Today, I did something that I haven’t done in years. I googled myself. Up popped links to my accounts on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr. There were multiple pages of Amazon and Barnes & Noble links to The Tao of Rae. I figured, “Hey, why not give it a glance through at this stage of my life and see if I still feel good about it.”
I read the introduction and was mortified at what I’d put out in the world for people to read and judge me by. If anyone who was considering me for a job chose to preview the first several pages, they would know, before ever meeting me, that I have spent time in mental hospitals for suicidal thoughts. Who wants to interview someone who admits to the world that they’ve been fucked in the head a few times, right from the get go?
But let’s say that they don’t see the Tao of Rae out there, since I now have removed it from the “shelves” of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They would still have a link to this blog. They could see all about my time travel seizures, about my time in mental hospitals and the abuse that I lived through as a child. They would see that I got a bug up my ass after the divorce and learned how to be a dominatrix. They would see that I can’t stick to a diet to save my life, and that I failed the bar exam, twice. Oh, and they’d see that I’m an avid advocate for medical marijuana. That’s exactly what you want in an employee, amirite?
Over the years, I’ve put a lot of deeply sensitive, personal information up on the web for the world to see. When I write, I don’t hold back. I’m just unapologetically, emphatically me… and now, I’m wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to share myself this way. At what point did I forget that it’s entirely acceptable to keep a private diary? Did I really think that writing about how MS affects me would help other people? I’ve gotten a handful of comments in the last 5 years. I’m not helping anyone here.
I started thinking about the kids that I hope to have someday. How would reading these things make them feel? Would they be happy to know about all of the struggle and insanity that I lived through before they were born? Would it embarrass them? It’s one thing for me to put my self out there, but it’s another if it has the possibility of affecting other people in a potentially negative way.
Don’t worry — I’m not remotely considering the idea of not blogging or writing anymore. I just think that I’ve been doing it all wrong. I sit on Facebook at least 3 hours a day, reading and commenting on friends’ posts. I post all kinds of interesting things and re-share links as well – but none of that sees its way here, so to the casual observer, it might look like I have stopped writing or interacting. That’s not the case at all.
I also have been thinking about the fact that this blog is called “In It For The Parking” because of 2 things: first, it’s my plucky way of having a good attitude towards having MS, and secondly, starting January 1st, in Chicago, having a handicapped placard no longer affords you the luxury of free parking. So, even though I have a placard that will occasionally be helpful in parking lots, I can’t really be “in it for the parking” anymore. I’ve lost my “good reason” to have MS.
More than all this, however, it just feels like time to start something new. Time to let all the pain and craziness that are contained in so many of these entries just disappear. Time to leave no residual proof of the difficulties I’ve been through, so that I can be known as the person who I am today… so that Past Rachael’s admissions don’t stop Future Rachael from having the opportunities that she deserves.
It’s time for me to stop letting my maladies define me. I am better than them.
Not sure how long I’m going to leave this post up before I take the blog down… but I don’t think it will be too long. Part of me feels like I should read from the beginning and just make certain entries private. I don’t like that idea much because I’ve found that reading old blog entries is often an unnecessarily painful experience. That, and I’ve produced well over 500 posts, so it would take forever.
I got rid of my LiveJournal in the blink of an eye. Didn’t even care that there was nearly 10 years of my life chronicled. Didn’t bother rereading any of it – just moved forward. And that’s what I think might need to happen here.