Writing a blog is different than writing a diary. A diary isn’t for an audience and is more of a processing tool. I’ve kept diaries on and off for many years, and re-reading them is one of the more painful experiences. Mine tend to be sickeningly optimistic and motivational. I write things constantly like, “I can’t believe how lucky I am” and “I feel so happy.” When I was regularly writing in a diary, I would make tons and tons of lists. Mostly lists of the things I love about my life.
But I also would write my way though hard decisions. Lots of pro and cons lists. And the good thing about keeping a diary, I think, is that if something if your life is making you miserable, you are more likely to recognize it and change it if you are writing about it long hand everyday. Writing in a diary was more effective for me than any therapy I ever received or any self help books our anything like that. I remember, when I was living in Brooklyn, I wrote enough to fill several novels about how much I hated Brooklyn and commuting. I also wrote about strategies to make the commute less miserable (that’s the optimist in me) . I read hundreds of books during my commutes. I saw a lot arguments, which are always interesting. But my hand kept cramping from the whining, and I moved out.
When I was a teenager, my diaries were so depressing. I mostly wrote about how I hated the way I looked. It annoys me that I spent so many hours practicing writing, but practicing it in a way that would never be useful to me. Even in my mid-twenties, I was never fully able to release myself from the moments of self hate, meticulously recording my goal weight and my food goals. But as I’ve gotten older, I got bored with that kind of writing. I would rather write about how much I love self checkout machines so I can buy yeast infection meds and gummy bears without talking to a live human than about how I don’t like x or y or z. Self hatred stopped being interesting to me.
I write more about feelings than details in a diary. Because of that, I’m sure it’s much more interesting to read than my blog. It would sure cause more drama than this blog. Likely I’d be fired from all my jobs given the private dissertations I’ve written tearing my bosses and institutions to shreds.
A diary is like the song “Unfaithful” by Rihanna. A blog is like…an amateur open mic night at a comedy club.
But blogs are weird, this one in particular. I decided to write here because I hate people reading my work. I try to write things that I like, but just because I like something doesn’t mean that it is worth anything to anyone else. I don’t promote the writing I do here, and I don’t have a catchy theme or a story that people want to read about. There’s no gimmick. There are typos. And zero revision.
I don’t condone that, personally. I hate that we tend to think that everything we do has interest or merit. That’s what social media has done to us. But I don’t use Instagram that much. I’d rather write.
I want to be able to share my work. And while a diary is a kind of emotional therapy and release, this blog is like exposure therapy for me.
So here’s what’s happening in my life: I tried to make chili yesterday but I cooked it down too much so now I have a kind of potent chili concentrate. Maybe I can use it as tomato sauce on pasta or pizza. I sent in the lease for our new apartment today—we are moving across the hall into a less aggressively small apartment. It will still be small, but less aggressively. A woman named Maria came up to me in this coffee shop and asked me if I’d be interested in visiting the Google or Facebook campuses. Theoretically, not actually. I said I wouldn’t go out of my way, but if it was free and easy, I might be interested. S. has been run down, and we are pushing through the last few months when some of the classes we teach—her dance and fitness to kids and me physical education to college students—will slow down and we can breathe for a moment. All moments of intensity come to an end, I tell myself. It’s the same thing I tell my athletes when they are in the middle of a set of burpees, but it applies here too. Diaries capture the moments of intensity. I hope this blog just captures the moments.