I was a very unassuming blogger when I first got the urge to write for an audience. My sister-in-law (the one who defriended me, if you’re a reader of past posts, based on our differing opinions of parenting) was very internet-savvy, as the company she worked for was internet-based, while I was a stay-at-home mom, and my familiarity with the internet had more to do with stuff you did online. The extent of what I was doing online was banking, ebay and the odd magazine website. She was, indirectly, the reason I started what I thought of at the time as blogging.
She used to post pictures of herself, her husband, house and garden on her MySpace account, but as you may have gathered, was overly protective of her son, so she would email those to us. The tipping point for her was a poorly-worded comment on one of her photos – her hubby rode a Harley, and they actually got married in Sturgis during the Rally one year, and she had uploaded some photos of the two of them. As someone who fancied herself an almost-professional photographer, with a good eye for composition and a knack for candids, she was taken aback when someone posted the comment “SHOW US YOUR T*TS!” on one of her Harley rally photos.
Now, I’ve never been to Sturgis, and I’ve only ever ridden on the back of my dad’s Harley, but even I knew that the sentiment expressed is pretty typical for Harley riders, and not intended to target any particular female. She, however, did not look at it that way, and immediately panicked. MySpace did not have suitable privacy capabilities. OMG, wherever can I ever feel safe posting pictures on the internets? *back of hand to forehead*
All of us subsequently received invitations to sign up for Facebook. I did a bit of reading about it, and I kind of liked the idea. A private place to share photos and exchange news – sounds great!
I signed up for a Facebook account over Christmas break, 2006. As the family photographer for my branch of the family tree, I didn’t have a current photo of myself, so I made a mostly accurate picture of myself (or one that would have been accurate if I was a fifteen year old stick bug - similar glasses and hairstyle to mine, and wearing clothes I would wear if I was, as I said, a stick bug) using my daughters’ favourite website, Doll Maker, and started exploring the world according to Mark Zuckerberg.
It didn’t take me long to find the “Notes” feature. I didn’t know how other people used it, but to me, it seemed like the perfect vehicle to post my scribbles to a captive audience of “friends”. At that time, and into at least March of 2007, my friends list was about six people max, five of them being family much younger than me. My very first blog post was written on January 5, 2007 entitled “Looking back on 2006...” with a companion piece later that day, “...and looking forward to 2007”.
Rereading the two, I have to roll my eyes at the second one and say, yeah, I’d probably still do that in exactly the same way. I commented, among other things, about new slang that was reputedly about to become popular. Hindsight matched my prediction – none of it did. In the first one, I make some remarks on a few life events, including my love of the way I was changing my body via Turbo Jam, my regret for neglecting the garden I loved due to two dragged-out family deaths that summer, and the raw feeling I still had about the death of one of them, my paternal grandmother (who died on my son's fourth birthday), which I would also expect as the kind of retrospective I could still see myself writing.
I’ve reread this post a few times over the past ten or fifteen minutes, and there is something driving me more than a little nuts. Here’s what I wrote, as a retrospective regret:
*Having to admit to myself that I don't try nearly as hard as I think I do to understand people & stay connected to them. For example, last year I lost someone I love, maybe forever, because I was only listening to what I thought she was saying, not what she meant, and reacted accordingly. Hopefully I will have a chance to right that wrong soon.
I have been racking (wracking? spent ten minutes trying to decide if by that word it’s better to allude to stretching/draining or torturing/punishing) my brain to remember who it is that I’m referring to within the context of this regret.
I’ve scanned my digital photos from that year. Almost a thousand.
I searched 2006 in my gmail inbox saved emails. A dozen or so over two hundred.
I’ve spent the last half hour trying to recapture the sense and flavour of things I would have done, either with my family or without, in that year.
I CANNOT remember who it is that I felt I’d loved, and lost. I haven't got a clue who I'm referring to.
Since then, I’ve written 162 notes on Facebook. A few have been cross posted here, although most have not, since “here” has only existed for a year. My friends list has grown from six to over five hundred, and I feel genuinely indulged when I get comments or likes. In some ways it’s easier, in some, harder.
Regardless, I’m still writing. To those I’ve forgotten, to those I remember, and to those I’ve yet to meet.
You inspire me. Always have. Always will.