Saturday, 5 September 2015

In Appreciation of Blogging

August 2011

November 2011

December 2011
February 2012, my sister Ireland (left) and me playing Alice and The White Rabbit (and dancing, of course).
February 2012. Large fluffy tophats are important.
April 2012. Gerrie the pony has grass in his mouth, not a cigarette, just so you know...
(Dress is silk, from a charity shop. Frankie the chicken happened to be walking by).
July 2012

August 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013. (Wearing some awkwardly sitting 40's tap pants).
April 2013
June 2013
This morning, I was properly appreciating a Saturday – by lazing around in bed. I then did something that I usually avoid, given the usual messy state of my room: I looked around. Clothes and books strewn everywhere; countless trinket boxes; a large amount of vintage leather bags hanging from my door (weighing down on the doorknob so much that my door doesn't actually close properly); and, on my wall, some cork boards. What I pinned to them probably hasn't changed in about four or more years; there are pictures of tigers, a pegasus, my dad as a kid with a very fat goat, way too many cheesy quotes, drawings of the skeleton from when I was ten and attempted to remember the names of every single bone in the human body, and, mysteriously, a folded up A4 piece of crisp, faded yellow paper. I had no idea what it was. It was clear I hadn't thought about that piece of paper in years. I experienced a feeling that I'd felt the day before when I looked through my blog for the first time in a long time. It was a feeling of fascination with a past me that I had forgotten about. If you’re wondering, the contents of the page were rather anticlimactic and made me question the state of my sanity the time that I pinned the paper up. I opened it, imagining all sorts of curious things, and found, in the middle of the page, written in blue pen by my then-messy handwriting, the word ‘something’. I have an inkling that maybe my younger self posted that there just to confuse my future (aka current) self. It certainly worked. 

But that’s not really the relevant bit here (and I've already rambled on enough about the encounter). It was that wonderful feeling of rediscovering who I was at another time. It got me thinking about blogging. And how great I've always thought it was that we can document parts of ourselves and our lives and our thoughts, saved for us to look back on later. A blog is different to Facebook in many ways, as it (or at least for me) is a place for more extended and deeper thoughts than where you got breakfast one Sunday in March 2012. I always loved the idea of keeping an actual journal (preferably a beautiful leather bound one that I wrote in with fancy handwriting), but never managed it. But for a while, I was really good at keeping a blog. I started blogging at twelve, and now, at sixteen, looking back is so amazing. I really enjoyed being able to have a place where I could see how I evolved in my thoughts and ways in a time period (my teenage years) where so much changes. It was better than photo albums compiled by my parents or the stories they tell me about how I used to be, because it was documentation of who I was, controlled solely by me - and the way I chose to document myself was yet another reflection of who I was.

Thinking about this made me sad that the ubiquity of my blog posts have simmered down to me having only posted once this year. I feel like it’s such an important thing to document how you felt at one point, because so often we forget. I've met many adults who remember being young, but not how it felt. And I'm scared of forgetting all these things, because I know how easy it is.

I hope that I manage to continue blogging. There are so many wonderful aspects of it, the retrospective part being just one of them. It’s so satisfying to type out my current thoughts; get feedback and other opinions in the comments; read the blogs of others; the whole process of taking pictures and thinking about how I will present myself, both in photos (my photography and photos of me) and in writing, and thinking about what to write and how to start and how to end, and finally pressing 'publish'; reviewing; wondering what I’ll post next.

The photoshoots are the best though. I love photography. I think one day I'd like to be a photographer. When I started my blog, it was from my sister Ireland’s encouragement. She already had a blog, and she’d asked me to help her take photos for it (at the time I wasn't even that interested in photography). We started with some badly lit pictures of her on our veranda in some impossibly high heels, then moved on to her styling me as well as herself, and us taking pictures of each other, then, looking through our mum’s old clothes and the hoards of vintage she had been collecting since before we were born. Picture taking became more frequent and more daring. Poses were made in the garden, up trees, in the paddocks, with cows, with horses, with chickens. She helped me start my blog, even named it for me, and directed me to all the blogs she followed and took inspiration from. We both developed our own styles, but for the photoshoots, we always teamed up and had a lot of fun. We were always so different, even though we’d wished we were twins, so it was a great way for us both to connect before the time we matured enough to accept and celebrate our differences.
I would definitely say that blogging has played a huge part in shaping who I am today. It made me begin to use the internet for more intellectual reasons, and then find some excellent websites, blogs and articles that opened my mind even further to things like politics, the media, equality, sustainability, art, and much more – all things that my parents had discussed with me, but that I needed to discover on my own for my opinions to develop naturally; so I could truly discover how I really thought, by being free to explore all the information and opinions out there and to see what I felt was important and what I agreed and disagreed with. Hell, from simply their twelve year-old starting a blog, my parents' opinions have evolved thanks to endless conversations about all the stuff that I had read. So, while I can’t be sure if anyone reading this very self involved post is actually enjoying it (sorry I went on a bit), I still wanted to post this, as sort of a homage to my blog (and my sister), for making me significantly more well-adjusted. 


Rosalind said...

This is such a lovely, lovely post - one where there were lots of elements of recognition for me. Blogging has been such a pleasure (and learning curve) for plenty of years in my life now, and it's so wonderful to read someone else's reflections on that trajectory. I've really enjoyed reading your blog, and the images are always fab.

I also loved the way you articulate all those different functions of a blog: the pinning down of a specific moment, connections with others, a permanent document of change and growth, a means to improve, formation of identity etc etc. Such a multifaceted number of possibilities..

Lola Byatt said...

Beautiful pictures! and I love your essays, they're always so interesting to read and inspire me to write more! I keep a journal and have kept one since 11, it is always so interesting to read back. I may write something similar