Six years ago, I opened up this sundialgirl account just to see how my journaling habits would fare online. I had been writing journals since I was in third grade - they were written in black signpen on recycled Papemelroti notebooks - the kind you used to get for something like 12 pesos. If you calculate it, I've been writing journals for the past 16 years. That's roughly how old my sister Bea is.
I guess we write for different reasons. I started chronicling my thoughts because I was a very lonely 8-year-old and I would be found in the school canteen, eating by myself, my nose buried in a book. I would finish recess early and then hide in the library for the rest of the period. There were some brief moments when I would emerge and play with my cousins Camila and Monica - but after some time, even those games were few and far between. Aside from the fact that I was in self-imposed social exile, I also managed to find a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank in the school library and was immediately fascinated by this young girl who kept the story of her life immortalized - albeit unintentionally - by virtue of this little notebook. I immediately realized that I wanted to be like Anne Frank, my romanticized heroine who loved a boy named Peter and her American movie stars despite the pervasive fear that blanketed Europe during World War II.
And because I also read a lot during my formative years, I ended up idolizing another young writer - Jo March, from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. (Oh come on! Don't tell me you didn't read that. It's like, required reading for grade school.) That further fueled my desire to (a) expire in a romantic way, like heartbreak or sorrow or surrounded by snow and dead black trees, and (b) write my thoughts and have someone else publish it when I expire and then receive the fame and adulation due to me when I was alive, but because I was dead, DEAD, DEAD! the entire world will regret not having recognized my genius as a child.
Yes, I was quite the little megalomaniac there for awhile.
But then blogging became the publishing du jour for those who had no chance of breaking into the literati crowd, or those who want their 15 minutes of fame, or those who simply want to share something to the rest of the world. Blogging is something rather odd, if you think about it - your innermost thoughts on an unmediated public access place where you could be found just by a Google search or a series of random links? Whatever happened to privacy, to space, to wanting to be yourself simply because you are, well, you?
Nowadays, you can even make a livelihood from blogging - it's called "professional blogging" and if you find yourself with a handy-dandy laptop, a good Wi-Fi connection, and a pseudo-sarcastic voice that could possibly rival Judd Apatow's comedies, then you will be hired as a blogger. Personally, I don't see the point. For me, there's a kind of pleasure in seeing your thoughts materialize on the page - or in this case, the screen. It provides a kind of concrete-ness, a kind of clarity that can't be duplicated elsewhere. So I blog when I want to - when there's something particularly interesting I want to share, or I want to tell the world something, or when I simply want to contribute to the behemoth that is the Internet - the digital manifestation of Jung's collective unconscious, all laid out in its glory and nastiness.
Because say whatever you want to say about blogs and blogging, but for me, it's as simple as knowing what all my friends are doing even though I'm not home. It's about sharing and connection, about knowing that despite the geographical distance, there is still some common thread that ties us together. And there are also memories. This blog has seen me through two ex-boyfriends and countless crushes, flings, and one-night stands. It has seen me through college, working in Manila, graduate studies, and working abroad. A lot of poems and short stories found their first breath here, in a space that is neither tangible nor intangible. It exists because of technology and imagination.
And at the end of the day, this blog is like my mind manifested in cyberspace. It's filled with random details, stories and poems and what-have-yous, times when I wanted to die, felt like dying, or had some kind of death wish. Alternatively, there were also chronicles of joy and friendship and happiness - I wasn't a complete loser, you know, and I do have friends these days (thank God!) as well as a loving boyfriend, a family who tolerates my life choices and my craziness, and a job that I am slowly starting to love. Life is pretty good, if you think about it.
So happy sixth birthday, blog! May you be filled with more thoughts and well-wishes, songs and stories and poetry, words that form long ribbons of sentences that wrap around the world.