What blogging means to me

Day 21, and I am well into this month’s blogfest, past the 60% mark, which (in my student days) was the cut-off for “first class”. Which makes me a “first-class blogger”, in a manner of speaking. Given that I was reluctant about this year’s blogfest, it is a relief that I have managed to blog every day so far. It has not always been easy, but it has also not been as tough as I had feared.

Blogging is, for me, a strange medium, both intensely private and openly public.

One some days when I sit down to blog, I am in a small little world of my own, just writing to sort out my thoughts and emotions. On those days, even though I know I am blogging, I forget that others may read what I write. On the sadder days, each word draws out with it a droplet of my blood, or so it seems. I am so alone, so tightly wound, and it takes time for the flow to come, if at all it comes. It is so private. It is only when I am about to click “publish” that better sense prevails and I go back and weed out things that are just too private or could be intrusive for others.

On other days, I feel I am in a cozy group of close friends, chatting with them about things that matter to me, and the blog becomes my way of connecting, being part of a circle that is real to me though it is virtual, and there is this warm glow that remains inside me as I write.

Then there are days I share my caregiver experiences. In the earlier days, I would write these as a solitary person, but now I am aware that I have, willy-nilly, become someone sharing these and ending up exposing other caregivers and non-caregivers to what my caregiving has been like. It is difficult to remain honest and not succumb to whitewashing my mistakes, and also difficult to maintain a perspective and balance so as not to skew the picture to be too whiny or Pollyanna-ish. Memories tire, especially as I am trying to narrate them not in an “it’s all fine now” but also trying to synchronize to how it was back then. I find that many people who have reached a point of peace with respect to caregiving often diminish the struggles they faced when they talk of the past. If you ask them about the past problems, they say, oh, it doesn’t matter. But those problems did matter back in the days when they happened. And there are enough caregivers facing those problems right now, and these persons would feel less lonely if they learn that they are not the only persons to face such problems.

Yes, dipping into the past is difficult, and I understand why people often talk like the problems never happened…

A lot of my life now is not about actual caregiving, but about supporting other caregivers and even supporting concerned persons who want to help caregivers. This ends up in my blogs, too, where I start sharing my perspectives gained from my contact with so many other caregivers, and even with concerned volunteers, and it is a relief to articulate my experiences and thoughts, and even to sometimes try and structure them to make them usable for others.

And then, last year, I tried using blogs for something very different. I used blogging as an online work journal to sort my thoughts about an area that deeply concerned me. My decision to post weekly blogs as I went through what I call my Adventures in Hindi kept me on my toes and made me more careful in my thinking and investigation. All through those four weeks, I felt I was in a working environment again, focused, sharing, committed to understand and explain. And at the end, when I reached my own decision on a specific way forward, I was much more comfortable with it than I would have been otherwise. (the first part of the 4-part blogpost is here: Adventures in Hindi Part 1: A mother-tongue fading behind a veil)

When I started this month’s blogfest, I thought I would not have anything to say. On Day 2, I sat down to jot down the topics/ ideas I could blog about and the list was not small. The list has grown and grown, but for many topics my thoughts are half-formed, and I depend, as ever, on the actual act of typing to help me uncover what I might be thinking.

I do find it funny that a medium that is basically a public sharing of an online diary allows me to feel introspective at times, in a cozy work circle at others, and aware of the public nature of blogging and sharing at other times. Yes, blogging keeps me connected, it gives me company of various sorts, it gives me a forum. Daily blogging is tiring, though, especially as I am a slow typist and very prone to making typos, and I will be happy to switch to weekly blogs once January is over.

Till then, the blogfest continues🙂

[Part 1 of the four-part blogpost referred to above is here: Adventures in Hindi Part 1: A mother-tongue fading behind a veil]

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About Swapna Kishore
I'm a writer, blogger, and resource person for dementia/ caregiving in India. I have also been a dementia caregiver for well over a decade, and am deeply concerned about dementia care in India; on this blog I share my personal caregiving journey, my experiences as a resource person for dementia care, and musings on life, aging, dementia in India, and such sundries. More about me and the work I do for dementia care. For structured information on dementia, for discussions, tools and tips on caregiving issues, for resources in India, and for caregiver interviews, please check my website http://dementiacarenotes.in (or its Hindi version, http://dementiahindi.com). For videos on dementia caregiving (English and Hindi), check the youtube channel here.

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