I called my mate Matt up on Friday night, to see what he was up to. His band had a gig in Sheffield, so I thought I’d go along for the ride, the crack and a beer or 20.
On the way back, everyone decided they fancied going to a club. I was tired, but I thought “Fuck it” and went along. We ended up… …somewhere – I don’t know where, but the girl’s who’s house we were at was a complete stranger to me, or so I thought.
Turns out her and her mates and a bunch of other people had been following the blog for months, diligently keeping up on the latest news between me and Traci. It freaked me out that behind those visitor numbers, all of a sudden, there were real people; faces to the names of people who read without commenting or mailing me but who still “tuned in”.
Then xnoxmglox left this message. There’s been a bunch of mail messages and attempts to get back in touch with me from all kinds of people, in the last couple of days, all wondering what happened to the old blog and the relationship which grew from that YouTube video. I honestly, hand on heart, had no idea the old blog was so closely followed by so many people – it’s genuinely heart warming.
Anyway, since you were all so kind enough to get out the Google tools and hunt around to find me again (which can’t have been easy, given that all of my accounts and log-ins to other sites were hijacked at the same time as the vandalism to the old blog) I suppose it’s only fair to bring everyone up to speed.
As it should be obvious by now, I’m fairly happy to talk about certain aspects of myself on-line. I don’t use Facebook and I hate MySpace almost as much as I hate people who keep banging on about the emperors new instant messenger ‘Twitter’. My outlet of choice is wordpress. It’s clean looking, you can customise it and it’s good at getting original tags on the front page of Google.
I had no idea that being open about certain aspects of yourself could be so offensive to some people. It’s almost as if the whole point of the internet has been lost on them. That such offence could be taken by Traci in particular came as a huge shock. I had, after-all, only just returned from living with her in the US, before the first signs that she harboured some resentment towards me started to surface. You’d have thought that if she had a problem with my views on this and my feelings on that, she would have confronted me with them more honestly when we were under the same roof for three months, but..
Towards the end of my stay, in the US, as some of you know, I sent a message to a musician I’ve been a fan of for a long time, airing my disappointment with him, that he is a Scientologist. I blogged about it at the time. Traci could see that I was upset about not phrasing myself appropriately, or respectfully in my e-mails to him. I let myself down by not properly reading through what I had written – and since it was too late to take any of it back, the “I wish I had read it through one more time before clicking send” effect kicked in and I had no choice but to let it sit for a while.
Traci and I went to the Carl’s Jnr. burger place that night. In the drive thru she could see it was still on my mind and she began issuing instructions on how, if I were her, I would ditch the blog and stop causing trouble. It’s hard for me to phrase it here exactly as the conversation happened, but it wasn’t the first time, during my stay, that Traci had left me wondering what the fuck I was doing with her anymore. These feelings of doubt were outweighed by great moments of feeling that she needed me to stick around for her and it’s nice to be wanted, when – as anyone who’s followed this whole episode from back in April 2007 will know, I wasn’t exactly winning when we met. She was there for me, and I just figured now it was time for me to be there for her – so I quieted my worries and trusted her.
Then, when I got back to the UK, there was a blip in my blog traffic around an article on religion I had written, in which one or two of the people who were commenting, myself included, had started to get a little disrespectful. Looking back it was a mistake for me to forget that people are entitled to their views on such matters. It’s very easy to get into a logic bubble sometimes, to the detriment of using grammatical guide posts which ensure the reader there is no aggression in your tone. It’s important to point out at this point, to anyone who didn’t read that particular chat thread fastidiously, that it’s not that people were being physically threatened or intimidated. The exchanges were adult and forthright, but never bigoted.
Traci, however, did seem to think that there was such a tone in my retorts to one guy in particular. She posted a number of replies which I felt might have been better left to private e-mails between the two of us. There was clearly something on her mind – perhaps having originally stemmed from some of the books I’d left with her, or some other external influence she had been exposed to in my absence. I now realise that her willingness to jump to conclusions, perfectly fits her self-defeating insecurities about “fucking men”.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Sometimes men deserve to feel this wrath, just because, on the whole, we’re all pretty crap. Unfortunately, Traci is the kind of person to jump to conclusions. What seems to have happened is that, because I was basically pretty ill and feeling low, when I was staying a the hostel in SF, and the internet connection there was too slow to even send an e-mail most of the time, I basically slept off my cold and waited out the five days before my flight back to the UK in bed.
You’ll recall that Traci was for a long time billed as my stalker. This was entirely down to the fact that she had heavily researched me before making initial contact. I think it’s a great shame that single people looking to date someone, in the American sense of the word, feel the need to go to such measures. Regardless, she was quite open about her research on me and for a while it was flattering.
I even remember one conversation about this which we had around the dining table one day, when she said something which, later on, contributed to my growing sense of unease about our relationship. She mentioned that she had tried to find out even more about me, but had hit a brick wall with the more draconian measures on privacy of information we have in the UK, than she had ever had a problem with in researching other people on-line in the past. This was an almost throw away statement, when she told me. It was said as if in passing – but it made me realise how far she had gone down the road of digging the dirt on me, when our relationship was still in the early stages.
Fast forward to my five days of radio silence, previous to flying back home. Traci was leaving messages for me to call her on a daily basis. By the last night of my stay, I was feeling better. So I got up, went into the common room and got chatting a drinking with a bunch of people. I don’t know the exact running order of events, but later on – when I would confront Traci about the vandalism to the old blog, she mentioned that she had called me at the SF hostel and the person on the phone had said that I was smoking a cigarette outside with my girlfriend.
I don’t know if this was a prank on the part of whoever was working reception, tired of taking calls from Traci for the umpteenth time, or if it was a case of mistaken identity. Either way, it seems to have been reason enough for Traci to let herself into my GMail account and disable my valid password, as well as my log-in credentials to the old blog, my YouTube account, my Flickr, Skype.. ..you name it, she changed it.
The main vandalism was done to the blog. She posted some knob-out pics I posted of myself about 5 years ago, which she obviously knew about all the way through our relationship but had never asked me about directly. Having found them during her muck-raking exercise she could have asked me up-front and I would have told her I had nothing to hide. She had already revealed to me that she had stumbled upon a video myself an ex-girlfriend had made on an adult site some 5 years past, so why the single pictures of me were not brought up at this point I don’t know.
OK, so – I didn’t want particularly to have to broadcast these facts about myself, but not through any sense of shame. But then I was brought up the country which gave us ‘Razzle’ magazines and ‘Carry On..’ movies. This in comparison to the social taboos which exist in a country which has a mass-debate on the corruption in society caused by a super-bowl, Janet Jackson dance routine, while happily allowing an unelected war monger to shit form a great height on the whole world; no offence, but I’ll take my morality cues from a more cerebral stance, if it’s all the same to you. I digress.
The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t apologies for being male, in my 30s, open minded and a sponge for new experiences. That’s why I took the leap into a relationship with Traci in the first place. I can’t begin to express how humbling it is for me to be thought about by so many people who will never meet me. I thank all of you so much for sticking with me. I hope, now, to get on with the job of building a blog you might like to stick with, now you’ve found it (again).
I hope this draws a line under the past and allows me to continue asking, “how good is that?” and looking forward everyday to your feedback and friendship.