This is an occasionally updated series of 40 posts about well mu turning 40
As I wrote in the first post of this series two weeks ago, I blog (and began blogging) because I have a bit of an exhibitionist side but my exhibitionism has had consequences. My written words have hurt people. While I don’t regret what I have done or transcribed – I do wish I had been more mmmm cautious, discrete even.
When I began blogging, it was even before it as called blogging. It was a bleeding myself sane as a young single activist mother ( I was que- 19/20). It was me speaking into a new digital extension of reality hoping someone would answer back, hoping I wasn’t along in my struggle with work, organizing, motherhood, relationships and fucking – there was a lot of fucking. The platforms were various. Message boards, barely developed social media, chat rooms, IMs. These spaces were to me like the unlined pages like the journals I had kept since I as 9 years old or so, spaces where I could be the me I wasn’t allowed to be in public – vulnerable, sometimes bold, imperfect, sexual, struggling, triumphant, emotional, complicated – real, more real than just the smart good NYRican girl my parents groomed me and expected me to be.
I didn’t expect people to answer back. I didn’t expect to build community. I didn’t expect to find family. I didn’t expect to be part of a trend. I didn’t expect to break ground. I didn’t expect to make money. I didn’t expect to make a name. I didn’t expect to get a following. I didn’t expect to become “professional”.
I just wanted to survive.
I just wanted to be loved for my whole self – with my crooked back, my crooked teeth, my crooked life, my crooked sexuality.
As I made real connections with people, as the virtual turned into the tactile (somos carne – I told a fellow mami media maker when we met in person in Detroit) as more eyes saw my words, and actions, and letters – the less I could actually say safely. As my personal/political ideas became more public, my apartment was broken into, my kids’ identities were reveled and lovers resented when the very words that brought us together were about them.
So I edited – I retreated into safer, more acceptable writing. Bylines. Columns. Panels. I’m proud of it all. I miss it terribly. I was good at it.
But the same media I used for my survival, for connections that have lasted until now – what 18-20 years later – shifted and so did I. I shifted back into organizing and somehow became a professional (that’s another post). And professionals don’t blog. They aren’t supposed to be real, vulnerable, complete, complex. They are supposed to create cults of personality around themselves while playing a persona.
So where/how was I supposed to confess? Where/how was I supposed to work shit out because that’s what this space was always about- my trying to make sense of the world around me as a NYRican mami, woman, lover, worker, media maker, especially after I moved across the continent chasing love and struggle (present tense) to adjust to cohabitation, blended families, far away family and how couples reenact traumas with one another – however unintentionally.
2/40 – Go to therapy. Say things you wouldn’t otherwise say aloud. Set deadlines and goals for yourself. Have an outside party you pay hold you accountable.