Friday, July 13, 2007

:: Why I Blog ::

I wrote a few weeks ago about satisfaction. At the end of my post, I quoted Emory University psychiatrist Gregory Berns, who argues that “satisfaction is an emotion that captures the uniquely human need to impart meaning to one’s activities.”

This is why I blog. Because even more than writing for myself in a journal, where I tend to focus on chronicling rather than reflecting on my experiences, blogging for a perceived (if not always actual) audience forces me to think about my life and my experiences more than anything else I do. Writing my dissertation requires me to think about books and how they work, and occasionally the reading I do for that sparks an interesting thought about the sort of person I am (see my September 2006 post on “The Will to Art”). And one of the things I love most about Hubby is that we often have what others would teasingly call “deep conversations” about ourselves, our childhoods, our fears, our surprisingly firmly-held beliefs about the tidy or untidy state of garages. But in large part, I live an uncritical and unreflective life. And this when self-critique and self-reflection give me such pleasure. I really enjoy coming to a new insight about my own situation, and I enjoy the work of conveying those insights. It delights me to think that someone might read what I write and see something new.

During these early weeks of parenthood, blogging provides me other benefits, as well. It helps me process all the changes that are occurring and to think critically about what this new life is and will be like. It also provides me a break from nursing, napping, and picking up around the house. Taking an hour to come to the basement and write helps me feel like I'm keeping some part of my life just for me and no one else. I know some women embark on early-morning jogs that help them stay sane. Me, I'm happy to take Evan on my walks. But taking this time to blog helps me feel like myself. Finally, keeping this blog lets me document these early weeks. I haven't put pen to paper once since I was in the hospital with Evan, other than to write thank you notes, and without writing here I wouldn't have documented a single thing yet about delivery, coming home, etc.


All of this is why I am trying to expand my blog horizons. Until now, I have imagined this blog to be a place where people who know me come to learn something about what’s going on in my life and in my mind. I know my mom reads it, and occasionally a friend tells me that she’s read a few posts and enjoyed them. But I think I’m ready for a wider audience. As I embark on this giant adventure called Being a Mom, I like the idea of thinking of my role not only for what it means in my daily life, but also for what it means in a larger cultural setting. How are my experiences typical? How are they different? What do they tell me about my place in the grand scheme of things?