When a New Blog Means Moving On
Written in 2007 for X, who wanted his peace
There once was a time when getting a haircut was a sign that a girl had broken up with a boyfriend.
In this digital age, there are other, equally emphatic, ways of announcing one’s re-introduction to the, uhrm, market.
Like taking down one’s blog and putting up a new one.
Deleting one’s online journal speaks as strongly as cutting off one’s hair. It’s definite (because unless you back up, there is no way of saving those posts, unless you do it manually).
It says “I have a new life,” or “Enough with the complication,” and “I want a clean slate.” It means “I want to start over.” It conveys: “I don’t want you to know what’s happening in my life.”
Many (pre-Blogger) years ago, I was a faithful lurker of a Website by a California-based girl named Stella (I never bothered to find out if it was an alias or not). She was half-Pinay and seemed to be having a fun stateside life compared to my own: the proms, the Friday night sleepovers, the boys.
Stella wrote about her parental troubles, her struggles in school, her big crush (also Pinoy who dressed like Usher) and how she and this boy later hooked up, her college choices, her brother joining the US Navy.
She seemed to me a distant cousin whom I had never met but whose life’s daily inanities I was well informed about.
Eventually, my life got busier and I stopped visiting. Some years later I wondered how she was doing, if she was still the same Stella I had read about.
I went back and lo, a notice: she had moved to a new site (she was studying at UC Berkeley, that much I knew). She and the boyfriend had broken up, and “the memories were too painful” that she had to “abandon the site altogether.”
Friends and strangers who were following her online journal left comments asking for her new URL, but she never replied. The end.
I felt a little sad because I didn’t know how she was doing. After all, I followed her like some captive audience tuned in to Pinoy Big Brother. It was like this good friend had stopped talking to me and there was no way to let her know I could relate with how she was going through or that I knew how she felt. That it was not the end of the world.
I wouldn’t blame Stella. When one’s online life is shared by a handful of others, some of them strangers you would not face in the morning without brushing your teeth, the easiest way to move on, without password-protecting one’s blog, is to delete the entire site and find a new one, preferably with a handle that is totally different.
It’s like suicide.
Except, unlike real life, you can be reincarnated.
The goodbyes, like the breakups, are heart-wrenching. Sometimes moving on can be as simple as ceasing to write, the old blog left as a testament to what was once your previous life. Sometimes the goodbyes are as swift as clicking the Delete button, and with one second, more than a year’s worth of posts is obliterated. Nothing backed up. Nothing to go back to.
Sometimes you grieve over each of them as you would the passing away of a friend who knew all your secrets and stood by you through thick and thin. But sometimes, in the darkest hours, you wonder why abandoning ship was the final option. Maybe it was because you didn’t want to be documented while you were picking up the pieces of your life together. Maybe because you needed the privacy to grieve.