“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss
I started blogging way back in the early aughts. It was more a diary that a blog, typical of sites like DiaryLand and LiveJournal. Before social networking sites, my diary was an easy way to keep my friends abreast of what was up in my life, which was mostly college. It didn’t have a password, but I naively assumed that only my friends would care about what I wrote. It’s still up, and I love looking through the archives to remember some of my more hilarious college experiences. A huge amount of my blog talks about sex, because a huge part of my life while I was keeping the blog was about sex. I mean, I was in college. I loved talking about my exploits with the various men and women I was bedding. I never paid it much mind, because I’ve always been a frank person when it comes to my sex life. I love talking sex and blogging about it was no biggie.
Then, I went to a friend’s wedding and someone who I didn’t think cared much about my blog decided to use it against me. In an effort to insult me in front of my friends, he spoke loudly (and drunkenly) about how every post was about who I’m screwing (exaggeration) and that somehow was supposed to undermine my credibility in whatever conversation we were having.
I was shamed and hurt. I didn’t realize at the time that slut-shaming was its own thing, but that’s exactly what he did. More importantly though, was I learned a lot about transparency.
Even though I was a bit shaken in the short-term, I didn’t add a password to my blog, and within a week I was posting like usual. I knew I didn’t give a shit about this guy’s opinion of my life, and my friends’ appreciation of my journal outweighed his lousy opinion.
Writing of any kind opens the author up to all sorts of invasiveness. With blogging, it’s more immediate, and more anonymous, which creates the dreaded troll-effect. The nature of blogging, too, encourages a certain transparency. Readers often expect to learn about the blog writer on a personal level, especially now in our social-media moment when it’s not uncommon to photograph your lunch and post it to your facebook wall (I will never understand this.) Even with fiction, though, certain readers will think they have the inside scoop on a writer.
As evidenced by the anecdote above, I’ve never paid too much mind to the haters who think they know my inner-workings because they read my journal or my work. It can sting at the time, for sure, especially when I feel like I’m being judged for the things I share about my life. Ultimately, though, it’s a fallacy to believe that anything that is said on the net is either anonymous or temporary. Pseudonyms, private profiles, and erasing internet footprints may throw people off your trail, but they are certainly not guarantees of privacy by any means.
I like to blog, I will continue to write, and I’m also partnered to a somewhat high-profile person who will only become more famous. For these reasons, it’s absurd to think that I could keep my multiple public personas separate from one another. For instance, I moonlight as a sex educator. There are pictures of me on the internet holding huge dildos. Will this prevent me from getting published? Unlikely. Will it prevent someone from buying my book? Maybe, but I kinda doubt it. Do I give a damn? Not one bit. Because the people who matter don’t mind. And the people that mind don’t matter. If someone won’t buy my book because I teach Girl Sex 101, odds are, they wouldn’t like my book in the first place, because, guess what, there’s a lot of girl sex in it.
My multiple personae are multiple, but they are in perfect alignment with one another. I believe in the awesome power of lesbian relationships and I think it’s important to tell our stories. Lunatic Fringe tells one such story. Girl Sex 101 tells another.
Ultimately, its in my best interest to continue to tell my story transparently, because I refuse to be shamed for my choices or for my art. And it really doesn’t matter who minds.