I started my first blog in 2002. It was called The Pointy Toe Shoe Factory - an awful place to go walking alone after dark, which is what I did tonight. I walked alone through the back-end of my archives into a past far from flattering. I was an awful person in those days - or at least I read like one. I was sad and miserable, broken, angry, painfully insecure. But I was open. Honest. More honest than I have ever been here. Fearlessly honest because what I said didn't matter. There were no opportunities at stake, no grandparents reading, no needing to support myself, no fear of pissing off strangers, offending friends, jeopardizing relationships, embarrassing my kids - I was misogynistic and misanthropic and negative but at least I was honest, even if I wrote nonsensically like someone who hadn't slept in years. (I hadn't.)
And even though I read through the archives cringing and yes, occasionally crying over the arrogant, clueless girl I am embarrassed to say I was, I envied her in a way. Her freedom to write graphically, publicly, even if it was more for shock than story, her truth, no matter how mangled.
It's impossible to be brutally honest in a public forum when there are more than three people reading. It is far easier to tell the truth in a fictional space. Because the truth would offend and upset and embarrass and I don't want to do any of those things. So? I write about what I think people want to read, judging with the only tools I have: comments and facebook "likes", the occasional stumble.... I watch traffic spike and dip and try to understand why this has two hundred comments where this has twenty something. Why this post struck a cord and that post did not. Why it matters. Why I care.
I have a tattoo around my waist that says, "Only the truth dressed up as a fairy tale." The story behind the tattoo goes something like this:
Back in 2002, as I was reading Anais Nin's House of Incest at a coffee shop in New York City, I happened upon a line that overwhelmed me. It was exactly what I thought to be true but could never articulate: "What is allotted me to say? Only the truth disguised in a fairytale..."
I fell in love with what I read - with Nin's idea that good fiction was greater than truth, more real than reality. There was a tattoo parlor across the street. I walked inside and asked the man to tattoo the words around my waist, but what I had transcribed in the margin of my notebook was incorrect.
She had written "disguised" and I had "dressed up" in its place. I didn't realize this until it was too late. The scab had formed.
I was embarrassed for many years - I had misquoted my hero permanently. It wasn't until the years passed that I started to appreciate my seemingly careless mistake. I took something meaningful, inspiring, even life altering and made it my own. I didn't want to disguise my truth but rather, dress it up and go dancing. So I did. I do. (I aim to, anyway.)
I have done what has felt natural to the progression of this space - turned it into my own little magazine and hired myself as editor in chief and that's where I am. At my desk, selecting music and editing my mom's enlightened food posts, sharing a passion for fashion, photo montages that tell little stories, things that interest and excite me, ideas worth sharing, the occasional life story. That was always the plan when redesigning my site - to take GGC: "Mommy Blog" and slowly migrate towards GGC: "Personal Lifestyle Magazine of Woman Who Also Happens to Have Kids." It's what feels right to me for the moment. Natural progression, change. And if it means a very different blog than what existed when I started here five years ago? Let it be. I'm a different person now. Less confessional, more private.
I know I'll never please everybody. Not even HALF of everybody. It has taken years but I've finally made peace with that. Still, I felt I owed you all an explanation - all the anonymouses who have put in their requests for "more heartfelt posts" with invisible quarters. Unfortunately for me, it's not as simple as pressing B9 on the juke box.
Perhaps the reason I sobbed through writing Archer's final post was because a part of me knew I was closing the book on the way we were, the way it's always been here in my little virtual space, that by ending Archer's story, I was changing mine. At least the story I was telling here.
Because the Child in "Girl's Gone Child" was always in reference to Archer... And when you take "Child" out of the title you're left with Girl's Gone...
And, sure. In a way the girl has gone, but only because a (woman?) has replaced her. A woman burnt out on constant parenthood talk - who'd like to talk about other things for a change, like road trips with girlfriends and clothes and her favorite songs AS WELL as posts about being a mother, wife...
Because change is what happens over time, a shifting of boundary lines. In people. In spaces.
So to those of you who "no longer recognize" GGC, who regularly call me out for leaving the building, you're right. A part of me has - pooling ideas and experiences into characters I can create outside of GGC - exterior projects with interior motives, the truth dressed up as a fairy tale - where I can express myself fully with less confrontational ramifications.
But I'm here, too. Just as here as I've always been: Girl's Gone Child 2.0., experimenting with a new and different way of doing things. Trying on as many dresses as it takes before I find one that fits. Duck tales after the swan song. Ch-ch-ch-changes.