Ghosts in the Machines
I particularly found this striking...
There’s a blog I don’t think anyone else reads. I ran across it searching for something else, and something about it, the tone of voice perhaps, so flat and bleak and hopeless, caught my attention. I bookmarked it.
If the girl who kept it knew that anyone was reading it, anybody cared, perhaps she would not have taken her own life. She even wrote about what she was going to do, the pills, the Nembutal and Seconal and the rest, that she had stolen a few at a time over the months from her stepfather’s bathroom, the plastic bag, the loneliness, and wrote about it in a flat, pragmatic way, explaining that while she knew that suicide attempts were cries for help, this really wasn’t, she just didn’t want to live any longer.
She counted down to the big day, and I kept reading, uncertain what to do, if anything. There was not enough identifying information on the Web page even to tell me which continent she lived on. No e-mail address. No way to leave comments. The last message said simply, “Tonight.”
I wondered whom I should tell, if anyone, and then I shrugged, and, best as I could, I swallowed the feeling that I had let the world down.
And then she started to post again. She says she’s cold and she’s lonely.
I think she knows I’m still reading ....
One thing about putting up a diary online, in public--you really never know who is reading, or sometimes if anyone is. I recently had my boss' boss chide me to take my insulin because I'd posted here that I'd forgotten to do so. Sometimes you do get a clue that you're not just writing words in a vacuum. Even though I'm certainly not naïve about what's public on the Internet, it still surprises me a bit when someone does mention reading. There's something, though, about writing, about reaching out into the void and putting out something personal, bridging between yourself and the unknowns out there, that is appealing to writers. Does the reader know what I'm thinking? Does he care? Does anyone care? It sometimes surprises me that people follow or read this blog. I mean, I do try to put up content that is interesting, but sometimes it comes down to just my own story, and I'm sometimes surprised anyone would read that. Of course, I find reading blogs--even of people I don't know--fascinating because you do get a glimpse into another person's (generally) ordinary life.
I remember years ago I happened, completely accidentally, on a blog by someone in another country, on another continent, even in a different hemisphere. He'd been blogging for some time, but I happened across it just as his wife and he had found out that their unborn child was anencephalic, meaning that the brain was not and would not develop past a rudimentary state. Even if it were born alive, it would die within days, no doubt. They were going to go to another country to have an abortion performed, as it was not available where they lived. His pain was raw, as he struggled with a horrible loss, as a very private pain was shared with others, some of whom reached back over the divide with what comfort they could provide.
Just a little musing on blogging, I guess, and how powerful it can be, so personal yet impersonal, that sort of thing.