Several months ago, I began receiving hostile emails related to the blog. They were from the same person, someone I may or may not know, criticising pretty much everything about the blog and my life, but generally that I was "fake" and that I wrote about "stupid things". At about the same time, I was also openly criticised on another blog for being smug.
I lost a lot of sleep over these incidences, but had generally moved on after a couple of breaks from this space and limiting my interaction on discussions about blogging as a medium.
As I approach one year of Slugs on the Refrigerator, I have been thinking...Did I ever answer the questions those critics raised? Am I fake? Is this space what I want for it to be?
Overwhelmingly, I come back to the fact that it IS... though it is not without some hesitation. I admit to using the blog as a motivation to find "bloggable moments" in my own life and sometimes have questioned whether that is right or wrong.
::I have often hurried up making something with the express idea of finishing it so I can show you all.
::I use this space as an excuse to take pictures of yarn and food and my feet...things I would NEVER do if I didn't have this space.
::I have looked at my own life through bloggy spectacles and relayed the bits of my day that would be best suited to this space and fit with the "flow".
While, not all of it is rosy and pink, I am aware that a lot of it is. I clear away the mess at the edges because, well, it is just my personality. I don't write about my awful days (on the whole) because in those situations, I don't really want to talk to any one. In those moments where I shout at Ellis or Kevin, where I behave badly, or where I do something incredibly stupid, the immediate audience of 3 is enough...I don't need any other witnesses.
But even more than that, I am acutely aware of my responsibility to Kevin and Ellis in keeping this blog. I have to ask myself, what do I want sent out into the world about my family? When Ellis is older and googles his name, what stories will be there about him and our relationship? While slightly embarrassing him with stories of his mischief is one thing, writing out the darkest moments of our life is something else entirely. These moments are not what make us mother and son, they are part of it, but only small drips on overwhelming sea of love and they do not need to be immortalised.
In my experience, the negatives are easy to remember. Like so many girls, growing up I was told by a number of voices from a number of directions about how overweight/unattractive/underachieving I was...and it still haunts me today. As a parent, I control this space and I say it will not be a place where I document any thoughts of that kind. My job is to love Ellis unconditionally and while, like everyone, I have my moments with him, I never want there to be anything but evidence of my love for him circulating in the world, because that is what I feel is the most important thing I can give him.
Of course, I have also shared some of the darker moments, but not without incredible internal effort. Each time I have done so, I have had to ask myself why I am doing it and if I am doing good or doing future harm by pressing "publish" at the beginning of the day. Often posts fail that test and delete is pushed instead.
And so, I think that documenting the good, pretty and funny and creating moments in my life for those things are the bit that I like best about blogging. Its about making excuses, living intentionally and making those intentions visible and tangible.
::I love to write and take pictures and keeping a blog is my excuse to do so. By having it public it means I am accountable for not only what I say, but also saying something
::We try to live a life full of meaning and purpose. I believe that its all in the details and I don't want to sleep walk through it all. Making our own cheese and bread, growing some of our own food, choosing handmade over mass produced are all small ways of ensuring that we are thinking about what we are doing with our resources of time and money. By looking at my life through that lens via the blog, it helps keep me focussed on that goal (or feel ever so slightly guilty when we order pizza ;)
:: But above all, we, I, want to build a family, a home and a life that has creativity and love at its centre. While it may come as second nature to many, it doesn't always to us. But by having this space to come to, I am forced to ask myself where and how I have done that today, and if I haven't then how am I going to tomorrow.
Making excuses doesn't feel like a bad thing, but I am awar eit is about balance. Most days, the collective history of Slugs on the Refrigerator reflects the person I am. Somedays, it reflects a person far distant from the one I am acting like. No one is the best version of themselves everyday. But above all, it is a mark in the sand. A point to return to...sometimes striving towards, sometimes surpassing, but fundamentally me.
And so, as is so often the case, my response to my critics comes long after the conflict is over.
But then, it was probably never about them in the first place.