Monday, April 08, 2013

Tonight, I am a voyeur

It's late.

I've been reading, like a voyeur, the blog of a total stranger, connected to me only through six, or maybe seven, degrees of separation. I found her blog through Facebook. The blogger, a woman far younger than I am, yet filled with words, thoughts, desires, emotions,  imagery and experiences that resonate right through my addled mom brain, is a mom like me. A mom like so many women, yet unlike so many women.

I like her writing style.

I like her written voice.

I was compelled, for the first time in a very long time, to keep reading, and reading, back, back, and further back into the annals of her blog. I was intrigued to see how the chapters of her young life unfolded. I felt compelled to track her progress-- from end to beginning-- from girl with a head full of dreams and passions to mother with a head full of the same things, which all of a sudden weigh  heavier, become fraught with choice and conflict, and I hoped maybe I'd see some things I recognized from my own experiences.

I did and I didn't.

But it is always interesting to see how other people do life, love, and motherhood. How they do the wacky 180 degree turnaround from all me all the time, to "holy shit there is a baby in my body, then in my house, then in my life in the most permanent of ways and I'm not sure how she got here."

But what really drew me was the tragically beautiful way she wrote about a childhood friend who died a freakish and unfair death recently. I was blown away by her words, her patterns of thought weaving in and out of memory and present time. A lovely web of the most intricate and random threads pulled together in a time of sorrow.

Again I don't know the writer and I don't know the man or family she is grieving for.  I know of them, live near them, but don't "know" them. I only know her writing moved me. I only know her love of words, her faith in words, her need to write it all down, make sense of it, own it, then let it go, expressing the un-expressable, felt familiar to me.

Familiar. Like family.

12 comments:

Stephanie said...

And that is EXACTLY how I feel about you and your writing! Thank you.

SouthPawInTexas said...

Me too, Stephanie! I feel that way about Betsy's writing as well. I often find it amusing (and amazing) how she can put my jumbled-up thoughts and feelings into such beautiful words. Wish I were as skilled a writer as she. Thanks Betsy!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I read her blog post and it....rearranged my thought patterns. She's a very interesting woman.

Reading about someone else is a fascinating experience. The similarities, the differences. When I found your blog I did the same thing. I read all the way back to the beginning. I knew you, and yet I didn't. I felt like we were neighbors and hung out together talking too late into the night smoking hand rolled cigarettes, knowing that we would regret it the next morning because we had to get up early with our kids. Yet, it was so worth it. Only to realize, in reality, that though we lived close to each other for quite some time, we've never met. It's a strange feeling, knowing someone, but not knowing them. I don't have many female friends because I don't get along well with most female personality types. You were different, and I guess, even though I tend to avoid friendships, I also crave them. So it was strange for me knowing that I would probably never even meet you. I tried to shut down, as I do SO incredibly well. I don't read babycenter anymore. I haven't for a very long time. There were too many of the female personality types that I don't get along with there that made me angry. Besides, I know that when I read you here you're uncensored. I like that. It's very familiar to me. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes sad, or longing, or happy, or thankful, or funny, but ALWAYS Betsy. Sometimes you disappear too. I wish it was as easy as picking up the phone and asking you what's going on.

So, now you know me even better than you did before. I don't let many people in. I've always been funny that way. It's a joy to read your blog, Betsy. Thank you for sharing part of your life with all of us. But, most of all, thank you for being my friend.

KiminAZ

Anonymous said...

Love how Kiminaz put it. I don´t "know you" Betsy but in the blog universe I do and I love your writing. Read some of the blog you wrote about today and that woman also writes wonderfully. However, I´ve been following your blog for quite a while now and just so enjoy your entries. Something "farty" easter eggs from the other day?!!! Made me think that boiled eggs do indeed kinda stink if you get to smellin' them. I'm still laughing. Thank you for your blog! And, just like KiminAZ, when it has been a while since you last posted, I wonder what is going on, wondering (worrying!), Betsy will write again, won't she?! Kim from BCN

Kingsmom said...

Ditto.

HeatherW said...

Ditto me too! Everything they all said! :)

Anonymous said...

I am 100% in agreement with the others. Once I found your blog I had to go back to the beginning I was so taken by your stories and your story telling. Thank you for being the stranger who is familiar....offering guidance and encouragement to a fellow mom who you will never know but who you have helped more than you know.

Alouise

Betsy said...

Kim in AZ: I'm must better "on paper" than in person. Thanks for being such a loyal reader. And I can't say I blame you for not reading me at BabyCenter anymore. You are right, the real me, as close as you can get online, is over here. And often when I disappear it means I'm doing more living than blogging. But sometimes it means I'm "shutting down" as well. Funny what we do here, isn't it. It's snowing as I write this. Hope it's hot where you are. I'm getting sick of wearing my shoulders for earrings. Brrr.

Anna said...

Thanks for the new blog. Wonderful writing. The post on Reid Winpenny resonates with me right now in a big way. What a tragedy.
Am going to read more. Wonder if she is related to the Manchester Walls I knew growing up - Beriah was a potter married to Janice Farley, Muffin, etc.

Betsy said...

Anna: I don't know. I wonder too. My brother was friends with Jeremiah Wall.

Anonymous said...

I really stopped reading BabyCenter because of all of the fighting that goes on over there. I just don't have the energy, or desire, to fight the fights. What I meant was, I like your writing here better because you're more "you" on your own blog. I also know that what you write here is only a small part of who you are and what your life is. I understand that you're not perfect. That's part of what makes your blog so great. None of us are perfect, and I think that we're all drawn here by your honesty and wonderful writing style.

The thing about the weather here this time of year (and in the fall too), is that it's in the 80's during the day and the low 40's or high 30's starting in the evening and lasting until about 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.. Sometimes it'll start out mild and get really windy and cold. You never know. My body has never been able to acclimate to this climate. Not to mention the fact that the trees are letting go of these huge clouds of pollen that make us all sick. I've never seen allergies like this in my life. I'd rather be in snow and know that it was going to be cold all day and night then never know what the weather had in store for me. I've been sick more since I've lived here than I have the rest of my entire life put together.

Spring (mud season)is coming to your neck of the woods. It'll be full of fun wearing Shit Kickers, and trying to keep the mud outside instead of inside. Trying not to loose said S.K.'s in the mud and then getting a sock into the freezing goo (which never comes out in the wash no matter how hard you try). The smell of thawing leaves from last fall and thawing cow and horse manure (don't mistake that for the gooey mud). Putting boards, and even cardboard, between the driveway and the house and from the house to the barn like some sort of life preserver that doesn't always work. After that begins to dry up, the yard work begins! I love Vermont! I always felt this incredible joy at the first sign of buds on the trees. I knew when I saw them that Spring was definitely here (there)! I'd rather have the muddy mess than dry, spiky, dry, dry, spiky, dry... You get the picture.

Now that I've written a blog post sized comment I need to cook dinner.

KiminAZ

mooserbeans said...

That is exactly how I feel about your blog. Sadly, in today's society, it seems so hard to meet other mothers and be able to have time to chat with them. There just doesn't seem to the time. We are busy working, being mothers, and just too spread out. That's the reason that I started blogging. It is a way to connect and share.