Thursday, March 08, 2007
The End, My Friend
For the last year I've contemplated the end of my journal. I've spoken to friends about it, blogged about it, and spent hours going over the pros and cons of it in my head. Subsequently, after months of deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that it's time to shut down "Cut the Shit" for good.
I started this journal (see...I call it a "journal" and not a "blog" because when I started writing, "blogs" were still in their primary stages; nothing like what it is now) back in January of 2002. It's been over five years of me "cutting the shit", much longer than I originally anticipated.
It all started out on a random drunken night in Astoria, Queens. My bestest girl, Rita, pulled me aside and reminded me of the site she created in 2000. It had this adorable cowgirl theme and she wrote on a variety of topics. It was incredibly well received. However, as Rita does with everything, she let it go once it went too mainstream for her. Blogging was too mainstream in 2001, you ask? You need to understand that at the current age of 30, Rita is and always will be indie to the max.
But it wasn't too mainstream for me (shit, I just watched an episode of Next on MTV last night)! I found the whole idea of an online journal to be a brilliant showcase for my inner thoughts - an anonymous forum for me to explore all aspects of my personality. In fact, looking at where I am now and looking at where I was in 2002, I can't believe that Paul and I are still together, much less more in love than ever. This is not the outcome I would have even considered way back when. But then again, this isn't the GUY that I thought I would be way back when.
Ari and I began our sites at almost the exact moment. That's why I'm linked first on her site and vice versa on mine. I remember the exact moment that I showed her BLOGGER and saw her eyes grow wide. Within minutes (cuz she needed no thought...it was as though destiny had found its child), ARI GOES DOWN was born.
Seeing how much she (and her site) has grown, since day one, has been one of the most beautiful rewards of writing our journals in tandem. We started out together, but we ultimately took very different paths. Because of this, we've never had any interpersonal competition between us. In fact, the only shit we ever give each other is "WHY HAVEN'T YOU WRITTEN!" That's because we both LOVE each other's writing and don't get to catch up on every thought that goes through our heads daily. I'm sure you understand this type of connection and if you don't, you really need a friend in your life that enjoys you as much as you enjoy them.
Ari has turned her site into an actual network of friends and in the process, created a "community". In contrast, I don't meet many (maybe 3 or 4 in five years) bloggers in person. I don't go to blogging functions. And most obviously, I am horrible with keeping up a blogging friendship through email. I've always tried to maintain my privacy, even when I had my picture posted on the main page.
I've learned so much about myself through my experience as Joe CuttheShit. More than I ever thought possible. In the most important way, I found my voice and the courage to be honest about who I am...and on top of that...unapologetically so.
At this point in my life, I have figured out the reasons for my persistent insecurity. I no longer feel as though I need to expose them to an internet community in order to feel some sort of self worth. I no longer need strangers telling me that I'm "right" or a “beautiful person”. I can tell myself those things now and be happy with that assessment.
However, by saying that...I don't mean to diminish the sincerity of the connections that I have made through this site over the years. I also don't mean to imply that other bloggers use this forum to validate their lives. I started this site because I felt alone and full of questions.
It's been quite a ride. There was a time when Paul would happen upon my journal and find me writing about dating other guys. There were times when I would use my site as a way to explain my darkest secrets or even take vengeance on people in my personal life. I played myself out on this site and I took shit for it repeatedly. But that was part of the allure. I could finally speak from my heart and if I was attacked unnecessarily, I could turn my computer off. It was an interesting and guilt-laden dichotomy. And I'm kinda done with that.
Finally...because I've had this site for so long...there are quite a few people in my past that have access to who I am and what I'm about...whether or not they deserve to know that information. Having found the ability to believe in who I am...I need to move forward with only those that I respect, trust and allow into my personal domain.
This is my life and I need to share it with those that have earned it. Strangers, and frighteningly more surprising, friends from a past life, have a way of criticizing you so freely behind a computer screen and I think to myself...is that fair? Why do I offer my life up to that kind of scrutiny? Why do I need the headache? Answer too all questions...I don't. I used to need that approval, but as you can tell from my lack of posts, I don't anymore.
I go into the details of this so deeply because I feel as though, for a lot of you, the end to this journal comes out of the blue. I apologize for that and I do recognize the strong readership that I do have. I mean, after 4 years of plugging away on my keyboard, last year I finally registered a million hits (and over 1000 posts!) on this website. I know you're out there reading and I am incredibly grateful for your support both in the comment section, my site meter, and my email. And for you lurkers...I see you and I appreciate your skulking ways as well.
Five years of a journey that's taken me from crazy/insecure/Astoria boy to grounded/secure/Financial District boy. I finally feel comfortable ending this journey and starting a new one.
I leave this site 100% fulfilled. Thank you for all the memories.
I trust that you will understand and move forward in your own lives as introspectively as you've done with me up until this point.
P.S. I am taking off the comments to this site because I'm done with that. However, my email will remain open for another month. If you would like to keep in touch, please email me at email@example.com. If I know who you are and we've exchanged emails, I will respond from my "real" email account (my name’s actually not Joe! Go figure!) and we'll continue a dialogue separate from this website.
For the rest of you...be well, be honest, be content.
Much love to each of you.