Here’s the thing / by Christina Rosalie

My mother in law may have, most likely, found my blog. This blog. This place where I write obstinately and openly and whole-heartedly. This place where one minute I’m cold and the next I’m hot, where I fling wildly from one end of the spectrum of emotions to the other, and where I delve, deeply into whatever the present moment means. The thing is, plenty of people from my ‘real life’ read this blog. Some have obsessively googled their way here against my better wishes, and others have been invited because they get me, and they get that this place provides me with a kind of outlet and solace that my life otherwise doesn’t provide, and they give me space to allow this to happen.

But here’s the thing. My mother in law, though I dearly love her, isn’t someone who knows me deeply enough to create a frame of reference for what I write here. She doesn’t know how to locate the ore in what I write to true the compass needle north; to make what I write a part of a larger topography of meaning for my life. And also, I write here in a way I do not want to share with her, because inevitably, invariably, what I write here will then wend its way back into my life, misconstrued and out of place, in the form of worried queries, small questions, anxious phone messages.

So much spans the gap between us—faith, age, perspective—we couldn’t be farther apart in how we live and think and grow. Which isn’t to say that we’re not close, for we are, when we’re together, in a particular way. We hug and laugh, and she makes the world’s best coffee, and we talk about the latest Tom Cruise scandal, and rehash to it’s minutia every last adorable thing Bean did. And I love having this kind of relationship in my life. I love her easy generosity, her obsession with shopping, and the way that anything my kid does makes her entire day. But the thing is, there is still that vast uncharted territory between us, and it’s there because I need it to be there. It’s there because I am a deeply private person.

Okay, so maybe I’m an idiot to come here at all, having just made that claim. I can see how ludicrous it is to say that I come here to find solace and privacy—because, duh, the Internet is the antithesis of that. Right? I get that it is ridiculous for me to harbor the belief that a public blog is place where I can write and not have to watch my step, or watch my back, or create in endless detail the specific context for everything I write. But truthfully, that is exactly why I come here.

Since I started blogging, I’ve had visitors from Saudi Arabia and Hawaii, from Istanbul and Seoul. Complete strangers send me gifts. People I would never have the opportunity of knowing have become amazing friends, half the world away. I get nearly all my parenting advice from people I’ve never met in person. And yet, almost everyone who comes here, comes here with the knowledge that this small window looks in on the shape of my life, right now, today, and respects that. Most people seem to get that what I write will be as fickle as the tide. Up one day, down the next. That I’ll toss caution to the wind and say what’s on my mind, walking the thin ledge of risk, because I’m trying to reach out and touch the heart of something that is a little bigger than me; because I am hoping that some shred of what I write matters in a new way to someone else. Or so I’d like to hope. This is, after all, why I write here. Because the thirsting part of my writer’s soul wants to grab hold of even the smallest thread dangling from the tapestry of human existence, and make something with it.

So I’m not sure what to do exactly. Not sure where to go with this or how to proceed. The idea of giving up this blog is worse right now than the thought of being plagued by misinterpretation. And perhaps this is all good training wheels. Hell, if I write a book (and I will!) you can bet I’ll be running pell mell across the tight rope of risk, wearing nothing but pair of flimsy paper wings and the wildest grin you’ve ever seen, so I might as well get used to the feeling of being gawked at by the people I love. But I wish, for now anyway, that things could go back to the way they were. That I could write—without feeling like I have to answer for what I write, or explain it; and that the good news and the bad, is taken with a grain of salt, or several, and doesn’t immediately come back to me, via a voicemail. Alas, bridges always seem to be burning while the artist howls at the moon.