Blogging for rewards

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.

8 thoughts on “Blogging for rewards

  1. I think there IS a lot of satisfaction in blogging, in the sense of accomplishing tasks, or getting some writing done every day.

  2. Freud would agree with you. And I do too, but it think it applies to fathers too – or any other important figure in our lives when we were children.

    I’m certainly aware of a need for validation when I blog, and I hate that feeling. It’s also hard to confess. I think blogging (for me anyway) is about seeking acceptance of who I really am, rather than who I might have pretended to be throughout my life to keep other people happy and gain approval.

    Blimey. This is getting deep…

  3. You can get deep here Emma. I don’t mind.

    I agree with you. Early influences don’t stop in adulthood. More than just mom, I mean. An early loss of one of them can keep you busy the rest of your life trying to make up for it (not just loss due to death either, but maybe just as bad is loss due to distraction, workaholism, illness, or narcissism).

  4. Why do we blog, we who write mostly personal blogs? Good question, one that I ask myself continuously. I like the idea of redemption, if only self-redemption. I mean, we certainly don’t do it for fame or fortune, right?

    I know that I blog mostly for myself, if for no other reason that I feel as if it will be my memoir, even if no one else ever reads it. And truthfully, I like feedback. I used to have a few people who read me regularly and commented, but they have new jobs and obligations that do not allow for constant commenting.

    For me, it would be my father, not my mother. We all have our ghosts.

    And the work dream? Don’t you wish sometimes that they would just stop? I’m so tired of dreaming about work, although, which job I dream about depends on my state of mind. I like you parting gifts.

  5. Hi Poietes, you might have noticed I am terrible at replies. I feel like I am supposed to be eloquent or something I guess. I am also not good at commenting on other people’s blog posts unless someone angers me. If I get fired up and defensive I can write pages! And no one wants that! So sorry, I am often a lurker on your blog, soaking up posts, but silently. I don’t know when or why that started to be true, but it persists.

    I like the idea of blogging as memoir because I usually forget what I wrote as soon as its posted.

    Yes, I am tired of dreaming about my old job. I’d love to replace it with something new.

  6. I am only 6 month old blogger but 61 years old. I have met several dozen of the most delightful people all over the world.I think your stuff is really cool. I met val erde blogging. She is in England. Her stuff just magical. You would be enchanted visiting her post.

  7. Yes, I know Val’s blog! Funny how we all get around to meeting each other this way isn’t it? I read many bloggers that are in the UK. I think I am a Britophile, if that’s the word for it.

    I will come visit your blog…

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