I don't know if you've yet seen this (I linked to it a long time ago), but Neil over at Citizen of the Month came up with this fabulous interview idea. It's still going on, so please check it out.
My interviewer, Sassy, has asked me several thoughtful questions that I am more than happy to answer. The reason I have not done so up to now is mostly because I fear my answers will render this post:
A) Super long, and
B) Even more self-indulgent than usual
Not that this has ever actually stopped me from posting long, indulgent stuff in the past. It's just that I have a hard time thinking this personal info would actually be interesting to anyone aside from me.
But here goes!
(You can either just skip around and read the questions you're interested in and leave the rest for the annals cyberspace, or pour yourself a big ole' cup of coffee...)
* * * * * *
You talk a bit on your blog about your Imaginary Internet Friends (IIF). How do you feel that they are actually that different from your Real Life Friends (RLF)? What do you feel when an IIF crosses over into being a RLF? Have you ever regretted 'taking the leap' from IIF to RLF?
This is really hard to gauge. Probably if you are a "regular" reader here, we could totally be friends in real life.
That said, I should point out that I don't think I've ever made a "real life" (flesh and blood) friend from my blog. I don't know why that is. Lack of interest? Or maybe I'm just way less interesting in person. Or smelly.
Can you tell us how you make those cute little pencil drawings with text boxes that we find peppered all around She Walks?
I use Word.
Seriously. I use the drawing tools in MS Word. I have no Photoshopping skills to speak of, and have kind of given up on ever getting them. Whereas I have spent more days and hours formatting Word docs than any human ever should.
I use the free-form drawing tools in Word, then I just do screen-grabs of the images. That's it!
Why did you get into internet dating? What did it bring you?
I went on my first internet date back in freshman year of college. (That would be the fall of 1993 for those of you keeping score.)
When I got to college, I discovered the internet, and email, and IM and chat rooms. I was thrilled and thought it was the coolest thing in the known universe. Immediately I started using it to meet boys.
The reason I liked using the internet to meet guys in 1993 is the same reason I like it now (hold on, let me use italics, I'm about to get all wise): in real life, you meet someone's exterior first; online, you meet the interior.
Not only is the latter more important in forming real connections with people, the online medium makes it SO much more efficient to weed out those who aren't worth your time.
When I'm in good physical shape, meeting guys isn't that hard. Meeting guys who are smart, interesting, well read, and who have something to talk about? That's hard. The internet provides all kinds of pre-screening.
But let me be honest. When I'm chubby, meeting guys offline is hard if not damn near impossible. Being over 30 and chubby makes it even worse. In singles scenes, I come across as desperate simply for existing.
Online, it's totally different. The guys see my personality first. They don't see my dress size, they see my mad written medium skills, yo.
And so while real-life chemistry matters a lot, and while some guys will simply never date an overweight woman, I have found that men are more willing to consider my whole package when they meet me online.
What did it bring me, you ask? Confidence that I've got a damn sexy "interior," regardless of my exterior (which is far more subjectively considered "damn sexy" by those with excellent taste).
It also brought me El_Gallo. And, if a little indirectly, The Boy/T.
What is the craziest internet date you ever had?
Oh my good lord.
Given that I've been doing it off and on for 15 years, I've had some doozies.
Sometimes they've been good crazy, like when the chemistry is right and the sex is unexpected and hot.
Sometimes they've been bad crazy, like when the chemistry isn't right but I think maybe that will change and it doesn't and there's a lot of resultant forehead slapping and "let us not speak of this ever." [See bad kissing story, except like, worse by a million.]
And then there are just the bad dates. There was the one where we had so little chemistry that I think we were both repulsed and then I blogged about it and then he READ the blog. And the one where the guy told me -- to my face that -- WOW, he didn't expect me to be THAT overweight. There was the guy who decided to wait until we were in something of a compromising position to tell me, by the way, that his roommate was his mother. There was the guy who lied about being married. The guy who humiliated and insulted me in a public online forum the morning after our date. The guy with food OCD. The guy who showed up in sweatpants to take me to dinner. The guy who started off okay and then became crazy allergic to my cats, after which point we got into a contentious storytelling game of one-upmanship that left us both bitter.
And of course, the guy who liked to try to convince people that he is from the future.
But the happy-best-crazy internet date award would have to go to the one I went on with Ish. Because it started August 6, 2005, and hasn't ended yet.
Please share what it is about knitting that draws you.
I hardly ever knit anymore because I have learned (the hard way) that on any given day, I can only balance my job and one creative outlet. I can't seem to keep up with blogging and knitting and singing and comedy and one-off personal projects. Especially because I want to write a book and have started about five of them but haven't made any headway. So any time I knit, I feel guilty that I'm not doing something else more career-related or bloggy or both.
I am still infinitely glad that I learned how to knit at all. I love having it as a skill, like knowing how to drive a stick-shift. (Because you never know when an emergency may happen where you'll have to drive standard. Or, um, knit a scarf.)
So it's fun, and creative, and in the end you get the satisfaction of having made something. I love all of that.
Do you ever knit while drinking? If so, what was the result?
Ha! Yes. And the result is that counting -- which is hard enough when sober -- is even harder with wine.
Lemme find it in the archives...
Here's a post that includes me being all James Bond like with the knitting and the wine.
And here's its result:
You're so candid over the internet! (Ex. posting tooshie pics...) Did that ever come back to haunt you in real life?
The naked butt picture has not come back to haunt me as yet, no. Still, there have been times when this blog has made me blush for one reason or another.
On a serious note, when Ish and I first started dating and he was separated-but-not-divorced, his relationship with his family was strained. To be respectful of his privacy, I basically didn't post about him or us. The one time I put up a relationship-y post about us, we'd been dating for four months. His family found the post and everything kind of blew up. It was an awful mess.
The most embarrassing moment ever, though, was when I mentioned my blog during a job interview. Because I am an idiot.
After reading your divorce story, you seem to have come a long way from the girl at the top of the stairs drowning in her grief. How has the She Walks contributed to that?
Wow, in so many ways.
I joke that blogging is like therapy, but it's absolutely true. It helps me get my thoughts out, and challenges me to do so in an organized way. This really helps put things (whereby I mean "my life") into perspective.
More importantly, the feedback is/has been life-altering. It's life-affirming to hear "I felt that way, too!" I honestly had no idea I would be "relatable." But it's also nice to be kept in check. (Even when they're trollish, I think the negative comments help keep things real in a "get over yourself" kind of way.)
Lastly, I have dreamed of being an author for pretty much my whole life. To blog, and to have an audience, is incredibly inspiring. It helps me believe that I could really be a "writer" someday (and that in some ways, I already am).
If you could take revenge on your Ex in some way, without him knowing who did it, would you? What would you do, if so?
Well, let me rephrase.
He has to live with what he did, just as I have to live with what I did. We were both at fault, he was simply more of a jackass. The only thing I want from him -- or did, anyway -- is for him to feel remorse. If he doesn't, or never did, he's then bound to repeat his mistakes. To which I say, "Eh, he's someone else's problem now."
Besides, I really have moved on. Blogging the experience was unexpectedly cathartic. And if living well is the best revenge, then Dave? If you're reading this? Neener, neener.
How did you meet Ish?
I met Ish when he replied to a Craigslist ad of mine. On paper (erm, or email, you know) he seemed great, and I was convinced we'd hit it off even if the chemistry wasn't there. Like, even if we didn't have a romantic spark, I thought we could find a way to be friends.
He wrote me at about 4 p.m. on a Friday, and we met at 8:30 p.m. the next night. Just like that.
Funny enough, our first date didn't start out very well at all. The first date story is here.
Can you describe to us the precise nature of your relationship with him?
Oh, sure. How much time do you have left?
This question deserves its own entry and I've been thinking about it for a long time now. The problem is (and has always been): what do you write about your relationship when your partner reads your blog?
But here we are. It's been over two-and-a-half years now and our relationship is awesome. We're serious about each other. We've moved in together. We discuss the possibilities of a future together. But there's no timetable and no exact commitment.
He's not ready. And I? If I say I don't think I'm ready, either, I am lying. And if I say I think I am, then I am the girl that no one wants to be. You know, the one whose options are to "wait" or "leave."
So yeah. More on this later.
You write that you started the blog as somewhat of a weight loss diary. What do you see the main purpose of it as today?
I started this blog as a weight-loss diary when I thought that blogs had to have a theme. And while I've learned that "themed" blogs are easier to find, tag, index, and reference, I still don't wanna. Because I am a "life" blogger, and want to write about my life as it's happening. I don't want to lose readers or credibility because I only write about weight-loss once in a blue moon.
Maybe we can start a theme for those of us who are life bloggers, whose category would be None Of The Above.
Oh me? I'm a NOTA blogger.
How do you deal with the fact that some three years later the issue of losing weight hasn't been resolved?
I guess I feel the same way about the fact that it's actually been like, ten years (give or take several years in my adolescence and teen years) and my weight loss hasn't been resolved: crappy.
I am constantly failing at my attempts, and constantly trying to figure out why. I do believe it's a matter of motivation -- I'm pretty good at doing things I want to do. Except I can't figure out how to make it matter enough, realistically.
It's a bit over-simplistic, but to find the right motivation kind of requires un-learning a lifetime of beliefs. I honestly thought that I would achieve less, was in fact worth less, if I was overweight. And, when I was pushed far enough down this road and hit rock bottom, I was able -- finally -- to lose weight. Fear of never being successful, of never being with an attractive man, of never being treated like a respect-worthy citizen by "society" eventually spooked me. My switch was flipped on, and I went from being fitness-averse to being obsessed about weightloss.
In case you missed it the first time around, I chronicled (rather succinctly, I should add) my fat-thin-fat-present escapades here:
Escape From Stepford: A Weighty History (part 1 of 3)
Escape From Stepford: A Weighty History (part 2 of 3)
Escape From Stepford: A Weighty History (part 3 of 3)
I'm in a funny place now, though. I don't feel like my life has been hindered by not being thin. Somewhere along the way -- perhaps because of my ex-husband, perhaps because of my moving to San Francisco, perhaps because I've simply grown up -- my sense of self-worth has stopped equating to my body size.
Which is a wonderful thing, right?
Yes and no.
Yes, because la la la rainbows and unicorns and hurrah for loving ourselves and just walking around with it.
No, because I do not like being this weight, I don't want to stay this weight, and man -- being "spooked" is SUCH a good motivator. I just can't seem to grab that one thing, to tap into that one motivational kicker that will jump-start me and keep me on track.
But I think I will yet.
Do you feel that the blog has changed the course of your real life? If so, how?
Sure, in lots of ways.
Feeling like I really could be a writer, for one.
Validation that I'm funny is also really important.
But probably the biggest impact my blog has had on my day-to-day life is in my career.
I attended BlogHer '06 with Whinger and (indirectly) Jenny, just because we all had blogs and were like, I guess we should go to this thing, huh? I had NO idea before I attended how big blogging was, how many women were doing it, or that there were any "rockstars" other than Dooce. I had never heard the term "mommyblogger." My head practically exploded.
While I was there, I was also overcome with the desire to be a part of it. Not just the blogosphere, but of BlogHer. It was clear that they were on to something potentially huge, yes, but also my event planner beacon was screeching at me: HELP THEM! DO SOMETHING! GET IN THERE!
I contacted Elisa after the event, basically saying I want to be part of you! If you're looking to hire someone with my background, pick me! We met for lunch a few weeks later, and a few weeks after that, I joined the organization.
If you could spend one day with your mother today, how would you spend it?
I could get super verbose here, but I won't.
I would not want a single day with her. The very notion makes me feel like I've been punched in the gut, and just typing this requires me to hold back tears.
I miss her every day. I have regrets -- things I said to her, things I didn't say to her, things we should have done, things we didn't do -- that run so deep I am not sure I will ever outlive them. I carry around grief the way anyone who has experienced this kind of loss does. It never goes away, it just comes and goes, like an unpredictable emotional tide.
But I have learned to live with it. I have healed, somewhat. I have gotten used to the fact that this is my reality (as much as I can).
I could not bear to have the wound re-opened. To have her here and then gone again, to start the grieving process all over again...? No, it would simply be too painful.
What would you say to her?
Well, and this is the other problem. I would probably spend the whole time apologizing. For not being a better daughter or person, for not understanding more, for not being more patient with her, for ever being angry with her -- for still being angry with her -- for not listening more, for not asking more questions, for not giving her the benefit of the doubt all the time, for not helping her, for growing up, for going away.
I would like her to know that I get it now. And I am sorry.
What do you miss most about her?
The first answer that comes to mind is, not surprisingly, her laugh. She was funny and she had a smile that'd knock your socks off. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of her where she's smiling the way she did in "real life."
Her smile was an experience.
But if I'm going to be raw, the answer is having a mommy.
I miss having her around to be my mom, for all the reasons that are unique to any mother-daughter.
I have so many wonderful maternal influences (I even call Hakuna "M2" for "Mom 2" or "Second Mom"), and I am lucky for them. It's not something I really talk about, but I relish getting to spend the night in homes where there's a mom who's about my mom's age, like when visiting Hakuna or Jane. I love visiting Ish's parents' house. I sleep better, warmer, safer.
I miss being someone's daughter. I miss being my mom and dad's daughter especially.
What do you think she would say about the woman you have become?
I can't handle the emotional side of this question, so I will answer it more pragmatically.
My mom was a complete free-spirit before having kids, and I never got a chance to meet that side of her (except when it leaked out). I think she'd see my life in San Francisco, and be pleased that I have found a balance between the "must-get-married-get-high-powered-job" alien version of me that I tried on when I was 20ish, and the re-interpretation I'm currently living.
She'd be happy with my being happy, of course.
She would wish that I was thinner, even if she'd never say so. She'd want my a cappella group to have a CD.
She would love my blog, she would LOVE the name of it, and she would read every day. She would write me emails telling me what I forgot and what I should write about (I would listen to her some of the time). And eventually -- it would take some coaxing -- she would start her own. And then she'd be obsessed with it.
She'd be thrilled about my relationship with my sisters.
She probably wouldn't say it in so many words, but she'd love how much my sisters and I are like our father, too.
I have no doubt that she would adore my selection of Ish and his of me. (She would be perhaps a little vocal on the subject of grandchildren.)
I try every day to be the kind of person who she'd be proud of. Even when I don't do so consciously, I make all of my decisions with my parents in mind. They wanted nothing more than for us to be loving, and loved, and happy, and to have as much fun as possible.
What more could I possibly aspire to?