Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Can Go With This, Or You Can Go With That...

So. New year, new life, newly single, new friendships, new lifestyle...it only follows that a fresh start on this website is in order. How do you do that? There is so much to consider. I have always been transparently honest in this space, and have shared (many would say overshared, but that's kinda who I am) openly what I felt was sharable about my life here in this little corner of the Web for nearly 7 years now.

I am genuinely interested in your feedback on this issue, so please let me know what you think.

I considered starting over, from scratch. Leaving this site in place, but starting a new one and going forward from there, as many of my peers have. I still might do that--I don't know. But so much of what will happen with me going forward is going to be informed by what has happened to me over the last several years, that that doesn't quite seem right, really. Also, "ninjapoodles" is WHO I AM. It's connected to every online identity I have. All of them. I've never been much for anonymity--it just doesn't fit me. I admire people who can pull it off, but I am not one of them. Even if I wanted to be, I'd slip up. Heck, Bella gets recognized by my blog-readers out in public already, just from pics I've posted online, and I've met many folks that way. They see her, and then ask, "Are you ninjapoodles?" Well, yes. Yes, I am.

I was "Ninja Poodles" before I ever met Alex, much less married him. I had a life, and it was chock full of ninja poodles, Arabian horses, and ridicularity (and made-up words). It was my life before it was shared with anyone else. I kind of don't feel like losing my identity, even my online identity, because of a divorce. I've lost so much of what was mine through this process already, that this is something I don't feel like giving up. This space, this little niche I've carved out of the Internet over the years--it's mine. It's one of the few things that always has been. I am loathe to give it up.

At the same time, do I go into the archives, like a surgeon, and excise Alex, in this space, from the last 7 years of my life?  Just the logistics are overwhelming: Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook... every online presence that I have--to just "erase" him?  That doesn't seem right, either. He was, after all, there from the beginning of this site, and indeed inspired the very first post. Much, if not most, of this 'blog has been about him, about our struggle with bipolar disorder, probable borderline personality disorder, and our marriage and family, and it was through the exploration of those topics that I met and grew to love an increasingly larger and larger community of people who are bipolar, married to/family of bipolar people, and became involved in mental health education and awareness causes. I wouldn't give up those experiences now--they've informed the person I have become, and I'm better off for it. For better or for worse (and let's not gild the lily: it was more worse than better, all told), life with Alex did shape the ways in which I've grown over the last few years, like a vine on a trellis. Now it's time for me to grow upward again, toward the sun, toward life... but that doesn't mean that the tangles and crookedness and stunted spots from the past just go away. And there were blooms along the way, as well, that do not deserve to be ignored. I just took the best one to school.

So many of you, my friends, my peers, my support, my community, are going through this (or at least something similar--I HOPE you're not going through what I am) right now. How are you choosing to address it? My inclination, at this point, is just to continue business as usual in this same spot, with some clean-up and a re-design, and yes, probably re-starting with the ads; God knows I need the income now more than ever. 

As far as Alex and I go, the damage he has done to our relationship over the years has been systematic, ongoing, and finally, irreparable. He did not damage ME (aside from financially), however, and I am going to be JUST FINE.  As is Bella, though I realize it's going to be tough on her for a while.  Those of you who have been with this site from the beginning (and that is an amazing number of you, and I thank you for your years of support, and hope you'll stick around) know how very, very hard I tried. I tried to muscle this thing through all by myself, to FORCE it to work, and many times, I forced myself to BELIEVE it was working. By being manipulated, abused, lied to, cheated on, and so much more, over and over again, I have lost view of some bits of myself--trust, optimism, self-reliance, etc.--that are just now returning to me in a big way. THAT was who I was, and who I am becoming again. I just needed some obstacles cleared out of the way. I am smart, capable, and determined, and as you've seen, a formidable advocate for those I love. Right now, that puts Bella in first place, and right behind her? Yours truly. Yes, it's time for me to advocate for ME. I deserve it, and I can provide it. For myself, by myself.

Things, they are going to be all right.  All The Things. Agreed?

33 comments:

  1. Yes, they are. You are strong, you are woman, you are Ninjapoodles!

    My vote is you continue here. Your past is part of you, the bad and the good, and has contributed to who you are today. Celebrate the good, take time to mourn over what could have been, rejoice in who you are.

    Whatever you decide, myself and many others will be right there, cheering you on every step of the way.

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  2. Things are all right already. You can do this, you ARE doing it. There's no need to go back and edit or start all over. Life isn't tidy and it can't be fixed in post. Clean up the space and return with a vengeance, leaving the past intact and in the past.

    We love you.

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  3. Keep it. Continue to be Ninja Poodles. Besides you have a fan base here that will come back (thus immediate income!) Redesign, make it brighter. Keep the archives. If anything, it serves as a reminder as to what NEVER TO DO AGAIN!

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  4. Please keep ninjapoodles, change is good but not for it's own sake.

    I totally agree with your analogy of the vine, the bumps and twists our life takes as we grow may not always be pretty but they are what make us who we are and help us understand who we are today. The vine, no matter how twisted and thorny, always leads to the beautiful flowers and the sustaining fruit of "you". This is doubly so in your case x

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  5. I too vote that you keep the Ninjapoodles blog and move forward here as you are in your life. Excising Alex from the blog won't change the past and for better or worse the experience with him over the years shaped the person you are. Thank God you got out while you could and have the best part of that relationship to show for it.

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  6. I agree with the redesign idea, but keep Ninjapoodles. We all need more ninjas.

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  7. agreed darlin. I think I'll write a song called, "Ninja Poodles". That or "Tin Panties".

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  8. Agreed.. I too think you should stay here. This is who you are, who you have been, how you got here. Alex is part of that, and excising that would not help you in any way, so why make the effort? Besides, you're comfortable here, as are we all. Be blessed, Belinda and Bella...

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  9. I think the most telling line is " I was Ninja Poodles before Alex". Your Blog connected you to so many of us in so many different ways. However, the one constant, the single shared thread was that you were Ninja Poodles to us as well. That was how we grew to know you. It was where we came to share in your story. It is where so many of us have continued to come in hopes of you returning. Ninja Poodles, with or without Alex excised is about Belinda. Your voice, your stories, your struggles. THAT is why we are here.

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  10. You are definitely still "Ninja Poodles." This blog has been about you and what you have learned and struggled through over the years. Don't excise the old posts as their are your history and detail how you became who you are today. The posts will also be there to help someone make a decision, get through a issue, or learn how to pick up their own life and become alive again, as you have.

    Redesign this one and keep on being you as we all have known and loved you for so long.

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  11. You will always be Ninja Poodles. I'm so glad you're writing again. It's all you. It's all your story.

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  12. I agree with everybody - so happy to see your post show up in my Google Reader today!!

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    1. I feel the same way, Melissa. I was so happy to see this post show up after such a long absence. Welcome back, Ninjapoodles!

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  13. So glad to see you back here on the blog, you strong and awesome woman, You!

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  14. I'm not home, but when I get there I will properly respond. I'm so proud of you.

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  15. Here's one more voice to the Ninja Poodle chorus. You've given up so much already, draw the line here.

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  16. Thoughts from someone who has been slackmistress since 1997:

    -Keep the space and update the look, maybe? To make it feel new?
    -Leave the space as an archive, start somewhere new. (Ninjapoodles.com?)
    -Leave it as is, but maybe in your bio or a static page, explain where you were, how that worked, and where you are. Distill the Alex years down to two paragraphs and move forward.

    (That sounds terrible, "distill it down to two paragraphs." But I feel like being able to box it up and place it on a metaphorical shelf could be freeing.)

    xoxoox

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  17. I have no advice about the direction of the blog, I'm just so glad you're back.

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  18. I just want to say Thank you! From the bottom of my heart. Your posts here inspire alot of women!

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  19. Yup, things WILL be all right. <3

    Don't leave this space - it is yours. It too, can get a new look and a new focus, but without losing its identity.

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  20. I vote that you stay here, but maybe do some remodeling.

    xoxo

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  21. What the slackmitress said above, I'd just add in your about page as shortly as possible what happened and move on from there. I wouldn't waste your time going through old posts.

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  22. Oh, you are forever Ninjapoodles and we love your blog! Here's to the future!! Love to you and YOUR Oct02.

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  23. I like the idea of ninjapoodles.com,a new site. Have someone who is really good with stuff redirect people from here to there so no one loses you, along with a top post explaining that you have moved. That way you can leave everything here until such time as you have enough emotionaldistance from these past couple of years in particular, to make a more objective decision about what you want to do with all the years of posts here. In the meantime though you can make a brand spanking clean start with the most awesome ninjapoodles.com.

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  24. Love you. You know that. (hugs)

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  25. Old School Ninja Poodle Blog Power! I'm INTO IT.

    Go, honey. Love you.

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  26. Hmm, much food for thought. You did a good job of explaining why it should stay. But the idea of archiving it and making a decision further down the road has merit. My first thought was that you shouldn't excise him because he was a part of who you are now, and who Bella is. Then I sheepishly admitted to myself that I haven't seen/talked to my X since he walked out of the courthouse a year ago. I can't stand to see a photo of him or anything with his name written on it. It turns my stomach. We have (adult) children together and I'm not acting like a grown-up and setting a good example. So I have no advice for you, but thanks a lot (/sarcasm) for holding a mirror up to my life for me. :) I love the words you are using - self-reliant, capable, smart, formidable - I want to use those words, too. So I will keep reading, wherever you are writing.

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  27. I'd like to tell you what I think you should do, however, it seems obvious to me what you want to do (no, I'm not trying to be "cute"). IMO, it seems like you want to stay here, if so, I don't see why you shouldn't.
    As far as excising Alex from this blog, I think the only reason you should do that is if Alex tells you he doesn't want to be on here. Even then, you could change the name so it's anon. to new readers.

    I do see a big problem as far as if you move & this was a problem I experienced when I moved - you will lose readers. It didn't matter that I had my old blog automatically transferred (forget what its called) to my new site, or that I posted for weeks what my new url was going to be, when I moved, I lost a LOT of readers (I found out when I'd visit their sites & they'd ask what happened to my site).

    I'm happy for you & Bella, I wish all the best for you & your ninja poodles.

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  28. yes you can do it. you and bella will be ok. you will be different yes but you will be ok. i read your words and i hear echos of my own voice and experience but i lack your wisdom and courage to leave and to allow the necessary change to evolve. i realize the path has been hard to forge and was hard fought for and yet i find myself envious of you for having the foritude and courgage to do what i can not. i apologize for that. i would - perhaps selfishly - ask you to please keep blogging as i find your story helpful and inspiring and would imagine other's do also. and keep the same blog- as you say it is yours and so is the past the good and the bad - it can't be edited out of your life as it is such and intergal piece of it.

    you will be ok - be at peace.

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  29. I'm glad you're back. My husband has a bipolar brother and I have some (very vague) awareness of what you went through.

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  30. Yes, you are going to be great. You really have so much strength. I'm so glad to hear the hope in your post. I think you redesign but keep this. The past informs your future but it doesn't control it.

    --Editdebs

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  31. Well I had just about given up checking your blog, and I am really glad to see you are back, and it sounds like, better than ever. Hang in there. (((hugs)))

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