When I started blogging, on some level at least I wanted to become internet famous. I’m not sure why exactly, as I’m fairly sure that fame would make me thoroughly miserable. Some of it was about wanting my voice to be heard, which on some level I still want, or I wouldn’t be trying to build a career as a writer. But I think a lot of it was to do with having mixed feelings about people I had been at university with. I started blogging less than a year after I came down from Oxford and I had a lot of confusing (to me) feelings of anger, frustration, loneliness, friendship and maybe love towards various people which I had failed to make known to anyone in person. I think I hoped in some way that I would become known through my writing (at the time I was too depressed to become known in any other way) and people would find out. I’m not really sure what I thought/hoped they would feel or do.

A small part of me still feels like this, but it’s mostly transferred itself to my novel-writing ambitions. I think I keep those feelings reasonably in perspective these days, although there probably is a part of me that at least sometimes wants people I know to intuit my life story and battles with depression and autism from my writing, which is a dangerous thing to hope. Still, this does mean that my blog writing is more for myself nowadays.

When I wanted to be internet famous, I never had many followers (or friends, as they were called on Livejournal). Paradoxically, in the last year or two, as I’ve decided I write primarily for myself, to record my activity, thoughts and feelings each day, I have gained more readers. I’m now approaching 500, which is a milestone I didn’t expect to reach. I know many of these followers are spammy and others don’t actually read anything, but quite a number ‘like’ and comment on posts. I now have what I wanted years ago, when I was in the pits of depression, which is a place where I can post how I feel honestly and people will be supportive. I don’t mean that to sound mercenary or manipulative. I’m not trying to provoke positive comments, I’m just aware that people usually leave them and grateful for that.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I know my posts have become more repetitive and less interesting as my mental health has stabilised somewhat, and that today’s post is probably tedious and certainly short (or it was, until I appended this introduction), so I’m sorry for that.

***

I spent the morning volunteering, packing food parcels, which was fine, but we ran out of vegetables, which was sad, as those people aren’t going to get as much as they should, although I think we made sure that everyone got something.

I tried to work on my devar Torah (Torah thought) after lunch. After thinking the last two weeks’ divrei Torah were too reliant on my own untested ideas, I think this one is based too much on other peoples’ thoughts. I can’t really win. In any case, I was very tired and struggled to think coherently and will need to finish it off tomorrow. If I get this tired after spending a morning volunteering, I worry how I will cope when I’m working two days a week as well. I successfully avoided Twitter during the afternoon, but ended up reading an old article from The Atlantic on the QAnon conspiracy theory, until I realised it was just making me fret about American society without being able to do anything, so I stopped reading. I do worry about a country that combines so many conspiracy theorists with so many guns – it’s not a good combination.

***

A couple of things about volunteering today: I was putting tea lights in little bags that would then be put in bigger bags to be distributed with food (the tea lights were to be used as Shabbat candles). It was a repetitive job and there were several of us doing it. A couple of the other volunteers started chatting while they were doing it. It was clear from their conversation that they I had never met before, and I marvelled at how easily the spoke to each other and made small talk. I feel like whenever I try to do that, people can notice that I’m reading from a mental “script” and that after two or three minutes, I run out of things to say or start repeating myself.

The person who runs the volunteering side of the organisation wanted me to do a particular task which I hadn’t done before. Then before I could do anything, she said I “looked lost” and gave me a different, easier, job to do instead. I think she probably made the right decision, but I am not sure what to think about the fact that my thoughts and emotions are very easy to read on my face, even though I was wearing a mask, whereas I can’t read other people’s emotions at all. I know it’s autism that stops me reading other people, but I feel that the fact that I’m so easy to read gives other people an unfair advantage!

I had some thoughts that could easily have slipped towards OCD, thoughts about taking responsibility for things that are not my responsibility and about COVID contamination, but I recognised these thoughts for what they were and kept them under control, which was good. Nietzsche described mental illness as being “fierce dogs in the cellar.” Lately the dogs have been fairly quiet for me, but today they were barking again. Not too loudly, but enough to remind me that they’re still there.

***

This year is the first since I was a very young child where I haven’t worn a poppy for the British Legion. Some years I had lost it by the time armistice day came around, but I always wore one at some point. I did give them a donation online this year, but because of lockdown I haven’t been out much and haven’t seen anyone collecting in the street or collection tins in shops. Beyond the actual donation, I like to wear it to show empathy with those killed or wounded in action or bereaved by war. I guess it’s something else that 2020 has forced on us.

34 thoughts on “Blogging for Myself

  1. “I do worry about a country that combines so many conspiracy theorists with so many guns – it’s not a good combination.” You better believe it. We are headed toward a coup attempt in my opinion. Terrifying. I too blog mostly for myself, although only when I feel like it. For a while it was every day and it’s still much more frequently than it used to be. Prior to the pandemic it was probably a couple times a week. Now I feel like I need the connection and to work through my emotions.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think the US is headed for a coup, because I don’t think democracy is extinguished that fast and I don’t think there’s a substantial bloc in the military that would support a coup. It’s been a habit of parts of the American public to talk about an imminent Fascist takeover since the 60s, without anything happening. I do think more random mass shootings are likely though.

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      1. I’m not thinking of a bloody coup, but a way that they will deviously overturn the election results in certain states to give Trump the win. More like this definition of coup d’etat: “…this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.” I think you’re right about the mass shootings and armed protests.

        Liked by 1 person

              1. I had a disastrous relationship with my mother in law so I cannot really help there. She needed me to be a successful professional woman and I was not – I was not the eight armed goddess.

                Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s your space, so no matter if you’re repetitive …

    And it’s not manipulative. One of the biggest needs every human being has is to be heard and seen. You are heard and seen here… even if not by everyone every day, by someone, someday.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think this is also my first year not wearing a poppy.

    I think confused is one of the easier facial expressions to pick up. Depression flattens my affect, so I don’t show much, but my brother seems to be able to detect confusion pretty easily.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I could have written your first paragraph nearly word for word about myself. I have sort of grown out of the desire to be famous, but also haven’t quite grown out of it.

    Blogging (based on the almost two months I’ve been doing it) is sort of an odd combination of writing for oneself and writing for an audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My face is apparently easier to read these days, compared to back when I was really unwell. Somehow that’s scary, like losing a layer of protection. I’m bad at reading faces and rely on other body language as well as the person’s tone of voice.

    As for being internet famous, I used to want that until I started getting awful threats online as a teenager, and then discovered some places where people dox others and post all kinds of hateful stuff, so I don’t ever want to be _that_ internet famous. Though, I wouldn’t mind being sorta famous on WordPress among a certain small circle here? 🙂

    I think online friendships are as real as offline friendships. I always say the internet saved my life, really, because I would have been dead from suicide when I was younger if it wasn’t for internet friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s a bit scary when people can read you so well.

      Wow, I’m sorry that you get threats online. I haven’t had anything like that.

      I think online friendships are real, but somehow more fragile than offline. People can just vanish online in a way that is harder in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on the blogging milestone. You have a lot of followers and a lot of people who comment, which is nice. Even nicer, though, is that you’ve found that it’s beneficial and that you value it in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

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