Monday, February 1, 2010

Sea Legs

Growing up at the shore, and spending a lot of time, therefore, in boats, we talked a bit now and then about people who had a tough time getting their "sea legs"... the ability to walk on deck given the pitching and rolling of a boat or a ship. I seem to be having trouble getting my blogging sea legs these last months. Given the pitch and roll of day to day life as an uncloseted pastor, I haven't yet figured out how to walk these planks.

If I analyze the frequency of posting, I see that I am pretty prolific in the following kinds of situations:

I am about to make an enormous and terrifying life change. (See February-May 2009).

The church is in the midst of one of its particular seasons. (Advent, Lent--- see most Decembers, February-April 2009).

I am in pain. (See last week).

Ordinary time, especially in these days when this blog is no longer titled "Closeted Pastor", is, well, ordinary. And I don't seem to have the brain space to think of anything particularly worth recording here.

But I would seem to be addicted to blogging. It might be the comments-- it truly excites me and comforts me and encourages me and challenges me to read what this cyber-community has to say. I get something here I don't get anywhere else.

Beloved suspects it's all about narcissism.

Now, you have to understand about Beloved. She is late to the whole blogging enterprise as a viable time expenditure. In fact, she's still on the fence, despite having sent me this, with some amount of glee, last week. So I have my closest adult relationship, my one-and-only love, somewhat skeptical (to say the least) that blogging is worthwhile, period.

She wonders why people blog, why we assume anyone else in the world could possibly be as interested in the mechanations of our own little mental hamster wheels as, well, as we ourselves. It must be narcissism. Says the one who loves me best.

But I don't see that out here in the blogosphere. I read blogs by intelligent, engaged women and men (admittedly, mostly of my own liberal persuasion), and I don't see narcissism there. I see people struggling to make sense of a world, a faith, a family, a loneliness, a wound, a situation... whatever it is... with honesty and courage.

In my own case, however. I gotta wonder if the n-word applies. (Narcissism. In case that wasn't clear.)

I do much of my blogging for the feedback. I admit it. I love having an audience. Hell, that's why, when I'm not in the pulpit, you might find me on a stage pretending to be a Japanese fury or a bumboat woman or a medieval chorister. I do love an audience. But I try to make that work for me, rather than against me, if you know what I mean. I know full well that I love an audience, so I engage in all sorts of discernment about how that plays out in the pulpit or at coffee hour, and I try to keep myself honest in all this.

I would like to be a more faithful correspondent in this space. I would like to feel as easy about it as I used to, like sitting down for coffee and a dish with my favorite pal. I would like these things. I will work on it.


Suzer said...

I think blogging may be different things for different people, but ultimately I find blogs are about a new way of connecting in this crazy world we inhabit.

As with anything, it can be good or bad. If people are creating relationships only through blogs and not in real life, that may be a negative consequence of the blogosphere. However, if these folks previously suffered from an inability to connect (I'm thinking of some folks I know who are agoraphobic, for instance), at least they now have some relationships, even if only online.

There certainly can be an element of narcissism in blogging, but again it depends on the person and the reason they are blogging. Most of the blogs I read are spiritually oriented, and provide me with insight and much food for thought. Some blogs are "me, me, me, me!!!" and I generally lose interest in those quickly. Needless to say, yours is not one of them. :)

August said...

I'm with Suzer...we are social animals. We've steadily invented new means of expression - newspapers, the radio, TV. Blogging may be less "narcissistic" than those other tools - because the comments enable us to actually engage each other.

Does it make us narcissistic to want to matter? to want to be heard? I don't think so. It makes us human. IMHO.

(That being said, let's all turn off the computers and meet for coffee, shall we?)

Unknown said...

Blogging for me brought connections to some of the people I most needed to know: other clergywomen who confessed that being a pastor and a person with other human relationships presented challenges. I wasn't getting that in real life. So I treasure it, still. I'm grateful that you told your story here, and hope you will keep telling it.

Cynthia said...

I've been blogging for six years now, and in my more honest moments, I admit narcissism does have some role in blogging, but that's not all of it. The community aspect of blogging is what got me hooked, finding similar minds and those, while not similar, which where open enough to accept but still challenge me. It does help me work things out. In the worst of my isolation days, it kept me connected to other people. At the very least, it's good writing practice. Final note, while I may not always comment, I pretty much always read yours.

Unknown said...

Just stumbled across this blog recently. I'm a 44 year old married woman who's had some same sex desires her whole adult life. I've just recently admitted my bisexuality to myself. :-) Anyway, I find this blog interesting, and see some common threads between myself and Cecilia.

Oh, and I am a church goer, a Baptist, so we have faith in common too. And I am interested in seeing what a lesbian who's also a woman of faith has to say.

Anonymous said...

I;m reading more than writing, but still here :)

jsd said...

Thanks for sharing this...I've been wondering about why I blog, and is it of any use. I've nearly pulled it a dozen times in the last few months.

But, I keep it up because of community - if that makes any sense.

Sara said...

The reason I started was because I needed to get all the chaos and emotion out of the darkness of my mind and into the light of day. It also, for me, seems to be easier in front of people I don't know. (that sounds a little strange!) I guess I've always had to maintain my facade and a blog allowed me to be me, at least in cyberspace.

Now that you're "out" you have a much larger support system and don't need to blog your hopes and fears as much. Seems to me, that's a good thing.

I still enjoy your sermons. :-)

Jan said...

I don't necessarily think of blogging as broadcasting to the wider world. It's come to be a connection with people (bloggers) who are more friends than merely "readers." I used to write letters, but seldom do so now--instead posts are sometimes like letters to friends. That's what I see in your posts, too.

And boomers tend to be more narcissistic, I guess.

Erika Baker said...

I don't blog, I don't think I have enough to say, but I'm a prolific reader and commenter on blogs. I love them because they broaden the scope of people who influence me, who make me think, whose thoughts and struggles comfort me or challenge me.

There's an immediacy and intimacy about blogs you don't get in real life. Rare is the time you can call a friend and say "hey, come over, I have just had some searching thoughts about this that or the other". But you can think about it, write it all up and then leave it for others to see and to engage with.

It's a perfect form for grappling with things together, each one in our own time.

Keep blogging!!

Mary Beth said...

I blog to talk to myself and my friends, and if folks find it worth reading, great.

My spouse thinks blogging is a HUGE waste of time. Him, he spends time on message boards for his motorcycle addiction. Different? not so much, far as I can see...