I’ve got this dream where I completely re-do this blog. I can picture it: minimalist black and white theme, high quality photography, and a hand-lettered title. The blog is neat, full of articles about literature, updates on my monthly adventures, thoughts on politics and feminism and faith, and of course my trademark- vulnerable, honest articles about my life.
However, upon dreaming up this idea, I realized several flaws in this plan. First, I haven’t actually posted a blog post since February. And that professional blog templates can cost at least $30, if not more, not to mention monthly hosting fees. While this blog isn’t the height of aestheticism, at least it’s free. When you are living on a small service stipend, everything free is good. But to me, there is a much bigger issue- I’m not sure how to be both a teacher and a blogger.
I am currently teaching high school English at a Catholic school in Omaha. My students are great- hilarious, insightful, and particularly skilled in social media stalking. Within in my first few weeks, they found everything with my name on it online. To be honest, it was pretty funny when they discovered some old college projects that even I forgot that I put on YouTube. But it was less funny when I had to change my Instagram name for the third time in three months. Seriously- I use my insta to get free books! I need that!
While the internet has never been a private place, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to use it to tell stories, especially very personal ones about my life. Writing blogs throughout college helped me process and share some of my most difficult struggles, not just in a way that helped me with my issues, but used these difficult issues to help others. Sometimes I felt like I “thought” in blog posts- always spinning together a narrative out of ordinary or challenging moments.
And I feel as if I still do. I still am writing blog posts. My computer is full of documents of posts that I’ve written in the last few months, but then hesitated to post. While I don’t mind sharing my struggles with family, friends, and even strangers through this blog- there are some things that I don’t want my students or their parents to know. If I write about a personal struggle, is that something a student could use against me or mock me for? If I write about a political opinion, is that something I could get fired for? Sometimes I find myself frustrated because blogging is something that is very much “me” and without it, I’m not sure how to process my life and ideas. I hate that teaching means giving up a part of myself when it already it the most demanding and sacrificial job I’ve ever had. But I also see a need to protect myself- my personal life, my professionalism, and my job.
I don’t know the answer to this predicament. Making a “private blog” with a password seems very Tumblr in 2010 to me. Stripping this blog of every vulnerable or political article seems to take away it’s very integrity. A decent and potential idea is redesigning the blog in some sort of way that can’t be traced to my name through searches. If you have ideas, please feel free to reach out and let me know.
Until then, I’m dying to continue to tell stories. I want to reflect on life through words and share it with my friends. I want to talk about faith and politics and just life in general. I’m dreaming up ways to post all the saved articles on my laptop, because I do think we are called to use our moments of weakness, challenge, and disappointment to help others. I’m just not exactly sure how to do that.