I work at night and one of my favorite things about it is running on my lunch break.
Lunch for me can be anywhere from 11pm to 4 in the morning. It is dark and cool and quiet.
My workplace isn’t in the best part of town and so to ease the concerns of (nosey) coworkers I run in a parking lot across the street from the building. It’s an event space parking lot, the kind that’s sectioned off by letters on poles that have huge floodlights at the top. Sometimes when I run the floodlights are on and sometimes they are off, I think it just depends on when my lunch is and what events are going on that night.
The lights are supposed to make it safer for me, but I prefer the dark.
When I run in the light people see me, which seems obvious enough I guess. The light is supposed to keep me safe because the good people can see and intervene if the bad people try anything. The argument is that in the dark no one can see me if I get nabbed, stabbed, or any other horrible thing. I understand the argument, although running with the lights on makes me way more nervous.
With the lights on every car, bike and person walking on two legs can see me. I’m an easy target. It’s easy to throw loud, mean words out of the window of a car at the 30-year-old woman painfully jogging in circles under bright pools of light. It feels like every car slows, and every passerby stares. The good guys may not see me in the dark but the drunk assholes don’t see me either. In the dark I feel lighter, I feel more free. I can run and not worry about how I look, sucking my stomach in, keeping my head up. Being in the light makes me a target. Makes me feel like a target.
Writing on the internet feels the same to me. This blog is the floodlight shining on my dusty desk. Yes, hopefully it will attract good people who will hold me accountable, but it may also attract jerks. It is easier to write when no one is reading it, when it is not open to critique.
Except I wasn’t writing. I was fooling myself into believing that clever tweets and thoughtful responses to other people’s writing counted, coming up with excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t possibly write about my life on the internet. Lately I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what people’s responses are because when it comes to writing I am my own drunk asshole. Let’s be honest, no one is going to be as mean to me about writing as I am to myself. So here I am.