old dogs new tricks

The beau had been traveling for work last week, so after he got home on Thursday night I told him about what Angie and Clare and Aisling had put together for International Women’s Day. I told him about the post I wrote for In Her Own Words and the tweet chat I participated in.

And then it all just came spilling out. I shared with him some of the horrible stuff that’s been floating around the intertubes this week, and we talked about it. It slowly dawned on me that we’d never really done this before. We talk about politics frequently, sure, but the conversation usually stops there. My blog reader is stocked with feeds on women’s issues, history, and pop culture analysis. The beau tends to be drawn to articles about science, research, and technology. Reading material is simply an area where our interests wildly diverge, and that’s okay — if we always did, read, and watched the same things we’d have nothing interesting to share with each other.

But that’s just the thing: I wasn’t sharing. I saw my online life as a completely separate thing from my offline life, and so I never really felt the need to fill my husband in on the details of which links I’d clicked in my browser that day. I wasn’t holding anything back on purpose — it’s just one of those patterns people fall into with each other. But then something kind of broke inside me this week. It was the news that did it, I think. That relentless wave of negativity about women, about race, about culture and politics and religion and, hell, even nature. It finally surged so greatly that it burst through my monitor screen, gushed over the keyboard, and knocked me flat on the ground. It was too big to keep inside anymore, so I found myself talking to the beau, word after word tumbling out so fast that I almost couldn’t keep up. I turned myself upside down and shook myself out, and all the words that had piled up inside me over this past week, this past month, this past year came tumbling out.

He listened. He read some of the articles that had undone me, and we shared our thoughts about them. We talked for a long time.

I didn’t know I could do this with him. We have known each other for nearly six years now, and we are still learning to see each other in new lights. This gave me great hope for the way our marriage might continue to unfold, even at a time when I wasn’t looking for or needing hope.

Have you ever had a similar thing happen?

Something about participating in International Women’s Day helped changed me this week. I’m not sure how or why, but I feel different. It’s like that metaphorical wave that came crashing through my monitor this week also washed away the crumbling barrier between my separate lives. At this point, after blogging, commenting, and tweeting for so long, I feel like I’ve put so much of my personal life out there online that I am online. I am the internet, in some bizarre future-dystopian fashion. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to continue pretending this part of my life doesn’t exist in front of certain people. I came thisclose to telling my mom I have a blog yesterday during our weekly phone call, but the old fear stopped me. If they knew about it, they would read it, and then I’d have to stop swearing so much and step away from squicky topics like sex. And I couldn’t ever really write about my relationship with them, not without honey-coating the saltier parts of it, or completely leaving stuff out altogether. How could I explain why I’ve kept it from them for so long without hurting their feelings? Moreover, just what the hell would they think?

What would they think indeed. I clicked over to my blog and scanned back a few pages with a critical eye. Oh, god, it was embarrassing. Cringe-worthy. My content has been shit for at least the past month. I blame the new job? Is it okay to blame the new job? I’m gonna just blame it, anyway. Even still, how did I let it get this bad?

This is my apology to you: I’m sorry.

And this is my promise to any of you who are still reading: I’m going to try harder. I’ve been trying harder, actually. Lately it’s taken every ounce of my strength to focus on my work during the weekdays, because all I want to do is write. So whenever I’ve had free time I’ve been putting posts together bit by bit, and some of those are nearly done. I’ve got some pieces coming that I actually feel proud of for once, so at least there’s that. Hopefully I can prove myself again.

Because even though I may neglect it sometimes, this space has become important to me. The people I’ve met through this space have become important to me. Anytime anyone leaves me a comment, it’s like Christmas up in this bitch. Unless it’s a mean comment. Then it’s despair up in this bitch. But so far the good far outweighs the bad.

I’m looking forward to making a few modifications around here over the next few weeks. I plan on moving this space from WordPress.com to self-hosting, so the ads that WordPress sneaks in here and there should stop. I’m also excited to rework the look and design of the blog for the first time.

Change is coming.

In the meantime, I’m simply buoyed by the fact that change is possible.

15 Responses to “old dogs new tricks”

  1. I actually had the same thing happen this week. C knows I’m online and read stuff, but this week I was sending him articles and we’ve been talking a lot. It’ll get exhausting fast with two highly opinionated people, and we try not to harp on awful things, but as you said, this week was an overload and needed to be Verbalized.

    Oooh self-hosting!

  2. I’ve not been happy with my own content as of late, so I understand the need to apologize to the internet at large. I blame it on a totally unispirational time of year (plus I’m boring). Looking forward to your new stuff to come!

  3. That sounds like a beautiful experience, Lyn. I’ve found lately through similar “I can do this with you?” moments, that sometimes I underestimate Isaiah and what he cares about…It’s all subconsciously…as soon as I realize, I usually share and he rises to the plate and responds, you know?

    I’m glad you got to have that moment…

    I can’t WAIT to see your site, lady.

  4. Chur. You are awesome – no need to apologize. You are funnier and more entertaining on your worst day than I am on my best day. Just wanted to lend that extra little encouragement.

  5. We’ve had a small burst of discovering new conversations we can and should have lately – and I think it might be because of being married. It’s made us talk more about the nitty-gritty of life. It has been enraging at times but always feels important and satisfying to be talking about whatever it is.

    As for having whole separate lives on and off-line – I’m finding it difficult to figure out where to draw that boundary. I’m trying really hard to not completely separate John from my little online life but it’s strange that it takes effort.
    So far, no one else is aware of my little online life and I’m reluctant to change that, although it feels strange not to share this part of my life when it feels quite significant.

  6. I agree with Jen — there’s no need for you to apologize at all. Most people’s blogs change depending on how their life changes, and sometimes we all struggle for content, and/or with the ability to put down coherently the muck that’s swirling up in our heads. If we’re here, it’s because we enjoy what’s here.


  7. From where I’m sitting, you have nothing to apologize for. I love your blog.

    I think every blogger has to work out how much they want their online and offline lives to intersect. I am bad at filtering, so I don’t even try to blog anonymously, and people in my offline life read my blogs. That being said, I have more trouble sharing everything online than I do letting people in the real world know I blog… but I doubt that would change if I were anonymously blogging. Also, I’ve gotten a lot of comments along the lines of “you are so open and honest!” so I think I’m living up to reader’s standards of transparency, if not my own.

    • It’s interesting you say that. I’ve noticed you’re open and honest about certain topics, but then there’s also a lot I don’t know about you. Your backstory and all that. Maybe over time? But damn, this process can be confusing. I think we’ve mostly learned from the first bloggers’ mistakes (talking about work, talking about specific people, naming names), but there really is no single set of rules.

  8. I know what you mean. It’s weird to separate your online and offline lives and when the two intersect it’s quite odd. My family definitely does not know about my blog and I have told some friends, although sometimes forget that they read it.

    And I’ve forged such strong friendships online and I hate neglecting my blog because I feel like I’m letting friends down — not just nameless readers.

    • Yeah, I hate that too. I feel like I’m losing CONTACT. Especially since I’ve started working at home, most of my interaction with others takes place online. It’s so odd that our lives have changed to be shaped this way.

  9. That’s so wonderful that you and the beau had that conversation! They can be exhausting but also exhilarating. Was it C.S. Lewis who defined friendship as the moment of “You too? I thought I was the only one!”? Having that moment within marriage is one of the most secretly satisfying things ever. 🙂

    (I’ve been feeling very meh about my blog content recently too. Maybe it’s a case of the doldrums going around?)

  10. Your blog is the shit! That’s pretty much all I want to say. Hooray for new territory in conversation and breaking down barriers and new jobs that get in the way of things 🙂

  11. umm your blog is amazing no apologies needed. seriously. also Ryan hears about my online activities constantly. constantly! my poor husband.

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