I am an honest blogger, but not a confessional blogger; Mom-101 has never been my diary. But there have been so many occasions that I’ve wanted to talk about some more personal things. To respond to other posts about tough subjects not with an “I’m sorry” but with a “me too.”
It’s a very scary prospect.
The more successful or prominent a blogger becomes, I’d imagine the more some of us hold back. For our kids, for our careers, for our families. The reality is, I’m less likely to blog about baby Thalia finding condom wrappers the morning after Valentine’s Day in the couch, now that I have an actual mental picture of who you are, my readers. You are my friends, my family, my clients, my coworkers, my parents, my parents’ friends. You are my upstairs neighbors, my fellow school moms, my boss, a few potential bosses, no doubt my company’s HR director from time to time. And my Aunt Fredda. The one whose name, when I was little, lead me believe that there was a famous female dancer named Fredda Stair.
Oof. The old school newspaper columnists had it easy, in the days before Google analytics.
Yesterday, this profound post at Finslippy about women as objects brought up such strong feelings, such repressed shameful memories, that I started to say it…almost. Not quite. Her post was as brave as my comment there was not.
But it should be said.
Last week on Facebook, a guy tried to friend me. It was a name I had blocked completely from my consciousness and seeing it spelled out on screen, brought this rush of incredible, visceral discomfort and anxiety that was so powerful, it took me a moment to identify the cause.
I remember my friend’s den where it happened. I remember the pattern of the couch. I remember fooling around and wondering if it was my fault, that I had given him the wrong impression. Then I remember that I thought it was just easier to lie there and get it over with than to say no any more forcefully than I had already done about a dozen times, without waking up the parents down the hall. I remember that at 17, the idea of waking parents seemed somehow worse than anything. I remembered that thankfully it was fast.
I don’t think of it much any more. It was a very long time ago.
However since last week, since that name rose to the top of my Facebook page, the fuzzy, decades-old image of his face has been in my nightmares. Does he actually remember me? Is he remorseful? Does he remember it as consensual? Or is he like the mean girl of my childhood who doesn’t remember me hardly at all–just another meaningless name from childhood that a social media algorithm kindly recommends for friendship, what with our one mutual acquaintance and all.
I decided, I don’t need to know what he remembers.
I don’t care what he thinks at all.
This is my closure, right here.
This is not an I Hate Men post or a Men Do Terrible Things Against Women post. I mean it to be a post about being honest in blogging. When. How.
I had to ask myself, is it better not to write about this?
And then I asked myself, if I do write about this, could it maybe help someone more than it would hurt me? Would it help in some small way change the statistic that only 2%–2 fucking percent –of women who are raped by acquaintances report it? How about those who don’t report being groped on the subway? Do the other 98% bear the burden alone, quietly, with the shame and the pain and the confusion?
I found my answer.
Today, I remain even more awed, amazed by those bloggers who, every day, put it all on the line for those of us who don’t or can’t. Why Mommy (who I think of around the clock) and her valiant strength and self-reflection in the face of Cancer.
I have been inspired by Jenny Lawson and the blog post heard ’round the world. I think of all those bloggers I know and love, complex, smart, funny and wonderful–but also strong enough, brave enough to discuss emotional abuse and divorce, financial desperation and PPD, the challenges of special needs children, recovery from addiction, and the lasting scars of abusive parents.
Some of them make it look easy to write about these things. It’s not.
I will probably grapple with hitting the PUBLISH button for a while before I do.
If you are reading this, then I managed to find the nerve. Thank you Alice. Thank you Heather and Mir and Julie and Kristen. Thank you bloggers who do every day. Thank you bloggers who just do it when you can.