A friend asked me once why I keep an online journal. She has a daughter close to my age who also keeps a blog and she just doesn't understand the concept. At the time, I couldn't really explain my reasoning, but I thought I'd give it another try here.
Basically, it's a process of living out loud. I first came across this idea when reading other people's blogs, most notably Crazy Aunt Purl. For so many aspects of life these days, and maybe for the history of civilized society, we are required to put up a front, maintain a facade of polite behavior and situationally correct expression. Since I am neither always polite nor hardly ever situationally correct, I often find myself stifled, with no acceptable outlet.
Then was born the blog. Cue the angelic chorus. This blog, this online journal, is my link to sanity, especially as I've faced some of the difficult and necessary hurdles of growing up and getting a grip. In the past year, and even longer than that, I've begun to embrace the idea of living out loud. Perhaps not in the middle of a dinner party, but certainly here in this virtual place. It has simply become too hard to keep up all the facades of polite society all the time without having a way to let them all go, too.
It's a place to think, to vent, to belly-ache and belly-laugh, whenever and for whatever reason I need. As I've grown more reclusive in the past months, it's a way for me to still communicate without the weight of social niceties. In this place, too, I am free to say what I please and how I feel without worrying what anyone else thinks. That doesn't mean that I go out of my way to be offensive and obnoxious, just that I find a freedom of expression online that does not always exist in the real world. If someone doesn't like it? Then the way out is just a click away.
Mostly, though, I keep a blog because I like to write and sometimes I want people to read what I write, for any vast number of reasons. I also have a private journal, handwritten purges of thought that are not meant for public consumption. But this journal is my way of sharing, communicating and reaching out.
In a lot of ways, it's simply a way of saying, "Hey, I'm still here."