The last of the old school bloggers (not really)

When I started blogging fifteen years ago today, admittedly, it was to show off.

I mean, don't we all? Hey, look at me. I have my own space on the Internet. Sure, it wasn't the Geocities-hosted website I dreamed of, but it was a start. Here's where I talk about how the progress of that website was going, although in the end it never really progressed beyond a couple of templates on FrontPage. But I kept writing, because I also fashioned myself as a writer, oblivious to the fact that nobody really cared about what I had to say.

Sure, that's harsh, but fifteen years later, I still genuinely think that's the case. Or maybe it all depends on my mood, which lately has hovered on that negative side people don't want to acknowledge. Maybe it's because I tend to be a contrarian most of the time, adopting unpopular opinions because they are unpopular. But then, people agree with other people when they say something that I have said before. I don't carry that much cachet? Yes, I'll give that, because I'm not a celebrity. Nobody notices a non-celebrity round these parts.

But then, most of the time I feel people really just hate me. Okay, hate is a strong word. Dislike? Like, I must be repulsed enough by enough people, but in secret. Let's not tell him we don't like him. It does make sense. I never really was popular. I will admit I wanted to be that, perhaps an attempt to regain the glories of elementary school, when I was one of the top kids. But even then my classmates found me weird, although they wouldn't admit to that until much later. Perhaps it was a mistake for me to be so into my interests at the time. Then again, I didn't know I was doing something wrong until much later. And even when I did, well, why would I change what I like so others will like me? A contradiction.

Even much later I always felt people were just tolerating me. I felt that way in college. I am tempted to paint that moment when some of my blockmates surprised me with cake on my first birthday as a Lasallian as a moment of pity. (Prove me wrong.) It was nice, but then I still never felt included, like truly one of the guys. I was just this weirdo who had a crush on one of them and acted silly about it. At work, especially the first job, I was just that guy they talked to when the occasion calls for it. Our team leader didn't even act like a team leader to me.

Okay, perhaps you'll say I still have all these hang-ups I should let go of. I mean, you have a girlfriend! Aren't you happy with that? Well, it is human nature to want to be accepted by as many people as possible. Shalla loves me, I'll say. She loves me enough to work with my foibles, and the same goes with me to hers. (Is that grammatically correct?) Is it wrong to hope that other people would, too? Or is it too late to ask for that?

Here's another hang-up: I made the mistake of being frank (error #1) with an online friend (error #2) about how I want validation from others (error #3). She mocked me, and we never talked again. Sure, I may have fessed up to the wrong person, but it's not my fault if I said something that I thought was true, that happened to brush against, and perhaps contradict, what she believes. We want validation from other people. It's why I still take the time to stretch my fingers and write these long essays, well-crafted for the most part, about things I see and things I believe.

But then, writing these things here are kind of passé now. When you write your thoughts down for everyone to see, you have to have earned the right to do so. It's why we're angry at people posting what we deem as idiotic shit on social media. What made you king? You have to prove that you really know your shit - unless you're a celebrity, in which case you can, can, get a free pass. Otherwise, if you're writing in spaces like these you must be useful to someone or another. Tell them the best restaurants, or tell them how to survive queuing at a government office. Or peddle something, as long as you prove you have the clout.

I should be writing for myself, and only for myself, but I will confess, once again, that I am doing this for the validation. Knowing that people care enough about what I write (and what I write about) keeps me going. As with all of us, as much as we don't want to admit it. What's the use of exerting all this effort if you get nothing in return? Altruism is a phoenix. You don't just do what you do for the love.

But why don't you just stop writing, then?

Because I love writing. I love it so much that I gave up a proper shot at having a lot of disposable income to do so. Lately, I've been thinking, I really should've listened to my father. I shouldn't have pursued a communications degree. Besides, he said, I could just take writing workshops and do it on the side, all while working a "real" (my word, not his) job. Now, nobody cares about what I write, unless they need someone to write a letter, or a speech, or at least anything that articulates their thoughts. And I don't even get the validation I want from it. And yet I still go on. I mean, I am paying for this domain, for one. An expensive hobby, if you choose to look at it that way.

That said, I didn't mean to be so negative on this, the fifteenth anniversary of this blog. Fifteen years of writing seriously, Niko. And look at where that got you.

And your responses...

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