Escape From the Internet!

That weekend, after the kids were in bed and the laundry room was finally done, they started talking about putting a match to this thing they loved so much. Sherry was ready to quit right then, but John wasn’t convinced. The YHL brand was their primary income. “I wanted us both to calm down. And I wanted to know what our next move would be.” They both made lists of old freelance clients from their days in advertising who might take them back. It felt terrifyingly uncertain, but also, liberating. In a perfect metaphor for the moment, John’s laptop promptly died.

The next morning, while John rushed his computer in for life support, Sherry published an announcement. “We felt this shift from ‘John and Sherry’ to ‘Young House Love: The Brand’ [and] the blogosphere as a whole has become increasingly sponsored/corporate lately,” she wrote by way of explanation. Almost immediately, 5,348 comments began to roll in: “Ignore the jealous people.” “Are you breaking up with us? :(” And the refrain: “We’ll be here when you come back!”

The next month, they logged on again, to publish a farewell post. “We thought it would be nearly impossible to click off that urge to over-share this past month,” they wrote. “But it actually felt just right.”

When you blog your life. Yesterday, I was at a baptism, and I saw quite a few people who are known to me only tangentially – they are friends-of-friends, or I only know them via Facebook. I was surprised at some of the comments I heard, about how I appear on the Internets vs how I am. There is significant overlap, to be sure. Everything I post about myself and my family is true. But, and here’s the thing, I don’t post everything that’s true.

I apparently seem to have it together a lot more than I actually do. Some of that is by design. We were falsely accused of neglect and investigated by Child Protective Services ten years ago (wow. that was ten years ago.) and it is still a point of fear and anxiety for me. We were totally cleared and the accusations were seen for what they were, vindictive and petty, but the impact of those weeks will be with me forever. I don’t parent like most people, and the idea of that happening again and being separated from my children is terrifying. So, I maybe don’t show you the really messy laundry room, or the pile of three days’ worth of kid junk (books, crumpled socks, waffle boxes, a strand of dried spaghetti) that lives under my dining table on a rotating basis. I’m a bit panicked even mentioning it exists, actually.

So, that kind of blogging, like the YHL folks did, attracts and repels me. I guess it’s all personas we put on, even virtually. Especially virtually.

2 thoughts on “Escape From the Internet!

  1. That was a very interesting article.

    I don’t know why anyone would say you’re so different online and in person. I don’t think you are at all. Perhaps what they mean is that the things you talk to them about online inspire or affect them differently than your physical presence does.

    I was just lamenting the constant stream of humbrags on facebook. The perpetual need to justify oneself, one’s time, one’s choices to the world because there’s no connection or acceptance or getting ahead or staying in touch without it. It’s fear driven. I think people respect those who find a way to engage differently, without the fear. Isn’t it funny that it’s still there? Some wounds are deep and attacking a family is among the ways to leave lasting scars.

    I don’t think any of us understand yet how to navigate this new world.

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