Thursday, August 5, 2004

MY Anniversary Tribute

When I started my journal on AOL, almost a year ago (September 25, 2003, as it states on my sidebar) I didn’t realize I was getting into, almost on the ground floor of, a "movement." I don’t know if it was yet a community back then. I got my first comment on my third entry. But it would be two months before I would see regular comments appearing on my journal. Mary and Donna were my first two recurring readers…

How can I describe how it felt to write something, and, for the first time in my life, actually have someone READ it? I had been keeping paper journals since I was in high school. All those years, I wrote and wrote and wrote, words for MY eyes only. I would often go back and read what I had written. And I would appreciate it as decently legible, valid…even poetic at times. But that was only MY judgment. I may not have known it then, but I yearned for someone, ANYONE, to read my thoughts. How I wanted to communicate with someone other than myself!

I have never been a "joiner." Back in the late sixties/early seventies, when and where I grew up, there were the "jocks," which included the cheerleaders, pom-pom squad, and anyone else who went to pep rallies and screamed their hearts out for the school, the team, the status quo… And there were the rest of us. Those of us who would have been social outcasts in any other generation, were a movement unto ourselves. WE, the unpopular masses, were the cool ones. We were the "silent majority" who had our own ideas about life, popularity, and what things were REALLY valid. Back then, during the anti-Viet Nam War era, counterculture was where it was at. And I was counterculture. But even that social stratum had its rules. "Joining" was out. "Individuality" was in. Apathy was key. You didn’t acknowledge or care about anything that was the accepted "norm." Think for yourself. Do your own thing. That "anti-establishment" philosophy has followed me all these years. It’s become a very integral part of my personality.

So, thirty years later, when I began to realize that, by creating my AOL journal, I had actually joined something, it was almost a turn-off for me. As much as I wanted to write things that other people might actually read, the idea of being part of a "group" tended to drive me away. In my experience, "groups" were things that were established to exclude certain people. I wasn’t completely certain I wanted to belong to one.

And yet, one of the long-held, fervent desires of my heart was being realized. People were actually reading what I had to say. And commenting on it. It was a high from which I have not been able to wean myself since the first comment appeared on my journal eleven months ago.

Yes, I know…I have been one of the chief detractors of the "Editor’s Picks" and the "Journal Awards," and anything else that smacks of turning the community into a contest.. But I want you all to know how much I DO appreciate AOL Journals. The community. The support. The love. The opportunity to communicate.

Happy Anniversary, AOL Journals. And many more!


  1. I'm so happy you persevered!  Yours (and one other) are the only journals I have read consistenly for all these months.  You always have a unique perspective on things!  Thank you Lisa.


  2. Well, I'm sure glad you joined along too!! I remember I read your journal for the longest time but never commented because every time I came in here you were talking about gardening. I have a brown thumb and felt like I had nothing to offer. But, I kept coming back. Then , you wrote an entry about wanting to go to school and I thought maybe I had something I could contribute. It's been down hill since then (LOL! Just kidding). Actually, you are one of my faves.

    Funny, I always considered myself a rebel and a "go against the grain" kind of person, but I've been a joiner all my life. However, I don't think joining defines you as part of an unthinking mob mentality, nor does the groups you choose to join define who you are as a person. I think it might reveal a small component but it can't possibly define all of you. In addition, it's the motivation that matters not what you are a part of and how you treat those not part of whatever it is that you are a part of.

    :-) ---Robbie

  3. This is wonderful, Lisa.  I've always struggled between my desire to belong and the need to just be myself.  I've been a joiner, sometimes it was because it was expected of me, sometimes because it was what I wanted.  There's still something in me though, that as conventional as I look, always manages to fun against the tide.  I love that people read and comment on my journal.  I came very close to getting too emotionally invested in caring about awards and recognition.  Yet what I love the most about the journals is the honesty that isn't meant to please an audience and the glimpses of real people that we see here.  Take care.

  4. I'm so glad you became a "joiner."  I feel exactly the same way about the journals.

  5. Your journal is wonderful.  I am constantly in awe of it because you write of things of which I'm so ignorant.  Your political slant is great; I'm not politically active but I'm ready to vote for Anyone save Bush!  I was in none of the cliques or groups of which you speak.  I'm not sure what I was; I only know I was very different from most I shared the high school experience with.  At most, my husband says I was a "choir geek".  If so, that was totally cool and one of the best experiences of my life.  I love your journal, Lisa.  I love that you read and comment on mine, all two of them.  I think I'd like to meet you sometime.  Meredith

  6. I'm so glad you have stayed Lisa.  I always find what you've written here interesting, insightful and an enjoyable read.  What we have here is a community...not a club.  I don't think of it as something I "joined", but a place I fell into....a neighborhood....a group of caring friends.  I hope you're here for a good long time.  You would certainly be missed.

  7. I am so glad you are here.  You are thoughtful, provocative, and a little edgey. I always ponder something you said for awhile.   I know the joy in having other people read you--it took four months for me to get comments!