We’ve now been in England for about two years, which means that we’ve been writing this blog for about two years as well. Reflecting on the blog together, I feel a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, it’s great to have a record of some of the high points in our lives for the last two years. There have been some great experiences, some hilarious stories, and a few lessons learned that we’re glad we’ve written down.
On the other hand, a quick look at the various posts we’ve done shows just how piecemeal and fragmentary this account of our lives has been. One of our goals in creating this blog was to use our writing as a medium for processing our day to day life experiences in church, marriage, work, and school. In hindsight, the public nature of the blog really works against the sort of openness that would make such personal self-disclosure compelling for our readers. Rachael was talking about this with me, and it got me thinking. We’ve tried to present an accurate picture of who we are and what our lives are like, but we’re not sure that the projection of us on this blog really matches the reality.
Maybe it does. I don’t know. Rachael’s blogging persona accurately captures her vivid story-telling and her sense of humor. I think the blog also captures some of Rachael’s sentimentality. I’m not sure the blog really reflects Rachael’s more serious side. In particular, I don’t think the blog really conveys how passionately opinionated Rachael is about important things in life like church, adoption, politics, or Taylor Swift.
On the flip side, I think my blogging persona captures some of the more contemplative side of my personality, and it gives a pretty good window into the nuts and bolts of my academic work. It also gives occasional glimpses into our church involvement and social life. But it doesn’t really reveal much else, aside from the basic itinerary of our travels and leisure activities. I wonder whether a reader of this blog would really know what I’m passionate about if they didn’t know me from outside the blog?
I also wonder whether the blog projects a static picture of us as people? Does it show when we change or how we change? From my perspective, it’s hard to tell. Sometimes the blog shows the end result of some gradual shifts in our lives, but I don’t know whether it reflects any of the process. For instance, Rachael announced that she now wants to open an event-planning business when she returns to the US. That’s really the outworking of a whole bunch of successes and failures, experiences and interactions. It’s a reflection of all sorts of other changes in Rachael, but I think the whole complexity and dynamic of the picture is more or less flattened into a simple announcement.
I just wonder whether the blog gives an impression of certainty or confidence or put-togetherness that doesn’t accurately reflect the messy realities of life. I think some of that may be unavoidable in all of life, especially in biographical writing, but I think the particular medium of blogging is particularly prone to distorted self-projection. Even this post itself reflects only the picture of me that I allow for it to convey. No one but me knows whether I’ve been thinking about this for months or whether I sat down in front of the computer today and spontaneously produced this blog post off the top of my head in the last 30 minutes. If I say it’s the latter, nobody knows whether I’m telling the truth.
Even if we try to present an accurate picture of our lives on this blog, how accurate will it be? Do I even know myself? Does it matter, or will an accurate picture of me emerge from the blog despite my best efforts to conceal it?
I guess this post is unravelling. Here’s my conclusion: Blogging, in some ways, intensifies the challenges of integrity and truth-telling and introspection that are actually important for all of life in community. There’s less accountability, and participation is entirely voluntary. I hope we’ve been able to present an accurate picture of the last couple of years, even if that picture has been fragmentary…Or is that just want I want you to think?