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August 8, 2012

The real deal (with bullet points! for awesomeness!)

The biggest issue is that I don't want to write this exact blog anymore.

Actually that isn't the biggest issue, I'm pretty sure I have mommy issues and let's not forget about the OCD and handwashing and how all the spoons have to be in their special spoon place. And that whole thing with my personal life.

But there's a limitation to what you can say and express online and still have a real offline life. No one tells you this because no one wants to be the dumbass putz complaining about the downside of what everypersonemailing me wants.

I'm going to tell you the truth.

There is a real downside to sharing a lot of your life in the world.

If you decide to do it, think carefully about what it will mean every time someone Googles you for a job, after meeting at a social event, after a date.

For one thing, while I hope and believe that this novel thing will work out and I will one day be living a mashup fantasy of J.K. Rowling-style success in an Indecent Proposal moment, rolling buck nekkid on a bed of pure gold publishing money, the truth is that until my mashup fantasy day arrives I have to work. And people who interview you Google you.

Getting in the door isn't the issue, I am great at what I do, there are maybe eleventeen people on planet earth who do this specific kind of design and this fast. I'm also ridiculously dependable in a city of pure flakes. BUT. BUT you get hired and you work your butt off to be taken seriously and one day unsuspecting coworkers get a whiff of bookdom and they Google you and that makes things ... weird. It's not like I am publishing sonnets here.

People get weird about it. They treat you differently from many angles.

There are years here of reading material, years where I was so see-through and real and honest and it made sense, that is who I am, and yet it isn't who you stay in the future. You become a newer version of you, one who doesn't care so much about your divorce but is pretty freaked out about your second chapter.

So it is fair to say that this site is my online snapshot and it is all true but it doesn't feel accurate anymore.

Then there is another issue, which is dating. And let me tell you how freakydeaky that is. You go out with a man and that in itself is a bag of tricks but imagine if that man -- good or bad -- could go home later that evening and Google you and read literally YEARS of your shit. YEARS of it. And I write for an audience, it's a persona, that is what I try to tell men.

I have lots of versions of this conversation, practiced over years.

"It's a fictional character loosely based on my life..." "It's a persona, think of it as a comedy character who just has some cats..." but they read it like it is the User's Guide to Me and we're done. The moment they find me online it ends. They think they know me and they don't know anything. They think they get me and so they tailor their personality to "me" but it's all wrong, I liked them before, back when we were just people getting to know each other like normal humans. Sometimes they ask for my agent's contact info (barf.) Or they start tracking me online. They want to know why I could tweet but not respond to their text. They want to know why I wrote about going out to dinner but I was too busy that weekend for dinner with them.

People! It is a blog! Not a crime blotter!

So that commences the explanation (read: complaining.) You know where I am. You don't have to get it or agree with it but it's always good to know what's happening on crazystreet.

I think there is a (possible) good new middle place for me, one that involves bullet points:

1) Editing
Editing and deciding what from the past should move forward with me. Making something newish out of it. Moving forward instead of looking back.

2) Re-framing
That is a term I learned in therapy, the same therapy I just quit because I am so tired of talking about My Issues. But apparently you just do a lot of editing to make stuff sound more accurate. Kind of like #1 but more psychological sounding.

3) Figuring out boundaries
Again, thanks therapy. I want to be honest about where I am now, which is a middle place that is kind of FUNKY. I have no idea where I am going. I want to be headed to a good place, but I am scared sometimes. A lot scared. This is just normal human stuff and I want to write about it because this is how I am wired, I write this stuff. I am good at writing it. I love writing it. But there's a personal cost to public sharing. I'm more lonely now that I have ever been, largely because people go online and have an idea of me that doesn't match up with real me. It's hard to meet anyone anymore who is willing to just be with in-person me and not internet me. I started this site long before Facebook became a thing, so I had no idea this would happen. It's an unexpected consequence I have yet to figure out. And, like, I have had a few years to figure this out! So why haven't I got it under control yet? I think I can figure this out but it will require #1) editing and #2) reframing.

4) Nuking it all
I could delete everything and start fresh. Not my favorite idea since I am a big fan of maudlin drunken loving lookbacks. See why I do not want coworkers googling me? Forget about the drunken, I use the word maudlin way too much!

5) Some solution I haven't landed on yet
Best thing I have learned through my current project is that sometimes I land upon wonderful solutions that did not present themselves at the beginning. I am open to some hybrid-new-old-same-online me. With better email. Fo reals.

SO PEOPLE. That is where I am. Why lie? If you are bothering to read today it's because you know me in that way we know people we have read for so long and you are one of the few who have not given up in a huff and fit of irritation. I love you for that, you have sometimes been my only connection to the human world and I feel grateful to you in a way I can't express without going Tony Robbins on this page.

There was one day a few years ago when I was working in a high rise downtown and we had an earthquake. It wasn't a crazy deal in L.A., people here treat earthquakes like celebrity ("I didn't even notice because I am so cool...")

But I noticed, I was freaked out. No one from my family called me. My friends didn't text or phone. No one even noticed in my life that I was in a high rise in downtown and stuff was moving!

It was the flood of emails I got from total strangers that got me. You made me feel like someone would notice my absence, even if that someone was as far away as India or Ohio or Maine or Newfoundland. On that day I closed my office door and had a moment at my desk, realizing the vast gulf between who I am online and who I am in real life. You checked in on me, no one else did. I was grateful and at the same time I wondered where the heck I had gone wrong in real life to have this disconnect? That still exists.

I want to figure out my next chapter but I am not sure what that means.

For the past few months it has meant almost sullen silence. But that can't carry on, I am not a sullen silence person. For the next few weeks it may mean: chatty posts about fingernail polish, pictures of cats, my constant and boring dialogue about knitted armwarmers. It may be superficial. I have some stuff to figure out.

But whatever, I will figure it out, we always do. And it's how we get to where we go, right? I like this idea of my next chapter, my second chapter in life. So I will figure it out, but it may take some time.

And I appreciate you for still being here with me, more than I can say.

Posted by laurie at August 8, 2012 9:43 PM