Wednesday, July 04, 2012


I know I haven't posted regularly in a long time. At first it was the grief. My world turned upside down and I couldn't do this, or much of anything, with any reliability.

But I've really just realized the other thing that happened and took this away from me. I started writing because I was unhappy with the blogs out there that aimed at being for women and feminist but were either bitchy or pedantic and insulting. I know a lot of amazing female bloggers, but they had their own things they were writing about. Feminism and the female voice wasn't their focus. So for a while, it was mine.

I wanted to anonymously share my experiences with rape, weight loss, self-image, relationships, medical emergencies, traumatic loss, and violent crime so that others - strangers - could hopefully get something out of what I was experiencing or had experienced. These were private things, intensely personal things, but things so many people cope with and that I felt talking about could be beneficial. At the very least, for me.

I shared my blog with some friends. A few people I knew. I chose them carefully. The ones I did not mind having access to this personal voice. These conversations I was having with myself.

I made friends with some amazing people online who were also, in essence, anonymous to me. People I had not met in person but whose writing I admired and who were supportive of me and seemed to understand what I was doing and why I was doing it.

I went through breakups. Significant others now seemed off the table as topics so I wouldn't offend or hurt men I had loved who might come here on a down day and, unhealthily, look to see what I was writing. I couldn't do that to them.

A few people I knew personally found the blog. It was an adjustment, but I came to terms with it and it wasn't anyone I couldn't handle knowing these things about me. But it stifled my voice more, made me more hesitant to share. Because I hadn't chosen them as an audience.

Then a stranger here in town who knows my full name and has vague connections to me through mutual friends (but who I had never met) found the blog. He now follows all my public online accounts. He seems like a nice guy. But we don't know each other. And he has read these deeply personal things about me and then shown up to see me and said hello to me in public places because, naturally, he feels he knows me. Like I said, he seems nice. He always has. He even explained how he found me and even offered tips for making my blog more anonymous and to help prevent being located the way he ran across me. But I don't know him.

And that was really it for me. Because these windows into my life weren't written for strangers here in my home town who have no connection to the issues I'm discussing and are just curious about me. And what I could talk about became so limited once I grew concerned about so many other people. I was never the point. Shared feeling and thought was. Being able to have other women who were about to have a biopsy on their uterus search and find my post and know what to expect and how it felt and that they were going to be okay. Sharing what I had learned, what I thought might help, with other people who experienced traumatic loss in a way that made the national news. And talking to other women and men about how feminists aren't one kind of person. Aren't even just women. And that hating men OR sharing tips on how to tell if your guy is cheating were not constructive ways to be a community.

So I miss writing. But I don't want to share my feelings with strangers who live where I live and know my name. And I don't want to edit myself for a growing number of people who actually do know me and could be effected by what I write. I'm trying to decide if I should make this password protected - which defeats my desire to share my feelings with other people outside my life who have similar experiences - or if I should start a new blog somewhere. I don't know. Those of you who have stayed in touch and have always been supportive - I will let you know what I end up doing.

I got tired of not saying this. And no longer being able to write what I really thought. That's all.


  1. Oh, hon. I'm glad to see you writing, but I know the pain and frustration of what you're talking about.

    My blog's been outed a few times -- as I think you know -- but the first time, at my old church not "Maybe Church" -- was similar to what you've experienced with this stranger in your town. Random people at this church whom I didn't know would come up to me and talk to me AS IF they knew me, all because of the blog. It weirded me out, you know, because they knew me better online than they did in real life. They never chose to get to know me BEFORE the blog, but suddenly, I was all kinds of fascinating to them, I guess. Still, they continued to choose knowing me online to knowing me in person and that felt like a weird social violation of sorts. It was .... I don't know .... oogie.

    This all happened before you and I ever met online. It was my very first blog with a different name and the oddness of these non-connection connections eventually forced me to move that blog entirely and just send out an email to the people I wanted to move with me to the new blog.

    I'm not saying this is something you have to do. I'm simply saying it's something that worked for me at that time. It IS strange but true that strangers who read your blog AND see you in person do feel like they know you, but they don't know YOU. Not the entirety of you. They know pieces of you, snippets of you, but it feels oddly voyeuristic, doesn't it? I have no problems with people who don't inhabit my personal geography reading my blog. Then it does feel anonymous. And I would have no problem if there were family/friends who read my blog who -- key -- wouldn't freak out about some of the things I write. (That's why I don't tell family/friends.) But it's that middle ground of "I know you but I don't know you" where it starts to feel really uncomfortable and stifling. You stop being yourself when you write and that destroys, really, the essence of the writing and the very reason TO write in the first place.

    After the Maybe Church debacle, I became very good at banning various IP addresses from even being able to see the blog. Also an option, but you need a good blog hosting service that allows you to do this.

    That said, I'm always glad to see anything and everything you write, Marisa, and I'm sorry the blog has turned into such a struggle. That's not how it's meant to be.

    Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

  2. Thank you for sharing this with me. It has allowed me to catch up with some of the parts I missed without you having to re-live them through telling me.

    As someone who keeps a private journal (as you know), the way I see it is you write for yourself first. I can say exactly what I want, about whatever I am feeling, and I don't have to worry about it being found. It is mine, after all.

    Via FaceSpace and Twitter, we already lead public lives, we let so many into our heads. It's only fair you save something for yourself.

  3. and what if the stuff you want to write down isn't worth talking about? What if it's a bunch of drivel? :)