I’m Just a Girl. A Girl With a Blog.

You know that line from the movie Notting Hill? The one where Julia Roberts, who plays a famous actress – real stretch role for her -  tells Hugh Grant’s character, the manager of a small bookstore, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

First of all, I call bullshit. She’s not just a girl. He’s not just a boy. When most people become famous, odds are, they change. I have seen and known it to happen with some friends in my own life. They became more than just a girl or a boy and depending on their character, the people they need to surround themselves have to come with a pedigree I don’t have or serve a purpose I apparently don’t.

To them I’m just a girl.

But I do want to re-purpose that line for my own use and maybe change it just a little bit.

“I’m just a girl, writing a blog for anyone who will read it, asking them to understand me.”

You might be the ones calling “Bullshit” this time since I am using the word “girl” quite liberally here. But I wanted to tell you a little bit about what this girl, who is writing this post way too late at night, has learned about herself and her life over the years through the course of blogging. She’s not going to write it all today, but maybe she can start.

(Please don’t mind the use of the third person reference there. It’s 2 AM. Cut me/her/she some slack.)

Blogging about your life is a constant balance

I know you’re thinking, “Like, duh.” Of course with blogging, there is always the balance of time. Do I play with my child or answer the comments that are waiting for me after my last post? Do I try to work on the business model for the company I am launching or do I come up with new witty posts about what happened to me at Target the other day? Or today. Or on Saturday, just because I needed an extension cord. In pink.

That time balance is a constant struggle and I am not going to lie. If I was sitting on a seesaw and my family was on one end and the blog was on another, over the past few months, it would be clear that my family won out and I sat my butt on one end of that seesaw and pretty much stayed there. I needed to. Stuff was happening and it was a choice I needed to make.

But it’s the other stuff. The below the surface stuff. It’s deciding whether to write about the things going on in my life that are hard to talk about, but for whatever reason, seem to flow from my fingers with a power of their own as soon as I open WordPress. It’s about contemplating what daily struggles I want to share that I am having with my spouse, siblings, in-laws,  friends or co-workers. It’s talking about the issues that I am really thinking about but can’t write because I know that there will be collateral damage in doing so. Hurt feelings. Irreparable damage even.

I can’t write what I think all the time because I don’t live in a vacuum and every word I put out there impacts the people around me.

Some people call it brave to put it all out there. I think I used to believe that. Now, I think that there is a fine line between bravery and needing constant validation from people around the internet, sometimes at the expense of my own family. That? I don’t see that as bravery anymore, but I do think it’s pretty freaking selfish.

I was at a conference once and Jeff Goines, the author of “Wrecked” was taking questions after a presentation on creative writing. I asked him how he draws the line between writing about himself and impacting the privacy of those in his life. He didn’t seem to understand the question and I struggled to find the words during that 10 second period to explain what I meant. But It think it’s something like this.

If I were to tell you that I battle depression, it’s not just my story. It’s also my husband’s. It’s also my children’s. It may become their teacher’s story, who may look at them differently or treat them because of a different lens they now have on. Oh, your homework is late? Is it because of what’s going on at home?

If I were to tell you that my husband has done something to me, something which has shocked me, it’s not just my story or his. Again, it’s the story of my children, our friends and our families as well. Perhaps even his co-workers and colleagues who might have seen or read the piece (Don’t worry, John hasn’t done anything to me. Yet.)

The reality is that over time, as a blogger, you start to feel that you owe it to yourself to be honest. And that you owe something to your readers. And while this may be true, I find that there have been a few times where I took this a little too literally and did so at the expense of the most important people in my life. These people – my family, my friends – don’t always understand my blog and they don’t get why I have opened up about some of my life. When I talk about the cathartic aspect of it, I think I lose them a bit there too. In fact, I am pretty sure my Dad would just say, “Get a diary.” In fact, I am pretty sure that after I publish this, my Dad will ask me why I had to say that he would say, “Get a diary.”

What I consider to be my story has sometimes been violations of the story of others. Especially when it has come to my family. What was hard for me to learn was that in my re-telling of the stories, they also saw many of the things very differently than I did.

But I got to tell my side of it, so it’s all good, right?

I guess I just don’t know anymore.

I think one of the reasons I have also taken a break from blogging was to figure this part of things out. I can tell all and really mess my children over forever or I can write with boundaries. And sometimes writing with boundaries is so hard to do that I just opt to not write at all.

And that sucks. The not writing just sucks.

Things in my life are finally settling down after what has been a very tumultuous few months. Some of it I can tell you about. Some of it I can’t. And I think that’s what I am learning. These boundaries with blogging are just never going to be that clear cut.

Thanks for sticking with me through my ride though.

At the end of the day, I’m just a girl. A girl with a blog. And I really want it to be a good one.

All my love,

Kiran

P.S. If you are in the Northern VA/DC Metro area, there is a conference on October 26 empowering bloggers and small business owners being run by Femworking. I will have a stall there as Simply Om, my jewelry company dedicated to raising awareness and aid for women living in oppression around the world. If you haven’t signed up, please come out and check out my good friend, Jill Smokler, (Scary Mommy), as the keynote speaker. Hope to see you there!

33 Responses to I’m Just a Girl. A Girl With a Blog.

  • Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    I just wrote a post about writing the hard stuff, and encouraging everyone to be honest, put it out there.

    But I do see your point of view too – your story may not just be YOUR story, it’s about the people in your life.

    So it’s the elusive balance again, isn’t it? How much, how little, to write? I don’t have any answers. I just know that I need to write my truth, and hope that I honor the people I write about, and that they know I love them.
    Alison recently posted…Ready For Air: A ReviewMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      I guess it just depends what is being put out there. I think it’s so personal and also depends on how much the blogging means to someone and what your true goals are. Are they to heal? To help someone else out there know they are not alone?

      I think there comes a point where certain bloggers become very needy. “I cannot let my people down!” like they are messiahs of truth. People in their real lives get trampled along the way. To me, that is terrible. And it shows me that their in this for narcissistic reasons – constant validation, constant Love (or what they perceive as love) from virtual strangers.

      I think that’s a concern.
      xo

  • Jenn
    Twitter:
    says:

    Love this post, Kiran, and how you think through this. I feel the same way. There are some things I want to write about, but they’ll have to be saved for the diary. It’s just not worth it at this point in my life.
    xoxo
    Jenn recently posted…Brave Because I Want To See Society ChangeMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      diaries are wholly underrated, girlfriend. The truth is, you can still talk to real friends and be honest too. But yes, I would imagine you would understand where I am coming from here.
      love,
      k

  • Ilene
    Twitter:
    says:

    “Some people call it brave to put it all out there. I think I used to believe that. Now, I think that there is a fine line between bravery and needing constant validation from people around the internet, sometimes at the expense of my own family. That? I don’t see that as bravery anymore, but I do think it’s pretty freaking selfish.” Yes. Yes. Yes. I have to be honest. For selfish reasons I’ve missed your words. You’re one of my favorites, you know. But I get this. Oh, how I get this – and I’ve taken a step back too – for this and for other reasons. But with that said, whenever you write, I will be reading.
    Ilene recently posted…Good StuffMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      You will always be one of my favorites, hon. I am glad the move is working out and while I am sad that your pizza is lacking, I have a feeling its also contributing to your major hotness. Hint: I need to stop eating pizza. Thank you ,love.

      K

  • masalachica says:

    Yeah – let me know when you figure it out, Sue!
    xo

  • Kristin
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve read a lot of posts about this situation lately. One thing I’ve been thinking about is how a generation of children will feel knowing their parents shared their bath pictures with the entire world. I agree that it’s not just about the writer “putting herself out there,” but putting her children out there too–and infants and toddlers can’t give their permission to do so. How much privacy is a kid entitled to? I’m falling on the side of 100%.
    Kristin recently posted…Brown-Eyed GirlMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      The naked pictures thing freaks me out a little. But it’s the stuff that’s traumatic on a different level – that I just don’t know about. I mentioned depression and the truth is I have been open about dealing with it. Yet, I know I can’t go all in on that when I relay my stories. Much of my depression stems from my childhood and if I open doors for myself, that’s one thing – but by opening them for my parents or siblings, I can really mess with them. If only it was a little easier.

  • Peg says:

    K-
    This is why I write my blog relatively anonymously and don’t use the names of my family members. There are times that I need to write about things that I know would hurt the feelings of my family, but having my blog outlet has been such a great tool for sorting stuff out. Some of my IRL friends know about my blog–you included, but they are just enough removed that I don’t think their knowledge would get back to or hurt my family. Most of my blog is stuff I’d tell these people anyway. There are times that I find myself wanting to tell my sisters or even Kieran something I just wrote about. In these instances I usually just tell them in person which I guess is more authentic anyway. It’s a tough balance. There are times where I think of having a broader audience or writing a book about my experiences, but it’s this exact balance problem that holds me back.

    Hang in there. Hope all is well with you guys.

    And for the record, you are NOT just some girl with a blog :)

    hugs,
    Peg
    Peg recently posted…The Positive Side of LifeMy Profile

  • Shefali
    Twitter:
    says:

    This is something I have been struggling with too. When I started blogging I did not really think about it. My blog was read by 4 people and it was ok to write just about anything. As time goes by and you realize that the people who read your blog are no longer “just your mom, or just your friends” and that plays with your mind doesn’t it!

    I struggle each day to find that balance and each time I hit publish, I only know that I am telling my story to the best of my ability.
    Shefali recently posted…Five Arguments With My Toddler TodayMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      I think that you come to find your balance and yes, it’s a shock when you realize you have more than 10 readers and may need to start editing. Glad that your blog is growing though, Shefali!

  • Kristin Shaw says:

    You make some great points, Kiran. And I appreciate that you recognize that we don’t live in a vacuum and that our words affect others, in so many ways. It’s a question I haven’t fully explored either. But I wouldn’t want to put family or friends in an uncomfortable or potentially embarrassing situation, and I’d like to think I’m careful, but I can’t think of everything. Big hugs.
    Kristin Shaw recently posted…The perfect summers – and why I prefer fallMy Profile

    • masalachica says:

      Yeah – its just remembering that there is a balance. And while its great to connect with your readers, ultimately you have to remember what’s most important. I am just trying to find the better part of me as I do this whole exercise. hugs and miss you.
      xo

  • angela says:

    I have lots of boundaries, so I understand this a lot. I’m not saying that’s the way for everyone to do it, but it’s the way I have to do it, the way that feels best for me and for my RL relationships. I hope you find balance, and know that your words are heard.
    angela recently posted…Introducing Echoes in DarknessMy Profile

  • Elaine A.
    Twitter:
    says:

    I can relate to SO much of this post. Like you know, 99.9% of it. Thinking of you…

    xo

  • Pingback: I Love Your Blog

  • masalachica says:

    I bet it wasn’t .1% because you actually like that line in Notting Hill. ;-). Ha. Love you girl.

  • You’re not just a girl alright. You’re an amazing woman. Also, I love Notting Hill too.
    Susie Lampman recently posted…pokertrainingreport.comMy Profile

  • Kim
    Twitter:
    says:

    I try to tell stories are all mine – but like you say, at some point our stories all merge and they belong to our families and friends. I think about that balance a lot.
    And Notting Hill is one of my favourites – I must watch it again.
    Kim recently posted…Never Did I EverMy Profile

  • This was such a timely post! I’m always thinking about how my writing is impacting others and that balance just seems so elusive at times. For what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re writing about the hard stuff, the good stuff, and the stuff stuff :)

  • Arnebya
    Twitter:
    says:

    I absolutely agree with this: I think that there is a fine line between bravery and needing constant validation from people around the internet. I’ve had to ask my immediate family if they’re ok with some of the things I post/say because true, it does affect them. At the same time, I have to do it. I try not to look at it as validation. I don’t want to be called brave. But I do want to connect. I do want to let others know they aren’t alone. I will tell you what I HAVE determined I can’t write freely about though now is my girls. The boy is still clueless and cute and most of his stories are about butts and penises anyway. But the girls are older, more aware. And their stories are theirs unless I get permission to write it.

    But yes, there is a line.
    Arnebya recently posted…Just Write: Too ThinMy Profile

  • LisaAR
    Twitter:
    says:

    Kiran! So glad to hear from you. I figured with the launch of your company you had too much going on, but I can definitely relate to what you write here. Dubbed “the CIA agent” by my husband because I keep such a tight lid on things, I am learning late in the game that sharing is so very important. My blog writing has helped me realize that, though I do weigh what I share in that forum. It is an ongoing choice to make time and again. But it can be very invigorating and empowering to own your story.

    Hope all is well with you!
    ~Lisa
    LisaAR recently posted…My Problem with ToleranceMy Profile

  • Britni says:

    I’ve just recently gotten back into blogging and I’ve had to stop myself a few times from adding in a story or even sentence about my husband or family just in case it’s not something they want out there. It’s a tough balancing act. See you at the Femworking conference!

    Britni @ Play. Party. Pin.
    Britni recently posted…Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes + GiveawayMy Profile

  • Anne Marie says:

    Kiran,
    I have the same thoughts and feelings. I been mulling over starting a blog as I am a writer by trade, but then I think, I can’t tell who I am, the true me, because it will hurt too many people. So I’ve stayed silent. But lately, I’m thinking I don’t have to write about me, I can write my opinions on things, without causing that collateral damage. I’ve missed your words, and hope you’ll continue to share….with balance.

  • Andrea says:

    I’m careful to ask if I want to write about someone else, but I usually just tell my own story and my perspective. And I try not to be inflammatory, which is helpful. But I do wonder if some people would rather me not mention them at all. I’m increasingly wondering this about my children, who are old enough to know what’s what, and might have an opinion on how much I share with the blogging world.
    Andrea recently posted…SuperMy Profile

  • Ana says:

    This is so true, and I’ve been struggling with this recently too. How much to share, when the story I think of as “mine” actually involves a couple of other people directly and even more indirectly. And this “Some people call it brave to put it all out there. I think I used to believe that…” YES. THANK YOU for putting into words what I’ve been feeling when I keep reading “oh you’re so brave…” Sometimes, yes, it is brave to admit you need help, to open yourself up so completely…but sometimes its just, well, narcissism. It IS a very fine line, but we all know it when we see it, don’t we?

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MEET KIRAN
I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....
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