Yip Yap Hooray
February 7, 2009 2 Comments
You have left me such a brisk set of conversations to enter that, of course, I am going to first derail things more by yapping about what is on my mind right now (the illness and cure of bloggery?), and then try to add some dollops of thought to the rest of it. I was taken with your description of the writer’s letter to her aunt. It seems that blogs, and the personal in them, has allowed for greater exploration of the joints and sucks of every day life. Yet, isn’t this what correspondence has always been, but now we have a public library of things said (no more dry letters tied with ribbons in attic trunks)?
One of my favorite things about letters is their lack of anchor, and that most writers don’t edit personal letters that are written just to say hello. I have often finished writing a card (store bought) and thought “well, that came out weird” and then resigned myself to it because I wasn’t about to go buy another, and sent it off with all of weirdness ready for full witness. And of course, in writing, we sit down to articulate, thus the revelation between her sex life and the stock market (which all reminds me of Elizabeth’s letters to her aunt in Pride and Prejudice, which was a very healthy correspondence. Maybe the world needs more letter-reading aunts?). Blogs are the responses that professors are so fond of assigning. Consideration, and then words, makes us engage. Perhaps blogs, with their public intimacies, micro-thrills, and cocaine highs (so well put, methinks by thee), let us engage as recreation?
As for the over-sharing, what I did like about the Jezebel article, which I think was Moe’s opinion also, was that it isn’t “over” any line. It is, in fact, a claiming, and after that, a normalizing. I keep thinking of an episode of Girlfriends (Season 1), where William keeps walking in the room when the characters are talking about gynecologists, uterii, fibroids, and cramps. Of course, he complains bitterly, grimaces, and begs they consider his delicate ears. It’s a running gag throughout the episode. The women roll their eyes, but they never tell him to grow up or to leave if he doesn’t want to hear it (as mentioned before, the show is glorious, but problematic). If a man were talking about his prostate in front of me, it seems that the expectation would be that I would be interested and sympathetic even. I love (as in hate) how women become overly assertive or witchy when they talk about their bodies in mixed company. I have several male friends that look at me as if I am directly challenging them if I dare mention anything gynecological, even if it is simply a story in the newspaper. I can see it happening–I go from being normal friend, to ranty lady that is now judging their reaction (when instead I was assuming a normal conversation could be had).
But this is off topic. One of the key things in all of my close relationships has been “over” sharing, which suggests that it is not an extreme degree of anything. That instead, it is people relating intimately to each other, and creating bonds of shared experience. I do love talking about the body, and I do love talking about how I (so, there is ego in it) fit or don’t fit into the world I know. Like blogging, this conversation and articulation makes me figure out where I am to a degree. Yes, I bond with women by talking about the nitty gritty details of my physicality. It usually feels wonderful, mostly because of the validation it offers to the subject. Hell yes, it is a particularly ladylike thing to do, but hell yes, it suggests that we feel like we have these huge secrets in our brains (and pants) all the time, and it is so good to let them out. In short, hell yes, the normalization needs to happen. This also reminds me of Heather Corinna’s great post on periods over at Scarleteen. Read it, please. It’s a great example of the best kind of sharing (also, can I mention that the phrase “sharing” irks me. It sounds so fuzzy and stuck in a living room). The essay doesn’t share, it announces and engages. It’s lovely.
I also can’t help but think of the hordes of what I call “the fertile women on the internet.” I picture them as a gang that has matching silk jackets. They fill message boards with news of their fertility, their poly-cystic ovaries, their in-vitro, their religion, their babies, and I love them. If you ever have a question about your vagina, they will have addressed the topic somewhere, and it is waiting for you to find, just like Graceland or apple cider in Maine.
Our very own project here is a correspondence that depends on our circular path of conversation. I wouldn’t trade it for any other system. The encompassing of tangents and subjects seems vital to unexpected illuminations. Of course, we do all of our bold talk anonymously, which makes the arena bigger, the public microscope non-existent, and the private lens quite strong.
I feel like I have gotten quite scattered, and have overused the verb “engage,” but like those poor muddled birthday cards, I’m going to let it stand.