I don’t know what I thought would happen, but I feel like I should have prepared for this!
Last week, I submitted a Money Diary to Refinery29, and promptly forgot about it. I didn’t mention it here, and I assumed it wouldn’t be published. I enjoyed the exercise of tracking my spending with a narrative, instead of just my Linxo app.
As is my habit, I checked the Money Diary main page after work and there it was. My diary had been published. In addition to the little tap dance that I definitely stood up and did, I texted a couple of friends, and sent the link to E and my mom.
I read through the comments and responded to a few questions with greater detail about my financial life. Everyone was so nice! I was so thrilled about having something published anonymously on a larger platform than my blog that I didn’t stop to think about why I publish anonymously in the first place.
When I started this blog in February, it was another writing medium in a long list of others that I’ve kept over the years. From actual journals, to a couple of Tumblr accounts, I have vacillated between various degrees of privacy when it comes to my writing and self-reflection. I stopped using Facebook as a means of self-expression, and shuttered the Tumblr accounts last August. In the interim, I realised that I needed a space where I was my primary audience.
While my blog is an extension of myself this year, my life is my project in 2017.
When it comes to how I interacted on social media or blogging platforms before 2017, I walked the line between genuine self-expression and performative self-censorship. I noticed that a lot of my online contributions were heavily influenced by what I thought people wanted to read from me.
If you’d asked me on Tuesday how many people in my regular sphere of interaction knew about this blog, I would have told you that it had been shared with exactly two friends, and my mom.
If you asked me the same question today, the answer would be four friends, my mom, and the entire readership of Refinery29 who made it to the comment section on my Money Diary…… Someone asked if I had a blog, and I posted the link. I was nervous and a little excited, and I realised that the content on my blog is pretty similar to the Money Diary. Maybe someone would enjoy it, too!
Now, as I’m prepping my posts for Friday and Saturday, I’m feeling uncharacteristically self-conscious. Before sharing the link to my blog, I never stopped to think about who would like my content or who would read it, because those things fundamentally did not matter to me. The process of writing, posting, and chronicling my personal journey this year was enough because it was for me.
There were days when nobody (not even my mom!) visited my blog, and that was, and is, completely OK. I’m not trying to start a side hustle, I didn’t plan on this blog becoming a source of any income or emotional validation, and I don’t intend to start now.
I listen to a podcast called The Friend Zone, and one of the the things that Fran said in an episode awhile back stuck with me : I am not for everyone. She talks about that concept in the context of deciding who to work with and what ideas to represent, and it applies very, very cleanly to this blog.
In trying not to get a big head over the (temporary?) jump in readership, I’m reminding myself of that fact : I am not for everyone.
This blog is not for everyone.
Anyone is welcome to read this blog, but it is written for me, as part of the biggest personal projects I’ve ever undertaken.
I’m learning about my relationship with money, the environment, my body, my physical, mental, and emotional health. I’m reflecting on my romantic relationship, my professional growth, and my friendships. I’m working through stages of my life that have been as deeply challenging as they have been rewarding.
I don’t want to start censoring myself to appeal to a wider audience. I want to maintain my sense of devotion to myself and to my growth. I am my audience, and that is enough.
It brings me joy to think that someone can derive value from my experiences and my reflections. I hope that if people are taking the time to read what I write that it is rewarding for them! I hope that it nurtures someone on their own journey, or provides a contrast so that someone is able to see their own situation in a different light.
But what I remind myself of today, and what I will remind myself of as the readership drops back down to a couple of people on WordPress, and my mom, this blog is already standing in its purpose.
Paradoxically, a commitment to genuine self-expression make make this platform more attractive to outside readers, but I don’t want to let that supersede its ultimate purpose.
This blog is here to change my life, and it already has.