Her Bad Mother

Monday, June 5, 2006

Psst... wanna hear a secret?

As regular visitors here know, I've struggled with the constraints of writing in a semi-public forum. How to write about experiences that have confused, angered or upset me, or left me in a state of anxiety, when such stories involve people who know about the blog? People who might read and be hurt, offended, or upset? How to write about the things that keep me awake at night, things that I really yearn to work out on the page, but that I'm afraid might reveal too much about me?

A couple of months back, I had a run-in with someone that left me frustrated and angry. This someone said some things about parents of babies that infuriated me. But I couldn't write about it here. My antagonist knew about the blog, and I was afraid that writing about the incident would be hurtful. And that it might provoke a confrontation that I did not wish to have. So I wrote an Un-Rant, a rant about not being able to rant about the experience that I had had.

The Un-Rant helped a little. But not enough. (Also? Caused more problems than a plain old confrontation would have. Everyone thought that the post was about them. Frantic phone calls and e-mails from freaked-out friends and family members wondering what they had done. Fuck. Take it from me: ambiguous rants are trouble. Avoid.) So I started a second blog, a secret blog, with the intention of airing all of my issues without the constraints of self-censorship. A blog that I would tell no-one about. A private space; a room of my own. A place to write freely.

But it's not really so private, because it's part of my Blogger house. The door to that basement lair is clearly visible to anyone who crosses the welcome mat. Which is - and this is going to sound so twisted - sort of how I wanted it. I wanted other people to know about it, and to want to hang out there. My secret clubhouse! Where we can share secrets! Come on in!

Which defeated my own original purposes, but I'm messed up that way.

I set up this secret clubhouse, in which secrets would be shared and virtual cigarettes and liquor sneaked, and then left a trail of wine bottles for everyone to follow. Which means that my own secret-sharing would not be so secret. I would need to be circumspect about what secrets to share and how to share them. Which, I'll say it again, defeats the purpose.

Or so I thought.

I can't divulge my own secrets in my basement lair. But you can divulge yours there. If you want.

When I posted, the other week, about wanting to write freely - to get the shit out, to get the shit figured out, to get support - so many of you responded with resounding 'OMG, me toos.' So many of you said, in comments or in e-mails, that you've struggled with the desire and/or need to tell stories that you were reluctant or afraid to tell on your blogs. For the same reasons that I've been reluctant: because it would expose too much. Because the wrong person might read it. Because it would darken up an otherwise light and cheery space. Because you just don't feel comfortable saying whatever it is that you're yearning to say on the front porch of your blog home.

And then a very dear friend came right out and asked: can I borrow your secret lair? There's a story that I'd like to tell, that I need to tell, but I can't say it out in the bright light of day, where just anyone could hear...

Of course, I said. Of course. Come on down. It's dark down there, but cozy. We can talk there.

So she's there now, curled up in a virtual beanbag chair in her comfiest jammies, virtual drink in hand, ignoring the wood panelling and the velvet paint-by-numbers art and fading Tiger Beat posters (Duran Duran) and stale smell of basement while she tells her story. Please go have a listen. And share your thoughts, and hugs.

And then, if you want, tell your story. Use the secret lair to tell your secrets or your scary stories or the feelings that you just haven't worked out fully enough to blog publicly about. Maybe you've got some funny stories that you just don't want everyone to hear. Or maybe you just want to solicit feedback or support on something that is just too weird/icky/loaded to put on your blog (was anyone else afraid of shitting after giving birth? Of sex? Anyone else bleed for 6 weeks? Anyone else forget to buckle baby into car seat? Watch baby fall off bed? Anyone convinced that they're irretrievably physically/emotionally/mentally messed up? The worst mother ever?)

Maybe you just want to chatter nonsensically about the latest gossip (Anna Nicole pregnant OMFG!) without cluttering up your own blog. Or maybe there's something more serious that you want/need to work out on the page, something too dark or touchy or weird for public airing (I'm scared to take meds/not take meds/have another baby/not have another baby/think about my miscarriage/not think about my miscarriage/yell at my mother/not yell at my mother.) Or maybe you just want to bitch about your in-laws. (Which you of course would never do, because they are all delightful.)

I hereby declare the Secret Lair open to one and all. Anyone who wants to talk/share/story-tell/rant off-blog, this is the place. Come on in.

Scratch 'Boys.' Should read: No TARDS Allowed. Boys are fine, if they're nice.

So this is now your secret, off-blog space, for sharing whatever you want to share but shouldn't/couldn't/won't share in the bright light of your own blog. You can do it anonymously, pseudonymously or in your own name. If you want me to direct traffic to your 'secret' post from my main site, I'll do that. I'll link it up and talk it up and send people to the basement to hear your story. But if you want to just keep it to the lair, quiet-like, I'll respect that too.

You can either send me your post via e-mail, or contact me for the log-in info and post it yourself (so long as you promise to log out!) I will never reveal the identity, blog or otherwise, of anyone who posts there, unless you want me too.

This will be our secret space. We'll share secrets (who knows, I may drum up the nerve to adopt the veil of anonymity there and share my own secrets, too, finally!), raid the virtual liquor cabinet and talk late into the night, collapsing on the shag-carpeted floor in giggles and tears.

It's cozy here. A good place for secrets. Striped giraffes tell no tales...


Blogger kittenpie said...

Lovely! You are becoming quite the hub of the togetherness-among-mommy bloggers movement, aren't you?! I may have a thing or two for you some time...

9:00 PM  
Blogger chichimama said...

What an awesome idea! I am probably going to take you up on it, although I have so many unblogable issues that I should really just start my own unblog :-).

9:20 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

Once again, you come up with the Good Idea.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Jezer said...

Well, I'll be damned! You never cease to amaze me! Excellent idea.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have email.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

what a great idea!!
I love the picture of Wonder Baby...she has the biggest most beautiful eyes!

10:03 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

This is a great idea...you never cease to amaze me.

10:20 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Excellent idea. I will take you up on it someday.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

This is a good, good thing to do. Oh, and that thing about the six weeks of bleeding? Biggest lie mothers are ever told: there will be some light bleeding that will turn pink by the end of the first week, and then clear. WTF?!!?

10:42 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Excellent idea. Though I've been toying with the idea of doing my own anonymous blog as the taboo topics list seems to be growing. I may just take you up on your offer now and then. If you have room for me, that is. Sounds like this clubhouse might need to be a whole wing off the main house.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mohterhood Uncensored is freaking hilarious. That girl is a writing machine.

I agree- kickass idea. I think I may take you up on your offer as well. I have some angsty posts that need to be written, but definitely not placed on The Silent K for all to feel attacked by.

Aah, I feel better just thinking about it. HBM- what ever did before I "met" you?

11:28 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

This is a great idea... But why does it make me think of Fight Club? LOL. "what's said in the club house, stays in the club house."


12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link...

12:37 AM  
Blogger Cristina said...

Ingenious! Really.

You. Rock.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Brilliant. I love this and thank you for this. You still rock :)

5:42 AM  
Blogger Carolyn S. said...

What a great idea, a secret clubhouse. Is there a virtual handshake I should be aware of?

8:17 AM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

Love, love, love the idea.
I was so excited about my blog and now everyone I am close to reads it - friends, family, colleagues - which is great except that I get really annoyed at times and I really feel I can't post it.
Like can I say it annoyed me when my husband said I need to stop having temper tantrums when my son does??? Or that my in-laws drive me CRAZY??? No because my husband and in-laws read my frigging blog and get mad.
Please let me in your secret clubhouse.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Great idea! There are lots of things I can't post on my own site, generally about my husband. Now I will have an outlet. It's like Postsecret, only in essay form.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I made the same mistake, letting my family and friends in on the blog. I, too, created a secret blog to vent about things I don't want appearing on my main one. I thought about sending an e-mail to all my blog pals inviting them to join in but never got around to it. You can hide it from your profile, you know, but still make it a public site. I haven't posted anything to mine....yet. Feel free to use mine if you want/need to!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

lady, I am so ready to curl up on that beanbag and have a bit of a bitch. when I feel the need to vent, I will definitely avail myself of the facilities. the "what to write" politics of my own blog really piss me off sometimes.


12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. This is exactly what I needed to find this week. Awesome idea. I'll be knocking on that door shortly with a few extra cans of beer to share.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful idea. So many times I have thought, I need to tell this to people who understand, without running the risk that other people will see it and recognize themselves.

Thank you. I don't know if I'm ready to send you e-mail yet, but I will be at the clubhouse, waiting to welcome others with hugs and drinks of choice.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. I have so been wanting to blog about something that I haven't been able to blog about lately that I've practically stopped blogging! I mean, I've been down to like one post a week, because every time I try to blog, I think about the thing I want to blog about but feel like I can't, and then I get all pissy.

I didn't start blogging so I could get pissed off all the time, you know?

So, anyway, can I hang in the secret clubhouse sometime too? I mean, I'm a total nerd trying to crash the cool kids' party here, but I do make awesome brownies . . .

(No, not THAT kind of brownies. I mean, unless you want that kind of brownies).

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is such an AWESOME idea! I originally had the domain name dawnisaac.com but I gave it up. Even with my new domain name I am very hesitant to write about some issues. It is sad really. But I am going to go check out. It sounds like something a lot of us can use. ttyl.

12:27 AM  
Blogger ms blue said...

I bow down to you Oh Master of our secrets! You knew exactly what we needed. I can't wait to run around naked in your basement.

You seriously rock!

4:07 AM  
Blogger JChevais said...

Great idea. There have been times when I've wanted to write something and then I think twice because my 80 year old aunt reads my blog.


It's kind of scary.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I just say that, as the first guest poster in the secret lair, it has been a fantastic, cathartic experience that surpassed even my rather high expectations. I always look forward to comments, they are my favourite part of the blogosphere, but this time out, they've meant so much more. To all that posted or contacted me through HBM, thank you so much. You've all helped me a lot.

9:49 AM  
Blogger scarbie doll said...

Cool idea! As I clearly don't know what "secret" or "private" mean (could you tell?), I will truly have to mine the depths of my brain to find something to say there. Because, you know, I gotta participate!

9:45 PM  
Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen said...

Save me a beanbag chair. I guess we all made the beginner blogger mistake of telling the world. I'll have to get busy writing.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I might have to take you up on that offer. I've been wanting to vent about something (or rather- SOMEONE) and I couldn't do it on my blog. I'll be in touch LOL.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fabulous idea!! I'd like to join. I have lots to vent about, and would love to get it out! and among virtual friends, or future virtual friends is even better!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Great idea and I can't wait to share my secrets!!!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

a) I'm falling in love with you.

b) I want to move into your basement. Is there a weird, smallish bedroom located off to the side of the basement? y'know, with an old, cast-off twin bed and some funny, flowered sheets that are about thirty-two years old, and some really squished pillows, and odd remnants of charity shop furniture, with a bunch of old macrame and driftwood art piled in a corner? Because I totally see myself there.

c) did I mention I'm in love with you?

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last picture with the striped giraffe is killing me.

But I will revive myself long enough to go and check out The Secret Lair.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shee, I meant killing me with cuteness. Not in a bad way. SHould have clarified.

11:23 PM  
Blogger mama without instructions said...

awesome. this is great! i am just having that kind of day that finding this here is making me cry.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the most loving things I have ever found on the web. Loving means admitting you can't fix anything and still walking the painful mile with another person. I am a psychic. That is a flash point to say, but I hope I can just let it sit there without people needing to react to that. Because the reason I share that is to tell you my experience of how we are with one another. When I give a 'reading' to someone, I step into a position to share information from a guiding, loving part of themselves. I don't 'read minds' or 'see things'. The part of me that is larger than myself connects with the same part of them and I experience things in an empathic way and express as best I can what that part of themselves is trying to communicate in dreams and coincidences and every other available mode of communication, including me. I don't tell people things that shock them. I tell them things that they say they thought about a couple of weeks ago or saw a movie about etc. The thing I want to share is what I learn about people from what I do.

When I say I like tomatoes and you say you hate them, I am aware that tomatoes do not taste the same to each of us. Individual body chemistry makes things taste unique. There are also some physiological influences on taste such as tolerence for bitterness, dislike of dry foods, preference of salty or sweet. In other words, a number of interacting factors go into what a tomato tastes like to one person.

Some people experience the world very visually, others auditorialy, still others kinesthetically. We are living in very different worlds. That isolates us and makes it difficult to understand one another. More than anything, we need to reach across the divides that keep us at arms lengths. Those differences mean that no matter how hard we try, communication will always be imperfect. But nothing matters more than trying to hear each other and trying to speak our truth to make us more able to be heard.

In my perception of people, we are largely struggling to live the best that we can. People I might take a dislike to in a normal interaction are revealed in a reading to be awesomely intricate but so lovable and admirable. Most of us live with an inner voice that is brutal, ruthless and cruel judging every thought we have and our every act. To create a safe place for us to be the lesser person we fear ourselves to be sneaking our comforting cigarette or drink and lay down the shields for a bit is a deep kindness. To speak here and trust each other with our most tender, fragile feelings requires great courage. I admire you who write and our hostess who keeps the lamp lit.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are brilliant. Thanks for doing this!

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. Can you post your email addresss for the basement in a comment? The link isn't working for me for some reason. Thanks.

7:10 PM  

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