Someone once asked me why I write and publish this blog. Why take the time to write down my thoughts?
Like so many times before, this got me thinking beyond just the question asked of me. It got me thinking of people in general. And not just blogs. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other types of social media. Why do we put these things out in the universe for people to read or look at? What do we gain from it? What do our “friends” gain from it?
In perusing my own Facebook stream, there are posts and pictures on all kinds of topics. As of right this minute, I see posts about the death of Robin Williams, an update from my mother-in-law on her television watching habits, and loads of pictures of others’ little ones. Pictures of children, specifically, litter my feed on a daily basis. In the past, I’ve seen people share things from stories of tearing tendons in their pinky toes to asking for prayers for their family. I’ve seen announcements of death. I’ve seen announcements of birth. I’ve seen sadness, grief, happiness, joy.
All online for their friends to read, share, experience. For the world to read.
For all intents and purposes (thank you, mom, for that ingrained saying), these people are strangers in our everyday lives. They know of us, but they don’t know us. Not like our spouses know us. Not like our brothers and sisters know us. Our closest friends. Even our kids.
Yet, we let them in and share things that once were considered deeply personal. Our anguish, our bliss, our excitement. And in Instagram’s case, even our dinner.
Again, why do we do it?
I think we, as human beings, crave to be understood. We want to be accepted. If not in a specific group or team, then in society as a whole. We try to conform. And even when we actively rebel against conformity, we end up joining a group of others who have also decided to rebel. We want to belong.
Back in 2011, I started this blog with the intent of sharing my thoughts on happenings and experiences in my own life. Stories I had read, events I had witnessed (or been a part of), shows I had watched, thoughts that whirl around in my wandering mind from time to time. It was an outlet.
But more importantly, it was me sharing my own thoughts with others, hoping they would understand me a little better. Hoping they would get a glimpse of what makes me tick, make them see who I really am. In public, depending on how you know me, I am a joker guy, a serious work guy, and/or a wings and beer sports watching guy. (Jayme likes to say the fact that I prefer boneless wings instead of bone-in tends to negate my macho guy persona.)
But what people don’t always realize is that I am actually a very thoughtful guy, in the sense that I sit around pondering random thoughts and playing out various scenarios to their sometimes extreme end. I will watch movies and find myself lost in various thoughts that have nothing to do with the actual plot. And in all of these thoughts and ponderings, I wonder what other people think. How they would respond to the same questions. How they process information differently than me. Are they right? Am I right? Is there a right?
So, to answer that question for others wondering the same thing, I put my thoughts down on (digital) paper. I write posts like this one on understanding things, so you can understand me.