Back at xmas-time some coworkers and I were discussing the worst gifts our parents ever gave us. You know, like socks when we really really wanted a Tonka truck, that kind of thing.
Recently one mom had gone beyond the pale and had somehow, armed with a list and everything, she'd still gotten her daughter (34 years old, mind) absolutely nothing that she wanted. My first thought was, man, that is really awful! How can the mom not follow a list, on one side, and how can a daughter, at the age she is and all, be so childish! Well, after I dismounted from my high horse, I thought, hey, at least mom is trying. She knows what kind of stuff her daughter likes and is trying to get her something in that style...failing really only because daughter wanted the exact thing, not something similar. At least she's trying! As for the childish daughter...there but for the grace of god go I, baby-doll.
My mom gave up on giving me ANYTHING about the time I was a freshman in college...it may have dragged on to sophomore year. Whenever a box came from home it was always kinda iffy when opening it up. My mom only had a vague idea of what I liked. We didn't do much sharing and frankly tried to stay as much away from one another as we could to keep the house from exploding. I was not the best of teenagers, shall we say? So my mom tired and went for the easy. If she saw me in a white t-shirt and jean shorts, a ha! That year I'd get 6 white t-shirts for xmas...and a gift receipt (oh thank you whoever invented those) to amend size and style. (Or just returned the whole thing and buy something I wanted.)
After a while though...yep, why waste time on the middle-man. It devolved to cold hard cash on the barrel. A card, maybe, but it was only the wrapping paper for the check. Then when I got an account at the same bank as my parents? (Yep, a rebel with the bank accounts too, why would I bank at that old bank...what a dork I was...) not even a card, she just deposits the money straight into my account, still.
People will look at me kinda funny, but really, with my mom and I? When we shop for one another? We're not really shopping for the person we know, we're shopping for the person we think we know. Maybe even the ideal mom/daughter we've developed in our heads. I don't guess, I ask my mom specifically what kind of tea I can get her, which size and style she wears, what color is her favorite right now, etc. And she, well, she lets me know there's some cash in the bank to get myself something I like.
So, for my birthday this year, I just finished shopping this weekend, and mom hit pay dirt this year :). She "got" me a nice pair of Mary Janes from the Keen family, a cool pair of slacks from the Ann Taylor Loft, my favorite scent of cream from Bath & Body Works, and 2 travel-sized journals decorated with characters from a treasured book from childhood, Alice In Wonderland. (It was one of the books the librarian's assistant at my Alma mater/mom's old work used to read from, to my older brother and I when we were stuck with nothing to do and nowhere to go. The other was Jane Eyre.The red room chapter? Still gives me chills.)
So, with that long-winded intro...when you "give" me a journal, one that I like, and is the right size, and I can whip out and jot down my thoughts as I wait for the bus or sit at my desk...one for whom grammar and spelling I don't have to worry about because it really is just me who is reading it? One that is "secret and safe" because I know that even my family won't find it and read it until I am long long gone?....it changes my blogging habits, it would seem.
I don't have to sit and think up a catchy title!
I don't have to worry about writing something too long, or more likely too short as I just jot down the thought that zoomed in and then back out my head.
I don't have to wait until I'm in front of a computer to get the thoughts on paper.
Then there's the "catharsis" bit. I used to only write for myself, or for one other person, in letters. Blogging has really changed that about me. Writing for yourself is a very different experience than writing for people passing by. I don't have to worry about keeping emotions, stereotypes, feelings, etc in check when it's just me. I try very hard to keep it all neutral when it's out there in the world. I think I need to balance that out some more. There are posts where the "angry" comes out...and posts where I know I'm sounding rather silly. Others where the cynical got away from me. Is that the public persona I want the "world" to see? I know I have an audience of about 3, which is fine, I'm not the "hollywood girl" that friends have become, nor am I a very good commenter or blog-ringer, "coffee shop" post-er, or knitter along. So I don't see myself grabbing friends and fans by the truckload. Maybe someday, you know, after the novel is published :).
For now, if I want to continue sharing with the world, I'm gonna have to see if I can "cross-post" from paper to pixel, and balance that time out as well.
*Of course if you give me a cookie I won't exactly say no either :).