Tag Archives: fighting back

Having a Blog vs. Using It: Some Thoughts

I don’t follow analytics much with my blog. You’re reading it. That’s all I give a shit about. Following the traffic, I don’t do much of that.

I’ll check once or twice a month, see if my daily visits are holding up, and if there are massive spikes, I see what posts were near that day. Pretty chill, but I’ve done this for enough years to actually have a grasp on who you, my reader, often is. Or the readers I care about, anyhow.

And while my old sex posts drive my traffic the most, it was actually politics and current events that became my stratospheric posts over the years. When I get pissed, it seems to resonate. Apparently my anger reflects the frustration we feel both in Canada and the USA, and even England, because most of us are living in a classist divide that’s becoming increasingly religious.

So, over the weekend at the Pride events here in town, I chatted with friends about social media conferences, and how, for me, it seems more about selling tools than encouraging propagation of debate and discussion.

When it comes to blogging, I feel it can, and does, change the world. I don’t wanna talk about WordPress, metrics, and all that shit. The message is the message, for me, not the medium.

I feel an obligation to put ideas and content first, design and discussion-tracking last. I believe my voice matters. (And so does yours; whether you choose to use it is your drama.) I don’t really need to host the discussion here, I just need you to leave this page with a few thoughts percolating in your brain, and then I’ve done my job — that’s always been my take on things.

Sunday’s conversation kind of ended with my thinking that I’ve betrayed my ability to write, my strong beliefs on where we’re going wrong today, and my desire to see the world live according to my ethos (since I’m super-inclusive and secular), all by failing to continue blogging in a more frequent way.

I give good debate, baby. And I’ve been letting myself and my readers down at a time when I think we need more discussion, because if anyone can be the spark to a good fire, it’s me.

The Past’s Shadow is Long

Part of the reason I don’t watch my traffic today is because I don’t want to feel beholden to numbers. I’m cranking out some 1,500 unique visitors a day, and without doing a lot of work to sustain it. It’s what I call “legacy traffic.” Google had lost me for a long time, but now it points anyone looking for sex tips and smart writing here. Good job, Google!

Still, it bothers me a little, because I haven’t been writing about sex for about 3-4 years.

To have so many of you still turning up, with questions arriving in my inbox (which I’ve been ignoring in my life chaos), it tells me there’s a dearth of great information out there, and that mine’s standing the test of time on the web, a hard thing to do.

These days, I’m a-thinking. I don’t want to be writing about sex and relationships, because I’ve more or less been celibate since all the trouble began with my back, except for, you know, a dalliance or two. My head’s not there right now, and I haven’t wanted it to be, either.

Maybe I underestimated the voice I bring to the sex discussion, and maybe I need to rethink my role and the validity of my place in the fight for a smarter world that’s sex-positive in a way that doesn’t mean we have to jump the “taste” shark. Maybe I also underestimated how much we have devolved into an orthodox society with increasing hangups about sex and sexuality.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

But if the Shoe Fits…

I’ll be doing a lot more thinking about this. I’ve avoided talking about sex or sex news because I was tired of being pigeon-holed as a “sex writer,” since I feel that’s about 8% of what I’m comprised of, but if it’s not getting done properly by others, maybe it’s time I dust that conversation off. Just something I’m considering, and not a promise. Your thoughts are relevant to my thinkin’, so feel free to persuade me on this.

Maybe combining sex and politics in this same post is indicative of who I am/have been as a blogger and a person.

I think sex and love are basic human rights. I believe who we are as a society is something that shifts and changes through the ages, like a river carving a canyon. Change and evolution is constant, but often only visible on a wide, long view, and while I see the massive changes we’ve had for the better, I see how far there is to go.

Born Under A Bad Moon Risin’

I’m of that generation that came of age in the analog times but made the digital world our bitch. I was my college’s last journalism class to lay out a newspaper with glue and paper, and the first to do so on the computer. I was born at a crossroads, with one foot in old-world news, and the other kicking toward the future. My head of journalism was a former editor who ran political campaigns, so I learned about the press from both sides.

I’ve blogged since 2004, about sex since 2005, and I’ve been political since my teens. I live in borderlands and know more about America than most Americans will ever know about Canada, and I bleed maple syrup.

I was raised Catholic, rebelled against it after I learned of molestation scandals and cover-ups in my own Archdiocese and high school. I identify as a feminist but love men and deplore radical thought in any vein, especially if feminist.

The Alchemy of a Writer’s Voice

Somewhere, in the midst of all those qualities and attributes lies the reason why I too have a voice that’s important to the mix of who we are and where we’re going.

We have the ability to stand up and be counted, to leave our prints on the windowpane of the world, thanks to the internet.

For those of us who can do so, yet don’t do so, we’re betraying a gift of being born with talent in this time and space. We’re at a point in evolution where we have the means and the ability to project our lonely voice around the world, free of corporate interference, free of investment, and yet we’re mired in a complacency that sees our society devolving almost daily.

While the 1% keep getting richer, we applaud and watch the Bachelorette while reading TMZ, glorifying the division of our classes, because glamour is somehow more significant to us than protecting our dwindling average-citizen quality of life.

We belittle the intellectuals, want leaders we can have a beer with, and seem to do everything we can to avoid the realities of what’s going on as economies around the world teeter on the brink.

We delude ourselves into thinking change can’t come, that we’re just the little guys. We pretend that if we keep watching TV, shopping for “Made in America” products, and praying to the good God above that we’ll be just fine when that high-water mark of society gets overrun.

I don’t buy any of it.

In a span of three years, with no technology, no automatic weapons, no electricity, nothing, the working class of France brought down the nobility and monarchy, and modern democracy was born. Three years. By people with HOES and SHOVELS, with the occasional dagger for good measure, for crying out loud.

Shit started rolling last year, but I don’t respect the Occupy movement a lot because there are too many dumb-assed anarchist fucks in the mix. But they’re heading in the right direction, as long as they leave anarchy out of the debate.

They’re right, though. Anger, frustration, these aren’t things we should be feeling fleetingly. These should consume us.

There’s a disparity of income distribution that is a mockery of what the USA was founded under, what Canada should exemplify, and it all comes down to legislation by politicians who are bought and sold by the interests of those they mainly seek to protect, the upper-upper-class.

We deserve better.

And the only way we’re gonna get better is if we never, ever let the matter drop.

Me, I’ll never be that guy on the street with a placard, but I have this soapbox.

I think it’s time I start seeing this blog as an obligation, not a hobby, because I loathe the world we’re becoming, and I cannot respect myself if I don’t shout out loud about why I feel it’s all going so horribly awry.

And that’s what blogging can be. That’s what it should be.

If you want the latest scoop on TomKat’s Divorce, maybe it’s time to aim higher, expect more, and become a part of these discussions we really need to stop avoiding.

Of Groundhogs and Loathing

I just finished watching the last 30 minutes of Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, and, well, this is a weird one, but I think it’s one of my favourite romantic comedies.

Right now, I long for a little kissing and lighthearted fun. That’d be nice. Not to be had, but it’d be nice.

Something about Groundhog Day hits the spot today. I’d realized earlier this week that I’d sunk about as low as I’ve ever sunk. I’m not accustomed to being cruel or mean or angry, and I’ve been feeling that way too much of late. I really, really hate feeling negative things, but acting on them, why, that’s just as low as it gets.

I’m not above fallibility. Wish I was, but I come with the full range of human emotions, from dishonesty through to loyalty, they’re all nestled within me. Normally, my moral compass overrides the bad shit ‘cos I’m typically a very good person. Lately, it’s felt like night and day, depending on my mood.

I seem to be starting to stabilize more. I’ve made the choice that I’m getting off birth control after a couple friends have suggested that this week, which, for some reason, just totally escaped my consciousness as a choice. Throughout ALL the shit that has come down, I’ve been on the pill, and while I consider myself one of the toughest, most resilient people I know, I’ve been anything but that of late. I want to have something to blame, and maybe the pill’s a good thing to use in that capacity. Maybe, though, it really is to blame.

(And while I’m being all hard on myself, don’t think for a minute I’m not impressed with my ability to get through certain things that came my way since June… I’m quite proud of myself in some regards, but I’m disappointed that, in the end, I did start to sink beneath myself.)

I’m supposed to resume the pill tonight, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’ll take a break and let it flush out of my system. Once fall passes and winter dawns, I might decide to resume the pill.*

At the moment, I’m not sexually active, but I still consider going off the pill to be a major pain in the ass because I typically get first-day-of-period cramps that leave me fetally balled on my couch, wincing in agony as my body proceeds to fully explore the potential of cramps. I get the world’s worst first-day cramps. I was once in enough pain that I thought of going to the hospital to get a sedative. I’d really rather not return to those cramps…

…but if the alternative is beginning to hate myself, then I know the choice I need to make. It’s been a week since I’ve had a pill, and since then, I’ve slowly started to climb out of the depressive cesspool that has been home for the last three months — which is coincidentally the length of my last cycle, thanks to the brilliance of trying to suppress my period.

Today’s to be a cycling day peppered by a four-hour stint of work. I have a project to do, and when I’m done, I’m gone, even if that’s less than four hours. I don’t care. Right now, I’ll do what it takes to enjoy myself, because that’s where I find the self-love. If I can have a good time on my own, I can enjoy myself anywhere, any time, and hopefully with anyone. It’s that simple.

Groundhog Day‘s great because Bill Murray also hits self-loathing bottom in that movie. He does everything destructive he can, and then, when that’s through, he seeks to improve himself. Me, I’ve been pretty destructive this past month. One ANGRY woman, man. I’m glad I’ve done nothing drastic because there were moments I was a little nervous for myself. The further I get from it (and I’m not that removed from it yet), the more dark I realize things had been for a while there. I too now wish to improve myself. Steps are being taken and I suspect positive results are already beginning to show in small, inconsequential ways.

I’m sure there are people out there who are forever on an even keel, and I hate them because I’m jealous of them, because I’m not one of them and likely never will be. I tend to be a little more even than this, but there’s often a potential air of volatility to me. That’s a negative, but I often overcome my negatives with my positives — of which I like to think there are many. I’m starting to embrace this difficult time instead of loathing it, because I think I’m heading down the right path — setting up counselling, lowering my expectations, focusing on the little things that need doing so the big things don’t loom so large.

Right now, everything’s worth doing if only it means I stop seeing shadows, you know? Whatever you do, don’t call me Punxsatawney Steff.

*Don’t ever just stop in the middle of a pill cycle or you could fuck yourself over worse than the pills have done to you. Always consult a doctor. I finished my cycle; I’m just choosing not to resume. Despite knowing that I can indeed do this, I’m still seeing my doctor Monday to clue him in and touch base on the evil shit that’s come down in the last few weeks.

Is There Anybody Out There?

Do you ever have those heady weekends? You know the kind I mean. The kind where you realize your life isn’t what you wish it was, and here, now, in this 72-hour period, you will undertake to solve all your issues, and then you will lock-stock-and-barrel the conundrum of Cold Fusion when you’ve had your post-issue-solving cold beer. It’s all so fucking easy, after all, isn’t it?

Or is it? I’ve had just such a heady weekend.

Naturally, the Cold Fusion ditty’s posing a little challenge to me, but since I’ve solved all the other problems of my life, I’m feeling the checks are balancing all right regardless, y’know what I mean?

I have to confess: I came as close as I’ve probably ever come to having a nervous breakdown last week. I was so stressed, so fucking tired, and I was just about to snap. I can’t really comfortably express how hard it is to fight against the feeling that your world’s about to crash down around you. Man, was I fightin’. Then I realized something: I’ve been feeling like I’ve had no control over my life for god knows how many months now. This ain’t the tip of the iceberg, I thought. This is that big goddamn chunk below the surface and it’s about to fell the mighty, mighty Titanic. Sometimes it just takes a while to realize a truth you’ve been avoiding for far too long.

Now, though, I know it’s like some fuckin’ phantom puppet-master’s been toying with the strings all along. And then I realized something else: It doesn’t need to be that way.

So, I’ve been kind of slowly taking back control for the last week. Doing silly little things to step up the action a little. I’m bored, you know. Real fucking bored. See, my friends are all either ensnared in these happy-sunny relationships, or they’re new parents, or they’re just totally self-involved. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to expand my friendship realm, but it’s time. I’m sick of being friends with people who are in different places than me. The whole married/but-I’m-just-so-in-love! thing sure has worn thin, at the least. I just need some good semi-single people to chill with, methinks.

The trouble is, I’ve been needing this for awhile. So, when I sort of went and got involved, I allowed that to fill the vacant holes. Bad Steff. Lovers ought never be allowed to serve as putty hole-filler. That relationship’s sort of in a holding pattern, which I don’t plan to explain to you, so because things have slowed a little, I’m getting resentful of being bored. And it dawns on me: My fault. It’s too easy to do this, become reliant on a significant other for our entertainment factor. Thus, we allow them to play the role of hole-fillers a la Spackle. And then when things go a little south, who do we blame? Well, them, but it should be us who’re faulted.

Now, I love my friends and most of the people in my life. I just have far fewer responsibilities than they do, and much more time on my hands. I’m 32, and I don’t fucking feel it. I wanna be checking out live gigs, getting in at 3am. I wanna do all the shit I used to love to do before my FRIENDS got OLD.

They got old, not me. I’m still ready to go, man.

Suddenly, I have this age crisis. A boredom crisis. I want more fun, more variety, more minds in the meeting, you know? It’s the people we choose to surround ourselves with that contribute the most to our headspace and our lifestyle. Without a change of scenery, things get redundant in a hurry. And I’m stopping at the redundancy station again and again, man. And I’m stopping at the redundancy station again and again, man. And I’m…

My scenery ain’t changed in forever and a day. My life was filled with enough chaos and craziness for long enough, that shaking up the social mix didn’t seem wise. You take continuity where you can get it. Even then, I was stuck working in a six-person office for six years, an office where there was always an element of Benedict Arnold under the skin, so I didn’t know how close I could really get to the others. Once you get screwed, you’re always looking to keep the ass covered, if you know what I’m saying.

So, six years of sitting there, my ass tied to a television monitor and a captioning desk, watching TV for a living with headphones on. Not exactly a social role for an outgoing chick like me to play. And every time I tried meeting new people, it was just the same ol’ thang yet again.

I tell you one thing: I’m too damned funny and outgoing to have a social life dry-spell like this. I’ve had a good weekend, doing my kind of shit my way. Funny thing is, one of the things I did to meet new people a couple years back was to start a scooter club in this city. There I was, a new scooter, and no scooter-type friends to hang with. Started up a club, promoted it, and here we are, a couple years later, and 300 members. So, naturally, I have a pool to dive into for amassing new people, but I’ve been neglecting it. I mean, the name they dubbed me with for so long was “Our Fearless Leader,” or “SteffOFL!” (Yes, there are some oddball scooter people out there, but honestly, do I need another stuffed shirt science or business type in my life right now? Variety, baby. That’s the spice this soup needs.)

I kicked off my personal “new year” on the morning of July 1st. It was the annual sunrise ride that I’ve been doing the last couple years on Canada Day. Meet at 3:30a.m., and ride scooters to the top of the 4,000 foot Cypress Mountain on the North Shore, and call it a day by 7 or so a.m. Being as exhausted as I’ve been, it nearly kicked my ass, but I did it with a couple others, and had a good time doing so. Got a few wicked photos, and it dawned on me: No monumental photography days have been had yet this season. What’s wrong with me? (I’d post this incredible view of the crimson city I shot from those heights, but that would involve installing PhotoShop and using up some of my free time today, so no pic for you.)

We forget ourselves, and far too often. We begin valuing ourselves through others and forgetting that there are things that make us tick. When we forget those things, we start to feel empty, then we resent those around us, but really, it’s the fact that we’ve not been taking charge and making decisions for ourselves that’s the problem. It’s stupid, it happens to us all, sooner or later, and every time, it kicks our asses.

So, I’m getting life in gear. I don’t know that I need yet another distraction on my plate, but if the price I pay for less distraction is this interminable sense of being sidelined, then maybe a little disruption in my life is exactly what I need. I used to be unstoppable, man. I used to be everywhere, like the wind. What the hell happened? I still don’t know, but I aim to change.

Let’s call it an experiment.