One Reader’s Comment Paralyzes Me & I’m in Love with Someone New!
One of my readers shamed me, which has paralyzed my typing fingers. It was in response to my post There’s Always Gonna Be Haters. I’ll post the comment below for your perusal. But first this:
It’s Monday. Hence I guess I should mention that I’m in love with someone. It is someone who is not my husband and also has a vagina. I love her, but don’t want to have sex with her. It’s a passionate love, nonetheless.
Her name is Hannah Horvath, if you must know. She looks like this:
And says things like this: “He treats me like an ottoman with a vagina.”
And this: “That romance, that mystery, that thrill, that goes. And you know what you’re left with? Trying to seduce someone who just wants you to leave so they can jerk off and take the bus to rehearsal.”
And let us not forget this: “Please don’t tell anyone this, but I wanna be happy.”
We are decidedly in different phases of our lives. She, young, single, sleeping around confusedly. Me, not young, married, raising kids confusedly.
But what I love about her most is her writers block. Her moods as a writer swinging between self-doubt and grandiosity. Her determination to quit for good, then succumbing to the siren song of Iowa or book publishers, which call her back to crash upon the rocky shoals of the Artist’s Life.
While I love her deeply I admittedly resent her alter ego, Lena Dunham, for being so fucking prolific, because this is how I feel today toward my Writing (henceforward known as That-Bitch-Margaret).
That-Bitch-Margaret has nothing left to say. She’s tired of being judged and picked apart. She’s being a churlish little pouter.
I’m looking at the computer waiting for it to inspire me and TBM. It looks back. Mute.
Actually it doesn’t look back. A computer is an inanimate object that doesn’t care about me or that slatternly loafer TBM.
I feel it should care about me as I need to be important and I spend most of my time with my computer so it should appreciate me because it was expensive and it glitches unexpectedly and loses shit I’ve been working on and gives me carpal tunnel syndrome.
It occurs to me that I’m in an abusive relationship with my computer.
Which also steals my money with its Sundance Catalogue pop-up ads and sends me unrequested images in my sidebar of women’s naked boobs.
In an effort to forget about my writer’s block, I’m going to go practice some of the dance exercises my ballroom dance instructor, Russell, says I need to do between classes. I may or may not be back. (fuck u computer and TBM).
… kick ball change … and rhumba … promenade … and shuffle step … one and two and quick quick …
I’m back. I think I tore a muscle near my ribcage doing my ballroom dance body isolation twists.
I miss Hannah. Off to visit her on Girls. But first, the comment that painted That-Bitch-Margaret and me as faithless, attention-mongering narcissists.
Shannon— (author’s note: she means Margaret)
It doesn’t seem like your neighbors are “haters”. Your neighbor said she finds your blog TMI and embarrassing because they know you and Henry, and perhaps reading about his penis-waving in the hall feels cringe-worthy to her.
Her view maybe is that sexual intimacy is private. This doesn’t mean she is a religious fanatic, a tight-ass, or a mean hateful sour-puss. It probably means she holds the generally accepted view that people who love each other keep their most private details to themselves— as do the great majority of people.
After living how many years in Southern California, you and your husband still can’t distinguish a polite “let’s do lunch” brush-off from an real invitation? It would seem your neighbor (who long ago stopped extending invitations) was embarrassed that you could see they were having a party and didn’t include you. She may have wanted to respond in a way that would let both of you save face. But instead you show up and, of course, your blog becomes an immediate topic of conversation. Finding this subject uncomfortable, she responded in a quick negative way to cut off the conversation.
Why does your neighbor’s reaction surprise you? A major retailer you wanted to be associated with, Boden, I believe, told you in no uncertain terms they found your blog explicit in a way the company found pornographic. You reported sometime later your blog is blocked on certain public wi-fi networks as having inappropriate or objectionable content.
Actions have consequences. You, of course, are free to write about whatever you want. And if you meet with social rejection, that is the cost. When people find something objectionable their only duty is to be polite and generally respectful— Which it seemed your neighbor tried to be in what was a very embarrassing situation for her.
It is quite possible your blog has had and will have negative consequences for your family. It is the norm to check social media before hiring someone, accepting a college application, or when meeting a new colleague or acquaintance.
It’s easy to identify exactly who the individuals in your family are. The simplest search reveals all their identities and photographs.
How many professional job opportunities, commissions, or assignments has your husband lost because it could be easy to take him for a bit of buffoon in your comic writing. You might not mean this to be the case, but consider a high-powered executive reading about your husband’s urgent penis-waving or his inability to dominate you in the bedroom, as you would like. It makes a lovely gentle man the object of potential ridicule. Would a husband of any of your female friends consent to a comic analysis of their sexual performance in public?
How many mothers will wonder if your daughters have the same promiscuous and self-destructive attitude toward sex that you report you had when you were young? How many of their sons will assume your girls have this attitude in high school and beyond? How often will one of your daughters have to defend against the cruelty of other children directed at them because of your blog?
What will a really good college think of your daughter’s parenting and values based on your continuing discussion of the importance of your personal appearance, sexiness, and appearing young. What is being modeled by your continuous re-hashing of minor celebrity encounters, some going back nearly 20 years?
Your family all love you and will probably say they don’t care what your writing costs them. But how much do you care? Theirs could be a very high price, indeed. And none of you will ever know exactly how high, because it comes in the form of a silent rejection— the offer not made, the whispers and laughter out of earshot behind one’s back, the application denied, the friendship or invitation not extended. Perhaps your neighbor’s honest rejection is a wake-up call. Or not.
You are a smart, talented, and very witty writer. Perhaps you think you don’t have anything to say beyond an endless dissection of your appearance and your sex life.
Your title “The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful” rather seems like a plea for readers to say no no Shannon you ARE beautiful. How many naked pictures and glamorous pin-up shots are necessary to convince someone they are beautiful enough?
No one says you have to write about ISIS, economics, or world politics. But it seems you have much more to offer than the rather limited range of topics usually presented here— Topics which could turn out to be quite costly for those you love. You are very gifted and have written movingly about your relationship with your mother and stepmother. There is much more to you than your appearance, your age, or your sexiness.
You could dismiss this as being from a “hater” but I suspect you know all this in your heart already or you wouldn’t have reported your rejection or reacted in the very distressed manner that you did. Perhaps you wanted readers to say no no Shannon keep it up— and some readers did. But only you can decide if following your bliss, which is of little real economic value to your family, is worth the social cost and the resulting harm to them. Don’t pretend that there is none.