Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dancing Naked in the Living Room Window

Writing is a craft I've honed since childhood. It's one of my artistic expressions, like my music. It's my passion, my greatest love, my purest source of self-proclaimed talent, if I can lay claim to any. Ever since I was a little girl, I've written short stories, stock-piled memories, poems, journal entries, and the like. It's always been an outlet for what's going on in my complicated brain. It's just that now it's out in public for the whole world to read, and criticize (and stalk!).

Lately, though, I feel I have lost sight of my art in an effort to appease or dampen the temper of someone who is obsessively following my blog's every word. I find myself censoring, editing and flat out deleting posts that had creative merit behind them purely out of fear of retribution by another party--someone who has absolutely zero power over me anymore. Someone who's opinion of me means nil.

And it's not Chris.

Am I capable of seeing virtually every visitor to the blog, what pages he/she read, where the reader started and stopped, and if my posts are being emailed to outside sources? Yes. I've made that abundantly clear in other blogs. I hate having to police my site like this day after day. Yet this particular reader persists in checking in on the blog multiple times a day to see if anything new has been posted, and I'm quite honestly tired of it.

I installed the blog tracking software because I was afraid of Chris. But that fear has literally transposed into the back of my mind, for I no longer fear he'll come after me personally, physically. Through a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy, I've learned simple tasks like going into the alley at night alone to take out garbage without worrying if Chris is going to emerge from behind the dumpster and attack me because of something I've written about him. I highly doubt Chris, at this point, would physically harm me again. (After all, he did promise he'd never do anything to permanently physically harm me, and to date, he hasn't. Temporary wounds, however, were fair game.)

Honestly, I'd rather have one engaged reader who checks into the blog regularly than a dozen curious onlookers, searching for a lynch pin. I've written deeply personal posts about my mental illness, struggles with addiction and substance abuse, my family and friends, medical problems and about my life in general that are all MY stories. Not all terribly riveting posts, unless you have some vested interest in my ramblings.

Rhythms from the Offbeat Drummer is my intellectual property. The ideas and words herein belong to me. They are, unless quoted from outside sources, my own opinions and feelings.

Some blog readers have met me with constructive criticism indicating that they prefer my blog to be a cohesive, character, story-driven piece of prose, as opposed to a sequence of random (I hate that word) thoughts strung together with no theme. Sometimes I'm able to do that; other times, not so much. My brain's not wired to tell fantastic stories at great length with moral overtones, though I can do that; rather, it's (by virtue of my insanity, partially) wired to display snippets of dialog, which I have a knack for remembering verbatim, and I can remember things that happened 20 years ago but not what I had for lunch 2 days ago. I can go into great detail about a certain subject if I focus on it long enough, but not if I'm writing while I'm manic, in which case, you get the non-linear strands of witty and charming, if not a little scatterbrained material.

I want to be able to dance naked in front of the windows again, unafraid of what the neighbors will think about me, in the uniquely Annie way that I do. I want the freedom to express myself artistically without abandon, which I honestly feel I've been holding back since I lost my job, out of fear. Totally unnecessary. Those who love me encourage me to keep writing, and to pay no attention to the person obsessed with my blog. I am earnestly trying to do that. But imagine how difficult it is to be yourself around someone when you're nervous about what they're learning about you? Anyone of us would be a little more than paranoid. That's an unusual sentiment for someone offbeat like me, who typically doesn't give a shit what other people think about me OR my eccentric lifestyle. Yet I found myself censoring my writing, which is WRONG.

So let's open the curtains back up and commence our usual ridiculousness.

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