fever pitch

I have something to tell. It’s been needling at me for weeks. All this year, in fact. It keeps coming to a head, bubbling up in my throat, threatening to spill out and over and into the world. And just before it gets past my lips, my fingers, I ball it up in my hands and cram it back in as fast and hard as I can. And it stays there…for a while. But then, others write or say things that remind me that it’s still there. It’s amazing the way they play on it like an instrument. It’s almost like they know. They bring it out with visceral clarity in a way that makes my blood fire, my chest tighten, my teeth clench. It’s ugly and it’s painful and it involves so many other people. I tell myself I’m protecting them, but that’s a lie. Save one or two, they don’t need or deserve my protection. The truth would be closer to say that they don’t deserve my attention. But, whatever.

I can’t bring myself to sit down and spit it out. It’s stubborn. Locked down tight. Even the safe confessional of boozy strangers in bars and hotel rooms in another city couldn’t tease it from me last week. If the security of such distance and lubrication couldn’t do it, I’m not sure what can. Part of me should be thankful for distractions and this targeted case of writer’s block, but I really do want to unload and be free of it. To admit what I got myself into and my part in it. To air the choices I made. To be rid of her, even if she causes more damage on the way out. And she will. She always takes her collateral and lays waste. She always has, and it’s why it’s so tempting to just let it ride lest it cost me the peace I’ve finally earned in other parts of my life. Truth be told, I’m not terrified of the consequences so much as I am of her her. Of me. Of us. Of what we’d do together again if I breathe life back into her by speaking her name. Again, what’s dead should stay dead…only she doesn’t. And so, like the rising tide, it’s coming whether I want it to or not. That much has been clear and out of my hands for a while now.

Exorcism in print is the only way, though, and I have to declare and settle all accounts in order to move forward as a person and a writer. It’s something I also have to make some people understand as they urge me to put my toe back into those waters where it could start all over again. She’s always there waiting in the shallows just beneath the surface. I need to have the story out there so I can point to it and say, “See? That? That’s why I can’t go there again.” Like an addict, I had to give up the junk cold turkey. There is no recreational use. It always ends up bloody. There are dangers in going there again, even under the veil of fiction. Possibly especially under the protection that veil offers. Too easy to cheat. Too easy to draw the wolves back to the door.

The momentum is undeniable. I need my testimonial given and witness borne, but telling the truth isn’t so hard as facing it, especially when it’s about yourself. You have to tell the truth to yourself before you can tell it to others. It’s the first things first part that’s the problem.

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begin the begin

This isn’t my first blog. I had one a few years ago that spawned another one when a new chapter of my life started. Neither was special to anyone but me. They were personal with no real agenda. Just my inner ramblings.

I liked blogging. I was honest. I was raw. It emptied me out when I needed it, which was mostly when I was working on my master’s and my brain kept filling up and overflowing. I didn’t worry about making other people happy or unhappy with it.

The blogs developed a following. First, it was just friends and people who knew me. Then some others started to notice — mostly other bloggers.  Some of them put me on their blog roll. Some of them were expats and dissidents from another country, and that readership grew. Then, I started to notice that country’s government in the analytics for my page. A lot.

At the same time, some of the people who knew me started to have a hard time separating my online space and what I wrote there from our personal interactions. It started to bleed together. What I said and did on the blog started to affect day-to-day “real life” situations. Mostly, it was a netiquette issue, but it was really awkward for me coming from people who weren’t sharing like I was. They kept trying to have a one-sided conversation, and I felt a little stalked. For some reason, it was cool when other bloggers did it. There was give and take. To have others — people who cared about me, mind you — start grilling me about my blog and reading between the lines and inferring things and injecting meaning into my words was uncomfortable.  I started to blog less and less and censor myself when I did. I even started deleting posts.

The final blow was when the FBI showed up on my page analytic. I have friends who work for the Bureau, so I thought maybe it was them. When I asked, they laughed in my face for asking if they were surfing my blog at work. They asked for the location of the FBI address checking out my page. When I gave it to them, they immediately suggested I stop blogging and shut it down. I did. Bye bye, blog. I retreated to Facebook where I had more control, where everyone was sharing equally, and where I could have control over who saw what. I could give as well as I got over there and felt safe…r. I keep my profile locked down with all the privacy settings possible, I have a hair trigger when it comes to hiding my profile and deleting “friends,” and I rarely, if ever, post pictures of myself. Yes, I’m paranoid. Deal with it.

I own my choice, but it was silly, of course, because I essentially just shut down my personal diary.  I quit. I more or less punished myself when I wasn’t doing anything wrong, or even anything exciting. My decision was really about protecting my associations, and both those associations and I were going through hard times that didn’t need to get any harder. Blogging was getting onerous anyway. The emotional weight of my circumstances was so incredibly intense that I couldn’t articulate my thoughts even if I’d wanted to. I chose my battles and chose to walk away. Given the events of the past four years, maybe it would have helped to have an outlet, but, truth be told, I didn’t really want one. I didn’t know where to start, and I just didn’t need one more fucking thing to do. Now, I do.

I’m back in school getting my Ph.D., and my need to blog is suddenly back with a vengeance.  I have to write all the time, and the more I write, the more I can write. I have some stuff to work through. My brain is full and continually filling with more. As more and more new theories, methods, and concepts are introduced to me, I need a place to apply them, do things with them, to tinker and try things on and suss out how they relate to each other and me and my ideas. I need a workshop. A lab. A place for a running internal monologue to go external. A place to just unload and process. A bride for my former Frankensteins (and yes, I realize that Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster).

I have real misgivings about how this will go, especially from the personal angle, so I will be taking some precautions. Names will rarely be named. Some entries might be password protected. And I have to get over some things. People are supposed to read and comment — both here and in the world. I want that. I welcome it. I need to remember that. I will do what I have to do in order for this blog to be what I need it to be: a place where I get it all out, pull no punches, and never ever apologize. It’s been hard for me to take this step back into blogging, but the need obviously isn’t going away, and I can’t deny it, so here I am again.

Myles Standish proud, congratulate me.