Thanks, Y’all

Lately I’ve noticed that my stats and followers are going way, way up. The Board of Directors (donors that set me up years ago) is going to be pleased. Not that I’m counting on you to give them stock dividends or anything, but it’s good to be able to say to them that their contributions didn’t go to waste. No one has been more surprised than me to learn that my writing is actually worth something, that people are willing to pay when they come to a site they can read in the bathroom at work with no ads (don’t think I don’t know that last part is fo’real). I’m starting to feel more comfortable with telling you how I feel about issues as opposed to just running commentary on my life, going from personal to global. Not every entry will be about politics and the weather, but it’s nice to know it’s possible. You’ve just made a lot of my friends more comfortable, that’s for damn sure…. well, except the ones that are genuinely excited when they appear and search for their names.  ::squinting at James::

Hopefully in the running commentary department, you’ll get to hear more about “my babies,” the three new characters I’ll be adding to Stories in the coming year. The twins (boys) were born a few days ago, and the little girl whose face I already love will be born in the next few months. Rooting for her to be a not-too-early preemie so one of my best friends doesn’t have to be gigantic pregnant in the South in the dead of summer. I’ll never give up writing about my life, because this site will first and foremost be the repository where my memories go so that a hundred years from now, genealogy on me won’t be hard. Here’s everything you never wanted to know about me, kids. Sometimes it’s comforting that writing on the Internet is as permanent as a tattoo on the face, because even if WordPress doesn’t exist, Wayback Machines that archive everything on the net certainly will. I know because I can still access Clever Title Goes Here, the popular blog I impulsively tanked because I had a much thinner skin then.

It was a #dumbass attack, because I was in on the ground floor, when Heather Armstrong, Anil Dash, Wil Wheaton, Jason Kottke, Eden Kennedy, Ernie Hsuing, et al were also coming up. It felt amazing to be part of such rareified air, especially w/ Wil, because I met him at a reading at Powell’s and he knew exactly who I was, signing a copy of Just a Geek with:

Dear Leslie,

Clever Inscription Goes Here…

Love,
Wil

Writing has never been about money, but respect. I’ve never gotten rich off it, but it was nice to walk in those circles. The difference now is that my entries are generally much longer, with more to chew on. Hopefully you’ve picked up nuggets of wisdom along the way by me laying out all that I’ve done wrong AND right, rather than thinking I pimp out my friends.

Believe me when I say that they notice, all alert to the fact that they never know when an entry will pop up about them, and within limits, I will not give them the luxury of taking things down, because it’s not about them. It’s about my reaction to them, however untrue they think my statements are… there’s a reason for this. I am aware that I have huge flaws and get things wrong a lot. I change my mind on a weekly, if not daily basis. I am not waffling, it’s that every entry is full of my revelations to myself and what I think about what happens. I can only hope that when I write about my life, it is the good and the bad, so that you see a full picture instead of only amazing and horrible with no grey area. Something that was true for me on Monday is not true by Thursday. Evolution of thought happens, as does cognitive dissonance with relationships. Sometimes, disparate ends of the spectrum are both true.

For instance, I will never give up loving my friends and myself, even in those moments where I’m not altogether pleased with them/me. Just like you, I love them even when I can’t like their actions whole lot. But fortunately, not being happy about what they do in reaction to me is extremely infrequent, and I have no problem with not excusing how I behave, because I don’t often come away from a situation looking like a hero…. more often than not, I’m the antagonist and the protagonist in my own story. Through this web site, I have learned not to always be the one that throws the first match. I see up close in black and white how I could have done something differently, and I do. I look back and say to myself, well, that could have gone better.

Stories is basically a chronicle of learning to get out of my own way. I try to gather intel on how not to sabotage the good things that come my way. Also, I am a person in 3D. You don’t get to know everything, and often when people meet me in real life that have only known my writing, they comment on how different I seem (I thought you’d be taller. #dead).

The weirdest and most fulfilling is hearing people quote me to me, because it just feeds my self-esteem that there are indeed lines that stick with people.

On the flip side, it’s excruciating to meet readers who try and prove to me that they know me better than me because of the silly thoughts I write down, not allowing for the fact that my thoughts evolve. This has happened on several occasions because I put my URL in my OKCupid profile. I don’t use it for much except finding local friends, but I will never be friends with a fan who’s impressed and/or throws things I’ve written back in my face because it holds me to my past instead of allowing for the future. If they knew me well, throwing things I’ve written back in my face wouldn’t matter, because I know that they’re not trying to hurt me, just showing me old patterns of behavior and wondering if I might be repeating them. A first meeting is not that emotional place.

I will not take my URL off my profile, though, because it’s a separating the women from the girls sort of thing. If someone can’t deal with the fact that I write so publicly, the relationship won’t last for more than about five minutes.

I feel like I should buy five or 10 t-shirts with the words I’m blogging this and just wear them daily. This is because I’ve had several non-romantic relationships end over not knowing and caring a little too much when the mirror I hold up to the world points toward them. Often these are the same people that say I have great insights regarding everyone else, and those insights don’t translate to them. I can write about everyone in the world amazingly well except for them.

I get it. It’s not a big deal until it’s personal.

My heart is heavy thinking about the lives I’ve interrupted out of idiocy and not malice, often presenting as headaches or stomachaches. It’s the entire reason CTGH doesn’t exist. I got tired of this whole idea, forsaking the thousands of people who genuinely loved my writing and my excoriation of myself in the quest to make me a better person. No one should ever think that being a personal blogger is easy, because it comes with…….. consequences.

With Stories, I constantly adjust the limits to which my writing matters more than my friends, because in some ways, my on the ground relationships take precedence. In others, I have to look at what matters more, my ideas or theirs. It’s an inner landscape, and I should be allowed to have it. I often choose between being self and other-aware.

….because a lot of my inner landscape is me emotionally bleeding out to find others who’ve had similar experiences and say, I know how that feels. I have worn that scar on my skin…. because maybe someone in my real life has never had my experience, but someone in China has… and can look at my situation more objectively than I can because they’re not in it or of it.

I need people that disagree with me, call me on my bullshit… to gently argue with me to get me to see something they do.

Personal blogging is a mixed bag, just like me.

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