Shannon at PHAT Mommy is hosting "BlogHer in Spirit" roundtable discussions based on workshop topics. I'm stuck here on the east coast all poor and newbie-like, but felt her questions were well worth examining. These themes have been on my mind lately anyway as I've embarked on my mission to blog seriously and consistently, not to mention publicly.
How do you decide what aspects of your identity you will reveal in your blog: culture, sexual orientation, political ideology, religion?
How do you feel about using your real name? Your childrens’ names?
If you blog about your race, religion, etc, - or even a personally difficult time of your life - do you feel it opens you (and your family) up to attack and/or do you feel it is a wonderful way to promote acceptance and diversity?
I've been journaling online sporadically for 6 or 7 years, and never had more than 2 or 3 readers at any given blog, until I joined LiveJournal and got involved in the parenting communities there. Since Molly was born I've felt an overwhelming need to document the feelings I'm flooded with as a new mother. I woke up one morning with the desire to share these experiences and I'm very much enjoying the creative expression as well.
The name for my journal popped unbidden into my head one evening as I was drifting to sleep. I loved it, but was concerned that using Molly's name was potentially dangerous. I eventually decided that using our real first names but excluding last names was comfortable enough. I'm still second-guessing that decision, but it stands.
The theme here is honesty, and courage maybe. How open are we going to be on our blogs? I've decided that openness is pretty much the point, and I've taken a fairly naked approach to my writings. I want to focus on my mothering experience, but of course life doesn't fit neatly into categories, and a thousand different things impact how I experience having a child. My religious beliefs, culture, and sexuality are of course part of that, so they're being addressed as they come up. I recently wrote an entry introducing my birth defect and am always unsure whether or not it's relevant and how to bring it up. My feelings now are that I have a unique perspective and that's always valuable to share and explore.
It's possible my location somewhat unique in this forum as well- I haven't looked hard, but I'm so far not finding any blogs written in my region. Appalachians are a peculiarly interesting little subculture in many ways, and that informs some of who I am as well. I do feel an obligation to represent Appalachians well any time I'm dealing with people who weren't raised here. We are, as a whole, poorly represented. Education is a huge problem here, with poor schools and low rates of higher education, so I'm fiercely proud of my education and intelligence. My experience living here runs from this pride to some frustration- many of the stereotypes are unfortunately true, and some of my interests and beliefs make me a little like an alien to a lot of my neighbors and family. Those sort of details are probably what makes it possible for me to enjoy reading a hundred different blogs about such a universal experience. I'm still amazed and thrilled that I'm part of this incredible group- mothers.