Plummers test sewer lines by pouring dye down a drain and waiting for it to show up in the sewer feed at the curb. I know this because I compulsively watched This Old House for the better part of four decades. Doctors use radioisotopes to diagnose medical conditions the same way.
If you know how to read metadata, you can basically do the same thing with a blog. You float something in a post and watch what lights up. Without knowing the names of the people who are reading, there can be enough geographic correlations in viewership that strongly suggest that people are out there reading what you write.
So, back in March, I dropped a bit of dye down the drain to see where it showed up. Just something salacious enough about Nogales stuff and the punk scene and something I did for s&g when I got to Tucson.
And wouldn’t you know it, I figured out that certain people have been reading my blog and keeping tabs. These people don’t wish me well. In fact, they’re part of a consortium of Nogales contemporaries who revel in hurting other women. They’ve tried to do it to me and they’ve tried to do it to friends of mine. They’re girls who wish they were relevant enough to be mean girls.
I don’t know what they want. Do they want to read my posts and then talk about them? It seems like a lot of work to hate read everything I write just to find me falling on my face. I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone who stopped knowing me a decade ago.
So for a while I had to decide if I was going to take my blog behind a subscription wall. It’s a double edged sword. If I know who’s reading me, I might feel compelled to censor myself or skew my writing to a particular audience. And the whole point of the worst read blog in history is to have a place for extemporaneous pieces. This outlet works for me. And then the writing gets refined and put into other projects.
I’m not gonna stop being me because there are people out there with less than stellar intentions. I made the decision to live my life out in the open because I felt suffocated and it was no way to live.
There were some really beautiful things about growing up in a small town. The dark side of it is that you can take the girl out of the small town. But you can’t take the small town out of some of these girls. No se les quitan la perra.
I’ve had people do things on my behalf that were just as cruel, without my consent. I’m not treacherous enough to be proactively cruel. I used to react in terrible and destructive ways. But that isn’t me anymore. I learned how to feel safe enough to not react. It’s not my style anymore. The worst thing I’ve done (intentionally) in the past five years was steal my old roommate’s rum and replace it with water. The twins in The Parent Trap did worse things.
I’ll probably never be free of Nogales. I have a lot of friends from there…more than when I was growing up. But as for people who don’t wish me well, well it makes me a little sad. Not because they’re going to catch me out or because I’m scared that they’ll hurt me. But because someone taught us all to be the people we are and, just as I am a product of that toxic environment, so are they. But now they’re grown women with children. It’s time for bygones to be bygones and for everyone to let sleeping dogs lie and whatever other figure of speech that means stopping the pettiness.
I don’t pose a threat to them and I never did. They have nothing I want to take away. The only thing I have of theirs is their stories and the idle gossip that filters back through to me. And it’s all so boring and uninteresting that I wouldn’t bother sharing them.
There are parts of my life that I have to write about that include people from my past. I can’t not include those parts. It would make the story incomplete. I don’t share things out of spite. I’m trying to examine who I was before I was aware and before I was safe. I try to hold myself accountable for my choices and then move forward a little lighter and a little wiser.
So they can read or they can move on. I’m far away in another world. A happy one.