Tuesday, May 03, 2005

To Blog or Not to Blog

Okay, I do have something to say today. Something that's been weighing on my mind all weekend.

I've been toying with taking this blog down. I've noticed recently that many of my outspoken heroines on the web (Julia Sweeney, Dooce, Margaret Cho, Cher, my own AICN persona) have been getting hate mail from some really scary people. Now normally my attitude is, fuck them. I really don't care what other people think of me.

So this all wasn't bothering me so much until I saw some ugly picketers in front of Cher's Hollywood concert saying what amounted to kill Catholics and fags. I went to their website, then I went to the republican website bothering Margaret Cho, and I thought I was going to throw up from all the hate. I have a live and let live attitude about people's beliefs and lives as long as they aren't hurting other people, which these people are and are encouraging from their followers.

The thing is, I don't know how big Mom's Cancer is going to blow up. Obviously, we're hoping it's going to be around a long time and change many lives. Brian and the publisher have taken special pains to make sure it is accessible to people of all beliefs and ages. And I guess I'm just thinking, ANYONE could read this book and then find me. And really not like me.

I'm pretty anonymous in the book. I don't think my personality is an issue. All you really get is that I'm tenacious and disabled and had something to do with the Power Rangers and would rather die than not be struggling in Hollywood. But then readers come to this blog, and suddenly I have an overabundance of personality and views that aren't my brother's or the book's.

Even though I was used in the book, I'm wondering what right I really have to use the book for an audience for my little blog. And even further, why I am I blogging at all; what purpose does that serve in my life and anyone who reads it (see Julia Sweeney's intriguing May 1st blog about this subject)?

When I first started blogging, I was exclusively writing about our family and how cancer is still impacting it. Then Big Bro encouraged me to write about Hollywood as well, because he thought I had some interesting stories for you all. And as you all know, I've gotten myself into trouble and pissed off some people and pretty much destroyed all the work I've done at UCLA since last June by being honest on this blog. So now I'm just writing about me and posting internet quizzes, which can't last for long because I am an outspoken woman.

What troubles me is, perhaps my life belongs on my own personal blog available just to friends, and the Kid Sis entity should either be taken apart or kept exclusively for occassional, innocuous cancer postings. Or hell, maybe I shouldn't be writing anything at all anywhere on the web.

Mom's Cancer readers who find out who I am aren't going to be able to project their needs on the character as a blank slate anymore, so how does that serve them? And how does it serve my family if my beliefs open us up to danger?

23 comments:

Jessica said...

I blog because it gives me an outlet with which to express what's going on in my head.

I will admit, because LiveJournal, the service I use, does have an option to lock out some posts either to a list of defined users or completely so it's only viewable to me, there are things I lock.

However, for the most part, it's a good release to rant and ramble about my family, school, life, etc. I deal with things much better when I can get them out of my system. Blogging gives me an opportunity to do that. And, occasionally, I meet really cool people through blogging.

If you enjoy blogging, but you're concerned with how the Kid Sis blog will affect your family or your brother's book, I would say the decision to separate Kid Sis from you yourself is probably a very sound idea.

When I first really got into the online scene years ago, I kept myself very anonymous. I enjoyed having a presence somewhere that was completely unknown. As time went on, and I got older, and my experience and comfort level went up.. I started showing more and more of myself. I'm comfortable going by my first name rather than a pseudonym now. I'm comfortable putting pictures of myself up. I'm comfortable sharing pieces of myself that aren't just superficial "school is evil" comments now. But, it was a long road to get from being afraid to loose the anonymity to being comfortable with sharing myself.

Kid Sis said...

Thanks Jessica. Sounds like I may have to check out LiveJournal.

Your post reminded me, did I ever say thanks for posting that picture of your family reading Mom's Cancer??? I mean to! That was so cool!!!!

So have you ever had a problem?

Dave said...

Well, I for one would miss you if you stopped blogging. I don't want to encourage you to keep on if you don't feel safe. Cher can afford body guards, you probably can't. But I also don't believe our world is safe if any individual voice can be so easily intimidated into silence.

I'm sure your web heroines have sacrificed alot to be so outspoken. To be truthful, to be totally authentic, I think one has to be willing to accept, even embrace, the consequences of one's words and actions -- for better or worse.

I haven't been touched by cancer so I can't really speak for that audience, but I'm not sure why it would be such a detriment for someone to read about Kid Sis in the comic, come to your blog, and discover that you are, after all, a human being, with your own dreams, desires, and bad hair days. I mean, one of the most enlightening things I've discovered from your blog and from the comic, is that families dealing with cancer still have to deal with being a family and all the family dynamics that were there before the cancer.

I don't see how you can go wrong by just being yourself.

Jessica said...

Kid Sis - I'm glad you enjoyed the picture. :)

I haven't ever had a problem personally, because I'm very unknown. I'm a 23 year old SDSU student who is graduating in two weeks with a degree in Chemistry. Not.. The most exciting life. :)

I'm a very outspoken person myself. However, my blog is mostly quizzes and rambling about my daily life. Fandom especially is very fickle.. And I have no desire to end up with a list of people hating me simply because I've decided to challenge the validity or whatever of statement X on show Y. Or end up with a list of people hating me becuase I wrote a piece of fanfic that paired two characters they didn't like paired together.

I think I've been more philosophical about my views on the world of comics and fandom here in your blog than I have been in my own. Though, honestly, part of that is born from my insane schedule and limited available time. I've been particularily active today because I'm supposed to be writing my senior project thesis. So, seeing your ideas sparked my own, and so on and so fourth. I've actually sat down and tried to write a blog entry several times in the last few days. About the struggles of being a twentysomething living at home. However, I just can't seem to frame it the way I want, because my blog has become more of a rant space than anything else, and my commentary about my family and my situation at home isn't particularily ranty.

Jessica said...

Gah, someone else posted while I was still writing.. So, an addendum.

Dave - I think part of the problem goes back to the discussion in the "Comic Book" entry. People like a suspension of belief. While some people want to know what happened next, how the family is doing, etc.. There is definately a population that prefers not to bring reality into the story. It's the concept of wanting to be moved by a story, but, at the same time, avoid becoming emotionally attached to the story.

Or, you get another population of people who feel that because they've taken the time to check the blogs and read the further stories of the family they're better people than everyone else. They're "connected" and involved. To the point they go around telling people about how close they are with this family, etc. They feel "entitled" to sympathy because of this connection.

I can absolutely understand Kid Sis' concern here. I do also encourage her to discuss this with her brother.. And, if she so feels, pick up a personal blog that isn't so connected with the comic where she doesn't feel nervous about being herself at the risk of her family.

Rhino said...

I say if you want to write then write.

There is nothing to say that using something else to write with may not impact something else.

My blog has had positive and negative impacts on me. That being said, I wouldn't stop writing due to that.

Just my nickels worth. You have a really good blog. I wish I could write as well as you do.

Kid Sis said...

Wow guys. I really appreciate the quick responses. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm glad to get a chance to share what I've been mulling over and *hear* some opinions. It will be interesting to have Big Bro weigh in.

Honestly, I'm not scared easily. But I got spooked this weekend. I'm up for sacrifice, but when I'm so tied in with my family...well, that's not okay.

I'd link you guys to the websites I looked at, but I don't want them to come up in my google searches or to validate those people in any way. I guess I'm living on a different planet than half the country. Makes me wish I was in a different country. It's not even about party politics for me; it is the idea that people who think differently than you should be destroyed.

By the way Dave and Jessica, we're three adults living at home with parents...how crazy is that? Not what I ever predicted for my life, and certainly ups the family dynamic quotient. Yet I know so many people in this boat because of the economy. That's something else I want to talk about...how terrified I am that I don't have the ability to work the dog-like hours required of our generation to live on our own. Everybody I know is working twice as hard and long as their parents did, for peanuts. That's the other thing I've been depressed about the last few days...survival.

Dave, I hope you're out of boxes soon. I hate that feeling of digging for everything.

Jessica, kudos on graduating soon in a male-dominated field. Love it.

Kid Sis said...

Rhino, thanks. I appreciate it.

Glad you left a comment; I like checking out everyone's blogs. I'll read yours soon.

Jessica said...

Well, the living with my parents is coming to an abrupt end in August. I'm not attending graduate school in San Diego.. So I have no choice but to move out, and it scares me to death.

I'm broke, I'll be in graduate school, and my parents claimed me as a dependent this year so because of their income I'm ineligible for most financial aid.

Ack!

Survival is going to be interesting. I forsee a steady diet of Top Ramen bought in bulk from Costco in my future... :)

Dave said...

Didn't mean to imply that you were easily scared. Anyway, as a blogger, you are under a more intense spotlight than most when they start out. Nobody noticed me for nearly a year, and that gave me time to find my footing without someone trying to knock me off balance. You didn't get that luxury.

Kid Sis said...

Thanks, that's true. Probably will involve falling on the coffee table a few times before I pull myself up from a crawl :)

Don't worry about the being scared thing, I wasn't trying to be defensive to your blog. What you wrote is true, and in a normal world was what I always thought I believed.

I'm just reevaluting what I believe now with this new information. Guess what through me this weekend was seeing an aspect of our normal world that turned everything upside down for me.

I've had such incredibly "bad luck" with car accidents and health issues everytime I've fought for a toe hold; it's hard not to feel superstitous. I'm used to viewing the world from the POV of being knocked on my ass, but anything I can do to avoid future knocks would be nice, too. My life is hard enough without any negative attention directed my way.

Anyway, as always, I value your post. And I know it's hard to read inflection in typing: I didn't feel bad or defensive about your comment. I know you're an outspoken blogger too, so it's good to get your opinion.

Dave said...

Didn't read any defensiveness into it at all.

About the superstition thing -- I can't imagine being in your shoes. I did get a little taste a year or two ago when I had a very small medical problem that ballooned out of control thanks to careless doctors and red tape. On my way to my final doctor's appointment, I got rear-ended on the freeway. No major damage -- but it was still damned hard to get back behind the wheel. I was very rattled. (I still won't drive in the fast lane.)

So I can't imagine how much more rattling your own life has been. But it's comforting to know that every-day human beings can keep on going.

Red Hat Penguin said...

I think the seperate blog for your personal ideas is probably the best combination of safe without giving up your ability to express yourself (if you want to continute doing so). I kind of noticed you stoped posting your optionions, I kinda lapsed in reading because of it and rather miss it. What ever you decide to do, I hope you are happy about it.

On a side note, that actually makes 4 adults living at home with parents. :-P Eh, with the price of apartments are here ($600 or so for one room no util/heat) I don't care what people think about me living at home! Paying Mom monthly rent way cheaper!

Love, Luck, and Lollypops,
Devin

Patrick said...

Kid Sis,

I've been lurking around you and mom's blog since reading the strip a few weeks prior. The bravery your family has shown throughout the difficulties you've been through has astounded me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the manner in which you are expressing your opinions. Those who have disagreed with you went to unfortunate extremes without the common sense necessary to surf another website once they decided your blog did not offer them what they wanted to see. Simply put, please stay. Someone should tell you how much you will be missed.

Bye for now.

Kid Sis said...

It's possible I'm being a worrywort. (Elvis' ghost, is THAT how it's spelled??) It's nice to get my thoughts out there though, they were a jumble in my head.

Don't worry, I wouldn't do anything drastic and not give you guys a big warning!

Patrick and Devin, thanks for your thoughts. I was wondering where you were Devin! Patrick, I answered your comic question on the previous post about what I'm reading now...

Anonymous said...

kidsis,

I'd be sad to see your blog gone, but of course, it is your choice.

I discovered your blog, and your mom's, after reading Mom's Cancer in the San Diego Reader, and find myself rooting not only for Mom, but for you as well.

Please don't let a small, overly vociferous minority of small-minded whackjobs stop you from expressing yourself. Too many people do that, and the whackjobs are no longer a minority. Take the necessary precautions, but please keep writing.

Cheers,
Bruce

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it would suck if took down the blog, NP.

You aren't seeing the bigger picture here. WE are enjoying your blog!

Besides, writing is what you do. You're a writer. So WRITE. And wherever you post, under whatever name, we're all sure to follow.

XO,
NN

Andrew Ironwood said...

I can understand your feelings on this subject -- in the past 3 years, I've had *4* different blogs: I quit the first over (possibly paranoic) concerns about my employer's clients finding the site, the second over a rather nasty comment troll, and the third because (probably due to my overreaction to the previous trollage) my wife found *my* content becoming a bit frightening...

However, I've also made a conscious decision with my current blog to be less anonymous than I was with #'s 2 and 3 (but still slightly more guarded than the 1st); someone with time and know-how wouldn't require that much effort to figure out who I *really* am out in meatspace -- and yet, I still also fashioned my disclaimer in such a way as to let me disavow any entry I might find I need to...

Guess what I'm saying is: I"ve been at this for not a little while, and *still* working on how much to put myself out here on the interwebbies (and without the same kinds of media exposure you're looking at), so do what you think best (and maybe give some of us a hollar back from wherever you may roam to...)

Anonymous said...

You haven't destroyed anything you've done with me! Keep it up. It's gotta be a great release. I'd do it, if I had the time. Instead, I'll live vicariously through those who do. Wait, I guess the time I spend reading others' could be time I could spend on my own. Duh.
ta

Lynne said...

Sis,

I think you should share Momsrecovery with Mom, commentiing and remarking as needed, and then start a separate, unrelated blog which does not identify you as Kid Sis, and write whatever you damn well please. There will be no need to censor your words, and your privacy can be maintained, as it should.

Just invite a few trusted friends (like me) to join you in your new blog home.

LeMorse said...

Are you kidding?
I just posted a link to your BLOG from my BLOG.
Mom's Cancer, Hollywood, comics, UCLA, Kid Sis, everything all adds up to a great person. You have to remember that everything is a piece of a great puzzle.
So no Kid Sis is not all you are. Neither is Hollywood. But deny one and the whole thing can't be put together.
I post random crap on my BLOG. Stupid stuff about my day. Old poems I haven't even looked at in years. Annoying pics, and a ton of links. So what does all that matter? Nothing until I get the nerve up to completely start speaking my mind. I play it safe. I admit it. Top Ten lists on greatest hollywood cars are much easier to write then how I feel about the fact I am watching both my parents slowly die (from afar).
I wish you would keep posting. Maybe if more people BLOGged like you, it would give me the courage to post a few real things on mine.
Just my two cents, you can keep the change.

ronnie said...

Not much I can say except to echo the sentiments already expressed.

I like the idea of a Mom's-Cancer-Related Blog, and a separate, personal work/politics blog which could be more anonymous. I actually have two blogs, one on hearing loss and one which is more political (and which gets sorely neglected because the hearing loss blog is more important to me right now).

I like the idea because I think you add something very valuable to Mom's story; and I also very much like reading Sis' own story; and I would miss either. I would read both blogs, and enjoy both. Are you doing something valuable? Yes. The comments are the proof of that.

And I'd miss you lots if you disappeared.

But you already know the answer to this - you need to do what feels right for you. You don't owe nobody nuthin', least of all us.

I think you're a very smart person thinking through some important and complex things, and you'll know when you reach the right decision/balance. What feels right for you is what is important.

ronnie

Kid Sis said...

This was so great. Thanks everyone. you really helped with a complicated subject.

Bottom line is, I'm a risk taker. Can't bear to be a pussy, so i'm going to soldier on and take my lumps if need be. Freedom comes at a price.