Tag Archives: Diary

What Blogging Has Taught Me About Myself

The first writing prompt for August on the SITS Girls website is to write about what blogging has taught you about yourself. I have been blogging for years. I started an online diayr in 2002 and kept one on about every diary site that was around. In 2007, I transferred my DiaryLand diary, which had become partly a blog, to WordPress and started a real blog. My old blog died from inactivity in like 2011 and I had some blogs on and off for a few months until I started this one in August of 2013.

Blogging has taught me many things. It’s helped me improve my English and writing skills in general, and it’s helped me develop online connections and even a few friendships. Maybe it’s even helped me meet my husband, because he was reading my blog when he decided I was an interesting girl to meet. When I think, however, of something it has taught me about myself, I have to be really honest and say I have learned that, deep down, I crave attention.

In a way, this truth should’ve been crystal clear to me by early secondary school, when I allowed new “friends” to read parts of my journals. These friendships usually didn’t last long, in part probably because I was way too clingy. But I yearned for real friendships at the time.

This continued in the age of the Internet, when I exchanged E-mails with some people I’d met on Yahoo! groups and we exchanged URLs of our online diaries. DiaryLand didn’t have a comment system for free users and I had no clue about stats, so there was no way of knowing whether anyone actually read my diary unless they told me so. At that time, I really wanted people to read my diary, but not so I was a successful writer. I wanted to communicate things I couldn’t communicate face-to-face. I didn’t care how many people read my diary, if those people I cared about did.

That changed when I got a real blog in 2007. Now on WordPress I had a comment system and stats, so I could actually view how many people were reading my writings. I was, at the time, quite a successful blogger in my niche of disability rights bloggers. I didn’t read the big lifestyle and Mommy bloggers, so I didn’t care or even know that I was only a tiny blogger in the bigger scheme of things.

When I started my current blog in 2013, however, I knew about the bigger blogging world. I don’t even know how I found out, but I learned about blog support groups on Facebook, writing prompts and link parties. I decided I wanted to spread my wings and reach out to the bigger blogging world. At first, I only wanted to teach them about disability issues and autism in particular, but of course other people’s stats stared at me.

In absolute numbers, I’m more successful a blogger now than I was with my old blog. However, now I know that you can be even more successful. I also know that there are essentials of blogging I will never master, such as including images. And the sad truth is, this makes me feel inadequate.

After all, I crave attention. There is some research my husband mentioned that asks people whether they want a car when everyone else gets a car or they want a scooter when everyone else gets a bike. Most people choose the scooter and I’m no exception. In this sense, it’s sad that I got to venture out into the larger blogging world of people with bigger cars than mine, so to speak, even though I now have a car too. If I’d stayed in my little disability rights niche, I’d have had the proverbial scooter but at least could’ve measured up to everyone else.

In this sense, there are two things blogging has taught me about myself. Firstly, indeed, I crave attention. I smile when I get a new comment even when it’s from a blog support group. But the second thing I learned about myself is, and I only realize this now that i write this post, I’m more competitive than I thought I was.

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What I’d Put in a Time Capsule #TuesdayTen

As Lisa of The Golden Spoons writes, in December of 2014, a time capsule was found in Boston, which dates back to 1795. I also heard that in 1938, people created a similar time capsule (I don’t know whether it’s been opened yet). In 1998, people all over the Netherlands wrote letters to the future, a selection of which was published in a book and the rest of which will be opened in 2098.

Lisa asks what we would put in a time capsule if we could create one. The big problem is that technolgy advances so fast that the technology of today will be useless by 2235. So I’d have to resort back to low-tech stuff because they probably wouldn’t be able to open the text file in which I write my post now. So here goes what I’d put in.


  1. A letter. I’d have to print it out because today’s Microsoft Office can’t even read documents from 1995, so I bet the technology of 2235 will have big problems with the old-fashioned typing I do, as I said. Like Lisa, I would write who I am and explain about the contents of the box.

  2. A copy of my blog. I don’t know whether I even want to include my old blog. You know, the one I always just refer to as “the old blog” and refuse to ever link to even though it’s still online. Maybe I would.

  3. My old diaries. I’m afraid they have been typed in that 1995 MS Word format that Word 2013 can’t read (they date back to 1999 but I was really old-fashioend in terms of technology), so a print copy would have to do then. It’s going to be a big time capsule. I won’t ever publish my diaries online (well, except for that one entry I published for a writing prompt a while back), but I don’t care what the people of 2235 think of me. My diaries are written in Dutch.

  4. Music. I only have a small selection of recent songs and they are not a representation of what’s hot today, but well.

  5. A picture of myself just so people know my face. Not that anyone on my blog knows except if they find me on social media, as I still haven’t gotten my husband to send me a recent pic of myself, but well.


  6. A Braille letter typed by hand. Knowledge of the Braille alphabet is declining among blind people with the advancement of text-to-speech technology, so who knows whether it still exists by 2235.

  7. A Braille display, for the same reason as above but it’s actually current technolgoy.

  8. My list of medications. I wouldn’t be able to include the medicine itself as it’d go off, but I’d love to educate the people of 2235 about what nut cases like me get prescribed today. I bet they’d laugh their butts off.

  9. My phone. Not that it’s particularly hot in 2015, as I have had a Samsung E1130 since probably 2011, but well.

  10. Money. I’d be curious to know whether the Euro still exists by 2235 – or even 2035, but I may find that one out as I will probably still be alive by then.

The Golden Spoons

Diary Entry: September 21, 1999

Mama’s Losin’ It has some great writing prompts this week. One is to share a diary entry from when you were younger. You are allowed to make one up, but I’m going to share a real one. I was orignally intending to share one of my myDiary.nl entries. This was (and I think still is) a diary site in the Netherlands where I kept a diary between age sixteen and eighteen. I however deleted all entries from the site and the document I saved them to is in a format I can’t read now. Then I thought of sharing an entry from my earlier offline diary. It dates fromw hen I was thirteen. It is translated because the original was in Dutch, and I altered some bits for privacy reasons, but it is a real entry. I at the time addressed my entries to a fictional character named Claire. Probably got the idea from reading Anne Frank at the time. This is a short entry, because it is my second attempt at sharing something (computer crashed), and I am too lazy to translate a long entry now.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Dear Claire,

I am once again the home bitch. I have a figurine in the shape of a mouse. Its tail broke off and I attempted to make it, but that didn’t work. Logically, since tape doesn’t stick to stone. My sister got involved, and so now I’m in my room. Mom by the way says that my sister never gets attention and I always want attention, but she can decide for herslef whom to give attention. So, it is the day of arguments today.

Yours, Astrid

Don’t ask me what the broken figurine and my sister getting involved had to do with my spending time in my room. I probably had a tantrum over the figurine breaking, but not sure what my sister or “always” wanting attention had to do with it. I now realize my behavior did draw attention to me, but that of course is not the same as wanting attention.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Secrets

This week, the spin cycle prompt is about secrets. I was one to easily spill secrets as a child. My sister always knew what she’d get for her birthday at least a week in advance, and this was not just due to the fact that there were noticeable patterns in my gift-giving – from a few years where I’d give her pavement chalk to a few years of colored markers to at last the inevitable cheap tween fiction when she was about ten to twelve. I think I didn’t quite understand the concept of secret-keeping if someone was going to find out about the “secret” soon enough anyway.

I also didn’t keep my own secrets. As a teen, I kept a journal faithfully and hoped my parents wouldn’t read it, but I spilled bits of it to anyone who remotely resembled my concept of a friend. I know that deep down, I wanted people to know the darkness of my experiences. I was extremely naive, yet also mistrusting of people like my own parents.

This discrepancy grew when the Internet came into my life when I was sixteen. I spilled my deepest secrets to my online diary, but when my parents asked me how I was, I responded with the usual “fine” or a grunt. My parents had a proxy server through which we accessed the Internet, and I now know they at least had the opportunity to log my Internet activity. I think they actually may’ve done so, as one day when I’d had an Internet connection for about six months, my father offhandly remarked that all I looked at were disability sites or storytelling sites (the story site being about disability, too, but he couldn’t tell that by its name).

With regard to other people’s secrets, I don’t “just know” when I shouldn’t say something. This has led to a number of awkward situations, from my spilling personal details about my relationship (and hence, my husban’ds life) to the Internet, to my telling my parents my husband’s jokes that mock my parents’ political persuasion. I truly have to be explicitly told that something is private or that I need to keep it to myself.

There are several factors that contribute to my inability to keep secrets. First, there is the idea, which I’ve read is common in autistics, that other people know anyway. I don’t literally think that, as Stephen M. Edelson pointed it, other people can read my thoughts, but the idea is at the back of my mind nonetheless. Related to this idea is the inability to see that, what I know, not everyone else should necessarily know too. Lastly, there is a reason why I particularly spill secrets to the Internet. I think I may not fully realize that those on the other end of the Interwebs, are actually real people. That doesn’t mean I don’t develop online relationships or that I’m not affected by what other people put online. However, it is still hard for me to grasp that screen names (or even real names on Facebook) correspond to actual, real people, even those I may encounter in real life.