So…I have to admit, I’m a little addicted to checking out my blog site stats! Over the months, there has been a steady increase (thankfully!) and nothing is more fun about blogging (aside from the writing itself) than watching those numbers go UP :). And I not naive enough to think it’s because I’m this great writer. I know it’s primarily because I pick subjects and articles to comment on that are either interesting to a lot of people, or just really funny :). BUT…regardless, the site stats are a little ego booster, even if I can’t take full credit for them.
So the other day, I traced some of my traffic back to a sports related site/forum. Someone had posted one of my funnier posts on there, and…people read it. And for a moment, I got really, REALLY self-conscious. I guess I never really thought much about what it would mean to have strangers sift through my older posts and make judgements about me based on what I have posted. For one, I never really thought too many people would actually read my blog and…if someone did, I kind of assumed if would be someone I knew (one of my lovely friends having pity on me :)).
But – strangers are making their way to my blog (and in many ways I am very grateful!), and I just started to wonder, what exactly does my blog say about “me”? For starters, I’m pretty obviously Muslim. I mean – 2 of my other blogs have the word “Muslim” in them. I use “Muslim” terminology loosely in my posts without much explanation, etc. So I wondered what a non-Muslim reader would think of that, or if a potential Muslim “hater” came across my site – what sort of reaction they’d have. Yes, I shouldn’t care, and at the core of it all, I really don’t, but, it just made me think.
Then I thought about my posts on progressive education, or health, or the environment, or politics. Now, I’m far from a tree hugging hippie or a self-righteous left-wing activist, but…I wondered if I had potentially painted myself as such? Maybe… I’m not quite sure. I mean I DO believe in these things but, I’m sort of finding my way – much the same way many others are. I like to think of myself more as a “conscientious citizen of the world”…anazlyzing the status quo and just hoping someone out there might just have a better way to do things. Nothing super special or cutting edge about that 🙂
Then I got to some of the jokes and funny videos I’ve posted. (Some of them are hysterical, right?!? – ok..focus Hala :)) Anyway some of them aren’t that “kosher” (or maybe in my case I should be saying “halal” :P). So I started thinking, what do the more “religious” Muslims that come across my site think of me based on some of the things I’ve posted? Being in the “Top 50 Muslim Mom Blogs” (woo hoo! shout out to myself!) – made me a little more aware of that as well. Honestly – I have no idea what people think. This isn’t a site on Islam (and was never meant to be) and I’m far from the poster child for what an ideal Muslim should be. I have my struggles, and I just explore them as they come… But then again, there is no getting around it – Islam IS a very large part of my life, much the same way my children are. I don’t think I can not talk about them at some point in time :).
Anyway, sometimes I’m goofy, sometimes I’m dark, sometimes I’m introspective, sometimes I’m “religious”, sometimes I’m…a lot of things, some good, some maybe not so good. I just wonder, what sort of impression it makes, and if these readers were to meet me, what sort of preconceived notions they’d have about the type of person I am. I think, part of it is just being self-conscious – wanting to put the “right” face forward, but part of it is simply – this has always fascinated me. What people’s impression are about me – particularly those who don’t know me. I’ve been surprised by a few answers over the years with people who I had eventually befriended. I’ve gotten “friendly”, “warm,” “confident,” “sweet,”(those were the ones I liked), and “stuck up”, “shy”, “airhead” (as those of you who know me can imagine, that was my favorite one :)), etc. I had one person tell me they thought I was the kind of person who would never in a million years get my hands dirty or do housework. Hehe if he only knew my mother and how I was raised not to have a choice in that matter :). I always thought that was funny because I never ever saw myself as the “prissy” type. But there I was…being called a princess! It’s funny because, I don’t think I’m exactly any of these things, or maybe I’m all of these things. I don’t know. I’m just amazed by what people think of someone (in this case “me”) from various brief encounters. Sometimes, they’re things I would never have guessed someone would think of me in a million years. So in this case, the “encounters” would be my entries, and I can’t help but wonder what my choice of posts ultimately says about who I am, and who I want to be.
Anyway so, for a moment after tracing back some of my traffic to the sports forum, I skimmed through my old entries and wondering about what sort of story these entries told… And I still don’t quite know. I know, on some level, they are very much a reflection of me. I mean I DID post them after all :). But, it’s still not the whole picture, and for the first time, it felt a little – limiting – because there is only so much of yourself you can project onto a screen, and all I can do is hope that people don’t miss the important parts of who I am. That I have my opinions, but that I really try to respect yours…that I try my best to be open-minded and to not be judgemental (and I’m sure, like everyone, regardless of how hard I try I may sometimes fail at that). That I struggle… That I go through my ups and downs like everyone else. That I’m someone worth getting to know, not because I’m special, but because in so many ways, I’m SO ordinary, and I think there is a certain comfort and familiarity in “ordinary” :). That ultimately, I am trying to look for what is good in people and good in the world. There are days when I struggle with that, and days when life, in all its chaotic beauty, gives me no choice in the matter – and I’m just left in awe and admiration by what I see. 🙂 Those are the good days…the ones I hope for and seek out…
So, while I will GLADLY “take” your visits, and I look forward to my site stats (hopefully – insha Allah) swelling – I hope on some level the readers who don’t know me will understand that, as much as this site does expose “me”, there is always more, and I hope I’m not limiting myself by painting a one-sided picture of who I am…