“So, I’ve been wondering about something,” a friend asked the other day. “How do you discern what you put into your blog and what you leave out? I mean, do you ever feel like you’re being deceptive about what your life is really like?”
Surprisingly, perhaps, I welcomed the question. It’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while now, and being put to the task forced me to formulate my thoughts.
One of the things I enjoy about blogging is that I can create something tidy from a situation that is far from it. It’s true — my days are more often than not filled with chaos in some form or another, but I nearly always feel invigorated by the challenge of pulling out something beautiful or meaningful from whatever the day has brought forth. I think the fact that my life is a bit messy lends itself well to the writing life. Part of the beauty of it all is that I can pick and choose which of the pieces to include and which to leave out.
But the question remains: does this approach lead to insincerity?
I would argue that it does not, and here’s why. Anyone close to me knows just how untidy my life as a mother of five can be. They also know that I’m not inclined toward high organization in some areas – like domestic duties – but that I’m very inclined to it in other areas – like organizing my thoughts on paper. They know how unruly my kids can be at times, particularly when they’re tired or out of routine or stressed, and that I don’t always have a perfect response to that unruliness. But those closest to me also know how hard I’ve worked to make it all work. They know my heart – what makes me sad, what makes me happy. And they accept me, even with all of my imperfections.
Of course, most of my readers don’t know as many of the nitty-gritty details of my real life, but I’ve always taken for granted that most probably assume I’m not Perfect Patty. Most readers know that I don’t report on every ugly little happening that occurs in the Salonen household, and, I also assume that most readers wouldn’t want to hear it anyway.
I decided early on that I wanted my blog to be uplifting to other parents, other writers, other faith-seekers. That doesn’t mean I’m not being true or honest when I don’t report on the less cheery aspects of my life. Though this blog might be an online journal of sorts, I do write with a readership in mind. And I suspect that the majority of that readership is not visiting my blog to hear about every negative tidbit that has come my way, but to receive some insight, a renewed perspective, or just something to make them smile. If, in skipping over some of the less tidy aspects of my life here, I am somehow giving the impression I have a spot-free life, then let me state my disclaimer outright: I am far from perfect, and my life is far from it as well. My intent is not to deceive but to bring whatever splashes of beauty and hope I can to others.
I have to admit, too, that when I write about the good things that have happened throughout the day, I give myself a little lift, too. I offer myself the same bit of hope that I am trying to bring others. And when I do bring up some of the more trying aspects of life, it’s almost always only if I know there’s a speck of positivity to be gained from doing so.
I love having the chance to touch others through my writing, singing and other ways I reach out. But if you’re looking for Flawless Franny, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for Real Roxane who’s reaching for the positive amidst the mess, you’ve come to the right place.
So, thanks to my friend, who gave me the chance to think about how I would write the caveat I’ve always felt should be stated out loud. Peace Garden Mama is my vision, not my reality, and I love recognizing and taking time to cherish the blossoms of life, big and small, whenever they open themselves to me.
If you’re a blogger, how do you discern what stays and what goes?