It seems customary, after a long absence from blogging, and regardless of how few followers one may have, to apologise for having been away for so long. I’m not going to. The four months since I last posted have been exciting, stressful, and just a little odd. I needed a break from writing here to focus on ‘real life’. More importantly, I needed to take a step back and consider what I was hoping to gain, and offer others, through broadcasting my thoughts here.
My desire to write a public blog was initially driven by a need for accountability. I wanted to turn writing into a normal part of my life, as it was before I became ill a few years ago. If I knew other people were reading what I wrote, it would give me the push I needed to make it a regular habit. But over the past few months, despite not updating this site, I’ve been writing almost every day in my personal journal: it’s become a very welcome habit. Why, then, do I still want to write here?
I think my motivation for public writing comes from a sense of wanting to feel connected with other people. It’s well and good filling pages of notebooks with ranting and pontificating, but keeping them private, away from the possibility for debate and discussion, feels like rather a mean way to treat them. Much better that I give them a public airing and leave myself open to the possibility of looking stupid than preciously guard them lest anyone disagree.
The above was initially concerning to me on the grounds that forcing oneself out into the world in such a way could be considered arrogant and forceful. I’m currently reading Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, in which he warns his fellow Religious to ‘guard against familiarity’ with others: ‘We must live in charity with all men, but familiarity with them is not desirable’. His reasoning stems largely from the fact that we may irritate other people by being excessively open with them, when they would frankly rather you shut up and left them alone. It’s definitely an important thing to consider in most social interactions – I can’t imagine there are many people who don’t worry about imposing themselves or their conversation on other people every now and then – but blogging seems beautifully to get around this. Nobody is forced to engage with what one writes, and there is no sense of imposition.
I want to use this space as a way to help me develop my understanding of my own faith, and my current understanding of God, by simply putting it out there, open to be criticised or disagreed with by anyone, anywhere in the world. The internet is a space where you can’t regulate who sees or responds to your thinking in the way that you can in real life. It’s forcing me out of my comfort zone, and that can only be a good thing.