In my humble opinion, Jezebel doesn’t tend to publish very many insightful things. Personally, I’m not a fan. If something has pissed me off and I’m writing about it on my blog, there’s a 70% chance someone from Jezebel inspired me to do that.
I’m not just saying that because I used to date someone who was affiliated with this magazine (back when people read magazines), or because of the number of articles I come across designed to make me either hate myself, want to undergo radical plastic surgery, make me hate the world, or make me consider joining a convent or living a spinster-ish Jane Austen existence. I don’t need Jezebel to tell me why I’m not married, why he won’t commit, why I might be bad in bed, or why 30 is the new 60. I don’t need to know how society judges me, according to a specific subset of society getting paid to write about judging others. I don’t really have many kind, ladylike words for Jezebel. However, every once in awhile, there will be a surprisingly rational, pro-female writer who shows up and makes me think I must have landed on the wrong page.
In fact, in all my years of rants inspired by articles I’ve read on Jezebel, this may be the smartest thing I’ve heard from one of their writers yet.:
“If you’re a woman with an internet presence, you need skin as thick as a redwood trunk to deal with the barrage of insults and threats that you’ll unquestionably receive from misogynist trolls who want you to stop writing about topics that men also like to write about, or stop writing about feminism, or just stop writing, period. This has always been the case, but it’s not getting better for most women I know. In fact, it seems to be getting worse.”
Sadly, I have to agree. I don’t know if the internet is a nice place, but since I apparently am old enough to be a part of “social media before social media had a name”, I remember when the internet was not a nice place. During my time on the internet, I’ve experienced meeting someone online, falling in love, moving to a new city, having everything fall apart, and somehow still getting back on the Internet. I’ve dated people who were pretty influential in making the internet what it is today, even though I didn’t know something huge was happening at the time, and neither did anyone else. I’ve had stalkers. More than one. I’ve had marriage proposals. I’ve had death threats. I’ve gotten mail and phone calls from people who shouldn’t know how to find me, and you can’t take a restraining order out on an avatar. I’ve done online dating through Match.com and OKCupid, which gave me a LOT of stories and a few really close friends I don’t remember not being a part of my life…who in turn gave me other close friends I can’t imagine not being a part of my life. I’ve been broken up with because of my blog, had angry wives contact me because their husbands were chatting with me through my blog, had parents of people I was dating hate me because of my blog, had my “friends only” blog printed and shared with those who were definitely not my friends—twice, had people send mail to those I was dating to tell them what a horrible human being I am, had people write nasty comments and reveal personal information on the pages of everyone I knew in my social group, eventually took down my blog after my personal life caused great upheaval and others saw the internet as a tool to see how far they could push before I wanted to kill myself or someone else, and then got really angry at myself for allowing other people to send me into hiding. I still have people who cite the “constant social media presence” as a reason for wondering if they could ever date me, and people who read my blog and FB just to mock me. I’ve still experienced losing friends over differences in communication in the online world. The difference is that I care less than I used to, which is still way more than the average person is likely to care. The internet, for me, has been a wild ride I never would have anticipated being this huge part of most of my adult life, one that led me to fantastic adventures and tragic mistakes. However, has the internet ever been “nice”? Well, no. Not to me.
If you’ve noticed, I’ve disabled comments on my blog. It’s been that way for a good number of years now. People who want to respond to me are free to e-mail me or contact me on FB, Twitter, whatever. Many successful bloggers, most of them female, have made similar choices.
Why? Because, frankly, this is my space. You wouldn’t walk into my home to criticise me or tell me you didn’t like me or to wish I’d die. You wouldn’t leave inappropriate notes you should never write lying on the coffee table. Leaving those comments on my blog is the equivalent of just that. So, basically, you don’t get the key to my house, and I think that’s totally valid.
It’s OK if you don’t like me, really. There are a lot of people in the Universe I don’t consider the best company. But, unless we’re friends, do I really need to know about it? (On the other hand, if you do like me, I appreciate being told that so we might *become* friends.)
I’m not sure that this just applies to women, however. There are some male bloggers who are very unafraid to put themselves out there, and they receive a lot of haters. You might even be the CEO of a company, and someone with a grudge starts the story that you’re getting fired because you’re an alcoholic, and the next thing you know, it’s on a legitimate news source. You might be freaking Bill Gates, and every single word you publish is fodder for an internet troll or rant.
Is it harder for female bloggers, essayists, and journalists? Certainly. You’re kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You’re either an uptight bitch, or a slut. You’re either a traitor for agreeing with the boys, or whatever horribly demeaning word you want to use in place of “feminist” for speaking out against how unfair certain things are. It doesn’t matter if you’re not terribly controversial or political. If your words aren’t a problem, the focus will be on your looks or your personal life. (One female blogger I know has a board dedicated to people talking shit about her personal life, people who have never even spoken to her.)
The thing is, it’s always been hard. I’m not surprised when something comes along that makes me cry, because I’ve never seen the part where having an internet presence didn’t mean being constantly judged, which often means crying at what other people write about you. I’m not a thick-skinned girl. I’m intensely sensitive, and the comments have always hurt, the same way they do in real life. But it is certainly something you need to deal with in order to be anyone with an internet presence these days, especially a female someone.
On a more personal note, today ended up being a very good day, despite all my expectations to the contrary. In fact, I couldn’t fall asleep last night because I had so much anxiety regarding going to the doctor today. When I did fall asleep, I had a series of bad dreams I don’t really remember, and kept waiting for my alarm to go off. I was very anxious about having to go to the doctor. Since getting sick in 2011, trips to the doctor have often meant something very unpleasant was going to happen, and the result is that I now have extreme anxiety even when going in for my yearly check-up.
However, the results were good. My BP was 102/73, pulse 62. My beta-blockers are now officially giving me low blood pressure, which is the green light for starting to reduce my dosage. Also, the knee injury is likely just a strain. High-impact cardio and jogging is a no-go for me, which I’m fine with, because it’s not as if I enjoy those activities. I can now try to lose 10% of my body weight (what I need to be at a healthy weight, even if it’s not the number I’d LIKE the scale to say)over the next 6 months if I eat at least 1,000 calories a day and increase my healthy food choices. (less sugar and white carbs and crappy fast food.) And I didn’t need blood work, at least today. I definitely feel that health-related things are heading in a positive direction, even if personal life-related things have been all over the place this year. Of course, I know there’s still a long road ahead, but I suppose it’s OK to feel optimistic, if only for a day.
Today, I also noted that my entry for Mysti Parker’s flash fiction contest was posted. It’s entitled “All That Glitters”, which is amusing if you know me personally. (I glitter about as much as a Twilight vampire, and it gets left behind everywhere.)
Honestly, I wasn’t going to share it with the entire world, because I stayed up very late one night writing it. I sent it off, read it over, and immediately concluded that it sucked. In my mind, it was a perfect testament to my ability to create interesting and psychologically damaged characters who impact one another in some way, only to realise that three-quarters of the way into my allotted word count—nothing has happened.
I am Seinfeld, without the humour.
Anyway, I submitted the story knowing it wasn’t terribly good, and figured I just wouldn’t mention it to anyone. Then my ego won out, as it always does, and said, “Hey, look, something I made! I am awesome! Go like the awesome thing I did!”
(The ego does not always have the best grasp on reality. I hate to hear what the super-ego might have to say, and that’s why she’s not allowed to talk, ever. )
Fortunately for the ego, some people did like it, and left comments and sent me e-mail about the story. One of my friends wrote to ask, “Is the girl in the story you?” and “Is the main character a real person?”
I have answers to those questions, but they’re complicated, and for a different blog—one that only those who enjoyed the story, or my personal anecdotes, would appreciate. So, simply put, “Yes and no”, to both questions.
Finally, tonight was the finale of “The Big C”. I don’t remember the last time I cried so much, but I do know I feel blessed to have a number of people in my life I love as much as I do; even when I forget, even when they forget, even when I care more than someone might care about me in return. It means everything to know those people are there, out there at various places in the world.