For Anonymous, with love.
The thing I love about blogging is that I can be honest. I’m nothing like as honest or direct in real life, few people are. But here, I can say exactly how I feel. I can rant about shit writing, I can record how utterly destroyed I felt last October. I can get pretentiously wanky about Beeston Priory. I don’t have to self-censor the way we do in real life.
Blogging has saved my sanity at times, genuinely helped to claw me back from the edge of a breakdown. Being able to articulate exactly how I feel right here, right now, channelling out the words that roar and clamour in my head, full of sound and fury. I can pour them out into this little corner of the blogosphere, send them out into the world, and watch them scatter like confetti, falling in new and unexpected places.
I don’t write to be read. I write to speak. If people want to listen, that’s a bonus. If people want to talk to me, that’s even better. That’s what has stunned me about blogging. That there are so many people out there who are interested in what other people have to say, and that there are people whose words I love to read, whose views I’m interested in, whose opinions I value.
Blogging has given me so much. The Harper Collins party, Blogfest, new and unexpected things in my life, things I would never have thought possible. But most of all, it has given me friends. Some of my closest friends now are people I’ve met through blogging. Some of them have even crossed over from digital, online friends to 3D, analogue ones. They’ve seen the real me as I am in this blog, and, massive amount of admiration for their bravery, they haven’t run away screaming. They should get a medal for Services to Twatty Bloggers for that alone.
Most of all, blogging has enriched my life. The support I’ve had from people has been inspirational. I’ve gained so much confidence from the words of people who’ve taken time to read my arsing about twattiness, either here or in the concentrated world that is 140 characters of twitter. From the outside it may seem a bit odd, a bit false. It really isn’t. As much as people care about me, so do I for them.
I wrote that yesterday, as a response to my older version’s comments on ‘You do not speak for me’. Life, Blondies, a trip to Binham Priory, all of that got in the way. I was ready to discard it, not really sure where I was going with this. Then a link to a blog got retweeted into my timeline, I read the blogpost, and it made me very angry indeed.
It was a barely veiled attack on another blogger, twisting the words of a post in a tone of ‘if that’s all you’ve got to worry about…’
It was passive aggressive, it was unfair, it didn’t need
to have been written the way it was. Instead of feeling sympathy for the
writer, I felt angry.
Blogging is a small community. Ok, so there are thousands of us, tens of thousands of us, but because of twitter, if someone blogs about you, it won’t be long until you get to hear about it. Trust me, I know. No, really, I mean I know. And it’s not a nice feeling. In my case, I contacted the blogger, we sorted things out. But I do still feel a bit of a grudge that they didn’t leave a comment on the post in the first place.
Which brings me to last week. I was, frankly, stunned by the response to ‘You do not speak for me’. It was a blogpost written in under half an hour, no prior planning, I was interrupted constantly throughout writing it. I expected it to pretty much sink without trace. I didn’t expect to get over 2,000 views in a day. I didn’t expect to find myself being discussed on facebook. I didn’t expect to find myself on the front page of mumsnet. Most of all, I didn’t expect the amount of comments. More pertinently, I didn’t expect the number of comments who seemed to spectacularly miss the point I was making, which was not about logic, but about Richard Dawkins assuming he could evaluate experiences of rape in terms of logic. I did expect to get a few trolls making threats of rape against me, and sure enough they did pop up. I ignored, marked as spam, moved on.
I didn’t expect to be told that someone watched it develop with great pride. I didn’t expect Alistair to tell me I should start considering myself to be a writer (he hasn’t read any of this twatty blogger’s output, so we can forgive him). Most of all, I didn’t expect the comments I got from Anonymous on Friday and Saturday. I get all sorts of comments on here. Sometimes nice, sometimes nasty. Sometimes I’m not really sure what the comments actually mean, if they’re agreeing, disagreeing, or making a point I don’t get.
But I’ve never cried over comments before. A few tears, yes. Lump in throat, quite often. But those two comments… I cried, because I was touched in a way that very few people have ever managed. I’m crying now, as I type these words. And, Anonymous, when I have a shitty day, I will think of you, whoever you are, and remember what you wrote. Thank you. You reminded me why I blog, what it’s given me, and what it means to me. It means more than I can tell you.