How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Blog

I made a terrible mistake in my last blog.

It wasn’t a blogging mistake so much as it was a life compartmentalization mistake. I should have followed Mike Birbiglia’s example, and kept a “Secret Public Blog.” But I blabbed, and it was my undoing. First, I told whatever guy I was dating about it. Then the next guy I was dating, too. And so on. I’m a professional singleton, so I repeated that mistake a few times. (Before you judge me, I’m talking about a period that spanned several years. And anyway it wasn’t THAT many guys.)

Then I listed the address on my social media page and before long I had a number of co-workers who were reading it. That was the real mistake. Not that I enjoyed offending the guys I used to date; I certainly didn’t do that on purpose (it was more of a positive side-effect). But with co-workers following my posts, there was a real danger of offending someone, and the inherent consequences therein.

Especially because: Mormons.

I grew up in Utah in a small Mormon stronghold of a town. Almost everyone I knew growing up was Mormon. My parents are Mormon. I stopped participating in “The Church” (as we call it) at an early age, but to this day I think of myself as a “recovering Mormon.”

Point being – there is the cliché in the writing world that advises “write what you know.” And Mormonism is what I know. Unfortunately, what I have to say about Mormonism is not exactly polite. I once wrote on my old blog that Brigham Young and Joseph Smith were thugs and con-men with a penchant for pussy. Just for instance.

The thing that really got me into trouble, however, was a post I wrote about Mormon heaven being a sort of waiting room where the dead sit on their hands, waiting for the second coming. There is a lot more to Mormon heaven, of course. That’s just the pre-Jesus-is-back phase. But my point was that if heaven was that similar to the DMV, I’ll just go on sinning, thank you very much.

If I am being completely honest, the co-worker who responded to say that she was offended was not over-reacting. Her comment was respectful and the chilly period that followed at work was not long-drawn.

Still, it changed things for me. Before that, my primary objective with my blog was to write about my life authentically, and hope that the humor was relatable. After this little incident, however, I couldn’t write without feeling that I had a set of highly sensitive and politically correct eyes reading over my shoulder.

I have always struggled with shyness. And in the beginning, blogging was this amazing life-hack that provided me with a way to let people in. I could share what I was thinking and feeling with my friends and my sisters in a way that I couldn’t quite do in a face to face conversation. After I got my coworker’s offended response, however, I felt like that level of openess been a bad idea. It suddenly appeared that the my edited self might have been the better version all along. So I quit writing the blog. Then, when an ex popped up out of nowhere and asked why I haven’t been writing, it seemed like positive evidence that I had made the correct decision.

Now, a year later, I’m not so sure. The problem is that I miss my blog. I miss the unedited me. And I’ve decided that the mistake wasn’t writing about the things that I care about or find amusing. The mistake was letting the response get to me.

I am a pretty sensitive person, so I don’t know if I am capable of preventing that from happening again. At least, not when the responder is someone that I have to see at work the next day. Instead, I have decided to start a new blog and share it only with the people in my life who appreciate my musings. People who are willing entertain the assertion that Mormon heaven is not a real place, but a comedy gold-mine. In other words, the people I really really trust.

And total strangers. I’m fine with them reading it, too.

I have been putting off writing this initial entry because I haven’t been sure where to start. I feel like I should introduce myself and explain where I am in my life. I want it to be clean and I sensible and I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get it right. No more mistakes. But – as that isn’t possible – I finally decided to open a blank document and start there. It’s time to take what I have and see what I can do with it.

After all, it’s summer and life has provided me with a lot of lemons. Let’s make some lemonade.

About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and new stepparent. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my Yorkshire terrier, Wensleydale Doggiepants. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: rachelclewis.com @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

3 responses to “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Blog

  1. JP

    WELCOME BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve missed your blog so much!! Great re-entry!! xoxox

  2. sdv in slc

    Finally! We’ve waited so long. Glad you are back. XOXO

  3. I had a similar experience when I started blogging. I was too open, and shared a lot of my personal life.
    Mistake. Big mistake!
    A particularly nasty SIL, who I was ranting about one day, found my blog….left snide comments and then proceeded to read everything I’d written until 3:00 that morning.
    We haven’t spoken since.
    Live and learn. Now I keep it light and don’t name names!

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