whiskey vs. tea

Our experience of art is always colored by the things that make us who we are. Our preferences and prejudices, our fears and values, our desires and dislikes, even our beliefs about ourselves - we bring all of that to the table when we read a book, or look at a painting, or listen to a song. We are moved or offended or amused or frightened according to this complex and ever evolving prepackage of perception.

I think that reading blogs is no different. If, when I find myself impassioned (positively or negatively) after reading a post, I take a moment to consider why I have so many feels about it - it usually has at least something to do with me. I hate to see the intimate family moments of children essentially sold on mommy blogs...but maybe because not so deep down I realize I'm being similarly exploitive with my loved ones, and by displacing my disgust, I'm avoiding having to own up to that? Then there are the bloggers whose values run so counter to my own - whose personalities so repel me - that no matter what they say or do, I will always find fault with them. On the other hand, there are bloggers who I know next to nothing about, but by virtue of some shared experience (say, depression), I will root for unconditionally...until they disappoint me, that is - and then I'll have probably some feels about that, too.

I've also noticed that when someone with whom I personally identify experiences a major life change (move, new job, marriage, baby), the ways in which I relate to them change - and sometimes weaken - and therefore affect how I perceive them. This is true for both people I know in real life, and those I follow online. (I think that's why reading novels is so exciting to me; I'm taken on an adventure with only the hope that where we end up is someplace that both the protagonist and I are satisfied with.)

The best I can do, in this space, is be authentically me while I explore my own ideas about the world and experiment with creative ways to convey those ideas; while I share the experiences that make up my days, months, and years. This blog is an intellectual playground and an occasional self therapy session - nothing more. It isn't a score card of my life's wins and losses. It's not a reflection of my worth as a person. It's a place where some of the details of my life, and some of my thoughts about that life, are shared. And I have to remember that everyone reading along will come to my words preloaded with their own ideas about the world.

The lens through which I am viewed is, as of today, 364 posts long. I've had 364 posts with which to make myself understood and liked and respected so far. Based on the feedback I've gotten, I'm mostly happy with the job I've done. I think most of the critical feedback has been fair, even when it's been tough. But that's why I love blogging so much; I have the power to keep developing the picture of my life, in whatever ways I choose. That's the challenge I thrive on: Can you keep sharing your life in a way that's compelling and fun to follow along with? And more importantly: Can you keep growing as a person, so that the things you have to write about are more interesting, useful, and relatable?

I hope so. I want that. But I also saw a quote today that really struck me for some reason. "I'd rather be someone's shot of whiskey than everyone's cup of tea."

Maybe I'm whiskey, or maybe I'm tea, or maybe I'm one with a chaser of the other. I don't know. But I do know if I could, I'd throw a huge party and invite every single of one you to come and enjoy an open bar stocked with both (and plenty of other libations), so I could at least say thanks for caring long enough to decide whether I'm the drink for you.

Cheers.