Friday, September 16, 2011

Message in a bottle

When you are a kid, everyone knows when you are in trouble or lost you should send out a message in a bottle. A message telling where you are, a note to your long lost love, or perhaps the map to a buried treasure. These messages are sent without knowing if anyone will ever read them. That's how I feel about blogging right now. I've been wondering why I keep sending these messages and who I'm hoping they'll reach.

I tell people it is so my family can see what I'm up to. I'd like to be able to talk to them more than I do but I am pretty busy. "Blogging is a way they can know how I'm doing,even if I don't have time to call." Except, I don't think my own mom reads my blog more than every few weeks. (That's ok, Mom.)

I say it is to keep up with friends. I love reading their blogs. I'm not sure they read mine. Then I wander to blogs of strangers (does anyone else do that?). I would be secretly embarassed if they caught me but I also wouldn't mind if strangers were keeping up with me. Except sometimes I would mind-- if they are creepy.

And am I the only one who sometimes feels more lonely after reading other people's blogs? It is hard not to see the amazing(ly edited) lives of the bloggers I frequent and not feel a little bad knowing the behind the scenes look at my life. The beautiful women who have beautiful kids and beautiful houses and look like they are 19 (maybe they are?), taking cool trips and having parties every day with their beautiful friends who also have beautiful kids and beautiful houses and go on their cool trips with them (oh and make really amazing crafts every day and nutritious organic meals). Of course, neither the wife nor the husband have to work a day in their life to sustain their 'life of the rich and famous lifestyle.' Or the people who have silly things to say that obviously no one would want to comment about except they have 200 comments per post.

All the while, I am getting older and more tired with less friends and no vacations (although I do really like my house) and a boring life with nothing good/interesting/funny/cool to say.

Then I think about what Abe says: Abe thinks blogging is annoying. "It is a bunch of girls looking for people to tell them, "You go girl!"'

I don't like to admit it, but I guess he is probably right, at least when it comes to one girl I know (quite well). I have found that in our uber-connected culture, I often feel more isolated. I come online when I am bored or lonely. When I feel like everyone I know has moved away. When I feel too busy to have a normal life. When I am finally come home and Abe is working late. I come for a friendly word or a friendly face. But I usually leave feeling more lonely or isolated. Ironic. I can read all about a girl I knew in kindergarten or an old boyfriend I haven't talked to since college, without ever talking to them. Maybe that is the problem.

Does anyone else feel that way? What keeps you blogging? Are you even there?


nathan n rachel said...

I LOVE your blog. Please keep writing about your adventures. It's so easy to read others blogs and wish you could do what those families are doing. But I get an adventure in reading about your crazy days. I really enjoy it. Besides, you can't come VT me anymore so how else am I supposed to know what is happening in the life of Dr. Erin Sheffield. :)

I keep our blog mainly more for journal purposes and for my family to keep updated.

One day Erin--people will be reading your blog and be wishing they could go on some of the extravagant trips that you and Abe will go on when all of your education is done.

Diana said...

Hey Erin,

I love reading your blog BECAUSE you are honest and straightforward and don't try to make things look like they are not. As a working mom, I can never compete (nor do I want to) with those perfectly portrayed lives in the blogs you reference. It's good to strive to be better, but it's also important not to compare others' strengths with our weaknesses.

I definitely keep up my blog for myself and for the ability to journal my family's happenings. I do like reading comments, but I think I receive fewer and fewer of those these days.

I'm proud of you for all you do and have always loved your honesty. That's why we became friends so quickly. I'd say, "You go, girl" but I don't want to make Abe 100% right.

Love ya, my friend!

brenna said...

You go girl! J/K, but only kind of. I've always loved blogging, but lately, it has become just one more thing I have to do. I haven't given up on it. And i do read your blog, I'm just a bad commentor.

Oriens said...

You are so honest and I love it. And I don't know how many people are completely honest on their blogs. It is easier to write about the "awesome and exciting" vs the "bad and ugly" days and so it is easy to just see one side of a persons life.
I know exactly what you mean about feeling more lonely after looking at blogs or facebook because it isn't "real" interaction.

p.s. I am a loyal reader of your blog! =)

Tawnya said...

good question erin! I went through a long phase of not wanting to blog. I wasn't sure anyone was reading. Until my brother one day told me how much he loved reading my blog and it made him feel like I still lived close by. So, I keep blogging, knowing there is one avid reader. :)

You should keep blogging too. You have lots of adoring fans! Like me! I love your crazy work stories!

Tawnya said...

Oh, and also, tell me when you need me to come help you with your basement.

Amber said...

Hey, lady! I want you to know that I am a faithful reader, but not so great at commenting, especially when I'm keeping up on blogs via my phone. I love reading about what you are up to in life. I feel like I get to stay connected to you despite our busy lives. :-) I feel the same way you do about blogging, wondering if anyone reads my stuff or even cares. I kind of agree with Abe's assessment of blogging, about the whole "you go girl" mentality. For a while, I was discouraged that I wasn't getting more readers and wondered why all these other not-so-great bloggers were getting so much attention, and realized that I just can't care anymore. I had to figure out my priorities, and blogging just wasn't a top one. I figured that the people that I really care about and that really care about me are the ones I write for anyway. I really care about you, so I hope you keep writing, even if it's only when you have a spare minute (which I know are hard to come by). We can be sporadic bloggers together! :-)

Dani and Bryan said...

I live your blog hon! I just rarely comment for the same reason I stink at posting on my own blog. Life is too busy with teaching full time, a two year old,being pregnant, being married and being in the last semester of my masters! Not to mention church and family responsibilities! I love your take on life and makes me feel like I am kind of keeping tabs on friends. But only keep blogging if it adds to your life and doesn't take away from it. That's what really matters. Life ya hon!

Rachel said...

Sometimes reading others blog makes me feel inadequate. like I dont craft, so I must not be a real mormon. much less a good woman.
Just remember, everything seems beautiful on a blog because a.) you can edit a picture b.) You only post when things are awesome and c.) Our delete buttons work.
The "perfect" blogs are the ones that belong to people who are the most insecure because the real and confident people just tell it how it is. Bad or good.
And Abe is right. 100%.

Little Red said...

You go Girl! Keep it up! I read- and sometimes feel creepy cause I haven't talked with you in like 8 years!!!! BUT I like to keep up with you- my little music stand partner!

Colt said...

I check your blog several times a week! It helps me not miss my sister so much!

Marci Wittwer Butterfield said...

Ok... I loved this! You are amazing. Really you are. I love that you express exactly what is going on and what you are feeling... so keep writing! Miss you guys.

Mom said...

Yeah, so mom only reads every few days but I DO read. I love your insight. It makes me proud.

Susan said...

P.S. Twitter was origianlly intended to be a shout-out for bloggers. You were supposed to write a catchy one-liner designed to drive followers to your blog. FB can also be used to find more readers. Include your link and write a status about it then say, "to read more..."