Search This Blog

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Two Years Of Pop Culture - Minus A Day

This is a rather huge moment for this blog.

In just 24 hours from today, “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life” will be celebrating its second birthday! And, lemme tell you all right now, these past two years have been anything BUT terrible! I hope that over the past two years, you've learned a lot of things about pop culture, and I hope that you've enjoyed hearing some of my personal tales and stories that I've told over the last couple of years. Most of them were silly tales, some of them were sad, a few were tinged with anger, but every one of the blog posts that I have made since May 24, 2011 were written with love, passion, and heart. And, I just want to thank every single one of you for sticking with this blogging project for all this time. I would not be consistently challenging myself in this space had it not been for all of your support and interest. I really don't know how I can show enough gratitude towards all of you.

I know that my main goal for this blog was to take a look back on some of my fondest memories of childhood (of which 99.9% of them involved pop culture of some level), and I really wanted to share that love with all of you out there. But, in the process of doing this, I've done a lot of self-reflection in my own life. And, it's dawned on me that in the last couple of years, I've come to a better understanding of myself, and I think that I'm ready to head forward to the next few chapters of my life.

The scary thing is that in order for me to do this, I'm contemplating making a significant change to how this blog is presented within the next couple of months. And, as the Thursday Diary entry begins, you'll learn more about what this potential change well as how you can help influence my decision about what you will see in future entries of “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”.

May 23, 2013

As I write this entry out in my blog, it's dawned on me that as of tomorrow, I'll have been doing this blog for two whole years!

You know something? When I first began writing this blog on May 24, 2011, I was at a point in my life that was considerably hectic. I had just turned thirty years old six days prior, and I was still recovering from the traumatic surgery that I endured three months earlier in which a simple gall bladder removal surgery turned into a two-week-long hospital stay of horrors. Needless to say, it was probably one of the most interesting periods of my entire life thus far.

My intention wasn't initially to create a blog. I mean, I knew people who had kept blogs going a lot longer than I had before I started mine, but I never thought that I would be able to keep the commitment of jotting down my thoughts over the course of a two year period.

And, we are.

I don't really know what was going on in my mind that made me decide to start “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”, but my hobbies have always included creative writing and the arts. I was never really big on the sciences and mathematics that my peers all seemed to gravitate towards. I was more or less happy with a notebook, a pen, and maybe some coloured cardboard and Crayola markers to pass the time with. I was always an artsy kind of kid and still am today.

Prior to starting up this blog, I used my Facebook profile to jot down my thoughts in the handy-dandy Notebook section (and forgive me for channeling Steve Burns from Blue's Clues). And, it worked out well for a little while as I let the feelings of bitterness that I carried around with me for years out. Even better, I did it in such a way that it didn't look as though I was blaming the entire world for my problems. I'm not gonna lie though. There were plenty of days in my life in which I did exactly that. But writing it all out and re-reading it was surprisingly therapeutic, and it helped me come to terms with a lot of the anger that I still had over things that I should have let go of.

But when I was penning my notes on Facebook, I didn't do a note a day. If anything, I only did at most four notes per month. And, looking back on it, that was all that I had the energy to do back then.

You see, what a lot of people didn't know back then was just how emotionally exhausting writing those notes was. I mean, it was fun to be able to use my skills in writing to get a lot of feelings out there, but at the end of a particularly emotional piece, I was completely drained. I still remember the time that I wrote about my High School Confessionals, and by the end of the last piece, I was so emotionally drained that I fell asleep immediately afterwards. So, needless to say, one Facebook note a week was all that I was capable of doing.

I think the idea for the blog came about right around the time that Facebook made one of its nineteen different layout changes in a four year period. Back in 2007/2008, the layout of the Facebook notes section was absolutely perfect, and all of my notes were easily displayed and organized. But right around the time of my surgery, the layout changed, and I found that I didn't like it as much.

(Surprise, surprise, I know.)

It was then that I came up with the idea that maybe my ideas would be better displayed in a blog format than it would be on my Facebook notes section. And, I started off my blog with a post that I initially wrote in my Facebook notes section.

If you're really curious about what that first blog entry was, you can click on it HERE. It was about the Simpsons secondary character known as Ralph Wiggum, and how I could identify with him.

Funny thing is that the Ralph Wiggum piece helped me come up with the general theme for this blog, which as you well know is pop culture.

I came up with the theme days (which have changed over the last couple of years), I called the blog “The Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”, and I spent countless hours researching various topics, and watching videos on YouTube, and double checking any questionable facts. After all, the last thing that I wanted was to have any erroneous facts on full display.

(Though admittedly, there have been more than several occasions in which I have had to click on the edit button post haste because of spelling errors, or factual errors. Hey, what can I say? Nobody's perfect.)

As time passed, I sort of grew more comfortable with blogging, and within a matter of time, the blog didn't seem like it was work anymore. I chose topics that I knew, and knew well. Truth be told, a lot of the topics that I did pick were some of my all-time favourite television programs, movies, video games, and pop singles because they brought me happiness in my childhood.

And, in a way, my memories of pop culture were very much a protective shield for me.

When I was a kid, I watched a lot of television. Some might argue that I watched too much. I've actually been flat out told by several people that I watched too much television as I can quote commercials, lines of dialogue, and can probably tell you all the winners of Big Brother. But if they really took the time to get to know me instead of making snap judgments about how I spent my time as a kid, then maybe they might have understood that at the time I was a kid, I had some hardships.

I mean, granted, every kid's childhood isn't exactly perfection on a stick. But every child has their own way of coping with pain. They might go out on a bike ride, or they might paint a picture. In my case, I watched a lot of television, played a lot of video games, and immersed myself in really bad pop music from the early 1990s, such as the offering from Melissa Tkautz below.

(Yes, I'm ashamed to admit that when I was 11, this type of music was all I listened to.)

And, I think that for years, I viewed pop culture as my security blanket in many ways. Watching television shows like “Full House”, “Family Matters”, and “Who's The Boss” was nice because it made me feel like I could escape my troubles and go to a friend's house every weeknight at 8pm. Listening to music always made me happy and was almost guaranteed to put a smile on my face every time, which was definitely needed. Playing video games allowed me to improve my problem solving skills, and helped me get some much needed frustrations out by pretending that the Goombas and Koopa Troopas that I was stomping on were the heads of my many aggressive classmates in school.

(Well, okay, I'm only slightly kidding about the last part.)

The point is that choosing pop culture as the main topic of discussion for this blog was a no-brainer back in 2011. I could gab away at whatever topics I wanted, hoping that it would spark some discussion from other people who remembered it, which keeping that security blanket in full view.

But as time went on...I began to realize that I relied a little TOO much on the world of pop culture...and as several people rightfully pointed out, I kind of turned my blog into just an information dump. In my quest to come up with the perfect pop culture resource, I didn't really share too much of myself in the blog. It was like my security blanket had completely covered up who I was.

I think that's why I began the feature known as the Thursday Confessional (which has since changed to the Thursday Diary). I wanted to give people the chance to get to know the real me. All flaws revealed. At the same time, I still wanted to have my old pop culture blanket with me, just to give me the courage to do exactly that.

I suppose in some ways, it's similar to being in a crowded room and walking around completely naked, but having a towel in your hands at all times to cover yourself up in case you feel a little bit shy.

And, for what it's worth, the Thursday Diary entries have been well-received, and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from being so candid and honest about a variety of topics.

And, it's here that got me thinking about the future of this blog. Obviously, I won't be abandoning the pop culture theme of the blog entirely. It was how many of you found this blog on the Internet in the first place (and truth be told, I don't really feel like changing the title or the logo at all). But, I do want to kind of expose myself a little more to my audience. I kind of want to loosen my grip on that towel that I used to cover myself, and I want to chat more about what I am doing. It's only been recently that I've been taking part in more community events and am feeling more comfortable in my skin (even though one side effect of my surgery was that I gained back half the weight I lost in 2009). But, hey, maybe the possibility of joining a gym could be a funny future Thursday Diary entry.

So, while I won't be getting rid of the pop culture...I will be making it less of a focus. If I decide to keep the theme days, rather than have trivia facts about movies, I'll compare a movie hero to my own life, and talk about how we're similar. On Sunday Jukeboxes, I'll briefly talk about the facts, but I'll also talk about why the song means a lot to me in my own life. You know, things like that.

I guess what I'm trying to ask you want to see less pop culture and more of me sharing my own stories? And, do you have any suggestions on how I can make 2013 one of the best years yet for this blog? I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for all of you, so I value your suggestions and opinions completely. I really do want to hear from you on how I can bring more of myself to this blog without compromising the pop culture theme.

This is a big thing for me. Before I started this blog, I neglected to talk about myself much because I didn't really think my life was all that interesting. And, now I'm actually getting the courage to try new things and do new experiences so that I can have some more things to share with all of you. Yesterday's post on yard sales was a prime example of that.

I'm going to keep the same format going on for about another week. But, I'm thinking of starting a new format beginning June 1st.
It's a brand new year in “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”. And, I'm looking forward to showing off more of the person that I am inside. Are you ready?

No comments:

Post a Comment