New Mexico: Blogging and Our Ten Year Anniversary

 

Us. Sante Fe, NM, 2008

 

The Process that took me to now  . . .  June 18, 2008

I am sitting here on the airplane. Dave and I are flying back to Salt Lake City from New Mexico. We were in Santa Fe and Taos celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary. We were both sick. I loved being away, and I am glad to be going home. I don’t know if the person behind me can read what I am writing. Does it matter?  I was typing with one hand until now.  I finished my drink, motioned to Dave and dumped my ice cubes in his glass, careful to slide my cup underneath his.  We are flying home from New Mexico on the end of our ten year anniversary trip. Dave is looking out the windows.  He is trying to get my attention. He grabs my arm as he says, “Lake Powell.” He points out the window. I look.  The lake is so huge, even from way up in the sky.  I concentrate on my music. iPods are great for flying. Staralur by Sigur Ros (an Icelandic Band) is playing. The melody is beautiful and as the music crescendo’s my heart fills.  I can breathe. Today I am afraid of flying. The music lifts me away.  I take my headphone out of my left ear, lean over and ask Dave how to spell “crescendo.” I have spelled it so miserably that Spell Check could not find the word. “C r e s,” he says. “What?”  The plane is loud and my Icelandic music even louder. “C r e s c e n d o.”  He spells it for me twice.  I wonder why I did not take the headphone out of my right ear. It is the ear closest to Dave. I probably could hear him better.

 

I see Dave fiddling with his GPS.  I look at him.

“I want to find out where we are.” He says.
“What?” I say.
“We are definitely flying over Colorado right now.” he responds.

I see the man in the aisle in from of me. He is watching “Band of Brothers.” I would rather be watching a movie. I am a writer and it has been hard for me to write. I took my website, www.crazyus.com down in August 2006. Since that time, except for tiny little bits here and there, I have avoided this method of expression (blogging). I always have something better to do than write. Always.  Damian Rice is playing, I love this song,

“I look to my Eskimo friend . . . when I am down, down, down.”

I wish you could hear the music play. It is helping. I can feel the rumblings of the plane beneath me. I listen more intently.

“Harder now with higher speed . . .”

And the Crescendo. Thank God for Crescendos. If you are afraid of flying, may I suggest listening to music with lots of Crescendos. The plane is rumbling harder.  I am nervous.  My stomach jumps.  The song is has reached its loud, opera-like part, and I am trying, trying to forget the rumbles.

There is a pause in the music.  Dave is talking to me about soccer and I want to stop and fast-forward. I want to hear music. I need music.

…My life has taken me to a better place. In this moment, I do not miss my blog. I thought I would. I know for quite a while I tossed around the idea of blogging again. I like to write. I do not like the dramatic energy bloggers draw to themselves– myself included. As I write the word, “Blogger,” I keep thinking how odd the word is. Ten years ago or a little more than ten years ago, the blogging medium really did not exist. Now blogging is on the forefront of global communication. Many people make a living from the words and information they release into the world on a daily basis.

I think I forgot or better, could not grasp, when I was blogging that my words were getting out there to. I hurt my friends. I hurt my family. As hard as I tried not to, I hurt my mother.  I wanted desperately not to hurt anyone. I tried to be responsible, yet I also hastily vomited words out to the world, words that sometimes did hurt, embarrass, sting.

I wanted recognition for my writing. I did not want to hurt anyone and I did. I can reconcile the fact that I cannot have it both ways: public writing with no hurting.

A few months after taking my website down, I was sitting with a very good friend at the building site of our new home.  He and I talked about my blog. He told my how it hurt. He looked at me and said,

“Beth, we have been friends for more than ten years. We are good friends. You and I would go out to lunch, have a great time.  A few days later I would read your website, this piece of information that was out there for the world to read. It was through your blog that I would find out how sad you really are. It did not make sense. I am your friend. Why didn’t you tell me you were sad? That is what hurt. I am glad you took your website down.”

His words broke my heart. I stumbled. I paused. I looked him and the eye and I apologized.

“I don’t ever want to hurt you.”

As much as I was hurting at the time and I was.  I had to listen. I had to be responsible for the words I put out there.

I do not miss that. I do not miss the self-censorship. I do not miss the-hiding-behind-your-keyboard-yet-offensively-putting-it-all-out-there aspect of blogging. As I became more popular as a blogger, I did not enjoy navigating the rules and etiquette of blogging. I did not enjoy my on-screen-off-camera relationships. I would have to say that most of my friendships formed around, through and in association with blogging have all gone away. Once I logged off, there really was no reason for people to connect with me. To my surprise, I actually did not mind. It was a relief.  Wait. Hold up. Blogging was not all bad [wink wink]. I enjoyed exchanging emails. I enjoyed feeling as though my words had a positive impact on others. I even enjoyed the horrifically painful and bad experiences. Ok, maybe I did not enjoy those. They actually sucked. Let’s just say that I am finding my namaste regarding them.

The plane is slowing down. The wheels or something is jiggling. The plane is still slowing down and things are getting bumpy. My palms are sweaty, (of course). My stomach is in knots.  My poor man’s Valium has worn off (Benadryl). It feels like we are riding a roller coaster in the sky. The guy in front of me, who came drunk on the plane, is awake. He is more frightened than I am. Security offered to escort him off the plane before we left the gate. He assured everyone he would just fall asleep. Now he is awake. He is quiet and looking out the window.

“Please do not freak out.” I whisper under my breath.

This drunk and frightened airplane passenger actually brings reminds me of something. When I blogged every single day, I realized that I was constantly an observer. I was safely disconnecting from my world, simply observing every aspect of every day, carefully plotting out my stories. How would they end?  Could I kick the scared, drunk airplane passenger in front of me?  Could I startle him to improve my story?  The outcome would be much more interesting if I did?  Think of the story I could tell?  Could I tweak it just a little? How could I provoke?  I read bloggers thoughts on depression, horrible lives as parents, bad marriages, crazy kids and wondered if it was all really that bad?  Perspective? Tweaked or even not tweaked? Was it really that bad?  I had to get out.  You know what I mean?  I do need to provoke the man in front of me. I do not need to pay attention to him. He is not my story. He is an observation.

It is much more painful to be present.

That being said, now that I am reconnecting with my tangible world, I feel much more joy.

The plane has settled. I can talk about the blog again.  It is so weird. I cannot help myself. I am thinking about posting this. Is it good enough to post? And just seconds ago I was saying how I did not miss blogging. Funny how moods shift. What a stupid question!  Am I an addict?  Maybe that is why I stopped. Maybe that is why I have stayed away. I am wondering how this will all be perceived. Maybe Dave’s response will be enough. I hope it will. Dave, here is the part where you need to lean over and tell me how great my words are and how much they meant to you — even if you are lying.

Maybe that is why I blogged. Maybe I was not feeling fulfilled enough in my own life and was desperately searching for something to fill it.  Maybe I just am freaked out and getting all end-of-life like sitting in this very bumpy plane. Words and feelings I may forget once the wheels touch the ground.

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