Monday, December 17, 2007

Google This

At the end of the year, people inevitably start thinking about how they are going to live life better in the next. We read round-up lists, summarizing the year in closing, and make resolutions for the upcoming one.

I started thinking about this little online project. I started it in a state of profound pain. I had finally realized that I was going to file for divorce and end a life than I had known for over a decade. Every breakup sucks out loud and I knew mine wasn't particularly brutal or vicious, but it was my heartache. I went to therapy and it was truly helpful, if not just a little soul-shaking, but I came to realize that what I was doing in that $150 hour each week was just fucking talking about it - and other shit rattling around in my head. I came to realize that if I took the time to actually write out some of those thoughts, I might save on therapy.

Turns out, that was true. I think I am up at least two grand.

Over the year and half that I have written here, I have fleshed out a lot of thoughts, and also written about truly insipid and mundane things. I have never written this for any audience or feedback, but have been grateful and touched by the friends who occasionally leave a comment. I am, of course, aware that this is the internet and this little journal is accessible to anyone who types the right keywords. That doesn't really bother me in any meaningful sense, as these thoughts and words only have value in context. This journal is only personal if you know me personally. Although I occasionally write about things that could hurt or embarrass people who know me personally, I usually try to keep it about me and my thoughts. I have also tried to edit myself with a mind towards the semi-public nature of blogs, mindful that at any point, I could find myself on the business end of a much more public examination of the words I have written.

Why the introspection? I read another person's blog today - someone I have never met in person, but have corresponded with occasionally over the past year. She never told me about her blog and I never sought it out, but it was somewhat publicly revealed, and I followed it down the rabbit hole. She, like me, considered her blog quasi-private - yes, easily accessible, but you had to know where to look, and she considered it her little secret. I knew some of her more personal issues, although I was always careful to let her tell me, rather than ask.

She is a real writer and a good one at that, and having some context to her words, I felt strangely empathetic and like a voyeur. Empathetic because we both were dealing with the emotional fallout of breakups, and like a voyeur because I wasn't sure I was supposed to be reading it. We aren't close friends, just occasional email buddies, and I sort of felt like I had secretly read her diary. I had more context that the other people who stumbled across it and that made me feel guilty as I read her written thoughts. I almost wanted to apologize to her for reading something so private, but then again, how private is writing a blog on the internet? Not hardly.

She sent me an email today and actually apologized to me for not telling me about it. I couldn't believe it. She doesn't know about this little corner of my internet and, truthfully, what the hell would it matter? That kind of gave way to a larger picture for me and I realized that I am not ashamed of anything I have written here, even if some of it is melodramatic and immature. I haven't embarked on any character assassinations or skewered my boss or defamed anyone, although I suspect my soon-to-be ex wouldn't be particularly pleased with his portrayal here. If nothing else, this is just an experiment of sorts - an electronic document of where I have been. Yes, it is sometimes profoundly personal and other times remarkably dull, but it is mine and I own every goddamn word.

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