Taking notes

I can’t really put my finger on why I feel compelled to blog. Just like that option about relationships on Facebook, it’s complicated.

I do like to think of myself as a storyteller and if I can get a few laughs along the way, all the better.

Perhaps Mr Morley, my 6th Grade teacher, is part of it. Even since he kindly but succinctly critiqued my attempt at a retelling of “Goldilocks & The Three Bears” – Michelle, I appreciate your hard work but your writing is verbose – I’ve felt the need to hone my writing skills.

Maybe it’s a way of quieting the voices in my head. I find putting thoughts into words on a page brings clarity and some sense of order.

My love affair with blogging actually started about eight years ago. I was going through (what I hope will be) the most disastrous time in my life. I had the trifecta – career; family; marriage – all in the shitter. There’s no nicer way to put it. Everything was crappy.

I was suffering deep anxiety and depression at the time (of course, had no idea that’s what it was) and I credit taking up writing in a journal for helping me through those really tough days.  I committed to writing one page per day, last thing at night.

At first, it was so very, very trite. My entries read like that nasty classic “What I did in my holidays”. It was just a recount of what I’d done for the day.

At the same time, I discovered you could actually do this on the internet and I started my own blog – The Blah-Blah. Nothing controversial. No deep inner revelations. No dark secrets. It was just like my journal – dull and boring and nothing at all of the real me in there.

Some time later I re-read both the early days of my journal and my blog, knowing full well what was really going on, and I could see how much of a liar I was. There was no hint of any distress at all. They were positively dripping with sweetness and ‘hail-fellow-well-met”.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Then the shit really hit the fan. My dad died. And all the crap came spilling out as life as I knew it exploded around me.

Finally, my journal did what it was supposed to do. It released all the pent-up angst, all the hurt, all the sorrow. Some nights I struggled to condense it all onto just one page.

Unfortunately, my blog took a turn for the worse as well, diving into diatribe. I took a good look at it one day and deleted the whole thing. It had become nothing more than a moan about things that were either out of my control or of my own doing. I felt embarrassed to have all that out for public display.

I kept my journals (there ended up being 5 of them) buried in the back of my cupboard for a few years. I made NIH promise to find them and burn them if I died. He knew everything about me so I wasn’t worried about him reading them (it’s one of the reasons I love him dearly – he knows it all and loves me anyway) but I worried about anyone else finding them.

About three years ago I did a big spring clean. Life was relatively good – there was still that pesky little issue with infertility but apart from that, I loved who I had become and where I was in life.  I pulled the journals out of the cupboard and flicked through them all.

Oh, that me was so sad and lost. Even now, I get a lump in my throat thinking of her. She was a total mess.

So I ripped them apart and burnt all the pages, even those heart-wrenching entries just before and after my dad passed away. The journals had served their purpose and I didn’t need to hold onto all that pain anymore. It was past time to let it all go.

I started “Creative Midlife” as a way of discussing my journey from librarian to graphic designer. It was meant to be a showcase of my work whilst being an amusing little aside at my life – a token diary without too much angst.

I decided to be real but not offensive. I wanted to write stuff that might leave me vulnerable but at least be my truth. I didn’t want to be a liar anymore.

It’s interesting to see how the blog has evolved around my life – first as a foray into a vastly different career, then as an IVF war veteran, then an immigrant to a different country and now as a second-time-around mother. I’m so glad I have kept a written record of the highlights. Sure, it’s not been all wine and roses but still it’s been good.

I don’t think I’ll be deleting it any time soon.

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The power of Facebook

fb octopus

I know. My talents are wasted.

I seem to be dabbling in a fair bit of web-type work at the moment with a new webpage for an association I work for on contract. We had a proper professional set it up in WordPress so a numpty like me could actually manage it without popping a hernia. The old one was a target for hackers (I have no idea why) and was in Joomla, which, it turns out, I hate with a passion.

I am also developing a new webpage in WordPress (in which tips and tricks from the professional setup I’m working with have come in handy) for an association I do work for the love of the club in particular and the World Game in general (that’s either soccer or football, depending on where you live).

As part of all this digital dabbling, Facebook has to get involved at some point and today has definitely shown me the amazing tentacles of power this social media mega-monster possesses.

Currently, my phone is beeping every few minutes due to the fact it’s logged into Facebook (constantly) and I’m carrying on conversations and swapping quips with: high school friends, most of which I haven’t actually laid eyes on for at least 10 years, if not more; soccer friends, who live just up the road or on the other side of town; people I barely know, only through association with the same club and; old friends from way back who saw a picture my sister in law took and put on a nation-wide weather page and messaged me to ask if she was related.

How’s that for multitasking?

I’m not a regular status updater. I will admit to being partial to Facestalking most of the time. Sometimes, though, I do go through a stage where I want to tell the world what I had for lunch. To be fair, that stage was mainly when we traveled through Japan and Europe and it seemed only reasonable to make everyone I knew sick with jealousy because I was TRAVELING THROUGH JAPAN AND EUROPE AND WOOWEE THAT SHIT IS WORTH SHARING!

Today, I did a not so smart thing. I created a new page for the club, not realising we already had a page (even though I myself had liked it many months ago – told you it wasn’t a smart thing).

We have a Closed Group page that makes it hard for new people to find us and get information and we can’t like other pages such as local sponsors so it was decided to work towards closing it down and using a ‘page’ page to solve our issues. Little did the majority of the committee realise we already had it. Being an ex-Librarian, I should have known to do a search first. D’oh.

Queue momentary chaos.

Facebook – love it or loath it – has an incredible reach. At least people in town are talking about our club this afternoon!

I’m a fake

brains

Techno overload

It’s true. I am. I pretend to be a Twitter user but I’m not really.  I know – now you’re all gasping in disbelief and unliking my posts and defollowing me. But before you condemn me, hear my pleas for mercy!

You see, I’ve had this Twitter account for several years. And every 18 months or so, I brush off the cobwebs that remember my password (not that hard, I only have two … oops, shouldn’t have said that) and get back online and try to be a Twit ..Tweeter … whatever it is. And I fail. Miserably. This is attempt number four. Hopefully, this one will stick.

Maybe it’s because I’m *cough* older. Maybe it’s because I discovered blogging and Facebooking first and there’s not enough capacity in my brain to take on Tweeting as well. Are Tweeters Facebookers too? Is it like Chocolate v Strawberry milkshakes? What is it about Twitter that’s so cool? High-profile entertainers seem to love it … in hindsight, perhaps that’s not such a great thing though. They seem to get themselves into an awful lot of trouble with just 144 characters. You’d think people who make their living via communication would be better at it … oh, wait. They have scriptwriters, don’t they? And you never hear of a scriptwriter getting themselves into trouble by saying dumb things in writing in front of millions of people (you can delete it all you want, Justin Bieber, but it will always be there screensaved on people’s phones, you sad has-been at such a young age).

I know that Twitter has street cred. I can see that, just by the reach this silly little blog has gotten in a few posts – far more than my old one did four years ago. I was so pleased the day I had more than four followers and one of them was not my family. It was a strange and exhilarating experience to think that complete strangers liked what poured out of my brain and onto the screen.  It’s like all those likes you get on a Facebook comment that you’ve crafted carefully to sound smart and witty and self-depreciating so that people will hear what you’re saying but noone will ever take offence or think you’re boasting (except for those seven weeks travelling through Japan and Europe – pretty sure people got offended at our boasting then. But screw them, we were on our honeymoon and our lives are generally too dull to post).

I just don’t know how to use Twitter effectively. Anyone got any tips? Why do you use Twitter? How does it fit into your daily life? I’d really like to know.