Ever find yourself writing a note or an e-mail and giving a piece of yourself; a piece that has never been given to another - to a complete stranger? It is an odd feeling. It is not as difficult as one might imagine as you know that regardless of a person knowing your name and other details, there is a safety in the reality that you will probably never meet; probably never talk; and you can, if necessary, just pretend it never happened.
E-mail, and the internet in general provide a kind of distance. At a point, we feel like we know someone and yet... we know the person only through the words they choose to post. Sometimes I think that is what blogging is - a sort of mask that allows people to write and speak the truth.
Sure, we might know real names and be able to find one another if the desire presented itself. But, for the most part, we don't. We have a mask of some sorts, be it distance or the ability to use our words to only give part of us to the world. This keeps us safe; it allows us to speak honestly where we might not otherwise.
Some use this mask to live a fantasy world - a world that they would like to be true. Others, speak the truth and entrust ourselves to the universe and the internet.
One day a friend of mine sent me this:
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.. - Oscar Wilde
He never does anything like this and meant it as an inside joke. Hours later I found myself entrusting a piece of my heart to a complete stranger finding a sense of comfort and safety in distance and anonymity, and then feeling so completely and utterly exposed. What an odd feeling.
Many give much of themselves via what they write. They share themselves so honestly and openly. They tell us their daily feelings and emotions without hesitation. We know what is happening. I have never been one of those people. There are posts that I sit on for weeks at a time; some never find their way to the internet.
For me, the posts have always been about getting things off my mind. It is an attempt to capture the thoughts that circle through my head, quiet the voices, and in the process, perhaps gain the thoughts and perspectives of others. I have never been out to make money, stir things up, or even put myself out there. It just isn't me.
In e-mail, I am much more me - not the me that is masked, but the me that connects my brain and my heart to my fingers. An e-mail is often an extension of myself; it is stream of conscious; it is unedited and often sent without hesitation or further contemplation.
An E-mail tells a lot about me but does the blog? I often wonder, from behind my mask, what I am revealing? How much of me is on display for the world to read and know? By reading through 400 posts, how well does a person know... me?