December 2017
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the purposes I want my LJ to serve and the efforts I take to make that happen


icon: "inspired (a painting of my face (in my early 20s) with reflected blues and purples on it, done in miniature by my friend Kate)"

What steps do you take to make your LJ into a place you want it to be, which of them work, and do any of them happen to trap you in the image of yourself you have already created here and impede you expressing everything of yourself here? (from here)

What I want my LJ to be:
1) a memory repository
2) a way for me to explore and learn myself and to note patterns in my life
3) a connection with others and a way for others to know me deeply
4) an inspiration for the pursuit of justice
5) a work of art
6) an outlet for strong emotion
7) a way to share skills I have learned
8) a resource for others who experience similar oppressions and marginalizations (queer, trans, nonbinary, femme or afab, ADD & neuroatypical people, fat, demisexual, poor, polyamorous/relationship anarchists, activists, etc).

Steps I take:
1) a memory repository:
I try to write down descriptions of events that are meaningful for my life. I title and tag so that I can have memory tags both for searching for things in my journal, and for tagging things in my brain for bringing up more easily. I re-read and explain and summarize.

2) a way for me to explore and learn myself and to note patterns in my life:
I write about things that I am just considering for the first time, things I have learned, things I am unlearning. I write about my spirituality, my goals, my desires and emotions. I use my journal to gain an overview in order to note patterns in my dreams, my moods, my experiences. I hadn't realized how continuously overwhelmed I was until I considered how often I used my 'overwhelmed' icon, for instance. I often realize things about myself as I am writing also -- trying to put things into broadly-understandable words makes me understand the things myself at a deeper level.

3) a connection with others and a way for others to know me deeply:
I add people and read their entries and comment (sometimes -- not as much as I would ideally) in order to develop friendships and connections where we mutually nourish the shared space that is LJ. I keep my journal mostly public so that anyone who has a desire to know me may do so, at their own pace. I try to keep it accessible (with photo descriptions etc) so that I am not blocking out anyone.

4) an inspiration for the pursuit of justice:
I write about justice issues as I learn them, and attempt to model growthful responses to my mistakes. I confront people about their harmful behavior (especially regarding slurs) when I feel I am able to.

5) a work of art:
I deeply customized my layout using css and html, and crafted my profile carefully over time. My journal is more expressive of my personhood than anything I wear; maybe than anything else. I also (sometimes; not often lately) share my photography, fractals, and mixed media here.

6) an outlet for strong emotion and for messiness and unedited expression:
I attempt to share my feelings thoroughly and without censoring myself. I attempt to be complete and leave myself open to mistakes and criticism.

7) a way to share skills I have learned:
When I realize I have learned a skill that is not commonly held, I try to break it down into the individual parts and explain it clearly and thoroughly so that anyone else who wants to learn the skill can use the guidelines I write in order to do so.

8) a resource for others who experience similar oppressions and marginalizations:
I share my experiences and emotions so that people who have similar ones can feel less alone. I write about how to treat me and people like me so that allies can learn how to be inclusive and respectful of our differences, so that other people don't have to do the work of explaining. I want this both to be a thing people can link to and to be an additional force for increasing awareness generally.

I think all of these steps work to some extent or another. Do any of them trap me in the image of myself I have already created and impede me expressing everything of myself here? Probably. 4 and 6 clash sometimes because to be ethical I need to be careful about my language -- English is filled with the detritus of centuries of oppression and you simply cannot speak it unthinkingly without causing damage. 4 and 3 clash sometimes because I feel that if I were to point out every instance of issues no one would want to be my friend, and I feel like I have to build some kind of connection before pointing it out would do any good, but it is hard to build connection when someone is using slurs, for instance.

This was a hard question to answer, but I really appreciate having explored it because being aware of my intentions makes me much better at being thorough in growing toward them! Thanks kehlen_crow!

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Comments
wildrose ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣adoring╠══
this comment makes perfect sense and made me very happy! You are one of a few people who I really trust to be able to point something out and have you react in a positive way. It's so valuable <3
kehlen_crow ══╣╠══
I'm glad the question helped you, and thank you for such a thorough answer.

At the time I asked the question (and if I remember right you wanted to be asked about things we ourselves were working with), it was the second part, the entrapment in the previously created image that I was struggling with most.

I am not completely comfortable sharing myself online, so earlier, my journal tended tended more towards a collection of bright moments, of things I found interesting for some reason, and also, rarely, outpourings of emotion. At one time, I even might have had a title for it along the lines of "all things bright and shiny".

And this was a trap, because when I changed, and wanted to explore myself more, and interact with others on a deeper level, my LJ did not seem to fit such things. Ironically, the only way to do things that make you uncomfortable is to just go ahead and do them, and so I did, but it is still a struggle to post that stuff.

belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
That was a hard thing to figure out, I think because the way I resist the entrapment is not very conscious to me. I used to resist it deliberately by pushing myself to share things that I felt the urge to edit out, and I rarely feel that urge any more. I think the fact that I have clearly stated the purpose of my journal (previous to this, in my userinfo and stuff) makes it easier. Giving disclaimers always makes it easier. If I was trying to shift from "all things bright and shiny" to more of a full representation, I would probably post a "here's your warning: this is changing, deal or go away."
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.