I am continually trying to reconcile this fact with the fact that I have over 850 people reading me on a daily basis.
Most days, I'm fine with it - this is because < 100 of you comment on a regular basis, so my brain tricks me into forgetting what the numbers actually are. And I get a little bit of the life-in-a-fishbowl feeling just from that < 100. In part because this is not a controlled thing. I have friends here, but there can also be random people who just decide that they're part of my life now, and that can freak me out.
That's most days. What happened last week, with the pre-pregnancy post.... the attention on that had me hiding. Linked all over LJ, linked off LJ, and the influx.... I dashed the post off as a quick "rar!" to people who knew me. I ended up having to go over my whole story again and again and again. And again.
I said to mgrasso over AIM, "I did not ask to be the spokesmodel for this."
I did not ask to be the spokesmodel for anything.
I'm not upset that it got linked; I gave permission. Because it needs to be talked about. It needs to not slip by. And if my putting a face on it helps... that's my responsibility.
I'm just seeing there as being a lot of responsibilities that come from being a capable writer in the public eye, and I didn't sign on for them; I didn't know they existed.
I have always been Out about being a survivor of rape and sexual abuse. That's necessary - the worst thing a rape survivor can do is not talk about it, let it fester. I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of all of us who can talk about it to do so. Just to be there, be visible, so that the girls who come after us know that they are not alone, that this is survivable, that they do not have to surrender their voice, their life.
When I was diagnosed with epilepsy, I found myself nudged into being a support person for that, too. I found myself listed as same on a website about antiseizure meds.
And now this, and a myriad of other things both large and small.
And I'm okay with that. It all falls under the heading of If You Can, You Should.
But I'm having trouble adjusting, reconciling that to the format in which I am "famous".
It's not that I'm shy about being read. I'm a writer. I hope to make a living at that.
But there's a difference between that sort of writing and my life. I feel like I'm not sure if I have a place to retreat to here.
theferrett was talking today about how he feels that things in his life don't exist to the outside world until he posts about them. Ferrett and I treat our LJs very differently. He writes essays. I ramble about my life. He does write about his personal life, but my LJ is intrinsically more personal than his. It's just the way we work.
I found myself wishing today that my journalling style was more like his. I don't have an offscreen. My life is onscreen. And that's the way my journal is supposed to be; I started it to share the minute and random details of my life with faraway friends. Over time, it's attracted a whole bunch of people I don't know. But that's still its primary purpose. I have a bunch of friends scattered across the world, and this is a hell of a lot more convenient than e-mail!
But I don't quite know how to handle those The Internet Is Staring At Me days. The obvious choices, if I really can't deal with it, would be to delete my LJ or go friends-only. But I don't want to do either of those things. Why? Because, no matter how edgy it gets me sometimes to have all the eyes on me.... having the eyes on me can be a good thing. I raise an average of $5,000 a year for various charities, because I have the readership I have. I can educate about stuff like sexual abuse, like the epilepsy.
Having a large readership enables me to help people. I feel like it would be selfish to turn my back on that.
I need to figure out a balance.
This was not my intent. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.
And I say to myself - how did I get here?