Happy 1.1 Blogversary!

20 Feb

I started this blog on January 20th, 2012, and our one year anniversary came and went quietly, unlike the raccoons breeding on the roof of my Park Slope apartment. It is as quiet, however, as the slow drip in my kitchen from the leaky roof in said Park Slope apartment.

In January of 2012, I was in graduate school working on an endless parade of academic essays while vaguely wondering about their relevance to the real world and my relevance to the business world, which I was about to enter full time. I read Slate and Huffington Post and HelloGiggles and wanted to talk back– and I mostly did, if only to my wonderful roommate and fellow blogger, Emi.

The urge to write for more than an academic audience was strong. I had played around with an anonymous blog about my embarrassing misadventures around mid-September which had failed miserably– mostly because I couldn’t promote it on my social networks and anyway, it’s no fun writing if you can’t attach your name to the final product. I knew I wanted to write as me.

But I worried about breaking from the safety being an “anonymous writer” gave me. I wanted to not worry about how employers would read me, not worry friends would see themselves in my stories, not worry about revealing a person my relatives wouldn’t recognize.

Some things are better left anonymous

Finally, I took the leap. My first post was about the Super Bowl and GoDaddy’s response to their horrific, sexist ads. I later followed up with a post outlining my reason for starting the blog, though I backdated it and didn’t promote the post at all. I see that post as an apologetic disclaimer. Subconsciously I needed one, even though I knew that legitimate writers never apologized for who they were or what they wrote.

In many ways this blog might be considered a failure. I started off trying to engage with popular culture and news outlets on feminist issues, largely trying to prove that one could still have feminist values and be interested in marketing and advertising. To some extent, I still see that as a worthwhile goal, though I long ago abandoned trying to convince people that feminists aren’t scary, dangerous, or undesirable.

I veered from my topic early, expanding beyond advertising to analyze True Blood’s LaLa and homosexuality as it’s displayed in the HBO show and defending Twilight, a decision I may have come to regret after watching the Breaking Dawn Part One and realizing it was, in fact, anti-abortion. I’m still thinking about that one. At that moment, I realized my blog wasn’t about feminism– it was about power relationships, or, as Expos teachers might say, “human difference.”

During this blogging experiment, I relearned what I have always known: writing is cathartic. Writing was like a balm; every post soothed my fears about sharing too much of myself, made me long to share more.

I experimented with more biographical pieces, despite the public nature of the blog, even throwing caution to the wind and writing about pretty recent, obvious friend dates. I’m starting to think that caring less about appearances is part of getting older…. which probably explains why I’ve straightened my hair once in the last three months. For a wedding.

I took the biggest turn, in my mind, when I started doing illustrated humor articles. I can’t say I regret this decision, even if it is random and weird. My favorite post so far is definitely Five Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write. I laughed a ton while writing it, and obviously it was about the very real problems I was having right then.

I totally still have problems motivating myself to write. Some days, if I haven’t written for weeks, I’ll have to write. I won’t be able to stop it– it feels like a buildup of water behind my hands; it needs someplace to go. But other days I’ll get home from work and sit in front of the computer and spend hours reading articles about Liz Lemon, unable to think of anything I want to say in response.

Even worse, I’ll start a post and never finish it, then get sick of having not finished it, and finally just publish it as is, figuring that something is better than nothing, even if the something is shitty. Here’s an example. I usually always regret this decision.

My writers block has slowly receded as I’ve learned that I don’t always have to write about the same thing, that my interests are allowed to expand and change, and that my writing can reflect that. It also helps when I get to hear feedback– people read my blog and laugh (a lot, so they say), or read my blog and find something that resonates (unfortunately for many people, the horrible friend date post was very relatable).

I’ve gotten several variations of this comment, which is the best:

“I read your post, and it was so good, I didn’t even know you had written it! I thought it was by some really clever person on the internet!”

For some reason, this feedback makes me glow. I strive to be as funny as these amazing writers. I want to be as smart as these amazing writers. If, for five minutes you read my blog and you didn’t know I wrote it… that means I’ve gone beyond the “feedback” stage of writing and moved into authorhood. So. Cool.

I’m basically saying that the best compliment you could give me is “I didn’t think you were smart/funny enough to write this.”

To sum this reflection post, even if my blog is more schizophrenic and less frequently updated than I hoped it would be a year ago, I still learn from and find enjoyment in using the space to make connections between my life, scholarship, and my interests. And I hope you do, too!

To my readers who have been with me since day one… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! And to the readers who are planning on sticking around ’til next year, HAPPY FUTURE ANNIVERSARIES! Thanks for reading!

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3 Responses to “Happy 1.1 Blogversary!”

  1. Feliza February 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Happy blogversary! Although I’m pretty new to your blog and now I’m wondering about your sanity, since you at some point thought Twilight had elements of feminism… (To be fair, I did’t go read it, so I’m not sure if you’d read all 4 books by the time you wrote the article.)

    I do want to encourage you, though, to write your blog because you enjoy it and because you use it as an outlet for your ideas. Even though I’m new to the game, as I mentioned, I’ve loved everything you’ve written so far – everything has made me think more deeply about whatever you’ve decided needed to be addressed.

    So don’t say this blog’s a failure. Because even if you change one person’s mind or make one person think, you’ve succeeded.

    • Caitlin Garzi March 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Hey! I had planned on responding to this comment, but predictably, forgot. Although I won’t promise that I’m sane, I will tell you my theory behind the Twilight-feminism thing (just saying that makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist!) The theory basically hinges on believing that Bella wants, more than she wants Edward, to be a vampire– and thus to have power– and she’ll do whatever it takes to become one. There are some passages of the texts that support this reading… but ultimately, I do believe that the baby scene is about as anti-feminist as things can get. Also I don’t like the way motherhood is depicted.

      Gosh… I’ll take any excuse to tell people about that theory lol.

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