I made it to my 100th blog post!
When I started blogging weekly (on Substack originally), it was at mrcoles' suggestion. He started blogging over 10 years ago, and he suggested it to me because his blog helped him carve out his personal real estate on the web. So, in 2020, when I was dipping my toe in tech, the idea was that I could use a blog to create a personal brand that shows people how intelligent, knowledgeable, capable, interesting, amazing, wonderful I am; specifically in terms of tech and work, and for future hiring.
I started off right at the start of 2021, and a bit over 2 years later, it's become clear that I've ended up using the blog much more for personal reflection, appreciation for the people, places, and things I've come across, and good ole personal archive.
Each week, I now sit and ask myself: what is something that's on my mind, something that needs untangling, or appreciating? And with this prompt, I've been able to consolidate my memories and experiences, drawing conscious connections within my life across peoples, places, and ideas.
I also have been practicing actually stating my position on different issues; no more lingering in the shadows of ambiguity, quietly/privately liking tweets as a means of political expression. This has felt increasingly important to me as I've realized my values are diverging more and more from some of the people in my circles. Writing my POV down and sharing it publicly has been a clarifying act.
On that point, it's been edifying to speak my truth—without saying everything. I'm certainly sharing a lot here, but there are some facets of my views and experiences that I've been keeping just to myself or my inner circle. Some thoughts are less than half-baked, some experiences too recent/raw; and I wouldn't want these to be subject to bad faith interpretation.
Bearing in mind that anyone could see what I share here, I've also found myself learning from the editing process. A way I phrased something feels weird or off to me, and I examine it further: I realize I'm universalizing a private grudge or I'm recapitulating an unexamined, wrong-headed idea. By editing, I'm getting an opportunity to learn from the wrong things, and revise them into something that feels like a more accurate, thoughtful, or representative concept.
And, lastly, the blog is serving as a very helpful personal archive. There are all sorts of little things that I've been terrified of forgetting, that I'm not sure where else I would store them. Some things like a Japanese lullaby my grandparents taught me, a brilliant stop motion artist that I came across once and have never seen in a museum since, and a video game that I always feared was merely a fever dream I once had. And, not only do I now have a place for these things, complete with some commentary and reflection, but the format of a web log means I also can pretty easily find something I once shared with a quick Google search of "claire kao + ______". This is what happens when you google "claire kao" + "the rock":
though I wonder if by posting this I will be messing with future search results
I've been asking myself from time to time what I'm doing here. I can after all end up spending a good chunk of time on a post. But I have the time, space, and interest in self-reflection right now, and a desire to think better; which I believe can be iterated and drilled with the writing and editing process, especially knowing that the final product will be published publicly. So I'm going to keep on keeping on, and see how much longer I can keep this up ✍️(◔◡◔)