“What did you post?” Justin asks me.
“Huh?” I say.
“You posted something. I got a notification, but I went to your wall to look, and… nothing.”
“Oh,” I say. “I forget that you super stalk me.”
“Damn right, I do,” he says, smiling. “You deleted it, didn’t you?”
I nod. “I just… worried it was stupid. So I took it down.”
“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” he says. “Guess I wasn’t quick enough this time.”
He tells me that he’s noticed that if he “likes” a Facebook status that I won’t delete it. So he tries to get there before I have second thoughts. To let his approval basically pin the post into place.
“I sound so crazy when you put it like that,” I say.
“Maybe,” he says. “But whatever you are, I love you for it.”
“Have You Ever Thought About Starting a Blog?”
As the months go on, I start to make bargains with myself. I’ll leave a status up for an hour, two hours, a day. And if anyone likes it, anyone at all, I’ll leave it there.
That way I’ll know I’m not bothering people, spamming them with shit they don’t care about. How I tend to feel any time I post anything online.
Because Justin is not the only Facebook friend who has noticed that I take down most of my statuses almost immediately. “I’m always sad when I see you’ve done that, deleted something you put up before,” one friend writes. “I wish you’d believe in yourself. You’re a good writer. And you’re not bothering anyone. If they don’t want to read it, they can keep on scrolling. Or hide your posts. You have just as much right to post online as anyone else.”
We chat for a few hours. Not just about the deleting posts. But also about other things going on in her life. I’m relieved when we navigate away from the original topic. However, she manages to bring it back around by the end of our talk. “Have you ever thought about starting a blog?” she asks.
She says she likes my posts on Fetlife and Facebook and that maybe it’d help me to have another place to put them. One that’s more anonymous and not tied to my new friendships in Cleveland and the anxiety that I have that emotionally processing is going to damage them. A place where people have to manually go to see my writing, rather than have it pop into their feeds.
“Maybe you’re right,” I say.
I talk to Justin about it, who agrees. Helps me to get a small blog set up.
I write in it a lot some times. Other times, I don’t write in it for months. At first no one at all reads, but after a while, I do get a few regular readers. People who are very encouraging, say that my writing is interesting to them and very helpful. They tell me to write more.
I talk it over with my real life friends and my partner Justin, and they all agree.
And on September 1, 2016, I start blogging there every day no matter what. And start editing my first book.
I Always Wonder What Other People Are Deleting
These days this blog has a wide readership. One that would be completely incomprehensible to the person who started it all those years ago. That self-deprecating woman who was afraid to post statuses to social media because she worried that by sharing her thoughts that she’d be bothering other people.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I still have to fight those feelings. Because I’ve made a commitment to you to put out a blog post every day, I stay true to that, and I don’t delete posts after I’ve published them — even if I’m not happy with how they turned out.
But that’s this blog.
I still will have times when I’m tempted to delete a status on my personal Facebook. When I have to fight that feeling that I’m doing people a disservice by posting something.
I don’t know that it ever goes away, that instinct.
But at least now I can stop myself mid-deletion. Tell myself, “Don’t you dare.”
I can’t help but think I’m not the only one who almost censored myself out of existence. That there might very well be others who could be sharing their thoughts that aren’t because they’re worried about bothering people.
And I can’t help but wonder what the world might be missing out on because of it.
Books by Page Turner: