|(gratuitous pretty picture...just because)|
I started blogging back in 2003. Yes, 12 years ago. Back then I was much more consistent and I actually felt I had something to say. But about 3 years into my blogging life I hit a snag. A blogging stalker type snag. It really freaked me out to put it mildly. Apparently a woman whose young daughter had gone missing over 35 years ago was searching everywhere and anywhere for any lead to her daughter's whereabouts. Somehow she stumbled across my blog that was hosted on a semi-private homeschooling blog site and felt that I might be her daughter. It absolutely broke my heart to learn of her story but it was THE WAY in which I learned of her story that left an indelible mark on my online presence. Long story short, members of an online "sleuth" forum started to "investigate" me as possibly being the missing girl. They found my address and my phone number (public records are great for that even though I never used my name or any personal details) and intended to contact me directly. Instead, after I posted a letter to the mom expressing sympathy for her loss and indicating I was not her daughter things turned very nasty. Threats were made against me on the forum and I was the focus of their not-so-kind conversation for many, many days. Finally, after many weeks of being a hot topic of conversation on the "sleuth" forum things died down. I was never contacted and interest in me faded away. However, the damage was done; I was terribly afraid to post anything online. Since then my presence on my various blogs (I've had several since) has been very inconsistent and at times nearly nonexistent.
Here, in this space, I try to stay away from the touchy-feely, vulnerable type posts. I've made "Sweet-Life" a place for me to post my photography and show little glimpses of my life. I keep it as reasonably anonymous as I can. I don't post my children's names and I try to keep images of my family to a minimum. I am vague about where I live and I never geo-tag my images. I play it safe. I rarely show up.
But I've been feeling a tug at my heart to change that a bit.
I'm beginning to think that I need connect more with friends and family in an avenue other than Instagram. The majority of my "online" life is spent on IG. I love IG! I've made connections with other photographers and creatives there that I NEVER would have made had I stuck with just blogging. I can't tell you how much I am encouraged by the supportive community. Some of my IG friends are friends in real life and some are online friends and some are both but that doesn't matter. I am inspired and blessed by them all. But it is hard to get to know your friends when it's just posting a picture and a caption. It's hard to build relationships via IG comments, and depending on how many folks one follows, it can be nearly impossible. Comments get missed. Replies aren't made. Feelings might get hurt. Fortunately, the IG community is such a forgiving bunch that I've never seen or heard of anyone suffering backlash for not replying to a comment.
I am hoping you'll join me here. I can't promise to write a certain number of posts each week or even each month. I still won't use my children's names and I still won't post many pictures of them (they do deserve their own privacy after all.) But I can promise that when I post I will show up. I will be the real me. Because I believe I still have something to say.