Hello, friends! My hiatus from blogging is potentially over. It was something I really enjoyed doing in Italy, but I never really transferred it over to everyday life. Be forewarned: this blog will feature me ramble often, so be prepared. Here is rambling number one, which leads to why I ultimately decided to start a blog.
I've discovered my immense need to documents things - seemingly electronically only. I've never been one to keep a journal or scrapbook, but essentially I've found ways to do that over the internet that I utilize incessantly. Way back in the day, I had a Xanga that documented my tedious day to day activities. When I first got to Clemson, I was that freshmen that always had a camera, and I became notorious for uploading my pictures right away. I've fallen in love with FourSquare and obsess over keeping track of the different places I've been. Recently I lost all the documents on my hard drive after having to get it replaced, and I should be much more worried about losing all my school documents for my Eportfolio than I am. In the face of losing these important documents, I still was bummed about my music mostly. Even though I was relieved to discover all of my iTunes were backed up thanks to Google Play, I lost all my ratings and play counts. It is unbelievably trivial, but I liked having ratings that allowed me to stream only my favorite songs onto my iPhone and always tried to keep track of how much I listened to different songs/artists and how long it had been since I listened to something.
Along those same lines, I routinely go back and look at my old Facebook albums. Even if nobody does much more than flip through them as they are uploaded solely to procrastinate/creep, I like having it there for me - I like going back and seeing what I was like, how I've changed, what's still the same. With the conversion to timeline, Facebook has a map feature. I've dabbled with similar applications - from an old white board map of the US that I colored in all the states I'd visited as a kid, to the Where I've Been interactive map and profile. But this seemed so much more - every picture or significant event could be tagged and traced back to a location, streamlining two of my hobbies on a platform where I kept everything. I'm still in the process, but I've spent countless hours already going back through my pictures to create a more complete map, tagging things one by one back to fan pages that are scarcely visited. As a result, I've put a fairly complete map together from recent travels, clumping all my pictures up into geographic region, then destination, and even down to the attraction. Bringing this all back to a logical point, as I was putting this together, it gave me an excuse to go through all of my Italy pics and revisit my blog from the summer (perusingperugia.blogspot.com for those of you who never checked it out!) I loved jumping back into it, reading what I had wrote, reliving all of my travels, looking back on my first posts and comparing that to how I had felt leaving. It made me miss blogging, and occasionally when I've been overly sentimental or nostalgic, I found myself wishing I still had a blog for the seemingly mundane. Who knows, maybe one day I'll want to look back at my college years, or (as long as I make time to write this summer) my experience as an Orientation Ambassador.
I reasoned with myself that when I had a name I was satisfied with, I would start up a blog. I would try to make time to write, I would spill out my true thoughts, I wouldn't worry about what other people think. I would just document everything in the moment, knowing that I could always look back on it and cheer up, relish in a past chapter of my life, or just waste some time on a slow evening. Well, I recently came up with a name that just "worked" for me. I don't pride myself as an especially creative person, but I do put a lot of thought into things and hold myself to a high standard with things like these - screen names, my twitter handle, so on. As a sophomore, sitting in class last April out of nowhere the word "perusing" came into my head and I liked how it flowed off of Perugia, the city I would be studying in. It was perfect - "to examine or consider with attention and in detail" seemed fitting for how I would spend my time traveling and studying, and the alliteration was in effect. I wouldn't have been satisfied with a generic or uninspiring name, but it was really just for me than for anyone else. And so, as I brainstormed for a title for this blog, I didn't really know where to begin. I wanted something simple yet meaningful - it didn't have to define me, but I wanted an element of my personality in there. Nothing was stopping me from just writing and changing the name, but I stuck to my personal agreement and decided when I had a name I was satisfied with, I would be ready to get rolling with the blog.
The tangent comes full circle, and we'll re-visit my data loss. In an attempt to get a start on my beloved play counts, I vowed to start from the A's and listen to every song once though my iTunes - a feat that will take me over 15 days if I listened straight through for 24 hours. I reached Anberlin - not my favorite band by far, but I do enjoy their stuff on occasion - and caught a lyric from The Resistance which I've always liked. It's directly the title I found fitting enough to go with, so it should sound familiar. Speak for yourself, you paper tigers. Obviously the tiger bit resonated with me - in fact, inspired my Greg, I've started my own little sticky note on my desktop of blogging ideas. One of them is what being a Tiger means to me, which I hope to write about soon once I formulate the whole concept. In addition, a paper tiger is a cool little saying coming from the Chinese - it's something that seems vicious at first glance, but upon further inspection is actually harmless. And finally the speaking for yourself bit, it fits so perfectly. It's exactly what I hope to achieve. I want to write for myself, and I know that nobody will ever find as much meaning or enjoyment from this blog as I will looking back over it.
So the logical question remains: if I'm always documenting for my own benefit, why broadcast it? The internet is seemingly the worst place for a private place to reflect. The logical answer would be in the fact that it's much easier to type up and edit online than it would be to write everything by hand. Maybe throw in the fact that I can access it from anywhere, not have to worry about losing old posts like I have my other documents, or any sort of generic reason why the internet is the best place for information sharing. But if I'm being truthful, there is additional aspect to it. I don't want to hide, I don't want there to be separate pieces of me - a different face for each situation or interaction. I'm writing for me, so I can be 100% truthfully myself - and the fact that there may be an audience shouldn't change that fact. I'm working to be more open, take more risks, not worry so much about perceptions, and my Orientation class is helping me a lot with that. Perhaps that's a topic for another day. For now, I can rest assured that I'm going into this project with great intentions and hopefully great results - and that's good enough for me. After all, I've spent enough time considering it that it's about time I just go ahead and jump in. I over analyze way too much as it is, the fact that I've internally debated for so long whether to start on a medium that will allow me to review and analyze everything speaks volumes! I hope everyone finds this blog enjoyable as you learn more about me and the way I think - and future me, I know you're reading this as well! :)