08 August 2007

Ripples in a pond

When you toss a stone into a body of water, ripples of water spread out, touching things that your small stone never did. The big evil bank that I used to work for talked about "spheres of influence" when pushing us to sell bank services to clients. A program that one of my sisters has worked for has a slogan about everything being connected.

Likewise, in the blogosphere, there are many bloggers who have encouraged me, motivated me, whose writing has touched my own even though I've never met them.

One of those bloggers is Abby Lee, Girl With a One Track Mind. An anonymous blogger like me, although her subject matter is a far more interesting than mine will ever be. More entertaining, too. Or at least she was anonymous until a year ago, August 6, 2006, when Abby was outed by the British newspaper, The Sunday Times. What happened next is the stuff of an anon-blogger's nightmares. She lost her job, and suddenly every single person in the UK knew her real name and where she lived.

Since she blogs about her sexual exploits, and is a woman and unashamed of herself, she has spent a lot of the past year dealing with the male establishment verbally beating her up for her liberal views. Abby's brand of feminism is fearless and inspiring. A man writing the same blog would have been venerated, the subject of much "attaboy" back-slapping encouragement. That makes me incredibly sad.

Her writing, combined with one or two others, (notably Dooce and Abbypants) has encouraged me to be more open in my own blogging, given me the courage to write frankly about my battle with major depressive disorder.

When I started Well Behaved Women, it was a cry in the wilderness of the reddest of the red states, a way to protest the Idiot (Bush) Administration, a place where I could freely worry about the state of women's rights in America and talk about the tenuous thread that a woman's right to choose hangs by. It was rare in the beginning that I would talk about my own personal life. Politics, more politics, with a dose of politics tossed in was what I was writing about.

Somewhere along the way, that focus changed, and I began mentioning things in my life from time to time. And then in the last six months, it has been my life with a bit of politics on the side. I get more responses/comments, more hits on the blog when I'm writing about my own life, when I'm being deeply personal and baring things that I wouldn't talk about with a roomful of strangers than I do when I'm ranting about something stupid that President Idiot has done or said, or the Supreme Court further restricting civil rights. Writing about the depression, or trying to analyze something that has happened to me generates more interest than the government trying to look at your library records.

I'm going to refrain from commenting much on how that apathy also makes me sad, and how incredibly strange I think it is that random strangers are interested in the goings-on of a lunatic 30-something Ohioan, and get back to my point.

Without ground breakers like Dooce and Abby Lee, I wouldn't be here in the corner detailing my struggle to stay out of a ward. The ripples that spread out from blogs like theirs reach worldwide. Ideas sparked by a post written halfway around the world fill me with wonder at technology and the incredible age that we're living in. Unless I'm incredibly lucky, I will probably never meet Abby Lee. She has changed my life for the better, and while I'm deeply sorry for the pain that she's been through in the past year, her amazing writing has made me aspire to be a better writer. I am supremely grateful for that. So thanks, Abby. I feel privileged to have witnessed your journey, and can't wait to see what you do next.

1 comment:

Dawna said...

I don't think I could ever be an anonymous blogger... I'm too open about myself with everyone, and am actually shocked when people say to me "I didn't know you were into that". Trust me, people are more into themselves than to notice your opinions.

So it turns out that I just don't care.

That, and I made a rule long long ago- never write anything online that you could never own up to in real life.

The internet is a public forum, and to go in conjunction with the hell I went through with my internet stalker this winter, it is up for grabs. You are never anonymous. Never. It is much easier to be honest about yourself to those around you than to hide yourself. Even if you communicate a small bit "I'm pro-choice", for example. That way it is either a) no surprise,or b) when confronted about it, you can easily say "well it isn't like I hid that from you..."

I think, personally, anonymous blogging is a bad idea. But then again, that's just my opinion. It is easier to hide a tree in the forest than to toss a blanket over it.