In a few weeks, this blog will be six years old. Anniversaries always make me take stock, and when I think about where I was six years ago when I started this, or where I was when the planes hit the towers or where I was when Katrina stormed, those events make me realize how different I am now and at the same time how little I have changed.
If nothing else I find it remarkable – the things I once wrote about here, when I thought no one was reading.
Because lately when I sit down to write I seem to censor myself at every turn, for no other reason than because of someone who reads this.
I want to talk about my marriage and complain about my husband, but someone who reads this once changed his diapers and doesn’t want to hear about our sex life.
I want to swear like a sailor and talk about abortion, but someone who reads this is religious and will be offended.
I want to write funny posts with lots of exclamation points and THINGS THAT ARE CAPITALIZED but someone who reads this thinks that all my jokes are tired, that “amazeballs” should be banned in print form and that only Dooce is allowed to use capital letters.
I want to tell you what I thought about the books I read, but someone who reads this wrote one of those books or loved one of those books or thinks one of those books is insufferable sludge.
I want to tell you to come to the Blathering and then I want to make jokes about much wine we’ll be drinking, but The Blathering makes someone who reads this feel left out. I want to tell you that the jokes about wine are just because I’m socially awkward and people make me nervous but then someone who reads this would know that I’m socially awkward and people make me nervous.
I want to complain about breastfeeding. Then I want to talk about how much I love breastfeeding. But we all know that’s the fastest way to offend someone who reads this.
I want to rail about “authenticity” and I want to tell you what I really think about the famous ladies of the internet, but someone who reads this thinks I’m just jealous, or that it’s my own damn fault I’m not a famous popular blogger or that I’m ugly or that I’m fat or that I smell and my blog sucks.
I want to vent about the dirty socks on the bedroom floor and the beer bottles I find every morning in the living room, but someone who reads this thinks I’m lucky to be married and that picking up socks is my job and that hearing about dirty socks is boring and that I should do something about my problems instead of just whining about them.
I want to write about how awful it was when we thought K Dub might have Down Syndrome, how scared I was, how frustrated I got with the people around me, but someone who reads this has a child with Down Syndrome and I don’t want to hurt her feelings. And someone else who reads this thinks the word “retard” is funny and that the world has just gotten too politically correct and we should all just chill out.
I want to write about how my brain feels like a ticking time bomb, how for the rest of my life every time something goes wrong I’ll wonder “Is this something that needs to be medicated? Or is this something else?” but lots of someones who read this know me in every day life and that makes talking about my mental health awkward.
I want to talk about how days without naps are hard. About how we can’t afford preschool and I am not sure what to do about it. How I have been waiting two months for a three hour stretch where I can just relax and how it doesn’t help when you tell me I’m just not going to get that. But someone who reads this thinks I am a terrible parent. Someone who reads this can’t have children and doesn’t want to hear me complain about the ones I was blessed with. Someone who reads this thinks I’m lazy. Someone who reads this is thinking I should just get a real job.
Someone who reads this thinks I am a terrible writer. Someone who reads this can’t believe I talk about my life on the internet where anyone can read about it. Someone who reads this thinks my children are homely, that my feet smell, that I’m pretentious and boring and all I ever do is complain.
I want to complain about my neighbors, but someone who reads this could BE my neighbors.
Someone who reads this thinks I’m mean. Someone who reads this wonders why I never respond to comments. Someone who reads this can’t believe I once put my baby on top of a running dryer. Someone who reads this would never give her baby Zantac. Someone who reads this has a child much sicker than mine, a life much harder, a day much longer, a problem much larger, a plate more full.
I write here for a simple reason, and it is the same reason I have always written things down. I write because I must. It’s something I have to do, like breathing or eating or sleeping. I’ve got these words, and they have to come out. But lately these words of mine knock around my head and when I go to put them down, I think first of someone who reads this, and the words stick, and will not leave.
And I am just not sure how to fix that.