I don't really know how to say this, so I'm just going to come right out with it: I quit.
I started this blog two years ago on the advice of a friend, who suggested that, because I love to write, I should get a blog, put what I have out there to be found. And, after much consideration and poking around at other people's blogs, I decided to go ahead and go for it. I didn't tell anyone I knew about it, I just kept it my little secret, a place where I could write every day, twice a day, or not at all. I was proud of myself for keeping it to myself, but when my first comment came, I couldn't contain my joy. I told my parents. And then some friends. And then my boss. And I started mentioning it in conversation. The more people who read it, the better, I reasoned.
I won't lie, a piece of me hoped to be one of those blogger-Cinderella stories, where someone would run across my page, see the genius between my lines, and offer me a multi-million dollar book deal. Obviously, the chances of that happening were slim, and as I let go of that possibility, I began to fall in love with the idea of blogging just for the sake of doing it. I met some incredible people, I enjoyed the feedback, I liked that it made me write regularly, something I'd failed to do sans blog.
But there was the bad side, too. Anonymous people who accused me of being self-centered and bitchy, judgemental and superficial. People who assaulted my character and my abilities and me. I've cried over comments, to my then-boyfriend, who didn't understand why some stupid comment made by some random person could get me so upset. Later on, I complained to Billy, too, that people could be so mean to me. "If you want to be a writer," he said matter-of-factly, "you're going to have to learn to take criticism. You're going to have to accept that not everyone is going to like you, or your writing." He had a point. And I thought "Okay, I'll toughen up."
But it's easier to steel yourself against the wrath of strangers who think they know you, than it is to prepare for the wrath of people you actually know.
Turns out, I'm too sensitive to steel myself for much of anything. I pour myself into the words here most times, and someone's misunderstanding of what I've written breaks my heart. I feel the need to explain it, to rectify the inadvertent wrong I've done. But sometimes explaining isn't enough when people feel that you've said something horrible about them. Even when you haven't.
So, some people in my real life, Billy included, stopped reading. I offended people I had no intention of offending. I cried over that, too. Because it's one thing when complete strangers hate what you write. It's another thing entirely when it's people who know you.
Having always been concious (or so I thought) of other people's feelings, I then started watching what I wrote more closely than ever. I went over each prospective post with a fine-toothed comb, trying to find ways - other than how I intended - that the post could be read. And I had to leave entire chapters of my life out of the blog because I knew I was only playing with fire to write about it. And, before I knew it, the blog just became fluff.
From time to time, after writing a really good post and hitting "Save as Draft" instead of "Publish," for fear that someone would be mad at me for talking about something that was completely benign in my book, I started to get bitter. Wait a second, isn't this supposed to be my blog? Shouldn't I be able to write about whatever I want to write about? It's about me. Shouldn't I have the option to talk about my life?
The answer, apparently, was no.
"That blog," I've said about a million times, "is more trouble than it's worth." I'd say that, and then briefly consider quitting. But I always came back to the fact that I love blogging. Love. It. It's the one thing I do for myself. The one thing that I truly enjoy. So I wouldn't quit, I'd just censor myself a little bit more. Try to move past worrying about what other people think and just write. And that would last about three days. Then I'd be right back to worrying again.
There are a handful of things I'm dying to write about, but can't. And those are the things that weigh heaviest on my mind, yet I can't write a single word about them. I'm not allowed. Not because I want to say anything nasty about anyone, but because there's bound to be one person out there who would find a way to be offended by it. So I struggle for something else, something less radical, to write about. And what am I left with? Posts about the fact that I have a cold.
That's not why I started this blog, and that's not why people read it. I started it and it was read because of posts in which I was completely honest about my neuroses, my insecurities, my fears, my life, my heart. And I stopped writing that way a long time ago. Not because of comments - I guess, in opening up your life on a blog, you're apt to get people who think they know you because they've read a handful of posts - but because of people I actually know who may, somehow, take offense to what I've written. Even though, nine times out of ten, I have no idea how that happens.
And now, almost EXACTLY two years after I began it, I'm realizing that I should've stayed anonymous. I should've refrained from telling anyone about it. I should've pretended I had no idea what a blog was. But it's too late, now. And I can't go back and change anything. Here I thought I was sharing a piece of me with everyone I told. I was wrong. No one took it that way. I guess the same way I've made every post relate to me, people who read it can just make it all about them. Even though it's not. It is about me. It was my blog, to write as I wish. But I lost that privelige.
So I quit.
I'm sick of making excuses for this blog. I'm sick of worrying that I've hurt someone's feelings by writing. I'm sick of not writing because I fear someone will find a way to be offended by it. I'm sick of writing, posting, and then removing things because all I do anymore is second-guess what I've written. I'm sick of staring at the same stupid post on the main page for days because I can't write anything else. I'm sick of not being allowed to write about parts of my life. I'm sick of all of it.
This blog was supposed to be about me. Not a tiny sliver of me, padded with safe anecdotes that didn't run the risk of offending anyone. It wasn't supposed to be about what other people thought. It wasn't supposed to foster worry and anger and embarrassment and fighting. It wasn't supposed to make me feel this way. I'm just sick and tired of making excuses for it, of explaining to every person in my real life who gets pissed at me over it, "It's not about YOU." Because it's not. It never has been. It's always been about ME. Selfish? Sure. But, if I'm not mistaken, this blog is mine. And I'm so tired of explaining that. I'm sick of writing while I'm worried about everyone else's feelings but my own. This was the one place I had in my life to not worry about that. Well, no longer. This blog is just as infested with my desire to make everyone happy as my day-to-day life is. Even now, writing this, I'm thinking about who will read this and think "She's talking about me." I'm not, okay? It's not about you. Whoever you are.
This decision wasn't spurred by a certain event. It's more a culmination of about a million things. But the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back came this morning, in which I found myself writing yet another email explaining myself. Before I even finished writing the fucking email, I just gave up. I can't bear to send out another letter, make another phone call, have another conversation in which I say "That's not how I meant it." I thought I was a clear writer, I thought the reader could surmise my point in what I'd written. Turns out that's not the case. (But, statistically, it seems that strangers get the point better than people who know me. Go figure.) And I just can't do it any more.
I've loved this so much. I've loved every person I met through this blog, every friendship I've fostered, every email conversation it initiated. But I just can't do this any more. It is more trouble than it's worth.
Thank you to everyone who has read what I've written. Thank you for being kind enough to write nice things in my comments section. Thank you for spending your time on my words. Thank you for sticking around.
It's been fun. And I will miss you terribly.