Is blogging an extension of school? I liked school. It gave me the structure I didn’t have at home. Not that there were no rules at home, my mom had a lot of rules and restrictions. But there was no structure around who I was, what I was doing here, and no sense of the future for me, as an adult. In fact, now that I think of it, I was raised as if I would always be a child.
I should say here that my mom died when I was 20 after being very sick and hospitalized for a number of years so maybe I feel this way because she never really knew me as an adult and I never knew her as an older woman. I have no sense of who I am supposed to be like at my age. There’s no role model. Of course I watch other women to see what they act like and do but it’s not the same as your own mother. I sense that most women either become who they are to be like their mother or unlike her. I see this with my own daughters. What do you do when you don’t have your mother to react to? Push off from?
Back to the school thing… I loved school because teachers paid attention to me, to us, even though we were children — because we were children! And they were always giving us assignments and corrections and feedback. I must have really liked that because I did everything I could to please them when I was in grade school. My teachers were better parents than my parents.
I loved assignments. That’s probably why I was able to last so long at a monotonous graphic designer job for 18 years. Monotony is not the worst that can happen to you. At least monotony has substance, if a boring one. The worst thing that can happen to you is no one needing or expecting anything from you, being left with no work to do. (chores don’t count, everyone has chores)
So blogging, for me, must fulfill that need for assignments and the satisfaction of finishing them — and the fantasy that someone cares whether I write them or not. That’s the critical part of blogging, the belief that someone is reading, listening, actually. I wonder sometimes if I am really writing to my mother, but that the memory of her is so far way, so elusive, it’s unrecognizable. If teachers listened when mom didn’t, then you, the reader, are also a stand-in for mom. Sorry.
I think people experience transference and projection and outright fantasy in the online environment far more than they realize. We do it in our real lives too, sorry to say. Sometimes I wonder if all relations aren’t a reliving or reworking of our relationship with our mothers. Those with good mothering (and healthy self esteem) probably don’t need to think about this much because the illusion is working, but those of us who were deprived somehow might want to consider how much is riding on our attempts to connect with other people by blogging. Particularly when blogging leads to a sense of frustration similar to what we felt with mom.
I blog because I can’t talk to (never could talk to) my mom? Sounds about right.
I dreamed about my old job again last night. I dream about it most nights. Though I worked there for 18 years, I have been retired for five. In the dream, my old boss gave me a 7% increase in pay at the last minute, boosting my pension. It was included in his goodbye memo written by hand on a small brown paper bag. I was so happy. I packed up my belongings and stripped the bed (!?) in my office of my tapestries and things. My boss then gave me a parting gift— a gift card for an El Pollo Loco family size meal. In the dream I felt redeemed by these last minute rewards.