Yesterday I read this post over at Small Things and it really struck a cord with me:
This is a great post. I’ve cultivated a habit (aided & abetted by tumblr) of cherry-picking a paragraph or two from articles instead of letting them stand on their own. I didn’t want to do that here. I ran in the same online circles as Meg — I still have a few of her zines tucked away in my zine box — and I remember the era she’s describing so clearly. It felt really intimate and important. I fucked up a lot in the late 90s and early 2000s and I felt like I had to document every second of it.
I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut — and my fingers still — more these days. Maybe at the expense of the kind of community Meg’s talking about here. It’s hard to win at the internet. Unless you’re talking about bacon, I guess.
The “this is a great post” she was referencing is here, titled “Remembering LiveJournal and my Search for Online Community.”
I’ve been blogging for a pretty long time. Or rather, a long time for blathering about yourself online. I started a year or so before moving to Prague partly as an outlet and partly to chronicle my journey as a late twenty-something, then unemployed woman with a few hundred dollars to her name who moved to another country, while dragging around a toxic carcass of a relationship. So I’ve been doing this for over 8 years. The blog has taken many incarnations, has skipped around to various urls as I either got bored with my url, or was trying to escape prying eyes. Sometimes I password-protected my posts, sometimes I wrote under a pseudonym, sometimes I just didn’t really use any name for myself (though I always used aliases for those in my life) and once I even had a little “side blog”, the url for which I sent only to a few people where I woefully blathered on about all the “secrets & lies” of my then boyfriend which felt like they were slowly rotting away my insides.
I, too, spilled my guts then. I spilled them carelessly, splashing them all over the place for the world to see. My then boyfriend read it quite faithfully – odd, considering I was usually going on about how tortured I felt. Often times, my blog posts were messages to him, constructed for his eyes. I was full of passion, sure – but misplaced, misguided and undeserved passion. It was a wilder time in my life, not a very good time. I still cringe to remember the near nervous breakdown and absolute pathetic-ness of my posts after the first time he’d taken off. I’d started posting entries from a gray journal I had carried around with me and scribbled in, madly, during our second year together. Paragraphs that seemed paranoid at the time, but in hindsight, they were paragraphs that were screaming at me to pay attention and stop being so stupid. I wasn’t paranoid, there was a lot of shit going on behind my back.
It was a confessional, of sorts. It was mostly pain, sometimes wild flights of fancy. A lot of neurotic back and forth. Many posts written, then hidden, then posted again before hiding them again. There were drunk posts and posts written while rolling hard on e. There were posts that I’d written while I was wasted on anxiety and depression meds, topped with sleeping pills and wine – those were always quickly yanked, hours later, before anyone saw them.
But it was a chronicle of everything going on in my life, figuring out who I was and what I wanted… and I wanted to record it. I’m still glad that I have it all to look back on, to see exactly what I was doing on, say this day 8 years ago. I learned a lot, through it all.
Then I came back to the States for good, after yet another disaster, my “rebound relationship.” I found a little more drama with a guy I dubbed “The Chef” – a whirlwind romance that had me running off to a Caribbean Island to spend a week with someone I’d been talking to (by phone and online) for a month or so. We were already talking about me moving down there and in the process of planning a trip to Spain together, in the Spring of 2008. And then I met my husband, another whirlwind – we decided we couldn’t be apart after knowing each other for all of 3 weeks. I broke things off with The Chef (rather callously, I admit, and on the day before I was to fly out to see him for Thanksgiving) and I gave notice at work and moved out to LA to be Mr Nikki shortly after.
I, in the way of someone who’s had a lot of drama in their life and is more comfortable with turmoil than with peace, do occasionally miss the drama. I occasionally want to spill my guts, still, and talk about things that are on my mind at the moment, when I’m thinking of how much my life has changed. But once I moved to LA and was with Mr Nikki, the drama and rehashing all seemed really inappropriate. Still, it seems inappropriate. On this blog, all I really have to talk about now is… well, happy thoughts, or ranting about things I’m passionate about. Though this blog still remains, for the most part, “anonymous”, nothing on the web is ever private and it would be wrong to talk about things the way I used to. Nor do I want to, really. One of my challenges, as told by several therapists, has been to learn to live “in the grey.” I’ve always been at one extreme or the other, so it wouldn’t behoove me to stir up old dramas.
One of my other challenges has also been to learn to be comfortable as my “authentic self”, under all circumstances. I’ve always been very compartmentalized. I show some things to one set of people and others to another set… and yet others to yet another set. Ever so slowly, over the past year, I’ve started to bring it all together. There’s been a few bumps – I had a situation with a family member on Facebook that caused me to “unfriend” all family members. Mostly, though, it’s been positive. I made a couple of new friends through comments on a Facebook page and recently, one of them sent me a lovely message full of compliment and saying she was looking forward to getting to know me more – someone who *I* had thought was quite fascinating and someone I’d want to be great friends with.
And yes – blogging has changed. I was never on LiveJournal but I was part of a little community, or on the fringes of it. Since I started, I’ve met some really cool people and made some good friends through it. One of my absolute best friends now is a woman who wrote the first blog that I read regularly, and whose blog led me to several other blogs that I read. There’s Lynn, who I’ve adored and admired ever since first stumbling across her blog & photography and who was gracious enough to spend a day with me during my solo trip to Amsterdam, years ago. Though we didn’t get much time with her when Mr Nikki & I went to Amsterdam, I’m glad that he met her and NEXT trip, I’d like Nugget to meet her. There’s a couple other people that I haven’t met, but I’ve gotten to know through comments and emails and Facebook who I consider “friends” and plan on meeting up with when Mr Nikki and I get out to Boston next year. (Assuming they want to, of course!) Sarah and Sarah, I’m looking at both of you.
But now… now blogging is all mommybloggers and Google AdSense. It feels a lot more judgmental than it used to be, too. It used to be confessional. Now it’s financial.
So what I’m saying is… this blog really doesn’t have a place in my life anymore. I never thought I’d say that. I never thought I’d give up my “secret” blog but the fact is that any secrets I might have to spill, shouldn’t be spilled online any more. I’ve double posted some things on other blogs that I have and that just seems silly. I need (or want) to have more focus and write properly again. I’m *this close* to a degree in English, but truthfully, blogging has completely ruined my sentence structure. I don’t bother thinking about run on sentences and comma placement (you might notice I go a little crazy with commas) or any of those types of things. (I am contemplating finishing that degree, which is why it’s on my mind.)
That’s not to say I’m giving up “blogging” for good, I’m just getting rid of the “secret” blog and sticking to things that I can talk about publicly on the other two blogs I keep publicly. The things I’m passionate about. Yoga. Food. Eating. Traveling. Birth advocacy. (I need a blog that I’m ok with potential Doula clients reading.) Gah. I’m 35 years old and I’ve finally outgrown my 26 year old blog. (Me being the 26 year old, not the blog.)
So… yeah. That’s that. This blog, after all the face lifts and changes, is done. I’ll be doing everything over on Ungodly Fruit (my “recovered vegetarian” food blog) and…. hm. My “professional” blog which will just be more public than professional now. I posted the name and link and then deleted. I just realized I’m still a little skittish about my name being out there. Not like you couldn’t find it if you wanted, I supposed. I had a semi-stalker awhile back who, from my obsessive checking of web stats, has not found this blog, but I’d rather not just send him directly to a blog with my real name splashed all over it. So if you’re interested and don’t already know me personally that you can just get the link from Facebook or by googling my name, let me know. Quite frankly, since my life has settled and all the drama has disappeared, my readership has dropped drastically. Not that I’ve ever written for the sake of having lots of readers or even cared how many people there were, but it’s a sad statement on readership, no?
See you on the other side.