I didn't know that a blog could have an existential crisis, but it turns out, it can. For five years, I crafted this website and funneled many of my adventures and experiences into it. But during all that time, I never actually considered how the person I am and the things that I do shape the way I write, or even what I choose to write here. I just... did it.
2014 is a big year for me. In March, I signed a three year (three year!) contract with a great company and moved to Beijing, and in just a few short weeks, I'm marrying my best friend and the man of my dreams. And then he's moving to Beijing. With our dog. Those are major things! But instead of writing through it all, which is my usual process, all this transition had me cowering in the corner, afraid to step back and look at the whole picture.
What is this blog?
Who is the writer--really?
Why do I write things here?
How will my site--a 20something's travel blog--grow with me, when I'm gettin' hitched and settling down?
What if... what if I don't have anything interesting left to say?
I've been thinking about these things in my head for months now, but I haven't come to any conclusions. That shouldn't be shocking, considering the fact that I generally need to write things down before I can make any conclusions. So I'm going to do it now, but be aware that even I don't know where this is going. Seriously I have no idea. I'm not even promising myself that this entry will make it on the blog. But it's a start, and that's more than I've managed for six months. Exhale.
Okay first question. What is this blog? Maybe that's obvious. I've tried to make it a lot of things in the past: a place to write about travel, cooking, photography, music . . . Gee, that sounds like a vaguely boring diary. That anyone in the whole wide world can see. Yikes. I've even avoided calling it a blog in the past, preferring the term "website." Blog just sounds so angsty. You know?
From the outside, I've always imagined my site (see, there I go again) as a way for my friends and family (and maybe the occasional like-minded stranger) to follow my somewhat exotic adventures around the world. And that is what this blog is for, partially. But for me personally, it has been a place for me to consistently stretch my writing legs, get the creative juices flowing, and just practice my words.
I love to write. There are some things I find more inspiring than others as topics--travel, for instance, or occasionally cooking. But that doesn't mean that in the future I will always find those things most inspiring, or that I won't want to write about something else here, too. But is Kaci and the World the place for that? Not sure. Moving on.
I won't get into an existential crisis myself right now (the poor blog has been through enough!) but the fact of the matter is, a few of my core identities are changing. Single --> Married. Still in college grad mode --> Real real life job. Travel any time at a moment's notice --> Dog at home who needs kisses (and food). And when bloggers (hate that word, cringing now) go through something like that, we have a tendency to question the relevance of our words to our "new state". For the record, I have absolutely no idea if other bloggers have gone through similar experiences. Comments welcome.) The bottom line is: Does what I say on this site still apply to who I am?
And why do I write on here anyway? Other than to let my friends and family back home know that I did actually eat cobra that one time (okay, three times) in rural China? Because I could easily do that via Skype, or emails, or just share the story at Christmas dinner. My whole spiel about 'needing to write' and 'practicing my words' is also fine and grand, but I could do that in a journal like the rest of humanity before the 21st century. Wouldn't that accomplish the same goal?
Because a blog provides interaction. (Sometimes. Even if it's just with your mom.) It talks back, in the form of comments, Facebook likes, even emails from strangers half a world away. But while understanding that simple fact has helped a bit, it has also made things worse. Like, okay it's cool that people might read this and comment on it, but who am I to think that anyone actually wants to hear what I have to say? Practically every other person has a blog these days, and I think a lot of them are silly! Do people think my blog is a waste of time? Am I being narcissistic by posting all these stories about myself and just assuming that people would want to read them?
Oh no! I just realized I've broken one of my cardinal laws about blog posts. Must include pictures often and at key intervals. Otherwise it's too boring and no one will read. (That is how I personally evaluate other blogs, so it's only fair that I expect the same of myself.)
Here's a picture of my dog. (Refer to narcissistic question in paragraph above.)
Right. So you see how I was spinning myself into that unending vortex of wanting people to care about my blog but not wanting to care if people care about my blog? That's the kind of thing that really hurts the number of posts I feel capable of writing over, say, six months or so.
I just decided that I'm going to put myself firmly in the not caring camp, but with a caveat that says that I hope people will care about it, relate to it, laugh at it (kindly!) and comment on it. That's what makes it fun. That is why I do it. But it's not the only reason I do it (remember the part about practicing words?). So those two things combined, plus the sense of feeling productive even when I'm playing on the internets (i.e. blogging), makes it all worthwhile.
I feel accomplished already!
How the blog is going to evolve as I grow as a woman, traveler, wife, mother (some day) and extremely successful businessperson (also some day) is a more complicated question that will take a lot of work on my end, and hopefully will result in something that gets better and better as it ages. Yes, like a fine wine or my fiancé (so he tells me). I love makeovers (What Not to Wear, anyone?), so we can expect the blog to go through quite a few of those. It already has, since those early days in 2009.
Now to my last question, which is probably what all of this boils down to and the real reason I haven't written anything in six months. What if I don't have anything interesting left to say? What if, since I'm not translating letters from World War II or gallivanting about with my face on billboards in rural China, I'm just not cool enough to write good stuff anymore? I honestly asked myself this question and could not come up with a decent answer. But I have one now!
If I have nothing interesting to say, I will say some uninteresting things instead. But I will do my best to write about them in a way that will fascinate and engage you, dear reader! Beware, there is trickery on this site. You may find yourself glued to the screen, only to discover you've spent the last four hours reading about . . . gasp! Bottled water vs. filter on the tap! (#Beijing #Chinaproblems)
I might even write a post about hashtags, except that I probably need to learn how to use Twitter before I do that. So give me a few more years. By then, Twitter may not even be a thing anymore and I can get back to the important stuff. Like Pinterest.
Boy do I feel great! I love my website! I love blogging! I hate that word! Thanks for reading!
What do you think? Are you glad to see Kaci and the World back up and running? Isn't my dog actually the cutest?