But this last week. Jesus god. Holy nefarious, Batman. At this point, I completely get why (for example) on Twitter well-known people not only get to get themselves a little blue check but often also refuse to interact with other Internet people on a regular basis. It's dicey out there, sweet Reader(s). Live your lives, but don't let anybody in too far until they really, truly prove to you who they are and exactly why they want to know you and what their intentions are.
For someone who got to deal with a crazy Internet stalker 10 years ago, I've been pretty open to people and fairly unafraid to be real on this blog...I try to use my best judgment on what to tell you, how much to share, and how to do it in a way that won't land me on the 5 o'clock news or in court. I have regularly opened myself up here to judgment, scrutiny, mocking, enemies disguised as friends/friends disguised as enemies, the mentally unstable and the absolutely disturbed, and all the ass crazy, fucked up Internet stalkers planet Earth has to offer.
Because I refuse (REFUSE) to be forced into silence. I will NOT live my life in fear, though I do regularly make sure all my doors and windows are locked and all my important accounts have secure passwords.
I just think all the stress and freaked out moments are worth it in the end if something I say or share connects to or helps someone else out there. We are a storytelling species; I don't know any other way to be and quite frankly if I'm NOT writing or telling my stories, I'm very serious: I'm not okay. So I come here to tell stories, my stories, and whoever decides to stop by can read about what's going on in my life if they're interested, as well as how I'm dealing with all of it and the thought processes - however messy or all over the place dysfunctional - that are sorting it all out in my brain. I put it all out there knowing whoever stumbles upon me and my writing can judge me, hate me, love me, (mis)understand me, or find me ridiculous and pointless and go get some fresh air. I think Humanity is a big, stinkin' mess. And I like it like that.
That's the whole point of blogs, and writing. Vent your spleen. Be openly ridiculous. Haphazardly joyful. Live freely. Ask for help. Plead for mercy. Try your hand at comedy writing. Be dramatic. Write down some of your own little soap operas. Make mistakes. Make friends. Make enemies. Earn fans, score haters. Gain stalkers. ...All of that. Isn't Life one big, glorious chaotic mess? I do love it with all of me, even the moments that find me sobbing uncontrollably in a fetal position clutching an empty tub of Sea Salt caramel gelato and/or a half-empty bottle of wine. I don't like them as I'm working through them, but when they're over I appreciate them for the spiritual muscle-building moments they are.
And if you - like me - are an expressive creative and so inclined, you can live it all out loud on a blog and occasionally social media if you can be concise. It's why Al Gore made the Internet, sweet people...He did it for all of us. (Blessed be his name.) (Where IS Al, by the way? I hope he's well and busy at work creating the next big thing that will guide us all to more navel gazing and the leaving of sociopathic-level comments in comments sections of online news blog articles, comments that clearly indicate we didn't even read the whole article because who has time for reason when psycho judging is so much fun?) (Sorry...I was reading some comments sections of education articles on HuffPost earlier today and lands, fellow Internet users. Logic is your friend, use it.)
...Though I've heard some people start blogs to earn money and/or gain notoriety and fame. Which is not why I started this blog. Because you have to get enough readers (which I do not).
So. Whoever wants to can come here and read, judge or not judge, like or dislike me, wish good things for me or cast curses upon me and all my descendants. Doesn't bother me, because ultimately I'm going to keep on keeping on. I've spent a long, loooong time working hard to figure out what matters most to me and who I am. I know myself. I know my quirks, I know my pathologies, I know where I usually flunk at Life and where I tend to soar. At the end of the day, I'm a nice person; I am who and what I say I am no matter what you decide to think. If someone wants to hurt me or hate me or wish me ill because they didn't like something I said or did or whatever their reason/s, that says more about them than it ever will about me. You shall not destroy my faith in Humanity's ultimate goodness or the power of connection via storytelling.
(That all sounds very dramatic and cryptic, I'm sorry. But it's how I'm doing things right now. Dramatic and cryptic.) (We are now in Phase 3 of Amy's Big Life Changes, FYI.)
Can I tell you a story that I love a lot?
There are a people in Namibia, on the continent of Africa, called the Himba. The Himba believe a person's birthday isn't the day they're born or even the moment they're conceived. When a Himba woman decides she wants to have a baby, she goes away from the village and sits under a tree (or wherever she will not be eaten by a lion). She doesn't move or leave that spot until she hears her baby's song. Once she knows the song, she goes back to the village and to the man who'll be the baby's father. She teaches him the song, and they make love, singing the baby's song until it's created. And even after that, they sing the song to the fetus as it grows.
When the baby is born, everyone who helps bring that baby into the world sings the song. As a Himba child grows up, people in the village constantly sing the child's song to him/her - if they fall down, they are picked up and their song is sung. When they get sick or scared, someone sings them their song. As they grow, they constantly hear their song - through every milestone, every rite of passage, every sickness, every celebration, every sad moment, every happy moment.
And, as a Himba tribe member lays dying, every person in the village who knows their song will come to their side to sing it to them as they leave the world. So, in Himba culture, your song is sung to you at every moment, from the time before you are even conceived, to the moment you take your first breath, to the moment you take your last. And even after you are gone, those who remember you will sing your song.
Another time the Himba sing someone's song is when a tribe member does something that upsets the balance. If a member of the tribe steals something, hurts someone, or violates any other societal norm, they are brought to the center of the village and everyone who knows that person's song stands around them in a circle and sings it to them over and over, until they are brought to their knees in repentance. Because the Himba don't believe in good or bad, sin or salvation. They believe that, when we do bad things, it isn't because of a God or a Devil or because people are bad or good. It's because they believe that when people do bad things or make poor choices, it's because they've forgotten their song. Because their songs are who they are; their songs are their souls.
You are your song, your song is you. What's your song? Mine is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It defines me, it has been with me for a very, very long time, it is almost a part of who I am. I chose it for myself when I was seven, from the moment I first saw Judy Garland sing it on my family's 1970s television. I was spellbound and it was stamped on my soul for life. When I hear it, all of the happiness and goodness from my childhood wrap me up and make me feel safe and hopeful and loved and warm. Any version of it - the original movie version, Israel kamakawiwo'ole's version of it, The Ramones' punk version, Jimi Hendrix's rock star god take, Ray Charles's blues-y interpretation. When I hear that song, no matter what box it's wrapped up in, I feel love.
You know what's really interesting to me? The Wicked Witch doesn't have a song. She's the only main character in the movie who doesn't get a song. I think that's kind of important, for some reason. If you don't have a song, you ought to think about maybe finding you one. I asked Miss M the other day what she thinks her song is and, after dealing with a lot silly flippancy and ridiculousness and one gigantic emotional power struggle meltdown, she decided she liked Three Little Birds. Good choice, though I do not anticipate this sticking as her song...I bet she's going to finally end up with Madonna's Bitch I'm Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj which she likes to watch on YouTube over and over until I have to beg her to switch it to Katy Perry or One Direction.
At any rate. Stories matter. Not living your life in fear matters. Being real matters. Being kind matters. Being careful and protective of yourself also matters, too. Staying open matters. But so does quietly closing a door if you discover you've opened it to something unsafe. And songs matter. So go get you a song if you don't have one, and sing it or listen to it sung to you whenever you need to feel safe or loved or remember Who You Are. Don't forget that Wicked Witches never win, and that a single, well-placed kiss and a comfy pair of sparkly red shoes can have more power over all the fucked up evil in the world than the entire nuclear arsenals of all the countries in the world. Or that sometimes all it takes is choosing a good song that speaks to your soul to remind you who you are and why you're here. It's all good, because we are Music.
Unless you're a Wicked Witch. (But this a water-y planet, sooo...we'll see how that works out for you.)