I'm not sure if it's possible to read my journal and not know who those two are, but just in case you don't: Jane runs Jane's Guide to Adult Sites, a wonderful website that ranks and reviews adult sites. She's poly, has a couple of kids, and has recently started doing a lot of nude modelling. Heather is editrix for Scarlet Letters, a quarterly erotica webzine, very nice (much bigger than CS, though we're growing :-). I think she's also pretty poly, and she's a few years older than me (I'm not sure how old Jane is). Heather used to do lot of nude modelling, but she's thinking of stopping now. She wants to have kids soon.
Of course, those capsule summaries don't tell you anything about who those women are. I don't really know either of them that well. But what's become interesting and obvious to me since reading their journals is that I thought I knew who they were. I had a subconscious impression, garnered from their public personas, as seen at readings, business-related parties, etc. And I didn't really question it.
If you'd asked me to describe them before I started reading their journals, I would have said that they were both fearless. That they did these things that I find really difficult and that much of the world finds impossible to fathom, and they did them with ease and style and grace. That they had no hesitations about putting their minds and bodies and sexual selves out there for the world to see. That they were women that I really admired, but despaired of ever being able to emulate -- that they went further than I would dare. And maybe I resented them a little bit for doing it all so easily.
And then I started reading their journals, and after just a few weeks, I realized that I'd been totally wrong about them. They're not fearless. They're not absolutely sure of what they're doing. They worry about what their bodies look like on film. They get upset by criticism -- they don't just shrug it off. They have relationship problems too. They worry about whether they're supposed to be representatives of their various communities, public figures to the world; they resent it when people think of them as perfect icons. They make mistakes.
They're just like me.
Gods -- you'd think I would know better. How many times has a reader come up to me, and I can see them totally flustered, not knowing how to approach me, the Author! And I wanted to laugh, or shake them, and say -- "Look, I'm just a person. A real person -- what makes you think I know what I'm doing up here?" After they talk to me for half an hour, they usually figure that out, and we can start having a real relationship, as normal individuals. Maybe I'll think they're cute -- or they'll think I'm really boring in real life. Who knows? Sure, I hope they like me once they get to know me -- but I want liking, not adulation. I think most real people do.
So consider this a bit of an apology to Heather C. and Jane, for treating them the way I never want to be treated. I should have known better. And a toast to them -- for making it look easy...and then giving us their journals to let us know that it's not. And while we're at it, a toast to journals too -- for making possible to get to know a little more about people than their public selves.
Web journals are funny -- a mix of public and private. You could argue that they're entirely public, and maybe so -- but if so, they allow us to be public about aspects of ourselves that aren't appropriate to make public anywhere else. Even if I post to-do lists half the time, I'm so glad I have mine. And I'm glad you guys are reading it.