I wouldn’t say I stopped writing per se, more like a hiatus – a mental vacation from the rigors of both dating and writing. My life has undergone some major changes. Not bad or good necessarily, but different. I’ve found myself as a mid-life entrepreneur and quite frankly, it’s taken up pretty much all my mental and physical energy these days.
Initially, I became frustrated with blogging and it had nothing to do with the writing but more with the forum. You willingly put yourself out there for the world, and then the nature of the internet, which can promote and entice anonymous cyber bulling, name calling, judgment and ridicule all take effect, and I suddenly found myself defensive and more sensitive than I had realized. Despite the fact I had far more supporters than detractors, (why one would continue to read and subscribe if they truly thought I was an idiot and didn’t enjoy the blog is beside me), it really bothered me when the occasional scathing response would appear.
Question was, did it bother me that someone didn’t like me or thought my actions were foolish, or was it that I wasn’t seeing myself for the truth? Or perhaps I wasn’t relaying or expressing things accurately? Or maybe they were just too fucking stupid and missing the point? Or the fact that this was all supposed to be humorous in a dark, snarky sort of way and nobody was getting the joke?….Or perhaps a little bit of all of the above.
I recently read “Otherhood” by Melanie Notkin that had me thinking about all of this. The book is about a successful, attractive and intelligent 40 something woman in New York City who finds herself single with no kids much to her chagrin and surprise – and then spends about 350 pages to complain and whine about it. My first reaction when I heard about the book was interest, figuring I could likely relate and find it refreshing to hear this from someone else’s perspective. I started reading and was immediately taken by how annoying and trite she appeared. Not to mention, I found the story quite depressing and uninspiring. Even though we had so much in common (in addition to some mutual friends), I had a difficult time getting through the book and forced myself to finish in a drudging chapter by chapter quest for the ending.
When I went online to see what other readers were thinking I was blown away at the negative reviews and scathing commentary. Other women, both single and married who just simply didn’t get it, and didn’t get her. Comparing her tales to Sex and the City was not considered flattering or entertaining, and the consensus seemed to feel she had knowingly and intentionally created this life so shut the hell up. I understood the backlash, but I also empathized with her. Here I had been living a very similar life and yet I could barely get myself through the book and was already disliking and casting judgments upon someone I didn’t know despite the fact she’s probably lovely in real life.
This brings me back to my blog. I realize there will always be critics of one’s life, not to mention one’s work. If I, who should have been Ms. Notkin’s prime audience, didn’t enjoy or relate to her musings, how would the rest of the general population that hasn’t lived in the shoes of a single woman living and dating in Manhattan do so? I wanted to feel bad for her in a way, and then I realized she at least had a published book! My reason for writing was and has always been creative self-expression. The purpose of the blog was to entertain. If I’m not accomplishing both of these why bother?
Although this entry has little to do with dating, and may or may not serve as entertainment, perhaps I do miss the expression aspect of writing and sharing. I recently lost a dear friend who served as a confidant, cheerleader and fellow single datehater. I miss her, and swapping our stories, several of which have been shared in one way or another in previous posts. Nothing can beat the love and support of a friend; only a fool would seek such things from a cyber community of nameless, faceless followers.
We all walk in our own shoes and no two paths are exactly the same. I may regret things I’ve said or done regarding the dating choices I’ve made, but I don’t regret the paths in life I have chosen – I’m simply not programmed that way. As long as I can learn and grow from mistakes, enjoy my experiences, laugh at the less pleasant ones and make some friends along the way, I’ll be just fine.