Basically, lots over-sharing and "cooking for one" recipes for anyone who might be hungry and heartbroken.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

An Awkward Silence

I borrowed this from the hilarious and very talented

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better.
~Anne Lamott

I’ve missed writing here for the last little while, but I was feeling a little paralyzed. My ex sent a kindly-meant text message out of the blue which let me know in a roundabout way that he was reading the blog. It was a surprise because I’d asked for no contact, and also because I just didn’t expect him to find it, at least not so soon. It’s hardly “Dear Diary” and hardly a secret, but I hadn’t gone out of my way to put the existence of the blog out there. Obviously I could just write about all this in a private journal, but’s important for me to write for an audience. Maybe that makes me an attention whore, but that’s the way it is. Imagining a group of people listening to what I have to say not only eases my loneliness, it also keeps me from the worst depths of self-indulgence. I don’t know who I imagine this audience to be exactly, but I know for sure that I hadn’t imagined it including my ex-fiance.

As anthropologists, psychologists, and physicists agree, and as we pretty much all know
by now, observing something changes it. (I believe it’s considered brilliant to make some witty reference to Schrodinger's cat at this point, so let’s just pretend that I did.1) And the truth is, it changes things for me, knowing that he is reading.

I try really hard to write with honesty, from a real place. I try not to wallow in misery, but I also don’t shy away from talking about the really hard things I’m feeling. I don’t believe in using the internet as a slam book, and I never intended for this to be a venue where I would dissect in detail the private workings of my failed relationship. It is important to me that I write within the bounds of my own conscience and instincts around another person’s privacy, but it’s also very important to me that I can write freely within those bounds. If I start to fret that I'll cause someone pain, or if I start worrying that my words will be analyzed and taken to mean things that they don’t, or if my ego demands that I not let on to the person who left me that I am having anything but a wonderful time on my own, my writing is going to suffer. It’s a fact. Most of all, I never want to use this blog as a way to passive-aggressively communicate with my ex. I am the one who asked for no contact. If I have something to say to him, I know I can pick up the phone and say it to him in person, if I want to. The preceding paragraph may be a slight exception to this rule. 

So after getting that text, I spent some time wondering what to do
. I thought about pass-wording the blog. I thought about quitting the blog I really didn’t want to do either of those things. Even in the few weeks I’ve been doing this, the writing (and the cooking) have become important to me. And I kind of need both of them for this to do me any good. If I don’t cook, I have nothing to write about. If I don’t have to write about it, the truth is, a lot of the time I won’t bother to cook. Witness the last week, where every single day my dinner has consisted of rice with butter and cheese, or toast with butter and cheese. Ridiculous.

So. I’m going to just keep writing here. I am going to try to stay true to my experience, no matter who may or may not be reading, and what happens after that is out of my hands. I won't insert barbs where they don't belong, but I won't blunt my truth, either. The fact is that whenever you write anything and send it out into the world, you no longer have control over who will read it, what they will think about it, or how it will affect them. You just have to let it go.

1 As I am writing this there is a tv special about blimps playing in the background, and I admit that I always mix up the Hindenberg disaster and the Heisenberg principle.


  1. Thank you Mr. F for teaching perhaps the valuable lesson a writer can learn. You can't control what they read when you write. Once a witter gets over what their audience may or may not think they are unstoppable! You will be unstoppable Lamb Shanks!

  2. Think of it more as a Hindenberg principle than a Heisenberg disaster.