Back in 2006 when I started blogging, I’d click open a new page on Livejournal and out would come something or other. It never took much effort to crack out 1000+ words, some blogs almost wrote themselves – such as the one where I decided to take a swipe at the ridiculous ‘Candystripe Technology’ that had inexplicably found its way into Lil-lets tampons. If you ever wanted a case study on how to reinvent a piece of string, then the makers of Lil-Lets achieved it with aplomb in 2011.
Livejournal contains an awful lot of my life: the good, the bad, the sad, the hilarious, the time on MySpace and the frankly embarrassing. It documents my many failed attempts to lose weight – and the one time it worked (yay for Cambridge!), my undulating mental health, my fledging attempts at writing and my tirades against the stupid. As a history of me it’s both fascinating and sad to read. In many respects I have come far, but in others I have stayed in the same place, battling the same old things. It doesn’t have Pepysian significance, but as a record of me, it’s invaluable.
It proves that on days when I feel mired in a large vat of treacle the good days will be just around the corner. When I tell myself that I am fated to repeat the same old mistakes, I have written evidence from my life that I can escape them. When I feel that I constantly fail, there are entries where I very clearly win and that is a laser-guided missile to the small voice within me that pulls me down. Much has been made in recent years on the impact of writing therapy (writing events down as a means to releasing yourself from the hurts of the past) and perhaps this is what Livejournal has been to me, albeit unknowingly. It’s also brought me friendship and a network of friends that stretches around the globe, including someone in Ohio with the name Rachel Lewis. Well, we just had to be friends.
I do still post at Livejournal but new posts are only available to friends as they continue to be deeply personal. Meanwhile, here at WordPress is where I post more openly – although it’s been somewhat neglected over the last year. One of the reasons for that is because there is less of a culture of debate. During the early years of blogging, one of the good things was having a really good discussion in the comments. These days, it’s mostly spam and reactionary attacks because commenters don’t seem to understand the difference between opinion and fact. Also, as I get older I’m less inclined to humour the fuckwits. Facebook serves the purpose of posting a quick comment about an issue in the news, and Twitter has cornered the market in funnies. But, for those of us who like expressing ourselves in more than 140 characters, the blog still has a valuable place.