Last night (or more accurately this morning, as I keep a
vampire's sleeping schedule) I spent several hours perusing the archives of a
blogger whom I've only known of for a few months.
In that time, I've read of her continuing emotional and financial recovery from
the dissolution of a relationship of nearly a decade.
The writer has not detailed what happened that caused the relationship to
founder, so in hopes of gaining perspective I went searching though her blog's
archives to get some background.
That's what she wrote initially and for some time thereafter
of the break up.
What she did write of in a rather profuse manner was of virtually drowning in
food and drink--an attempt she later acknowledged, at getting though this bleak
time. Her writing during this post break-up period to be charitable, was
unremarkable. She alluded to having often been either hung over or drunk when
making some of the entries so this sums up the why of it pretty neatly.
The writer I know of--the writer of the present--is easily
among the best of the bloggers I've read. Her writing is of a caliber far
beyond that of many scribes who are regularly published in books or magazines.
So in reading of those dark days, I was rather surprised
that despite having had so much material for her blog, that she used none of
it. Only months later did she write in an overt way about how much she didn't
reveal of herself--ever.
This acknowledgment came within an entry that mentioned the emails she'd
received in the previous months. Some of her readers made allusions to her
being a "party girl," while others looked deeper, connected the dots,
and saw that she was in great pain.
Thankfully, the writer seems to be past the worst of her
recovery from becoming single again.
Having waded through so much of her documentation of her life, I feel I
"know" her better. She seems more vulnerable--there's less bravado
(though her kind of bravado must be read to be appreciated). I know more of
what she wants me to know.
Though I lack her sharp writing skills, we do have in common a desire to not
document the depths of our psyches and only apologetically do we offer the
mundane details of our lives. Sometimes I wonder if I'm shortchanging myself by
not exploring my feelings in more depth. I've come to the conclusion that what
I write is within my comfort zone.
And I strongly concur with the writer--one only reveals as much as they
wish--the blank spaces are for the reader to fill in.
My blog's relation to truth is allusive;
I have a row, I write about the Iraq war; I feel deserted by all my friends, I
write about the noises in the attic; if I want someone to know that I've slept
with someone else, I blog about everyone I ever shagged, and leave a telling
gap that they'll notice. You can bet your life that if it's truly truly
important, I can't put it on my blog, because it would hurt people.
For one thing, my job is emotionally and physically consuming, but if I blogged
about it, it would break the terms of my contract, and I'd be disbarred. So two
thirds of my life becomes unbloggable, right there, just like that.
At least three exes read the blog, and so do their friends, as well as my
There is a recording of the penultimate conversation I ever had with the ex,
and publishing it on the blog was her supposed excuse for splitting up with me,
but we both know it was a catalyst - knowing all the inside info of how much
you can grow apart in a year means that many of the entries for the two months
prior to that indicate unease and conflict in my relationship with her. She
always always had a problem with my level of self disclosure online. I couldn't
say to anyone that it wasn't their right to object to that. But one of the many
splinters of glass that opened the wound was the blog, and her reading into it
what I hadn't meant to put there.
She was the one who thought that my blog described one long party. And her
friends, too. What my blog is actually documenting is my journey between two
nervous breakdowns, but apparently I'm not supposed to say this in public
arenas. Another splinter. One of millions.
So, there's no blog entry that comes
right out and says what happened with my ex partner. There's two that I find
most revealing, but you'd have to be me and know the code to feel what they're
saying. Life is in code, and nobody knows anyone else's key.
This one I wrote at some godforsaken hour of the
morning, when I was rolling drunk. I had the feeling I was about to be dumped,
but was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt for 14 days. Unfortunately
The Doubt wasn't going well, and I felt like an actor in someone else's drama.
Fortunately, I was so drunk you can barely tell.
This was a coded message to someone whom I'd
rejected, whose absence I couldn't bear any longer, whose lack in my life was,
for me, so painful it was physical, wholly engrossing, blocking out everything
else with its enormity.
D'you see what I mean? I know which post
tells more of a truth, but you couldn't hope to without that background, that
swell of emotion behind the words. There's no way a reader could read
meaning into the second post, yet for me it represents a flood of emotions I
can barely comprehend, let alone verbalise.
If I haven't told it to my closest friends because it's too threatening, too
sodding scary for me to confront what happened, then it's damn stupid of me to
The only realistic record of my relationship online is the one that my memory
The trouble with blogs is that for the
reader they're entertainment. For the writer, they're anything but - attention
seeking is the closest it gets. I frequently want to shake Creepy Lesbo,
hug her, or take her out to the pub. But if I did that, if I turned up in real,
offline reality and presumed to know her, she'd probably never blog again. I
know lots of people from (usenet) online whom I've met in real life. I'd hate
to meet fellow bloggers, somehow.
For me, the blog isn't entertainment.
It's practise. For reality.
For a life that's in part not being lived if one is spending so much
time blogging. For the day that the obstacles that prevent me from going out
and living it without a safe, online buffer zone arrives.
Anyway, I wanted to give a response to
your post. I'd noticed that someone had read the archives (there's actually
text files of them on the site, because I didn't want anyone to worry I'd
notice - okay, by anyone I mean exes, yeah.) I clicked onto your blog today as
usual, as it's one of my top daily reads. I read a paragraph, realised who it
was about, felt my heart leap into my throat with panic and went off to get a
valium inside me so I could continue. I was grinding my teeth involuntarily all
the way through reading it.
When I did, it wasn't so bad as I'd expected. Thanks for that. [?]
Ack, I'm probably a paranoid fucker anyway. You're probably talking
about Wil Wheaton.