Cloudy previously directed:
Randomly selected individuals (I drew names out of a hat) will be asked to create an entry on one or more of the following:
1. Write about a defining moment in your life.
2. Share an anecdote from your childhood.
3. Post one photograph that best sums up your entire life.
4. Write a fictional story that involves both you and I.
5. Draw a picture of the future.
6. Write about whatever the hell you want.
Hello! My name is Serena, and I despise the color chartreuse with the white-hot blinding intensity of a thousand stars going supernova simultaneously.
... I thought that as good an opening sentence as any, though it's not really what I came here to talk about.
If anyone, particularly regular readers of Serenaville, were to ask me what a defining moment in my life would be; odds are they would anticipate "The births of any of my four daughters..." or variation thereof, as my immediate answer.
They'd be wrong.
I would venture to label those moments as more "transformative", than "defining", really. Especially given the sad fact that nothing has been defined on this body, since the appearance of my first child some fifteen-and-a-half years ago. (Sigh.)
Don't worry. I didn't really come here to talk about that, either.
In actuality, a defining moment in my life occurred on Wednesday, December 3, 2003: The Fateful Day I Created My Diaryland Diary, culminating in this inaugural entry during the wee hours of the 4th. (That's either a heavenly chorus, or resonating organ notes of doom you're hearing, depending on one's point of view. Heh.)
Little could I have known the process of events set into motion, from that bold staking of claim in my own little parcel of the Diaryverse. Doubtful could I have sensed what it would come to mean, a shade over three years hence. NEVER could I have predicted how it would utterly change my life.
Over past days, I've had ample time to deeply reflect on such. Introspection inspired in part by the recent family medical emergency endured by a person I love most in the entire world, closely followed by the incomprehensible death of someone I know, and all that followed after. (Nothing like honking doses of reality, to harsh the mellow of one's dedicated self-absorption. Sheesh.)
What I've come here to talk about are the myriad thoughts, feelings, and perceptions resulting from all that intense navel-gazing.
... It's a really cute "innie", in case anyone wondered. Lint-free, to boot.
I recently read a top shelf Guest Entry in another diarist's space, written by the incomparable Dom, which read in part:
There was a time when we thought the internet was completely anonymous. You really had no idea who you were talking to and you would never dream of meeting them in person. That was when cybersex was popular, probably because of the anonymity. (Remember when cybersex was an issue? Was it really sex? Was it cheating? ... Do people still even do that?) Well, now society has grown up as regards to the web. Everyone has an online persona -- which for most people, is a pretty close approximation of their offline persona. Blogs have evolved the way we interact and present ourselves on the web. People share and interact more intimately than they ever do in person. Like-minded people are much eaiser to find. And so an e-quaintance can become an e-relationship without us even realizing it. It's also an extremely recent development in our culture that people are open to the idea of meeting up with a fellow blogger in real life without too much hesitation. People find love at online dating sites, e-date, meet and get married. My point is that meeting and interacting online is tantamount to meeting and interacting offline.
That really grabbed me. While the focus of Dom's guest turn was "E-flirting" and "E-attraction", his observations above rather dovetail nicely with my recent musings; and complement the direction I wanted to take my first-ever Guest Entry anywhere, here in Cloudy's space.
If one really thinks about it: Blog/diary sites have become the modern electronic equivalent of a Town Hall meeting in the larger sense, or talking over the fence with the neighbors in the smaller sense. They are where we get our news, gossip, entertainment, and fellowship. We may not know a soul in our physical neighborhoods, but we quite intimately know everyone in our virtual neighborhoods.
(Could you imagine Mister Rogers talking about virtual neighborhoods, today? I get a giggle from imagining B0b Trow as the guy with the MySp@ce profile detailing the plushie/furries fetish that compels him to don his B0b Dog costume, while his personal ad closes with a pithy quoting of "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window", and the insouciant question: "Wouldn't YOU like to 'take me home'???" Heh. Heh heh heh. *cough* Ahem.)
I began my diary when I lived in the Capital District of NY because I was a stay-at-home mom, cooped up in a three bedroom second-floor apartment with two toddler hellers. I was two hours from everyone I knew, with a husband who travelled weekly for his sales job. Not knowing a soul in our area at the time, much less in the apartment complex, my diary became my fundamental link to The Outside World. It was my very sanity, during the two excruciatingly miserable years before we moved back home.
Over time, people began finding and buddy-listing my diary. I'd given it the theme of a 'village', referring to visitors as 'tourists', and my own buddies (The Graces) as 'Citizens'. I wanted to give my space a warm feeling of intimacy and community. It heartened and sustained me to see the hit counter add up increasing numbers of 'visits', and the positive feedback readers would leave about my writing bolstered my flagging self-esteem. I was hooked on blogging from that time, and except for periods of inactivity here and there, haven't looked back since.
Through my diary, I have attracted countless lurkers and made dozens of acquaintances. Some of those acquaintances have since become dear friends - and even "family", while still others steadily deepen towards friendship the more we bond. I've actually had the joy of meeting a couple Diarylanders in person, and hope to meet many more this year. I've spoken to more than a few on the phone, and regularly e-mail others. New friends-to-be arrive all the time.
My readers are as varied as any community population, and span the globe. The fifty diarists I read are as far-flung, both in geography and content. Despite the differences in lifestyle, culture, gender, religions, beliefs, politics, etcetera; there's any number of factors attracting them to my space, and vice-versa. Something keeps us coming back time after time, or we wouldn't even bother. Something keeps us all pouring ourselves, and our lives, out there for the world to see.
I thought hard about what the drive, the impetus, might be. Why we would all risk so much to do this.
It is my firm belief that the most basic, primal emotional needs in humans are to be understood, and accepted. We also want to be heard. Hopefully, liked. As social beings, we want to reach out. We want to leave some sort of mark that says "I was here". We might want to know we mattered to others, and/or to have others know they mattered to us. Really, innumerable reasons could bring us to this pursuit, but those are the ones I've come up with. Your mileage may vary.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: My readers and friends give me validation, ceaseless support, encouragement, food for thought, entertainment, kinship, and SO much more. They educate and enlighten me. They enrich, expand, and bless my world. They've become an inextricable link with, and inherent part of, my daily existence. Now that they're in it, I can't imagine that daily existence before, or without, a single one. I often wonder what I would do without them, then decide I don't really want to know the answer.
I would like every one of them to know right here, how much I cherish and value them. I thank them ALL for their unstinting love and support of late, from the bottom of my brimming heart. This entry is meant as a 'love letter', of sorts. Stop gagging, it's really unattractive. :P
This is where I displayed incredible force of will, in changing my mind about posting a glancingly-related and rather mawkish poem reflecting my current extremely sentimental and schmoopy mood, thus saving us both the resultant "Ooh. AWKWARD." uncomfortable silence and shuffling of feet afterwards. You're welcome! :D
In (merciful) closing:
Given all my rabbitting on, I suppose it should come as no surprise that I've chosen the following snap as the one photograph that best sums up my entire life right now:
I feel your pity, and it burns. Heh.
Please. If you remember nothing else from my Guest turn here, let THIS be what you recall fondly:
"There is only one correct answer to the question, “What do you wanna do with your life?” and unless you’re sitting there banging your head, you don’t know it."
Damn straight. That pretty much says it all.
... I'm sure you all wish it had (Heh), but thanks for slogging through my meanderings, all the same. Don't worry, Cloudy won't let it happen again.