I am a writer. I am not one to publicize my writing. Take this blog, for example. I have had this for two years, and this is blog post number one. I do, however, regularly read personal writing that authors make public.
And I’ve read multiple “Why I’m sick of reading about blank” articles in the past few months. They are blog posts that criticize the abundance of the current blog topic clichés: wanderlust, sexual purity, the sad state of modern dating, the validity/invalidity of the feminist movement, 12 reasons why your dog makes the best mac and cheese, etc., etc. Just like anything, the new trend is discrediting the latest trends in one way or another. And if I’m being completely honest, I’ve often agreed. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t rolled my eyes at more than one Odyssey article that I’m sure someone laboriously wrote from the depths of their soul. I’m not proud of it. I can be as pretentious as the next humanities student. There is this stigma accompanying shock and awe, radically personal blog posts (the same stigma accompanying selfies, vines, tweets, Facebook posts, and the like) of “doing it for the likes” that I, like many others, get caught up in, dragging me down a judgmental spiral I have to rationalize my way out of.
But this morning, I read one of these “Why I’m sick of” posts that compelled me to respond, just in case someone else read into it and bought into the degradation that I personally feel the author is so distastefully perpetuating.
It is entitled “Why I’m Tired of Reading About Your Eating Disorder on the Internet,” and can be found here: https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/why-im-tired-of-reading-about-your-eating-disorder-on-the-internet/
Obviously, the title is a little harsh. After all, what is a blog post without a good, shocking title, right? I mean, it got me to click the link. In a nutshell, the author expresses her exhaustion with the “personal tell-alls” that have been filling all of our newsfeeds for the past year and a half. And she’s right. Just like many bloggers have noted before her, the relationship between millenials and social media is a precarious one. We are addicted to attention. We’ve been convinced that anything and everything we do is of some monumental importance, and reality is in a constant state of VSCO embellishment. We feel a constant need to assert our own originality (and therefore assert our lack of it). I feel like this has been well established. To be honest, that’s what I’m tired of reading about. But I digress.
Essentially, in her own words:
“In an age when we #doitforthelikes, the line between sharing in order to encourage others to feel safe in speaking out and merely word vomiting personal details onto the Internet has been all but erased.”
At first, I was only partially perturbed. Superficially, I thought she had a point, and it was something I considered myself on multiple occasions. Personal trauma should not be exploited for “likes,” and I appreciate quality writing being published over “word vomit” as much as the next English major. But the article kept itching at me all day, and eventually (following a run, which if you know me at all, you know that’s when I do my best thinking. Also, I can’t get through anything without talking about it in some way, so there it is), I was disgusted with myself that I originally agreed with part of it.
Let’s try and forget for a moment that she diminishes disordered eating, a very serious and life-threatening mental and physical disorder, to being an “obvious” consequence to “being a girl, playing with Barbies and owning a mirror.” Because this article isn’t just about eating disorders. It’s about personal trauma, depression, mental disorders, suicide attempts, anxiety, depression, self-harm. The author is also correct in that these bare-all testimonies have become commonplace. Well, so have a lot of things. But you know something? Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, are commonplace. That doesn’t make them less serious, but it does mean that any one of the countless people suffering from a mental disease has the right to share as little or as much as they wish through whatever method they choose. The author doesn’t deny this, but she suggests anyone questioning the tools they are providing their empathizers or value to the conversation should consider a diary. Let me just say from the other side of the screen, writing publicly and privately as a form of therapeutic relief and release are two entirely different worlds. Publishing my writing is not therapeutic for me. In fact, it gives me even more anxiety. I am not so ignorant to assume the opposite can’t be true for other people.
As a blogger and emotional human being herself, the author writes:
“If I’m not adding value to the blogosphere with my writing, I’d rather not do it at all.”
Let me break some news: the blogosphere? Not a real thing. It’s imaginary. A mere two decades ago, the “blogosphere” didn’t even exist. You know what’s real? People.
And this is really meant for anyone who has read this article or any like it and been convinced that their story is not worth telling or that they should feel ashamed for publicizing their writings as a form of therapy if it isn’t the most original thing since originality.
Who cares if you’re “doing it for the likes?” Do it for the likes. If every like you get helps you to eat the next meal, or get out of bed in the morning, or keeps your from taking another pill or adding another slice to your wrist, then please, by all and any means possible, keep writing. Keep posting. Word vomit. Litter it with clichés if that’s what it takes. Honestly, I could not care less about the state of the “blogosphere.” And you shouldn’t either. Care about the state of you. Care about the state of one person in thousands that might find hope or meaning in your words. And neither this article, nor any other article, should ever make you doubt the value of your addition to any–to the–conversation.
And may I say to every person that has used the internet as their personal confessional for their benefit or the potential benefit of other people: thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Also, if you found this post without value and therefore worthless to the blogosphere, I’d refer you to the beginning of it and would ask you politely to read it again.