From time to time I'll pass my URL onto people who I think will like it. I'm wrong as often as I am right. As many people that say they like it never mention it to me. That's fine. At least it didn't cost them any money.
Two people who didn't enjoy reading my blog made comments to me that I have been puzzling over ever since. One, a friend of my husband's, said he felt uncomfortable reading such personal things about someone he knew. He felt he wasn't sure how to respond, or why I would want people to know these things about me.
Another, also a friend of my husband's, told me last night at my kitchen table, over a plate of my food and a bottle of my wine, that he read it once but stopped because it stressed him out. "It's too deep," he said, smiling. "I mean, everyone has issues, but you don't always want to know all your friend's issues. It's like how we all go to the bathroom, but we don't talk about it because we don't want to hear that part of each other's lives."
Okay. Sort of the same as above, though relating what I talk about to bathroom issues is a new twist. The fact that this friend entered college without knowing that women menstruate may inform how I receive that comment.
My friend Jane, who has been very positive about the blog, asked me how I can be so bold about putting such personal things out there. We were standing on a dark corner of Capitol Hill digesting the beers we'd shared at Smith.
"It's not personal," I blurted. "I never put anything on there unless I think a bunch of women are going to identify with it."
"But how do you keep your family from having opinions about it?" she asked. She has something like nine brothers and sisters.
"My family doesn't know my URL," I said. "And when they ask for it, I tell them no."
"YOU TELL THEM NO?" she gaped. "That would never have occurred to me." She stared out into the night. "Huh."
I shrugged. "I can't write the blog if I think my family's going to read it."
"But how can you report what you report knowing that you have no control over things?"
This question perplexed me the most. Perhaps I misunderstood it. As I see it, I have total control over what goes on this blog; I write the damn thing. I do not have total control over the happenings in my life, but it wouldn't occur to me to include everything in my life. Maybe Jane meant that I have no control over the material once it leaves my desktop. She's right. I tend not to worry about that. I have a 12 stepper's attitude about it: "Take what you like, and leave the rest."
The whole point of this blog is not so that my intimate life can be known by many. That would be a skeevy impulse, at least for me. I just know that the lives of a good many women are too full; of self-doubt, irritation, hormonal-related illnesses and health issues, outright depression, huge mental and physical burdens, daily kid-induced insanity, confusion about who they are supposed to be, and very little real understanding from their families, communities or partners. In fact, the general sense I get from talking to a lot of women is that they are perpetually in a struggle of one kind or another, made intractable by motherhood. So when I get an e-mail from a woman telling me that I am the only mother she knows who has ever said it like it is, well darn it, I feel a little bit more sane. So, I hope, does she.
In any case, if I'm doing this blog right, it isn't really about me. So whatever you think about it is fine. Really.