Life as an Extreme Sport

gather ’round ye olde camp fire

Alright, kids. We need to sit down and have a chat, and rather right quick, apparently.

First, hi! Wow. Rather suddenly there are quite a lot of you reading this, eh? Mostly silent, but you’ve still got a way of making your impact. I especially like the links and trackbacks and such, thanks.

But see, here’s the thing. Y’all are sort of this vague and amorphous mass, and well, we don’t know each other. (At least, the last time I looked, I didn’t know any amorphous masses. There might be one in my fridge by now, I did forget to clean it out before I left.) Maybe more importantly, you don’t know me – not even those of you I talk with in other mediums. (Consider the fact that the vast majority of the people I talk to on a frequent basis, I have known less than a year.) That can make things kind of weird, because you attach more emphasis on things that are just casual toss-off’s on my part, and probably don’t know what to look for in things that are actually serious.

My dear friend Michael summed it up quite well when I was laughing to him about this earlier tonight.

That’s the problem with blogs. They’re so public and wide audienced that people assume anything posted in them is of critical import, when the purpose of them has simply been to chronicle life, something everyone knows about their own blog but never remember when reading others’.

This, of course, doesn’t mean we can’t and won’t get to know one another… it just means that maybe y’all need to take a couple deep breaths and not worry so much when I post about having emotions.

This post, this one right here, is my 721st post on this blog – I’ve been doing this for a while now, probably longer than most of you, and over the years, a lot of emotion has been captured. This is a chronicle of life. My life. My misadventures, as it was so aptly and recently named. For the last couple of years, that focus has been on academia and my journey through it. But I’ve made the conscious choice that I’m not going to hide in that ivory tower. I don’t want to be your stereotype of an academic, detached from the world and busy with abstracts. Let’s face it – academics, especially those who can put PhD after their name, don’t have the best reputation for being down to earth, or in touch with anything other than their work. Forgive me if I’m trying to avoid that.

Yes, I write about life in all its adventures, mis or otherwise. Sometimes it’s about school, sometimes about my family, cancer, life – even work. But give me some credit, people. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and everything you read is quite carefully filtered. I’m not going to say things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to anyone over coffee and a danish. I’m not going to violate confidences, I’m not going to say something and regret it later – half the time, you read something hours, if not days, after I’ve written it.

I have a silver cuff bracelet. I wear it every day, for reasons I’ll explain some other time. On the front, facing me, stamped in quirky lettering, it says “breathe”. A reminder, to myself, to stop when stress overwhelms me, to pause even when life is good, and center, be. Breathe.

It’s good advice. I heartily recommend you adopt it, especially as it seems to be needed. Just breathe, people. Just breathe.

4 comments

  1. The vast majority of bloggers out there are responsible correspondents doing fine work in niche reporting fields like Gilmore Girl fan fiction, or cute things their cats do, or photoshopped images of the Gilmore Girls as cats. That’s great. Where I draw the line is with these attack-bloggers. Just someone with a computer who gathers, collates and publishes accurate information that is then read by the general public. They have no credibility. All they have is facts. Spare me.

  2. As someone who hasn’t known you what I would consider a long time, but has been able to watch you through a transformative period, I think many people meeting you now assume you have always been the confidente, successful person you present as. The trials and tribulations which make us who we are and, to ourselves, seem integral to us are most often invisible to those who did not experience them with us.

    People also have a tendancy to think they know everything about those who surround them. The extreme of this is scene in celebrity fans who believe, after reading each and every article they can about their chosen idol, they have intimate knowledge. With the emergence of blogs and the greater interaction between a figure and their fans, these lines become further blurred. Such open diaries (and were ‘blogs not once known as online diaries?) do, obviously, provide further windows, but they are still a filtered view.

    Furthermore I tend to believe the large majority of people view the world through a self-centric vantage point. Thus even when reading about the lives of others a part of us is working to see how it fits into our lives. This makes it simple for you to write about something that happened a year ago and others to try to relate it to what may be happening between you and them in the present.

    Much time could be saved if we all realised we mostly have no idea what anyone else is talking about.

  3. You should see my eyebrows inch up with that description of me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I think you’re probably right, in that the fact that how others see me and how I see myself is certainly at great and (currently) wildly amusing odds with one another. And the very simple and plain fact of the matter is, I’ve known you longer than basically anyone but my family, at this point – a potentially sad commentary on my life, but there it is. Everyone else is reading me referencing things that happened years ago, thinking I must be talking about yesterday, and try to tie together pieces that couldn’t be stuck together with superglue.

    even when reading about the lives of others a part of us is working to see how it fits into our lives. This makes it simple for you to write about something that happened a year ago and others to try to relate it to what may be happening between you and them in the present.
    Yeah – or relate it between me and other people. (Hence taking down the “cast” page until I can rework it into something a bit more appropriate for where I am in life right now.) It’s sort of funny, but I often find my reaction being something along the lines of “…believe it or not, I know more people than just the people we mutually know, and my life doesn’t revolve around you.”

    Gets me into trouble, though – definite double standard. On the one hand, I get irritated when people assume and act without talking to me, on the other I get irritated when people become very concerned over something not worth being concerned about.

    Much time could be saved if we all realised we mostly have no idea what anyone else is talking about.
    Funny – Lisa said almost the exact same thing earlier this week.

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