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?