I have kept a blog, in some form or another, for the past sixteen years. (Both my “blog” and the concept of “blogging” have changed quite a bit in that time!) I’ve had my own website for even longer, because I was a web developer. The “blog” was created because I had decided, after a lifetime of dreaming, to move abroad. Really, I wanted to move to Holland, my first love, but I knew there would be some extraordinary bureaucratic hurdles to jump and I hadn’t even had my B.A then. So I decided to move to Italy because… well, do I need to add a “because” after the word Italy?
In preparation, I had registered for an Italian course at my community college and, during the typical introductions when we say our name and why we’re learning Italian, I proudly announced, “I’m learning Italian because I’m going to move to Milan.” My instructor was impressed as were other students. I really thought I was going to move there, too. I had a friend in Italy who was trying to help and then I met another blogger online who had been living and working in Rome who also offered to help me find my way there.
Another part of the reason I had chosen Italy then was because for the previous four years I had been living in limbo with my boyfriend at the time. Not so much limbo but purgatory, really – neither here nor there, but hellish all around. We were together but not, with no real future to be seen. In my mind, I had created a vision of Italy forcing his hand. Forcing my hand. Either he’d get his act together, start keeping his d*ck in his pants when I wasn’t around, and realize my worth or I’d get away and finally realize my own worth. Mind you, this was long before Eat, Pray Love and all that nonsense. I just wanted to eat cheese, drink vino, and become fluent in Italian while ogling the most beautiful architecture the world has ever seen. I thought an Italian man would be the perfect way to give a big vaffanculo! to my boyfriend and break free.
Fidanzato? Quale fidanzato?
I let him ruin that for me, too, though. It turned out that Italy was also a bureaucratic nightmare for one who didn’t have a college degree yet, though I’m sure I could have figured it out. The boyfriend wound up pushing for and convincing me to go to Prague instead, because that’s where he wanted to go – not something I regret entirely because Prague was beautiful and a life-changing experience. He needed to go somewhere safe, where he’d been before and had connections (all the better to stick to his old noncommittal ways). *I* liked to forge my own way and avoid the familiar. In many ways I wish I had persisted with Italy. Because, Italy. Everyone loves Italian food but if you saw my inability to go a week without pasta and that I bleed cheese and espresso, you’d understand.
I wanted to move to Italy, but I moved to Prague, instead. (In Prague, I took Czech lessons, French lessons, and German lessons. I am nothing if not consistent throughout my life.) I had two relationships there, both disastrous, and many flings (all interesting.) I guarantee you that every man who crossed my path would read this and think I was talking about him (you’re so vain… I bet you think this blog is about you) but I’ve always had a “type” and they are all nearly interchangeable. (Except Husband, but he comes later.)
I moved to Prague and started a blog.
Blogging wasn’t the first time I’d written anything, I have written a lot throughout my life – for writing classes, for infamous private journals, for myself. As I mentioned once before, an ex boyfriend once told me that “all girls write” and I suddenly, incomprehensibly became self conscious about writing and stopped everything except the blog which I didn’t take very seriously.
When I returned to school to finish my B.A years ago, I completely avoided the Humanities and writing. I had something to prove and I was so proud of myself for rocking Chemistry and Biology and advanced math that I decided to go down that avenue. Then I took an art history class elective at UW, taught by an Italian professor who frequently showed us his own photographs of places and events throughout Italy, and it reminded me of my love of the humanities, of art, of language, of writing. I left that class still determined to pursue neurobiology but with a longing for the arts that wouldn’t go away. By the time my first year at UW ended, I realized that I had to go back to the Humanities. Now that I’ve reached my last quarter at UW, I know it was the right decision. I’ve been writing research papers and essays and posts for my senior thesis, learning Arabic and German and French and Spanish and I’ve never been happier.
I’ve recently gone back to re-read some of my old blog posts. Back when I started blogging sixteen years ago, you could still retain some semblance of anonymity so I didn’t hold much back. A lot of what I wrote then was unstructured venting and rambling but when I read some of the posts, I’m sometimes impressed with my own ability to convey the rawness and sheer chaos of my life then. Those were the days when I lived in the deep end and consequences be damned. This isn’t one of those things where I’m of a certain age and “missing” who I was, but a hindsight appreciation for my experiences and my ability to convey those experiences. My son is only 8 but he is also “gifted” and I already see the intensity of emotion in him, the sensitivity. I see the same storms and little hurricanes blowing through him already. Part of me feels like I want to remember what that was like so that I can try to better help him navigate.
So, whether “all girls write” or not, I miss it and will try to keep up with it again. (Including trying to translate paragraphs here and there, into French and Spanish.) Albeit with a little more decorum than I did years ago.