So, I haven't really been writing much lately--not that I ever did. But, all of this inclement weather has me feeling...pensive? thoughtful? pent-up? I can't quite put my finger on it but, when I saw the questions posted on GITW it seemed like the thing to do.
1 | How would you describe your presence on the internet? Does your online voice differ from your real life voice? If so, how? And why?
Regarding my online presence, the words 'lurk' and 'tentative' come to mind. Sadly, this isn't all that different from real-life (even before my daughter died). My online voice, however, is nothing at all like my real-life voice. On my blog I'm all "looking for significance" and "trying to create meaning" and "trying to understand things." This extends to emails I send to bloggers or comments that I leave. It's not a natural fit for me. In real-life I come off more like a self-righteous know-it-all (with a heart...and a reasonably well-developed sense of humor.
When I sit down and confront R's death head-on, I can't seem to access my know-it-allness or my sense of humor...hence, the difference.
2 | Why did you begin blogging, or reading blogs? Was this before or after your experience of babyloss?
I don't think I ever intentionally read a blog before R died. I knew that they were out there and I maybe stumbled across one while googling friends and acquaintances (ahem). I found Glow and Kate's blog while hunting around online for advice on raising a twinless twin (or maybe I was just out to prove to myself that other people lost babies and survived). I started blogging because I felt like a creep reading about other folks' lives and not sharing any of my own details.
3 | Do you write anonymously? Does anonymity - or would anonymity - change your expression of grief?
Erm...I guess I'm semi-anonymous. I don't feel comfortable using family member or friend names here because everyone should get to tell their own story but I'm fine with using my own...sort of. I think I've either met or corresponded with the handful of people who stop by here and they all know my true identity (and they know why you never see TracyOC in the same room as a certain lady who carries a lasso of truth and wanders around in stars-n-stripe undies...shhh). As far as expressing my grief, I think it's always difficult to be completely honest about the ugliest aspects of babyloss. Anonymity doesn't really make a difference for me.
4 | Do you have a responsibility in how you express yourself on the internet? To whom, and why?
I think this is related to the anonymity issue above. I try not to co-opt my husband's grief or my surviving daughter's experiences. It's like all of that 'I-statement' business about owning your feelings and not accusing other people of things they don't deserve. I try to stay within the boundaries of self-expression.
5 | Do authenticity and honesty matter to you, both as a reader and a writer? Or does unconditional support matter more? How do you think readers perceive your truth?
I don't think that I'm really capable of being dishonest but there are things I don't write about. I'm a lot angrier about R's death than I'd ever admit on the blog (or in real-life). I like to offer unconditional support when I comment on other blogs but I don't really require it for myself. It's more that I'm trying to avoid adding to anyone's emotional burden. I think people read babyloss blogs because they're looking for company and hope and I try to offer that because I currently have it to give.
6 | Have you ever been in the crosshairs of a troll? How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?
Not on my blog...
7 | How do you feel before going online - either to write on your own blog, or to absorb the writing of others? How do you feel when you shut down the computer and walk away?
It's a mixed bag. When I write I usually feel anxious when I start and relaxed when I'm through. If I'm reading, it depends on the content. Sometimes I feel worried and anxious for folks who are struggling. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be as evolved as the people I follow. Most of the time I feel lousy about not leaving enough helpful or supportive comments.
8 | Do family/friends know you write/commune online? If so, have they told you how they feel about it? How do you respond to their opinions?
My husband knows and is supportive (and usually complimentary). If anyone else knows, they're not telling.
9 | Have you ever met any other loss bloggers in real-life? How did it feel to share food and air and space, and how did it make you feel about your own storytelling and healing? If you haven't experienced this, would you want to, or not? Why?
I have and it was really satisfying. There's such a difference between talking to someone who's trying to understand and empathize and talking to someone who doesn't have to try because they already know. I don't really have the words to describe it but it made me feel somehow more capable, sane, and human. Can't recommend it highly enough.
10 | How did you/will you know it's time to read fewer grief blogs, and write less of grief? How did you/will you redirect your energy, creativity, and persona online -- did you/will you go offline? Disappear and start again? Or transition in your current space, hoping to find a new voice? If you've done this, how did it feel?
As far as Mommicked goes, I'm sure that I'll eventually disappear. The online life just isn't for me and, barring another unforeseen personal tragedy, I'm rapidly approaching the 'settled into the new normal' stage of my life. Thus, I'm running out of things to say about grief and I lack the wherewithal to write about other aspects of my life. I don't, however, think I'll ever stop reading other grief blogs. I remember how I felt when I started writing and I want to stick around and listen and try to offer a helping hand for people who are newer to loss and grief.
The sun's up and the dog's crying so it's time to pull on my wellies and head out into the crap weather for a morning walk. And I think I feel a little bit more relaxed than I did an hour ago. It worked!