How much, if anything, should I write about my relationship with Mr. NBT?
A friend of mine was once telling me about Linda Greenlaw's book, The Hungry Ocean, once, and said the whole book was a plaintive cry for a partner. I remember hearing that and thinking, wow. Yikes. I hope my writing never sounds like that.
But I sort of wonder if it has, on this blog. And I wonder if that's all that bad.
The reasons I don't want to write about my love life:
1) I don't want to screw anything up.
2) This weblog is public, and comes up when you Google my name, and who knows who's reading it? I certainly don't. I know some people who are reading it: my parents, some of my friends, an ex-boyfriend or two. Mr. NBT, a couple of his friends. A whole bunch of strangers. Who knows who else? My boss? My students? Who can say? Hi folks. All of these are different audiences, who would get differing amounts of information if the subject came up over a glass of wine. I'm trying, when I write here, to write honestly, with a minimum of spin. This seems a tricky topic for that aspiration.
3) Happiness is boring to read about. Sadness, longing, pain: all of those things take courage to write about. But contentment, well, where's the bravery there? Am I artful enough to write about hope and expectation, comfort and trust, without sounding smug?
4) If I admit I'm happy, or that I'm looking forward to something, and then it falls flat, I can't shake it off easily. Everyone will know that I didn't get something I wanted. Safer to play it cool. Then if I get heartbroken, maybe nobody will know. No big deal.
5) I don't want to invite a bunch of strangers to advise, speculate, and comment on my love life. That feels kind of tender. I trust the crowd here at Stay of Execution: you're wise and warm and it generally feels like you're rooting for me. But, yikes. Sometimes a stray comment here has me doubting myself for days. Am I a bad person, truly insufferable? I don't want it to make me doubt someone else, or make him doubt me.
Here's why I'm tempted to write about it:
a) I'm thinking about it a lot, and I need to write what I'm
thinking about, to sort it out and clarify it. You know how wine
people swirl the wine around and sniff it and then describe it, the
different notes and aspects and textures and sensations? And doing all
that silly stuff helps them notice and really appreciate the wine?
That's kind of how I am with feelings and experiences. This blog is my
wineglass, where I hold things up to the light and swirl them around
and try to describe the essence and the nuance, and only then do I
really understand what it is I'm describing.
b) This particular relationship was born here. He's one of you, a blog reader. It feels silly to barricade the relationship away from the weblog. I feel a little bit like I owe the weblog something, back, as a thank-you. I mean "I owe the weblog something" in two ways. One is just that this weblog brought Mr. NBT to me, and I'm grateful for that. But the other is that I think the practice of writing here, taking more emotional risks and practicing publicly admitting things, my longing and my uncertainty, that I don't always show in person, I think that has kind of softened me up and made me better able to be in a relationship.
c) Related to that: I think my fear of "screwing this up" or admitting I want something and then facing the prospect of publicly failing is a lame fear. I mean, I don't want to screw anything up. But I don't really care about protecting my own dignity, and I think that impulse to play it cool and not let anyone see that I'm excited about the possibility, that's kind of a stupid impulse. All it does is let me hide behind a mask of strength. I'm not really as strong as people think I am, or as I pretend to be. Maybe it's braver just to let people see if I am sad.
d) There's inherent drama in a romance. It's a natural narrative arc. Blogging is narcissistic and self-indulgent anyway. But I want to see how this one plays out, and so do friends. I imagine it holds some narrative interest even for people who don't know us in person. You strangers, are you rooting for us or against us? Are we doomed? It's a long distance affair. Can we survive the distance? So many plotlines here, so much suspense.