Imagine, as you must, that I get a pile of shit everyday from drive-by readers who want to bitch me out because they honestly believe I write this blog to entertain them. Now double it. I of course get your average, “You’re a jap, and so self-centered” missives, and then the slightly meatier, “Where is your sense of obligation to the world?!” outraged ALL CAPS kind of memos. Throw in the occasional, “I hope you get cancer” email along with the ever lovely, “Divorce him now,” advice. “You’ve lost your edge” makes me laugh, along with “Where’s the old Stephanie?” The old Stephanie, if you really care to click through the archives, wrote about antiperspirant and sushi and makeup and hair products, too. Thanks. And she had spelling mistakes she never bothered to correct. Life, I promise, goes on.
We all go through phases. Bad hair, bad pants, bad, bad color schemes, bad boys, bad manners. There are wilder times, fuck this shit–I can’t take it anymore times, cozy happy content times, crisis, recognizing how much we need to change times. It’s all part of who I am. Bad hair color times. I forgot that one. I’m a complainer sometimes who wants to vent about her vagina or fat or missing her friends or dog, yes, even though there are people dying from hunger and disease. Wants to bitch about her husband. Wants to dream up the perfect cozy home and use the blog as a route there. Wants to make a list of wants, however frivolous from how to set her dining table to nail polish colors to the best belt for jeans. Worries about her job as a mother and just wants to get it down, on the old-fashioned Internet. Wants to capture sweet moments with her children, wants to take photos of them miserable. Wants to just be me, not be ON, just be. And that’s why I started this blog, and it’s what I intend to continue to do, despite the emails stating, “Single women or women who are not as fortunate to have a charmed life would not relate to your perfect dining room table. I am as fortunate and find it boring. Being a Psychiatrist is what drove me to write this to you.” Oy.
And from the same reader: ” I thought that you were Jewish. Those of us who are don’t really care about the wreaths and the holiday stuff that you seem to write about quite frequently. Xmas is two months away and when you pass by Gracious Home on the UWS their X-mas wares are already in the window. It’s not even Halloween! It seems premature for you to be writing about that already.” Again, my answer is, I don’t post to keep up with the season, the nines, or the Joneses. I write about what’s on my mind and what I’m feeling, and I don’t have a boss who approves it, to see if it’s what others want to think about. So despite how well-intentioned you may be, and I appreciate that you are, try to understand that I do this for me, to just let loose and be able to have this space as my public scrapbook.
Yes, public. Public because people enjoy it, but more importantly, because it makes people think.
And I think in the coming weeks, you’ll see a whole lot more of that uncensored me (even if it’s a full week of drunk emails from my past, or lists of all the material things I want, or all the things I’m thankful for, or all the things I can’t afford but want to). Definitely a post or twenty with every single sentence beginning with “I” or “Me” or “My.” Because I can. Because this is mine. Because with Moose handed in, I expect to post more, though very little of it will be polished and well-written, simply because between magazine writing, book writing, and TV writing, I plan to use this space as a sounding board and vent space, as I did when this blog began. Because my rant is done and so is the day.
There are the “How do you deal with all the horrible shit people say to you?” emails, which I might as well address–because giving all the attention to the “When you write about the ‘beans’ and how content you are with life, it’s dull and boring,” emails isn’t fair–where readers are asking me for advice on how to handle it, as they’re just now getting their first taste of it. I could say something about thick skin and a good cream for that, but the truth is, like everything else you get enough of, you simply become desensitized. And then, if something does bother you, you might use it as a lesson, figuring out what you can learn about yourself by reading your reaction.
Why am I letting this bother me? More often than not, it truly is THEIR PROBLEM, not yours. But if something really does bother you, and I’ve said this before, try to figure out why you’re so hurt by it. Usually, you’ll come to this conclusion: is there truth in it? And if so, does it bother me enough to change? And that’s all we really need. Seriously, the assmunches in our lives really can be our greatest teachers because they force us to look within and kind of self-test, do a status check, on how we’re feeling about who we are. Mean people do suck, so make them suck to your advantage. Make ‘em suck the good parts. It’s why I’ll simply start replying, “eat me.”
Some people even think they have good intentions. They believe they’re somehow helping you, offering you their unsolicited advice, cloaked behind a simple, “Well, since you put yourself out there and keep comments open, you must want to hear what I think.” What many people miss about this, and many other popular blogs, is we’re not, or at least I’m not, ever writing hoping to delight people. It’s my account of my life. Sometimes I use the blog as a tool… because I WANT to know what people think. I ask for opinions or thoughts. I want to know what people think their own private sexy looks like, what their favorite cookbooks are, where they go in Vegas. And sometimes I use the blog to vent, simply a moment in time, captured in a little white window on a computer screen. And then everyone chimes in, how dysfunctional I am, what a wretched speller, how horrible I always make Phil out to be, what a great mom, bad mom, patient mom. And maybe it’s all true. And maybe it’s not. Does it even matter?
I think we all read to learn something, sometimes about things we don’t know, other times about what’s familiar, hoping sometimes to see something in a fresh way, to look at our lives from a different angle, to see how someone else sees herself and maybe figure out if we’re more like her, or were like that once, or hope to be, or perhaps we’re thankful we’re nothing like her. But when we read, we think, and we’re able to make small decisions. All that thinking without really having to think much. Just a blog. A few comments. A day. But it’s usually better. Perhaps people read my blog because it makes them think of something in our own lives, pasts, presents, nexts. We sometimes read to feel less alone, to say, “Yes, that’s it, that’s totally how I feel right now, and I’ve never been able to say it!” And of course we read to be entertained. But the job of this blog is not that. It’s stories of my life, sometimes in the past, and sometimes just a place for me to get down a moment in a moment.
I love writing, keeping a record. Interacting. I love meeting people through the blog, feeling less alone, and I can’t say how much it meant, truly, when I was in the knee-deep of it with Lucas and brain surgery, and could at least have this outlet and connection to lean on. And I did. Many bloggers might be above that, say they don’t care. But I do… when it comes to support and help and love. I love that I moved to Austin knowing no one, and I’ve made friends with many women through this blog. Actually, I can only think of one or two Austin girlfriends who I didn’t meet online, or through another friend I met online. It’s an exceptional tool, but by no means is it meant to provide entertainment. I’m glad it does, glad to receive the sweet emails and comments letting me know I tasted good with their latte, but the “I liked your blog better when you wrote about being single” shit is fucking annoying.
I write about my life. As is. I hope you can understand that, and if not, if you find it less than satisfying, simply move on, or wait for my next magazine article or book or TV show or feature film. I have to be true to who I am and the things that interest me now. I’m not Linus. I don’t do tricks… and I rarely bite. But I can.