blogging walls

The strangest thing about having a blog is this: readers probably do see more real in me than most.  Because I’m able to write exactly how I feel, and share my most intimate thoughts and worries, readers do get a glimpse of who I really am.  It’s spelled out for them, literally.  It’s not all of me, for sure, but it’s real stuff.  And the strangest thing is, it doesn’t feel real.  I get notes from strangers, notes they want to send to the people most important to them… will I read it and tell them what I think?  Will I please give advice.  I’m a friend and come up in your conversations with your own friends, as if you know me in person.  I hear this, but it never feels real to me.  And that might be because I don’t put enough of me out there in the world.  The living world, not the written one. 

When I worked in advertising, and subsequently gave my two weeks notice, I worried no one would show up for my going away party. I didn’t really make friends easily, which seems so odd to me considering how inclusive I try to be with people.  Helpful.  But at work, I never liked getting involved in politics and mostly tried to keep to myself.  I definitely believe people took that to mean I thought I was better than they were.  Or at least that’s my own perception of myself.  I think people who don’t know me think that, that I’m stuck up or somehow think I’m better.  And I wonder, if I never had this blog, or if people really did meet and get to know me, if they’d feel the same way. 

One of my closest friends from advertising–I’ll never forget this–got a little annoyed that I had a blog, despite encouraging me to keep one, because "now everyone will get to see it so easily."
"See what?"
"What I had to work so hard for."

I was hard to get to know, to break down maybe, or to get behind.  "And now those lucky bastards get to see what I found, what I spent months getting to."  And I remember it, not only because it made me feel special but, because it meant that I was hard, hard to get to know, hard to get close to, and that’s a real to me that people don’t see here, in the written word.  How guarded I guess I am, without trying to be, and how people tend to take it personally, thinking maybe I don’t like them, when really, it’s just part of who I am.  And that’s as real as everything else.



  1. I hear ya! maybe stupid love ya (?) comment is making you think of this, which sucks that someone would come on to your space and talk shit. I think most of your readers (blog friends) understand the distinction. We are just observers, maybe even semi-students because your writing brings up our own internal issues and memories etc… just look at how many other people's dads said 'doing their business' and what a funny and perhaps lost memory that is for those people. You are actually a catalyst to ourselves. You're better than just a random author that leaves us to wonder about who they really are, you actually share that. So, to silly people that judge, why do you care?
    anyways, thanks for the good blogging and the window into not only your world but also into mine.
    I feel lucky that i've met you and can at least connect a voice to the person but regardless, i come on here more to connect with me than you!
    sorry for the tangent. have a good night…

  2. Fabulous writing, Stephanie. :) It's only now that I'm finally learning about what keeping up a blog can (and can't) do to a person.

  3. I wonder if your friend at the advertising agency was really saying that SHE had to work hard to be liked BY YOU.


    that's SO me. I have a blog, too, all the people that I know read it, and it gave me the same sensations. People now know me better, because I have no fear of putting myself in it, but at the same time I don't do that in the real world, out of shyness or fear of bothering others.

  5. funny… i had planned on sending you an email this morning telling you how you were in my dream last night. i was over at your house having lunch (which, btw was AWESOME.) we talked, played with makeup, shared hair tips (i'm a curly redhead, too.) anyway, the beans were really cranky and i could see that you were stressed. so, i offered to take abigail for a few hours. because we were "such good friends" you agreed and i played all afternoon with her. i woke up this morning just laughing at how the mind works. never met you in my life, but for a brief moment, we were soooo BFF. :)

  6. I've often marvelled at what I read on your blog – such personal thoughts and feelings – and I'm amazed that you choose to share them with everyone. Especially when people are mean to you about you. I couldn't possibly have a blog that wouldn't be full of fluffy nonsense that anyone looking at me could predict – I don't think I could stand the invasion of myself.

    But I'm grateful that you do – I've followed your blog for a long, long time – and when there's a new post, I sit down with a cup of coffee and hunker in for a read. Sort of like sitting down to dish with a good friend.

  7. I don't understand the link you make between the blog connections not feeling real and your not putting enough out there in the real world? It seems logical that the connections you make, and more accurately, the one your readers make to you, wouldn't feel real to you. Nor should they, right? These connections are NOT based in reality. You are a character, a writer, a persona, NOT a good friend, and your readers, no matter how adoring, can only get so close. That just seems an appropriate, and expected thing given the nature of what you, or any blogger/writer/celebrity does with her craft.

    It seems a little extreme that your friend would feel jealous of your blog readers. Surely she understands that knowing one as a friend, and as a blog reader, are two very different relationships? The former requires intimacy and equal exchange. The latter requires a star and an audience.

    I agree, unless you really feel like you are emotionally distant from those you love (and it doesn't seem like that's an issue for you), there's nothing wrong with being a little guarded and hard to get to know at first.

    FROM STEPHANIE: You'd be surprised. Quite a few of my friends had a hard time with the blog at first, and it was not because they were mentioned on it. Universally, I got this reaction, "you used to only share that stuff with me, and that made me feel special. And now you share it with the world." When we reveal things to people, an intimacy is established, and when I then reveal those same things to just anyone, the world at large really, it had a tendency to make those friends feel cheapened. They're over it now, believe me.

    "The link" you question has a lot to do with identity. Who we think we are, what kind of person. There's a slight disconnect for me when thinking of my identity on this blog, being liked (and hated) so easily by many, and with my identity in the living world as a woman who maybe comes off as guarded. That's all.

  8. "You are actually a catalyst to ourselves." I could not agree more with this comment. I've been reading Stephanie's blog for just over two years now and each and every time it's like coming home.

  9. "How guarded I guess I am, without trying to be, and how people tend to take it personally, thinking maybe I don't like them, when really, it's just part of who I am. And that's as real as everything else."

    I can relate. In most situations I'm an extrovert, but many times, especially at work, I'm more guarded. I think I'm just sitting back and taking everything in. A work environment isn't always the place to be the life of the party. I also find that if you start going out with people, you're always expected to. Then when you don't your a snob or something. It can be tiring and sometimes I'd rather just observe. I've always done this and still managed to leave with some lifelong friends.

  10. interesting point of view! i never would have thought your friends to be 'jealous' over the posting of your intimate thoughts. i guess it makes sense but its something i've never thought about before and am a little surprised! i just wrote about being reserved so i am definitely in sync with this 'guarded' blog. why does it feel so freeing to post our intimate thoughts on a viewable page? why/how is it different from sharing with our closest friends?

  11. I'm still new to blogging but I like how it allows the walls around me to be a bit more see through. I'm still timid in my blog sharing but I hope with time, my blog will as ungaurded as yours.

  12. I have never written a coment before, but I have read your blog for a long time. I just wanted to say, that reading your blog is one of the highlights of my day. I am always amazed at what you are able to put out there and very happy that you do. I always enjoy reading so please never stop writing!

  13. I think blogging makes us more open. We learn how to be open and not be afraid of what someone might think of us. We can be as real as we want knowing we wont be judged (most comments are usually positive). We don`t think twice about writing about our lives, feelings, daily events etc but sometimes you keep yourself back while describing it in real life. Strange but true!

  14. I'm 24. I've had my screen name since I was 12. I've had my blog since I was 17. Even before blogging, I would send my friends long rambling group e-mails about my thoughts and high school torments. For the last three years or so, I've actively stepped away from my computer and had to learn to exist in the real world.
    It's never been difficult for me to make friends. I come from a large family and am used to being around people. Often the truth is I just don't want to make new friends.
    That is what I've learned from my voyages into the "real world." The amount of human interaction and the type of human interaction everyone needs is different. I hate to eat alone. But I can't make basic I-feel statements with actual eyes looking at me.
    For me, I had to venture away from internet communication because it had been so much of my formative experience. But for you, who has so much more in your history, if this medium is the most comfortable and keeps you emotionally satisfied there's is nothing to question. Plus, your real world friends can read your blog just as easily as I do.

  15. i've finally started inviting people to my blog to view my perspective and "realness", and i'm so afraid to send links to my family because i know they've missed a lot of these neuroses and quirks about me. they know that deep down i am a strange little bird that likes to write, but i am nervous that the people who should want to know me the most will critique me the worst.

    i try my best to be the person i write. because who i write is so much more real – this is a great thing you recognize in this post, stephanie. and no matter how much we guard the person they see, it's a gift for them to know what we truly think and believe.

    i love your words. thank you.

  16. That is so funny! I was sitting at the beach yesterday talking to my fiancee about 'Stephanie Klein' (as I often do) and her adorable beans, and her scorpion problem, etc. And then I thought…"I wonder if she knows that she's part of our lives like this…?" It definitely feels like we know you; like a friend who lives far away.

  17. I can totally relate to the dichotomy/schizophrenia of being so open with true friends, or in writing, but being completely (yet unwittingly) guarded in environments like the office. I think we all realize what a treasure it is for you, and other bloggers, to open up for us in ways those who physically interact with you don't always get to. I hope you don't ever clam up on us!

  18. This is so hilariously arrogant — "what I had to work so hard for". A chance to know Stephanie Klein?! Good god.

  19. Ariel, um, *your* comment sounds extremely arrogant to me. Having a bad day?

    Like Stephanie, I've had more than one person make a "what I had to work so hard for" comment to me. That's not saying I'm so wonderful to know (but what's wrong with saying I am?), just saying that I'm not easy when it comes to making friends. It takes some time to get me to trust a person and to open up to them. Stephanie wasn't being arrogant at all, just quoting a real-life experience.


  20. This is a little bit off topic, but…

    What I like most about your writing, and you sharing it with us, is the same thing that's been said over and over. You articulated my thoughts. You gave words to feelings that I hadn't even acknowledged.

    But here's how you're making me a better human– your ability to express yourself makes me recognize in the moment who I really am. What do I love? What can I not tolerate ever again?

    A nagging feeling that I'm not pleased with a situation gets brought to the surface and thought through, rather than pushed down, ignored or denied, because you have taken the time to give words to my feelings. I stand up for myself. I ask the tough questions that are easier left unsaid.

    And a fleeting thought of living a moment of pure happiness, or the idea that I'm witnessing history being made, or a sound bite of life is so precious that it must be preserved with a mental picture get equally thought through, enjoyed, and sometimes, written down.

    I could come up with ten more examples, but I'll just say that you've made me be a better me. And thank you.

  21. It's kind of a stereotype, but I think most true writers are hard to get to know because they feel more comfortable living on paper than they do in the real world. Most writers are introverted and that's why they write.

    I know what you mean about the friend thing. When I started my blog, one of my friends said, "Oh God, don't tell me now I have to read your blog to find out what's going on with you."

    And, just when I thought we had everything in common, you drop another one on me. You were in advertising, too? What did you do in advertising and where did you work?

  22. I must say(uneasily) that I had the same feeling as Ariel…

    FROM STEPHANIE: What's arrogant about repeating a conversation where a close friend said exactly that to me? Just curious really, not offended.

  23. I don't get it. SK is saying people send her things and ask her personal advice as if she knows them and it makes her reflect on how her real life interactions she is more guarded. friends would get jealous of the "online friends". Take it at face value. She's being introspective about that. Articulating that real life friends are fewer and closer is not arrogant just truthful. It wouldn't matter if it were SK or me or you. Damn, my sister would be pissed off she need to work so hard to have me call her with news of my family. Imagine how pissed she'd be if she had to read it on a blog I wrote. Nothing arrogant whatsoever.

  24. When I developed secondary infertility, I did not get what I needed from family and friends. In fact, when I would try to mention it, I would get the "oh, be happy with the one child you already have". I was hurt, humiliated, and turned to the internet, where I found a drove of women who not only understood my pain, but supported me. It was these women (and men) who I told about each miscarriage I had, and told first about my pregnancy, which is now viable.
    When friends and family read my blog, they were hurt. They couldn't believe that I had shared to the "online world" these private things. And, I hurt some feelings along the way, because a few were introspective enough to realize that they were the ones that I was writing about… my unsupportive real life cast of people.

  25. stef with an f- I completely agree with you. I remember my best friend justifying my blog to my husband that way over dinner one night. Almost verbatim. He will never understand it because in person I am such a clam.

  26. I don't see why people get so upset about blogging. To me, it just seems like the latest medium for writing. I would like to compare it to someone criticizing computer generated artwork because it supposedly takes less talent or time, which is completely untrue. Just because the latest technology allows a different way of doing something doesn't mean it's any less credible.

    People keep journals for generations because they are precious documents of a person's thoughts and feelings during a particular time. If blogging is like keeping a journal,then how can it be so attacked? I enjoy reading this blog for a few reasons although I don't relate or agree with everything that is said and I have no idea if I would be friends with Stephanie in real life. It's a good read, she provides insight from her personal experiences and takes some pretty amazing photographs. I say leave the criticism to blogs that are hate-based.

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