About eight years ago a friend of mine taught me how to knit and a whole new world was opened up to me. I started knitting all the time! Who knew there was all those yarns and needles and notions out there just waiting to be discovered!
At this same time I had just really gotten into the Internet and blogs. Unbelievably, blogs are kind of on their way out now that facebook and twitter has come on to the scene, but back then I could spend hours reading other knitters blogs and feeling like I was making a friend. My husband used to tease me when I talked about one of my Internet friends , " You mean the ones that aren't real?", he'd say. But they were real, I knew all about them and what they were doing and what they were making. I really considered them a friend.
I got so in to it that I decided to start a blog. I wrote about my knitting a lot, but then it grew into more about my child, my husband, my family, the loss of my mother and so much more. I did some really good writing on that blog. I won a few small blog awards and I was really proud of what I had done.
I see now that I was naive, that I did not comprehend the scope and distance of the Internet. Sure, I had readers from Finland, Sweden and Ireland, but they were my friends, they left lovely comments about things that I said. They admired my knitting and laughed at my jokes and were kind.
Then one day I had a terrible person with a terrible agenda enter my life and when I realized she could see my life on my blog I completely lost it. I erased the whole thing in a second, years of thoughts, pictures and stories were gone. It was all I could think of to do to protect myself and my family. I wish now I had done it differently and somehow preserved what I had made for myself, but oh well....
Once my eyes were opened to "the other people" on the Internet I checked my flicker account stats and realized 1000's of hits were being made a day on my beautiful little girls pictures, by strangers who had found the pictures by googling things I won't even write here. All of these led me to be scared of the Internet, of those people, the ones that were not kind.
I went a long time with no presence on the world wide web. I slowly came back to it, but with much more knowledge of protecting myself and the ones I loved. I use all my privacy settings and restrict access to things I didn't before. I joined facebook, but hid myself. I kept my flickr, but no one can see my pictures but me and my family. I didn't restart my blog, all my previous work was gone and I was too afraid to start another. I missed it though, very much. I missed the writing and the comments and the people, the kind ones.
I finally started a blog again a few years ago, just a little post here and there. I go long stretches with nothing to post. I had a hard time writing, deciding what was safe to tell people about. I didn't tell anyone about it and I don't promote my blog to other bloggers, part of me was still afraid. I realized I missed sharing and hearing from people. I want to get those comments and questions, I want to know that someone was touched by a story I wrote about my mother. I want someone to say that they love the scarf I just finished knitting. I missed the connection....
I know those other people are out there still, but I refuse to let them scare me any more.