teacher is a slave, and I’m not kidding, and most of them don’t even know it until they leave and start doing something else. But that’s another post, isn’t it.
I am free, and doing work I LOVE, and meeting all kinds of people and finding them awesome. Nobody will ever cage me again. And if I want to show my students that all things are in some way connected, I damn well will and nobody can stop me.
I love my blog. I love the Blogosphere. I love the people I’ve met through this blog and through people I met through this blog. They are real. We are all real The Blogosphere is real. It is here, and it is now, and it is here to stay. Twitter and Facebook, etc, are all wonderful and I like them and I use them but ultimately, somehow, it always comes back to the blog. Some things need more than 140 characters to be said properly.
This is a long post. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you. Corny, sentimental mush? Oh, sure. I’m good at that; just ask my kids.
But just so you know it’s really me. . . . . BEHAVE YOURSELVES!