Reasons why I should start a blog:

1) Clearly, professional blogger is the perfect job for me. Total no-brainer. Overall I would consider myself an agnostic, at most a believer in a watchmaker god or maybe, to be slightly more generous, an absentee-dad god who drops in periodically, just long enough to toss you five pounds of veal on Christmas…but you can’t help but think the fact that being snarky and pop-culture savvy while simultaneously lacking any sort of healthy boundaries about personal disclosure became a viable career option at exactly the same time that I graduated from college has to indicate something close to fate or kismet. I started my first blog after reading an essay about Blogspot on the back page of Entertainment Weekly in the summer of ’01, sitting on a white couch in an overpriced sublet on the upper west side, typing on my tangerine clamshell iBook, basically waiting for a job to fall into my lap. Which it did. And then I pissed it away, in a glorious spasm of mania and drugs and lust and pure old-fashioned youthful idiocy the way you only can when you’re 22 years old in the most important city in the world and you picture yourself as a bon vivant, as the star of your own movie, when really you’re a dancing monkey with a lithium tremor and a lithium belly to match. But that all goes back to the bit about lacking boundaries. About difficulty using discretion. About not sticking your foot in your mouth. And more than anything, not indicting innocent bystanders who are drenched in your wake. And that brings me to…

Reasons why I should not start a blog:

1) Anything interesting I have to say these days is going to involve my family. My husband, yes, but mostly my kids. And they are nothing if not innocent bystanders. I have funny things to say about politics, about pop culture, about people being Wrong on the Internet…but for the most part, this will end up being a mommy blog, to one degree or another. And I don’t know how I feel about mommy blogs, on the whole. Is it fair to discuss your children in a medium like this? Where everything about their life becomes fair game for bullies and trolls? What if Evan wants to be Supreme Court justice someday? Are my copious posts about his bowel movements going to condemn him to a life as a cowboy-booted stripper? (I will not actually be discussing his bowel movements.) It has been hard for me, over the last ten years, to learn when I’ve said too much. Is blogging not, almost by definition, saying too damn much? I think I have a lot to share that will be enjoyable and relatable, even helpful to other parents of girls with autism, or other women with mental and physical health issues…but you always run the risk of becoming Ayelet Waldman or Heather Armstrong, two other bipolar chicks who had the audacity to run their mouths off about their kids for profit and were promptly crucified by the mommy hordes and the elite bloggers who mock us all from their n+1 parties in Kensington. I’m sure the two of them cry themselves to sleep at night on their piles of money (or, in Waldman’s case, using Michael Chabon’s chest as a pillow and thinking about how much her kids suck by comparison), but I don’t know if I could handle such constant heinous vitriol as I know even mildly successful bloggers receive. It’s hard enough for me to get to sleep at night without having to worry that some disgruntled men’s rights advocate is tracking me by my IP address because I casually mentioned that I think misandry is bullshit (as evidenced by my autocorrect refusing to accept it multiple times: “Miss sandy? Me angry? Please tell me you’re not actually trying to type misandry. Mist and dry??”). But even just thinking about this has me a little bit pie-in-the-sky…maybe someday I could get the flying monkeys of Age of Autism sicced on me! What if I managed to end up linked on some subreddit full of mouthbreathers that don’t like the cut of my jib? Maybe Slut Machine from Jezebel could write yet another unbearable Mommy Wars article that references my disdain for mommy wars articles? To be successful is to invite critique, and on the Internet critique can be both vicious and visceral…but once you get flamed, that’s when you know you’ve made it.

Reasons why I should start a blog:

2) “I want everyone to remember me; I don’t want anyone to ever forget me.” -Madonna

Reasons why I shouldn’t start a blog:

2) “She gave away the secrets of her past and said, ‘I’ve lost control again.'” -Joy Division

Reasons why I should start a blog:

3) No one else has my story. I know; I’ve looked. I’ve looked out there for bipolar mothers of preschool girls with autism who may or may not be on the verge of developing an undifferentiated connective tissue disease. As far as I can tell, I’m the only one. Or else I’m not the only one, but I’m the only one who’s in a position to talk.

Reasons why I shouldn’t start a blog:

3) Some stories I have to tell from my past could implicate other people who, while not exactly “innocent” in any reasonable sense of the term, don’t deserve to have their youthful follies dredged up so I can make hay of them on WordPress for a few cents in Google Ads. And stories I have to tell in the future will involve my beautiful children who, at the time of this writing, actually are pretty darn innocent, although I know that won’t last. I would sorta rather my solipsistic need to “find my joy” just because a rheumatologist made me utterly despondent about my priorities in life doesn’t end up being what shatters their innocence. But there’s never a good time for that. Never a good time to lose your innocence. Never a good time to realize too late that you even had innocence to lose.

Reasons why I should start a blog:

4) Because in 1998 I was sexually assaulted. And after that, the words stopped coming. I had always meant to be a writer, but suddenly, nothing seemed important enough to write about: stupid fucking Sexton-aping poems written in chapbooks while I should have been paying attention to AP Calc; pitiful novellas with epigraphs pulled from Counting Crows songs; my first weak attempts at something that could plausibly be called journalism and put me on track to a career! As a writer! It all became dry and cracked and small like pebbles in the back of my brain. Because I thought my innocence was gone years before, but I was wrong, and I had no idea how wrong until it was much too late. And so the writing stopped. And everything went so crosseyed. I can’t regret any of it, because every individual moment combined together to bring me the two kids I now have, life that I created with my own body and blood to become new human being with thoughts and dreams of their own. But I went off track somewhere that left me without joy.

Reasons why I shouldn’t start a blog:

4) I created life with my own body and blood, and it became new human beings with thoughts and dreams of their own. And I will now exploit them, for my own gain, for the therapy it offers me, for the gloating warmth I feel in my chest any time someone complements the one-liner I managed to post on Facebook during one of the very few free moments I get from sunup to sundown. One of those rare moments that I forget that I’m running a marathon I didn’t train enough for and now my metaphorical toenails are falling off. The moments I am a human and not just a mommy, but with a humanity shaped so vigorously by mommyhood that it would be impossible to wrestle the two apart for even a second. Is it just too selfish for words?

Reasons why I should start a blog:

5) “I want everyone to remember me; I don’t want anyone to ever forget me.” -Madonna

Reasons why I shouldn’t start a blog:

5) “I want everyone to remember me; I don’t want anyone to ever forget me.” -Madonna


9 thoughts on “

    • I think for me what helped is the realization that if I hadn’t had all the various experiences I did, good and bad, exactly the way they happened, I wouldn’t have ended up with these exact kids. I like these kids. I want them to exist. So I don’t feel regret the way I used to. Of course, now that I’m done having kids, I can start regretting everything I did after they were born. But the earlier stuff is off the table.

  1. Here’s what blows me away about your blog so far–your repeated use of the word, the idea of, innocence. I honestly don’t think we ever talked about innocence in our house. Very interesting, and delightful in its surprise.

  2. Yay! – Blog blog blog! A career made for you. And already I am an avid follower. You clearly have voice and an audience. All you need now is the skin thick enough to deal with the vitriolic flame throwing of the interweb. You can do it!

  3. Reason to start a blog #6: Because you are fucking awesome and your post reads like a post-post modern Jack Kerouac jump jive prose poem. I am totally in.

  4. Goddammit. This is why I don’t blog. I start, and I think that the world might be at all interested in my pithy observations on life. And then I read something like this. And everything I could possibly write pales in comparison. What you’re doing is good. You should keep blogging. And I will happily be one of the mommies who reads your mommy blog. 🙂

  5. I don’t have your story, but I feel connected with you because our stories are somewhat similar. autistic daughters, sick mamas-mentally and physically. and you are like 90% smarter than I am, so I love reading things from you because you can put some of my thoughts into pretty or funny statements. like “And everything went so crosseyed. I can’t regret any of it, because every individual moment combined together to bring me the two kids I now have, life that I created with my own body and blood to become new human being with thoughts and dreams of their own. But I went off track somewhere that left me without joy.” made me cry. because YES. I want to cross stitch that on a pillow. yaymaggieblog!

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