I’d been blogging a couple of years before I’d decided to branch out on my own and start Mommy Wants Vodka. I’d spent years carefully (read: badly) coding in the text, well before WordPress rolled out TinyMCE as a feature. My former co-blogger was an actual editor, the kind who got paid to read absurd submissions, so she had lots of time to fix up my terrible typos, misspellings and grammatical inconsistencies into something that resembled a story.
(Damn, I miss her.)
The audience on my previous blog knew me – perhaps not well – but well enough to have hung with me a few times over the years, which meant I was expected to produce material about a) my vagina b) my vagina or c) dick jokes. That’s what happens when you write yourself into a niche.
After Alex was born, things changed. I wanted to write about the way he’d not allow me to put him down – even for a moment – without launching into a full-blown meltdown. About how tired I was. How lonely things had gotten with a husband who worked 80 hours on a good week, while my friends, waiting to have kids, climbed their career ladders. I had cracked nipples and they had 401K’s.
So I wrote it out. I wrote hard.
I wrote whatever was on my mind at the moment I opened up the blank WordPress screen, never expecting that other people would read it.
I tried to imagine someone – one person – out their reading my now-completely jumbled words, riddled with the sort of grammatical errors that make an English want to use red pen on their computer screen. Someone besides lovely “people” trying to sell me Viagra or increase the size of my member. Right kind of them, thinking of my member that way. I never could quite imagine that. An audience? Me. Nah. I’m a crappy writer. A scientist. Not a writer. Never a writer.
I didn’t expect an audience. And quite frankly? I didn’t so much care. I wrote because I wanted to, not because I expected to become rich, famous, or fancy – being “Internet Famous” is like being the coolest kid at the nerd table.
(I heart nerds)
Blog posts are a snapshot of a moment captured in words – good or bad, depending upon the reader and the writer – and if I’d captured every moment, I’d never have had the time to raise my kids. Or pee, for that instance… Although a poem about peeing with a cranky infant strapped to my nipple could’ve been awesome.
In fact, if I’d written everything down that first year, it’d have been: “OMG WHAT AM I DOING, I CAN’T SEE STRAIGHT, WALKING INTO WALLS, BLAHHHH, SO SLEEPY, SLEEPY SLEEPY SLEEPY SLEEEEEPY. Where’s my coffee?”
Instead I took those moments, twisted them into something better, and went with it. Sometimes, I was happy with what I’d written, other times, I knew it was a glistening pile of dogshit, but I didn’t care. There were no “metrics,” no “monetization,” no “Facebook likes,” to judge the words I’d put in order on the screen as “worthy” or “unworthy.”
I miss those days.
Since I began this silly blog, I’ve hurt people. I’ve ruined friendships and I’ve ruined relationships. You might say they’d been ruined (or on the verge of) already – which would be true – but through no honest ill-will on my end, it’s forced those relationships into the outbox.
I’m sorry for that. Genuinely. I’d never wanted to hurt anyone.
Once I opened up about my divorce to you guys – a situation that had been building for so long, something I’d kept quiet for well over a year, things got real for me. My life turned upside down, shit rained down like that pink goo in Ghostbusters II (except in Chicago). It wasn’t pretty. And? I didn’t even get to see Slimer OR the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, those wily bastards.
I’d say that I was sorry for sharing my struggles with you, for being vulnerable, for asking for help when I needed it, except that I’m not.
Because for all the gossip and idle chatter; for all of the people who decided to pick sides and point their fingers, looking for someone to blame (divorce, like marriage, takes two to tango), I found a few people found comfort in my words. They understood what I meant, were in the middle of similar situations, or offered the one thing I’d needed: love.
And that’s all I need to remind me to keep going. To write hard. To ignore the naysayers inside my head and out. Because it all matters. And I can’t quit in a whiny pile of goo just because shit got real – I won’t.
If you’re out there, reading these words I’ve hastily strung together to form lackluster sentences, know that you’ve touched my life. It’s because of you that I’m still standing, walking around upright, and not huddled in a corner, weeping. MOST OF THE TIME.
No amount of comments,; no amount of subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook likes can hold a candle to that.
It all – all of it – matters.