I started this blog way back in March 2000. I was in my junior year at the College of William and Mary, majoring in computer science and minoring in linguistics. Looking back, I know I should have majored in at least linguistics; computer science was just so very wrong for me. It doesn’t much matter now, fortunately.
I roomed with this girl named Cristina both junior and senior years. She decided to start an online diary over at Diaryland sometime in our junior year and told me and some of our mutual friends about it. It ended up that she and I, along with our suitemate Franny and our good friend Angela, each had our own online diaries. For a while, we all read each other’s diaries, which was highly amusing seeing as we all saw each other every single day.
After a while, my blog became a way for my real mother and my sister to keep in contact with me and to know what was going on in my life. It was certainly cheaper than phone calls (this was before I got a cell phone, and long distance rates in college were 10¢ a minute), and it was easier than sitting down and writing them an email every day.
Eventually my college friends either shut down their diaries or moved them to other locations. By this time I had lost contact with most of them anyhow, save Angela, so it didn’t really bother me. Yet here I still am, still writing, still using this blog as a way to let out the words screaming to get out of my head.
However, in college, it was sort of understood that you didn’t talk about your diary. You wrote it, you let people read it at their leisure, and you never really spoke about it. If you liked an entry of someone else’s, you could go ahead and talk about it (this is wayyyyyyyyyy before comments, people). But you never brought up your own entries to someone, and you never made them feel like they had to read you.
I still carry those rules in my head with me to this day. I don’t tell people that I know in real life that I have a blog. I don’t make people feel they have to read me, and they have to comment. I am pleased each day that I get as many comments as I do, but I don’t seek them out.
Even when I talk to Caroline on the phone and tell her about something I have already blogged about, I ask her first, “Did you read my blog?” and then follow it up with, “You don’t have to read it, you know.” I just don’t want to repeat myself if she’s already read it.
I feel odd telling people that I have a blog. So many people have one, and so many people use it as a way of getting attention. Some folks can write amazingly well and have a zillion readers. Some people even get the attention of national news sites and are quoted by them.
Me, I write because I have to. When I was in college I kept both a paper journal and this blog. The most private stuff went into the paper journal, thoughts and feelings and events I didn’t want anyone else knowing about. The blog was for more public stuff, and though I no longer keep a paper journal, much to my dismay, it still helps me to work through my issues if I write in my blog. I don’t even have to write about the personal stuff; somehow just the act of putting words on the screen is enough to let me work through my problems in the background of my mind.
For the longest time, I have kept myself very compartmentalized. There’s one Karyl for my friends. There’s another Karyl for my family. Another Karyl for my blogging friends. Another Karyl for my Flickr group. They’re all basically the same Karyl, just many different manifestations for different situations.
Why all the different Karyls? Mainly because I have different levels of openness. There are some things I am willing to share to my Flickr group that I wouldn’t dare write about here. But I am more willing to be open here than I am to my family. And to my friends, I want them to see me as someone who’s fun and easy to be with, not someone you hate hanging out with. I usually end up being the one you call when you need an ear, not the other way around.
But slowly I am melding all these Karyls together. Maybe because it’s because I’m getting older every year, and starting to care less and less what people think about me. Sure, I want people to think I am nice, that I’m a good friend, that I’m a good person. But it’s starting to matter less to me.
Slowly I am getting up the courage to just let it all hang out. You already know that I have all my photos linked from this site. You all know what I look like. But it’s been hard for me to close the connection, to link my diary from my Flickr page. I have people I know in real life who look at my Flickr page. Do I really want them reading this blog? It goes back to Rule #1 from college — You don’t talk about your blog.
A few days ago I edited my profile on Flickr to link to this page. Anyone who knows me in real life can now read this. It’s kind of scary, in a way, but also quite liberating. Because now slowly I can meld all these Karyls and just be me.
Not a bad person to be, I don’t think.