Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A new start

I've been blogging here since February 2009. Originally it was an outlet for things connected with Mum dying, and the suddenly-fractured relationships with Dad and my partner at the time. Then it chronicled the taking-control of my own life, and the transformation of a person who had lost her way into a person who found herself, and made good. That process was surely complete - or as complete as these processes ever are - some time ago. I often now see 2012 as the pivotal year in which my self-confidence and self-assertion fully recovered from past damage. 

Since then the blog has diversified to include all kinds of topics and interests that must seem irrelevant or incompatible with its original remit. The format has remained the same - the blog has always looked liked this, with only very minor changes - and I don't see any reason to alter it as I take the blog forward into the future.

But I do think it's time to be frank about where it has been going, and to acknowledge that nowadays it's no more than the continuing story of an older woman who likes getting out and around, seeing new places, meeting new people, and exploring life through her camera. That may be interesting to a lot of people, and it may touch their own lives, but it's well removed from the original scope of the blog.

So it's time to take stock and make a new start. I like writing blog posts very much, but I want to escape three strait-jackets that I find limiting, and inhibiting to the creative flow.

One is the vague connection with feminism. I am not politically inclined. I am not a lesbian. I am not angry. I don't want to be known as a 'woman's writer', with a passionate message to shout from an official platform. I do have opinions about how one section of the population seems to oppress the other, intentionally or not, but I represent only myself on that, and don't want to ally myself to anyone else on such things. I am not part of any movement, nor want to be.

Another is my connection with the LGBTQ scene, specifically the one in Brighton. Only one of that string of letters ever touched my life. For a time I was close to that world, seeking friendship and support. But I have developed and changed, and I now feel awkward about claiming an association. I remain friends with individuals, but I feel at odds with the community as a whole. My personal situation is far removed from that community's everyday experience. I am unable to talk about my life with them, and have to keep my mouth shut. I am too comfortably placed. Indeed, I have become an embarrassment, and a target for resentment, overt or not.

No-one whose life is in limbo or full of grief wants to hear someone's else's success story, especially if that someone is free to do as they please, has a home of their own, and a swanky car. Too many of the Brighton community face severe difficulties with income, housing and health. Or, despite improvements in public attitude, may still experience prejudice and discrimination, or the humiliation of not being taken seriously. Their lives are marred by impermanence and an inability to map out a clear future. These awful things don't come into my life at all. Nor am I stuck in a benefits and healthcare trap. I have in fact never claimed a single welfare payment in my life, and have no conception of what it means to be clinically depressed or forever close to destitution. People see that, and they dismiss me for it. 

Thus we have little to share in conversation. I remain an ally, but I am probably an unwelcome face nowadays, a living reminder that some people have all the luck.

The third thing that doesn't sit well with me is the pressure to generate online popularity. The total viewings of my blog over the years since February 2009 presently stand close to 859,000. That's good. I appreciate having a loyal readership. I'd like - who wouldn't - to see a million viewings, then two million, then three. But going for impressive statistics is the enemy of good writing. And I certainly do not want to carry on with a punishing schedule of one post per day, or every other day, simply to keep the viewings total on the boil. That's a game I'm not playing. 

So I propose to take the blog where it will, and not write to any kind of schedule. Ten or twelve good posts a month will be enough. The mix much as now. This is my personal platform, and I will always have things to say. But my life nowadays is much fuller than it used to be, and there isn't the time to be pounding the keyboard like I used to.

Should I go further, and change the layout and colour of my blog? No: continuity is important. I will simply confine myself to a minimum number of tweaks, to simplify what one sees, and preserve familiarity. But anyone will see that a fresh start has been made. That includes the blog list. I will initially prune it down to just two of my personal friends, plus one other local blogger. No doubt it will expand again in time, to reflect what I find interesting, but for now let's enjoy a 'bare bones' look.

5 comments:

  1. "... a living reminder that some people have all the luck."

    Hard to imagine myself thinking that of myself, but we have this in common now. I am happy that you are continuing your blog Lucy.

    All the best.
    Halle

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  2. I detected various responses when I last met up with the Brighton trans crowd, ranging from delight to be seeing me again through to a muted ironic sourness based, I suppose, on the perception that I was having an enviable time on an adequate income, while enjoying good health and limitless leisure - even though I took care not to mention these things. The chip-on-the-shoulder element made me feel uncomfortable.

    I am probably overdrawing the situation: nobody has actually been having a go at me, telling me to my face that I am resented and unwanted. But I do sense that I am no longer considered part of that crowd any more, not on any basis, even if some people do still like to see me. It's certainly the case that there's a painful contrast between my situation and that of the least fortunate. In any event, I can see that I have become a stranger, just a visitor, and possibly an outsider. I hope I'm not yet a mere tourist, but some may think me that. I do not wish to find out.

    I'm not alone, of course. I know other people who used to fit into that crowd, but no longer do. Like me, they have accepted the situation, moved on, and have found other fish to fry.

    You do like to hold on to what was once important if you can. I am very sentimental, and like to keep up happy connections if I can. But to stay alive and well, those connections have to be based on something substantial that we still share, and that has been lacking for quite some time.

    I thought about it all while on holiday - I've just come back from a two-week break. The blog was still clinging to the past. I was still trying to be relevant to a specific readership. That couldn't continue. So this is the first of perhaps several changes of direction. I'm now aiming now for as wide a readership as possible.

    Lucy

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    Replies
    1. You have answered a question I had Lucy. Some years ago another friend of mine transitioned, and hurt me deeply when she sent me an email to tell me that I shouldn't comment on her blog anymore, because by doing so, it "outed her".

      Hopefully either you will come to Canada someday, or when we come to Britain we shall finally meet.

      Halle

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  3. Lucy, I was lucky enough to meet you when we were both mid flow in our transitions and I shall be forever grateful that you rescued me from the clinic and helped me on my way. It all seems so long ago now and we have both found our new lives which is surely the aim of transition.

    Keep writing, you will not shake off this reader any time soon.

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  4. Coline, that's so good to know. I woke up this morning feeling that perhaps, after all, I'd consigned my blog to oblivion. But I soon saw that writing on whatever you please, and exactly how you want to without having to toe any line, is wonderfully liberating, and I am eager to discover what gradual changes this will bring.

    I remain a staunch supporter of minority aspirations, and especially supportive of trans people everywhere. And I made good friends in that community. I hope never to lose them.

    Lucy

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This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

Whoever you are, if you wish to make a private comment, rather than a public one, then do consider emailing me - see my Blogger Profile for the address.

Lucy Melford