8.01.2009

The Post Where I Tell You That I'm Not Going To Apologize For Writing What I Write

For the past few weeks I've been struggling with the drastic decision of locking my blog, making it private, and returning it to what it originally was... an intimate journal of our family's experiences and chaotic lifestyle overseas.

"Um..... isn't that what it already is?"

Well, yes. It is. But over the past few years it's become more than that. Let me start at the beginning and bring everyone up to speed on how The Perlman Update came to life.

In 2003, Matt schlepped me, our 5 month old daughter, and our 2 year old Labrador Retriever to Muscat, Oman for our first overseas tour. Family and friends e-mailed us on a daily basis with questions up the wazoo.... "How are you handling the heat?" "What are the grocery stores like?" "Do they have a Starbucks?" As the internet speed was dial-up and as slow as molasses in January, it was far easier to type up one e-mail and send it out to everyone via a distribution list. And as easy as that, The Perlman Update was born.

Every few weeks I would type up a long e-mail detailing all the things we'd done, trips we took, and answers to what it was like to live overseas.

And I continued that for 4.5 years.

Until halfway through our second overseas post in Israel when I realized that composing these long e-mails was no longer fun. They were beginning to become a chore, they took forever, and I despised writing them. Why was I taking the time to pump these updates out? Did people really miss them when they didn't get them? Well, I found out they did. Whenever I took a break from writing, I would receive e-mail after e-mail asking when the next update was coming. I clearly needed to change my mindset and look into alternate ways to send out updates.

Then I discovered blogging.

A few friends of mine were doing it, and it looked easy enough. Why not give it a try? So on March 31, 2007, my first blog was published.

At first my blog was only read by family and friends. In fact, most of them signed up for the feedburner updates and to this day don't even go to my blog, let alone understand that when they receive The Perlman Update e-mails that they can check out links I've attached in the blog by clicking on the bold, blue words...

Over time my blog readership increased. I added my blog onto some expat sites, I put my name in a few blog directories, I linked up with other foreign service bloggers, I began reading expat blogs, mom blogs, fertility blogs, friend's blogs, photography blogs and the like. And I was even a featured blog on SITS. Google "anti thumb sucking" and you'll see my blog pop right up on the first page. Same goes if you type in "Miss June 2008".

With greater exposure, my blog's readership has grown exponentially. On any given week I receive e-mails about my blog. Requests to advertise, to review products, and moreover, questions about being a trailing spouse in the foreign service. I now have, dare I say, a fan base? However, this adulation does not come without costs. In the recent months I've come to realize I am the victim of my own success. Excuse me... I just vomited a little in my mouth after saying that... Because unfortunately, I'm now finding myself having to check myself, and be more politically correct in order not to offend.

The fact is that this blog was, and still is, a diary of sorts. A place for me to write down the day to day stuff that we do overseas. A journal for me to tell funny stories about the kids or scenarios that happen here in India. An outlet to vent about my frustrations of foreign service life, or express my feelings about certain situations. This space is mine.

Yet... lately I've been struggling with sharing my thoughts. I've curbed my comments, I've moderated my editorializing. I've noticed that I don't post as often as I'd like or even on topics I'd usually share. I haven't written about the sordid details of my maid situation, I haven't kvelled about our new house that we started moving into, I haven't made mention of the lack of community spirit I've sometimes felt here at post.

So I had to come to a big decision. Either I make this blog private for just family and friends, or I give a big blanket warning to all who read this now and in the future.... that this is my space, my blog, my perspective.

I chose the latter. Consequently, everything you read here WILL be one-sided. All accounts will be from my point of view. While I don't mean to offend anyone with my posts, I probably have in the past, and most likely will again in the future.

Its raw. It's real. It's never ordinary. Welcome to The Perlman Update. I write because it's cheaper than therapy.


BTW ... Matt thinks I should upload all of the e-mail updates to the blog that I wrote for the 4.5 years prior to posting on the web. There's probably 75 of them or so. What do you think. Should I? Here is my very first update I sent out back in 2003...


36 comments:

Jen said...

You are such an amazing writer, it's like we are there with you. Your detail your feelings and don't sugar coat much, which makes it so real. You have the ability to function properly under pressure and "still keep all of the plates spinning". I would love to read your notes from the very beginning! The preschool teachers and I often talked about your posts and how it was just like you were with us telling the stories with the facial expressions and tone changes. You have many gifts, and this one is a goodin'!! Jen Wilkins

liljoeblue said...

Mrs. Pearlman -

I am a student at Kansas State University, studying Political Science/International Relations/Social Justice (because one major was clearly not enough)... my career goal has always been to work in foreign service. Your blog has provided me with an opportunity get a glimpse of FS life from someone directly impacted... if I was looking for a watered down or glossy version, I would just read the State Department website (they really have a way of glamorizing it). I appreciate your honesty and your candid take on your life. I hope that you don't change any part of your writing.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your life.

Yours,
Dusty Garner
www.bammbammsblog.com

Dilem*mama said...

you go girl!

there's a well-known blogger in my town who regularly makes fun of folks who are easy to identify and i think that is mean spirited. i've never gotten that kind of vibe from you. actually, you know when you are being bitchy and it's funny! i'm SOOOO glad that you decided to keep your blog open.

thank you

Kat said...

Many thanks for not closing your blog...cause I might have been forced to stalk you and demand to be considered a family member :-)

I know what you mean about not putting things on your blog. But I have the opposite problem. I have much I wish to say if my family wasn't reading!

And the maid issue. I so get it. I don't understand why saying that you have household help gets so many women up in arms. We have had a housekeeper for years. But I would never blog about it :-)

Tenakim said...

Sounds like we've been dealing with the same decisions about blogging recently. I ultimately made the same decision, but we'll see how it goes- good luck that it all works for you- I'd hate to be able to peek into your life anymore!

Lollyblogger said...

I struggle with this too. I prefer the anonymity, and once word got out on the street and my friends and family started reading, I found myself nervous to write. I've been really struggling with this lately, and haven't figured it out yet.... so I'm no help! But I can relate.

Hairline Fracture said...

Good for you. It's your story, so of course you should tell it from your point of view. I want to read more!

momstheword said...

Well, I just popped over here from another blog, but I can totally understand what you're saying.

I have had several bloggy friends feel the need to defend or explain their positions on very minor subjects.

I think that people sometimes forget that a blog is just somebody's opinions or thoughts or sharing of their lives, and that it's not a newspaper editorial subject to debate.

Keri said...

I for one, read blogs for just that... That person's perspective on life, their life or life around them. And while i read I remember that I am only seeing or reading a smidge of their lives...
Everyone has different views and opinions and to get offended by someone else's opinion is silly... If everyone believed the same things and saw the world the same... It'd be quite boring.

Kristi said...

Screw 'em if they can't take a joke. This is a great blog. Until you and your family decides it's not good for your family to leave this open to the public, keep this as is. And if you ever do decide to make this private, can I request an invite?

Naomi said...

Already feeling that pain and struggle for balance with saying it like it is (as a blog post about my first "staff meeting" is churning in my head) ... or sugar coating so it doesn't piss anyone off.

I'm glad you chose the latter.

Never apologize ...

Part of what you're doing (if you didn't know this already)is giving REAL stories for people who may be undergoing a similar move ... keep it up, friend.

annaleib said...

As someone who has hestitated to START a blog because of fear of what to say, I get it. Then again, I don't, as blog has yet to be started. But I'm on the verge...and this is a great reminder that my blog will be mine. All mine. And that is just what I want it to be.

I found your blog during my research into the FS a few years ago. I have gotten so much more than what I initially was expecting and hoping for. I discovered an entirely new group of "friends" that make up my world (literally). Thank you.

Anna B

trashalou said...

I state in my heading that Trash Can is MY online not-so-secret diary. On the odd occasion that I feel something may potentially be controversial I make a statement say along the lines of 'This is my online diary, my views and my opinions so if you don't like it TOUGH.'

I do find myself moderating a bit now that I have met some bloggers and formed face-to-face realtionships but have started a second really secret blog to write that stuff because for me the writing is the thing.

Chiloe said...

I'm glad you don't make your blog private because I love reading you and I prefer a raw blog than one politically correct !!! Actually what makes your blog interesting is all the "little" stories of life that you tell us. Keep blogging !!!!

Jen said...

Jill,
This is your place to write and vent and you should not have to apologize for that.

That is the one thing that I really, really, dislike the blogoshpere. I think that people need to remember that when reading blogs. This is YOUR space to say what YOU have to say. If people don't like that then they don't need to be around here.

I for one am so glad at the opportunity that get to read this blog and therefore get to know you better. You are an amazing woman and you have an wonderful family. I love reading about your adventures.

I am so glad that they will continue.

One of your fans ;)

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I think...

And right there is what a blog should be about. What you think, feel. It should be real and I know that is not easy. My husbands family reads my blog and I so I have to censor what I say. I really wish I didn't have to do that.

For you to be honest here about everything (and I understand a bit about what living in a foreign country is about) should be for you because you need an outlet for the experiences you have. If people take offense to that it is thier choice to take offense and you are saying as much. This is me this is real. Read or don't.

I applaud you for being willing to share it all here and for keeping it open to all of us. I really enjoying hearing about your adventures with the kids and life.

Joyce said...

Hi. I am actually considering "unlocking" my blog, so it is ironic that you put this post. I don't think you should ever have to apologize or censor what you write. Your blog is one that I truly enjoy because it is witty and honest. I wish I could write as well as you! I do understand all the emails asking for ads and such, which is why I locked mine down. However, it definitely doesn't feel the same since I did that.

S said...

I'm with Joice. Since I put my blog private I haven't blogged that much anymore. The reason I put it in private was to write about an experience I had which is/was not ment to be "trashed" in public. I wanted it to be a diary about my feelings, my living during the deployments of my husband etc. I started the blog at my husbands first one year deployment and I'm glad I moved it all over to blogger to have the ability to read what I felt back then. Now, I'm thinking going to start another blog just for the fact to rest the old one where I dealt with decisions etc.
I enjoy reading your blog and would be sad if it wouldn't be on my "daily" list. A blog is a personal view and that's how I see it. I don't always agree with some writers but respect them. So go ahead and rant/post the way you like and I'm sure the ones who don't agree will stay away :)

Tracy said...

I for one Love your blog and how you write it! I check in all of the time to see if you have something new to report on and you Never disssapoint...it is your space...say what you feel, it wouldn't be as good as it is if you didn't!! That being said...if you do go private, can I still be a reader?!!! I would miss it terribly~ you Shine! xo

OHmommy said...

Your updates are ones that I look forward to the most. It's fascinating getting a glimpse of someone leading a life abroad.

I would actually love to hear more about the daily happenings. I love hearing stories about the girls in school, problems with home staff, and the daily vents. I love. I love. LOVE.

I too have realized that my writing has changed. I used to write so much about just the kids. Thanks for the reminder.

Kelly said...

Do not go private (or if you do, take me with you!!!)

Just like any tv show, radio show, book, magazine, or movie, if you don't like it, MOVE ALONG!!

I can't stand seeing comments chastising a person for their opinions, lifestyle, etc. You continue to be you and post WHATEVER you damn well please!!!

If you don't like it, GO ELSEWHERE!!!!

3 Peas in a Pod said...

Jill,

I LOVE your blog and don't want you to change a thing. NOTHING!! My thoughts are that if people are offended, then don't continue to read. Move along to another blog. That's the beauty of blogging. It's your blog so therefore, your rules. Like it or leave it.

Looking forward to brutally honest posts about your life. I'm all for keeping it real!! Hope all is going well for you.

Much love from NJ,
Sue
xoxo

Robin said...

Go you! Your blog, your rules. We wouldn't be here if we didn't want to read exactly what you're putting out there.

We all struggle with where to draw the line, and we all draw it in the place that feels right to us. If it isn't right for our readers than they can be cordially invited to move on - god knows there are plenty of alternatives out there competing for your online attention.

Mom24 said...

(((Hugs)))

You know I can completely relate with so much of what you've written. Good luck deciding what's best for you. I know it's not easy.

I would love to see the emails, but I also understand if it's not really something you want to take on, I know you have more than enough on your plate already. :-)

Blogging is definitely not as much fun when you start second guessing everything you want to write.

Lisa said...

I think you're awesome & love reading about all of your exotic adventures abroad. I do get the private deal - I did it because I had people in my family reading that accidentally came across my blog but would pass judgement on me, especially during my pregnancy w/ Anna. It made it completely not fun, so I took the easy way out & made it private. That being said, I think you are awesome & I really hope you stay public - and if you don't, please invite me to be a reader!!!
PS - WISH I had someone to clean my house. Kudos to YOU!!!

alilwelshrarebit said...

I only recently stumbled upon your blog (through Norwindians and Left my heart at preschool - both of whom I met at Blogher!) and I love it. I dream of relocating overseas someday, with my Welsh husband! I would love to read about your day to day life and problems and kids! Your blog = your rules. You can always delete rude comments; I do!

alilwelshrarebit said...

OOps - sorry didn't link my profile correctly: www.alilwelshrarebit.com - I hate it when people don't have a working link!

Owens Family Adventures said...

My hubby is in the Air Force and we have lived overseas a couple of times. I so enjoy reaading about your experiences and am glad you've decided to keep the blog open! It's your blog girlfriend. If people don't like what they read then they can move on. I for one am here to stay. :)
hugs to you!!
dawn

Kim said...

I would have cried if you disappeared.. I love your stories, your words, your one side.. whew.

American in Norway said...

Seriously... I would have freaked out if you had made it private.... I know I do the same thing from time to time... I will take a few days off & come back with a "Screw em attitude"- if they don't like it too bad.... Hugs!

Ashley said...

Dude this is YOUR space. Own it. And, if someone doesn't like it, they can turn right back around and leave. Yay for not making it private!

Kirsten said...

I love reading about your adventures abroad. The good, the bad and the ugly. I understand that sometimes it can be tricky when the lines are blurred between the blog land and your real life. Keep writing from your heart and you can't go wrong.

Shannon said...

I, too, would demand to be considered one of your family members if you were to go private...

Glad you decided to stay "public", so to speak ;)

Donna said...

Please don't close it. I read your blog because it's fun to get another DS spouse's perspective on this crazy life we're leading. Though I admit I always find it strange when strangers read my blog. And coincidentally, my blog started to same way. I was writing long emails home for 3 posts before I finally decided to blog it up instead.

I think most of us get that it's your perspective and you're allowed to say what you want. But I understand the desire to censor.

Either way you go, keep up the writing - it'll be a treasure trove later when the details start leaking from your brain.

Donna said...

Please don't close it. I read your blog because it's fun to get another DS spouse's perspective on this crazy life we're leading. Though I admit I always find it strange when strangers read my blog. And coincidentally, my blog started to same way. I was writing long emails home for 3 posts before I finally decided to blog it up instead.

I think most of us get that it's your perspective and you're allowed to say what you want. But I understand the desire to censor.

Either way you go, keep up the writing - it'll be a treasure trove later when the details start leaking from your brain.

diplowife said...

Hi,
I know my comment is kind of late, I follow your blog and several others, whenever I have the time, so I only recently saw this post.

But I just wanted you to know that I know how you feel about being careful about what you write on your blog, mainly because of your husband's career in the foreign service. I also want to tell you that I admire you, I wish I was as brave to write what I want to write and not be too carefully that the entries become too boring and too happy. Basically, just wanted to say good for you.

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