Reflections from my first week of blogging:
Blogging is addictive. It starts out innocently enough (“Hmmmm, wonder how this works”), but progresses rapidly (“Is this my second or third post for the day?”), and if not treated quickly, can lead to Blogger Envy (“How come I’m the only one who has zero comments?”). It also confirms my belief that I am–at heart–a lonely person.
Some possible reasons:
My brother and sister are seven and five years older than me, respectively. I remember early on devising ways of entertaining myself and playing alone. It’s not that I didn’t have friends (though I come from a family that seems preternaturally predisposed to shyness). It was fairly easy for me to make friends at school. But when I was at home my brother and sister were often involved in their own interests, and it felt natural enough to rely on my imagination for play. Solitary pursuits became a way of life for me.
I was also an avid reader by second grade, with no small amount of encouragement from my parents. I read the biographies of every American president in the school library by 4th grade, and hounded my mom to let me order books of my own through scholastic book services. Losing myself in other people’s stories and ideas was possibly my first real addiction, and the more I did it, the more it fed the literary fire in me. I was the skinny kid with glasses sitting on the grass reading during recess, while my more athletic and coordinated classmates hashed it out playing kickball.
My greatest achievements as a child and teenager were academic in nature (not counting the time I was second chair violin in the all-city “Super Strings” orchestra when I was 12). By fifth grade the writing bug had not merely bitten but chomped on me, and I began falling in love with composition books and the seduction their blank pages held.
Writing was how I tried to make sense of my inner and outer worlds, and so it is today.
Given everything I’ve just said, at first glance one might consider my chosen profession as a psychotherapist to be odd. After all, I see and talk to many people every week; my work keeps me in close contact with others, often in a very intense fashion. But think about it. Although the relationships I have with my clients tend to be deep and complex, they are contained within the carefully proscribed limits as defined by the ethics and laws that govern my profession. My role as a therapist is to hear, reflect back to, guide, and sometimes advocate on behalf of my clients. At the end of a busy day, I may experience a sense of satisfaction if I feel I have somehow helped even one of the several people I have seen. But often I still feel alone in a deep and inexplicable way.
Which circles me back to blogging. Although I said in my first post today that I blog only for myself and don’t care whether anyone else ever sees what I write here, that’s not true. I write because I have to, because it feels nearly as automatic as breathing. But I write also because I want to be known and understood. I write because I want to maintain a connection, however tenuous, with the rest of my tribe.