Yesterday I started Robert Bly’s Sibling Society — a book I bought a long time ago and just rediscovered in a pile of dusty, unread books. He’s writing about what’s happened since the 50s to change us from a slightly paranoid while still seemingly optimistic society to one where children grow up expecting their parents to solve all of their problems for them and teachers struggle to get students to even CARE about learning.
I haven’t gotten very far, but it makes a lot of sense to me, based on what I’ve observed in the past dozen years or so of teaching-while-raising-children (a notable subgroup if ever there was one).
One of the things he addresses, albeit briefly, is our need to share, to speak, to rant (this was written, I think, before Twitter was Twitter or blogging was popular). As I recall he’s talking about how misguided this is; how, if we were striving to know ourselves rather than to feel that we were known by others, we would spend a great deal more time “talking” to ourselves in terms of self-reflection, self-improvement, self-awareness, etc. (And notable, at the risk of repeating myself, because this was written before Twitter was Twitter &c &c)
And I find myself wondering why I’m blogging.
Do I “find” myself by talking to you? Or am I (somewhat deliberately albeit subconsciously) missing the point?
I’m SO tired of and frustrated with the media’s portrayal of women; with the lack of support for equality in every respect in society and our government; in the ridiculousness that provides 9 year olds with smartphones and Only Daughter (in SEVENTH GRADE) coming home with stories about her “colleagues” talking about participating in various sexual acts that none under the age of 17 should even know the name of. Of course, we don’t know if any of them are ACTUALLY participating, or if it’s just a bunch of bravado — but shouldn’t the BRAVADO be something none under the age of 17 even think of? The government is being run by who can raise the most money, which means it’s not representing any of us without it, our roads are falling apart, schools spend too much money on unnecessary technology and fancy buildings and too little attention on whether my child is actually learning to think creatively, to problem solve.
But does my getting upset about any of these things, and
ranting writing about it, actually change anything?
Even when I decide that I’m tired of the sound of my own voice, and I go looking for other things to read, I’m just reminded about two things: how much blather there is out there (blogs with followers in the tens of thousands if not millions that are writing about how to organize your purse or the best recipe for lemon curd) and how much ridiculousness. Even Upworthy makes me feel sad/mad/angry/frustrated. I love Jessica Valenti, but she’s screaming out the window until her face is hoarse about the same things I am, but nothing changes.
I’m also becoming less and less comfortable with the “Me! Me! Pay attention to me!” nature of blogging. Maybe it’s my age, but I think maybe I need to spend more time listening, wearing muted colors, and practice speaking in a softer voice.
Maybe I should experiment with turning the blog over to you, my few but faithful readers. Introduce a topic, invite a conversation (civilized discourse only, of course). I know that might be asking for trouble. Internet/blog commenters are not known for their tactfulness or restraint. But you all aren’t the average internet readers/commenters, are you.
Hmmm. Where should I start.