Self-censorship on a personal blog

I've never been the best of writers, but I've always enjoyed it. Even back in school it seemed that as long as the subject matter was good, I actually enjoyed my writing assignments. I've always seemed to have an over active mind and I can't really go through the day without analyzing the events and environment. With everything I see and experience, I find myself needing to talk it out or express it externally, rather than drown in the swirl of thoughts that quickly build up in my head. I guess I see writing as a way of having this needed conversation when there isn't anyone around to hear it. The problem I have is that when you have a true in person conversation, you know who's listening and you generally have a good idea of how they'll react to it.

Unfortunately, when blogging, you have absolutely no guarantee to who is reading and how they'll interpret your written words. As such, I often find myself censoring my own posts. In many cases, the would be posts are thrown out long before I even sit down to write them. There are many people out there who view their blogs as a journal that they freely let strangers flounder about in. Some, seemingly forget that their entries are public and post their personal thoughts and feelings to the world unknowingly. I, however, write entries that I intend to be read, that I would openly converse about in person, and that are written for a general audience.

I've become the worst enemy of the writer inside me. As I go about my day, the over active mind I mentioned earlier will drudge through my thoughts and memories and pull themselves together into these conversational blogs. For a split second I begin writing the blog entry in my mind; mulling over the introductory paragraph in my head. Suddenly, the creative and analytical side of the brain is shut off to make way for the editor who is very conscious of who may or may not be reading the entry that would follow.

Many people know me in many different ways. It's not that I act differently based on the people I'm with at the time, it's just that I'm a very complicated individual and it would be literally impossible to present myself in full to any one person. So, many people experience different layers of the onion that it me. When I write something in a public forum (of which, being accessible to anyone, my blog is), I'm very cognizant of how it will be viewed by all those who could possibly stumble upon it. Because of this awareness, I often find myself not writing more posts than I do.

Because text is so different than spoken word, in which meaning can be implied by inflections in voice, it's impossible to guarantee that my readers will understand where my writing comes from and what my words really mean. In normal conversation, I often use miniscule examples to leapfrog into more universal and significant subject matters. If I uses a personal experience as my miniscule example, it would be easy for a reader of my blog, especially one for whom it was a mutual experience, the tone and direction of the piece might be interpreted as an attack on them.

The self-censorhip doesn't just stop with a fear offending someone. It also stems from an attempt to pay respect and not belittle the the trials and tribulations of others in the world, regardless of whether those individuals would ever even see my post. I'll often hear a story of tragedy that will spark a thought or a reevaluation of my self. While I'd like to express those thoughts and feelings, I come to the conclusion that I could never really understand what those people are going through in their time of tragedy. Furthermore, I end up feeling like making my post, one build of the mere idea of loss, only takes away from the suffering of those. This post, in fact, is taking the place of just such an entry. I simply cannot bring myself to coat-tail the experiences of others in this way.

If, from the very beginning, I would have begun writing anonymously, I would have no problem writing each and everything thought that sprung from the depths of my mind. However, Just Because iCan is the personal blog of Christopher Schnese and I write it as myself. I simply cannot allow myself to write anything I wouldn't speak, to each and every person I come across, in real life.

posted by Christopher Schnese