Warning: Don’t Google Yourself Or You Might Find This

Listen, there are concrete reasons why I don’t Google myself. These reasons hold steadfast to the three fundamental principles of my character: avoidance, denial and laziness. The first time I broke this rule was last night. I’ve been breaking a lot of self-imposed rules lately. And, I’ve definitely learned my lesson.

Maybe, someday, I’ll tell you the story of Jamie. But for now, just a glimpse. In college, I fell in love with the boy who worked in the bookstore. Our relationship, although short-lived, passionate and magnetic, was life-changing. He just got me; one of those unexplainable phenomenons. In fact, I wrote a short memoir about him and it became my first nationally published story. Three years ago, he told me that he had gotten hired for a job based on a story he wrote about me. I congratulated him and hadn’t heard from him since. You can see where this is going….

This week, I came across the essay he had written about me years ago for the job application, somehow archived on a website. But, he didn’t actually post it on the site, the owners did so I can’t be too mad.

After reading this, I’m both flattered and offended – sentiments which plagued every moment we spent together. Truth is, what he wrote about me is more honest than anything I’d ever be able to write myself and a million times more eloquent. I was surprised that he had anything nice to say at all.

I guess the most pure way to see yourself is through someone else’s eyes. As ugly, or beautiful as it may be.

Written by: Jamie M.

Maybe this is cheating. Like the real life version of taking Spanish 101 in college when you actually took 3 years of Spanish in high school. Easy A, right? If you said yes, I would agree. Except here.

Because I know Britteny, at least as well as anyone who got dumped then jumped an average of 3 times a week each could. It’s not like relationships aren’t hard enough. I’ve written about them on more than one occasion. But add a crazy woman into the mix who has no idea what she wants, and well, disco.

I don’t think I’ve cared for and admired someone I’ve hated so much before. [BLUNT SIDENOTE: my sentiments exactly.] It’s a very difficult rationalization with which to come to terms. Britteny is a lot of things but the one thing I know she will always be is a writer. She will always use words like they were boxing gloves, and the world around her like a punching bag. I have read her private journals, which are nothing like the poised abruptness, laced with wit and sarcasm, that you find on her blogs and websites. But I doubt if many people have seen her private journals. [BLUNT SIDENOTE: I used to carry my journals with me everywhere. Shortly after returning home from Europe, they were stolen. I’ve never opened a journal since.]

While she takes a no-holds-barred approach to her public writing, her private writing is eloquent and touching, yet somehow still laced with that “funny, but not really funny” sarcasm that touches me; in those corners of your mind that suddenly react when you don’t feel so alone because someone just said something that you have felt for so long but could never put into words, and never tried to because you thought you were the only one thinking it.

She has never been one to let the absurdities of life walk freely down the street disguised as tradition, or social standards. She will haul you up to the front of the class like a fourth grader caught passing notes and make you read it in front of the whole class.

But at the same time all she’s really doing is asking questions. Part of the question is poking fun at what she’s questioning, but usually it’s well deserved. This is a person who has tormented me mercilessly since the very first moment we met, but somehow I have never lost respect for her.

She has driven me to unbridled tears more times than I will admit to and yet even as I write this I can’t help but think that she should be the one contacting you. I love writing. I almost feel like I might have missed my calling. It comforts me and brings peace to my troubled mind. But if I were ever to say, this is what I think a writer should be, this is what I think makes writing great, it would be her that I turn to.

Footnote: My intention with this was not to be personal, though it was, but to show you what my thoughts look like written out. And with regard to this thing below here asking what is my relationship with Britteny, I’m sorry but tumultuous was not one of the options.

Hah. Tumultuous.

Yea, that’s about right.

Wondering where I went? I have returned to blogging over at my whole foods blog Celery and the City, where we live so clean it’s like your insides took a bath.

54 thoughts on “Warning: Don’t Google Yourself Or You Might Find This

  1. First of all, I’m not a mushy poo-poo person, but big virtual air hugs (where we almost touch but not quite) about your current situation. When it rains, it pours, and most often it’s a shit storm.

    Second, wow. This dude might have been a douche canoe, but he also has a way with the written word that can convey complexity and compassion in a minimal amount of copy (apparently I’m alliterative today as well.) I can understand your mix of being both offended and flattered, but I think I would be nothing but touched (not in the creepy way. See above.)

    I would love to be painted in this light–imperfectly passionate and talented, a mix of vulnerability and aggressiveness–and think I need to start dating people that can make me sound this great. If I were to find such a job application letter from an ex, it would probably read something more along the lines of, “I need this job to pay for therapy after being with that woman–and to try and win her back.”

  2. This kind of pisses me off — only because it ended up the Internet for you to find. And because it used your real name. And because he probably shouldn’t have written about it at the time he wrote about it, because he wasn’t able to be objective yet.

    I guess it’s just where I’ve recently settled, but I don’t think writers should be writing such personal relationship memoirs before they’ve fully calmed down about the situation – ESP if they’re gonna use real names and use it for some purpose other than a journal or a completely anonymous thing.

    Plus, you and I are like blood brothers or something…so I’m getting defensive on your behalf.

    • in his defense, he didn’t use my last name at all. and he DID NOT post it on the website – the people he applied for the job did. I contacted him about it and he was surprised that it was on the internet at all.

      but thanks darling 😉

  3. Like you, I think I would be flattered and mortified at the same time to stumble across something like this. How scary it must’ve felt at first to see someone you once cared for, honestly expressing his feelings for you so openly. You really impacted his life, evidently. I haven’t been reading your blog long, but I do agree with him about your writing style: it’s fresh and honest and funny. I wish you would post more!

    • haha. well thank you gail. seriously.

      I toy with posting more, although i’m always overwhelmed by those who post everyday, and i never wanted it to be a chore to keep up with my blog. also, i only post when i really have something to say. I don’t post about my day to day meanderings, although i think those could actually make me millions, cus they are anything but normal. hah.

      maybe, on this new year where i’m almost thirty, i’ll start posting more 😉

  4. I’ve googled myself numerous times, if only to see what ridiculous remnants from my past exist on the internet. This is compounded by the fact that I’m the only person in the world with my name. (That happens when your great-great grandparents change the spelling of your last name when they immigrated here from Germany. They felt it would be easier to pronounce this way, yet everyone still gets it wrong.)

    Unfortunately there are no love letters to me from former lovers that wax poetic about how amazing I am. I suppose it would be quite impossible to keep such an essay within the confines of a few thousand words.

    On a more serious note, nothing he wrote about you surprises me. A strong, passionate person is bound to find themselves in relationships like the one mentioned above, and you’ve certainly had your share. I’ve seen glimpses of all of that from time to time, and serious Britteny is even more endearing than public Britteny. Over the years, you’ve certainly faded toward the serious side in your writing, which adds depth and provides a personal touch that is otherwise absent in a typical cynical rant. I imagine that after the millions of words you’ve put to paper (or virtual paper, I suppose), you’re going to slowly open up and eventually reach the point where some of the public and private writing becomes indistinguishable.

    The evolution of your public writing has virtually run parallel with finally determining what you want out of life (at least to some degree). I imagine it will continue to do so as the years continue to pass, and it’s why I’ve always enjoyed your writing.

    As Abby said, you should be nothing but flattered by what he wrote. He has the brevity I could only dream of.

    • oh brandon. you do know me the best of any one in cyberspace. and you were around for some of the more “serious” writing.

      I have sort of gone away from that in the latter years.. i’m not sure why. i always get more responses to my serious stuff. But i almost feel like it doesn’t fit in with my blog anymore, but i love writing introspective stuff.

      maybe i’ll do that more often… now that i’m gonna almost be THIRTY. time to change a few things. or go back to the way i used to be, hah. either way.

      thanks so much for your support both personally and out here on the internets. you’ve been a great friend, albeit virtual, but i really do appreciate you and your late night counselling /talking me off the ledge convos.

      now… if we can just find you a nice dramatic girl…

  5. I found you through snidecommentary and I just wanted to say WOW – this is a really interesting first blog post to read because it introduces me to you in a different way than I would normally be introduced to a person through their blogs. I’m intrigued and I’m going to keep reading.


    • hey natasha! thanks so much for stopping by. and um, yea that IS an interesting first post to read. you can probably tell that usually my posts are light hearted, with the occasional introspective post thrown in 😉

  6. Before I read anyone else’s opinion on this, I will comment. I can see how you might be torn between be repulsed and flattered, but I think you should lean toward flattered. Reason being, you made a HUGE impression on this dude! HUGE, I tell you, HUGE!! And, because he never used your last name, no one (other than you or possibly his friends) will know who he’s talking about.

    • He didn’t use my last name, however it comes up in a google search of my whole name cus my blog had been tagged in the post, and then it was associated and tagged w my name.

      But…. I am leaning more toward flattered. Like I said, surprised it was positive at all.

  7. I’m actually kinda jealous! (and sympathetic, which is a strange combination). First of all, I hope someone somewhere has half as much respect as that for my writing! But even more so, that they think I’m worth reading about.
    p.s. from what I’ve read here: I totally agree that you fit the bill perfectly.

  8. Okay, first…I have to give you a HUGE cyber hug….

    (((((( You )))))))

    Sorry to hear about the rough week you’re having. Just know that I’m sharing much ‘good energy’ and love with you, my friend.

    And second, as I was reading his essay I couldn’t help but think that if someone who I’ve had a relationship with would write something about me, it would probably be very close to this. Which is probably why I feel a kindship to you. I know we haven’t known each other THAT long, but long enough to ‘sense’ that we are very similar in many ways. And one of these days, when we meet (and I know we will), I will share more of what I mean.

    Honestly though, I think this essay in MANY ways praises you.

    As it should!

    X ya, bestie.

    And thanks for sharing this.

  9. “You’ll alywasy be a writer”, he did get you. And while I’m not much of a hugger even cyber wise, I’ll keep positive thoughts for you and your family.

  10. First…I hope grandma and grandpa are OK. Good wishes to them

    Second…Happy Birthday

    Third…what is up with all these people kissing your ass saying he is a “douche canoe”? (I will use that one..haha) . He told the truth, you agreed that it was you to a “T” What’s the problem. We already know the truth so it wasn’t like he was letting us in on a dark secret.

    Fourth…check his house for your lost journals.

    Fifth…when you buy a new computer, use carbonite to backup your files automatically like I do (it’s only like $50 a year) and BUY a NEW SCANNER. That chicken soup article scan made my eyes go nuts from the blurriness.

    • 1. grandpa not so good.

      2. thanks… or grrr. whatevs

      3. i think they were referring to the fact that he busted out personal stuff on the internet, although i did try to make it clear that it wasn’t he who posted it, rather the guys who hired him and somehow my blog got tagged to it.

      4. it looks fine over here. i mean you have to minimize the pdf down to 100%, obvsly, but maybe YOURE the one who needs a new computer!!!!!

  11. Sending out love and prayers your way for your grandfather and grandmother. Also…more love and a viral birthday hug and also just “wow” this guy got you to the core. He was honest…..almost short of hitting the achilles heel but he was honest. Don’t be too stressed love!

  12. We have the same birthdays!! lol back on subject, If a guy at my school(and I’m 14) did this for me, just to show his feeelings for me, I would be flattered but tell him not to show anyone this. If I found this on the internet, I would be beyond pissed. I hate putting personal stuff on the internet.

    • well, like i mentioned, he didn’t actually put it on the internet, the people who hired him did, so i can’t be mad at him.

      unfortunately, it got linked to me and my blog, so i figure i might as well post it cus it’ll get found anyway.

  13. That really sucks about your grandparents, I bet you guys are close? I hope both have a speedy recovery. Seriously, I know what its like to have a shit week.

    11 years ago, I learned a very hard lesson to use a pen name, because there are hateful, jealous bitches and people out there who take pride in trying to burst our bubbles. My experience is with slander, someone impersonating me on facebook two years ago, but got my name wrong. (idiots) These few women are still stalking me everyday to this day (who is that bored)? I have a love and hate relationship with the internet.

  14. Hey there lovely.

    Hope you are hangin’ in ok. I’m sorry I missed your birthday, and to hear about your grandparents. And your hard drive. And your photos.

    Damn, girl. Can I buy you a shake thing-y and take you paddle-boating?

  15. Hang in there…we’ve all either gone through similar times…or will one day. They make us stronger in the end.
    You’ve convinced me – I will never Google myself again. I did just now based on your anti-advice and the first thing that popped up was my mother’s obituary. Sigh. Why can’t Google prioritize their searches better. All the nice, jazzy stuff first, then the boring stuff, then the damaging sh#! last.

  16. as for your life right now, BIG HUGS!! life is like the game of Jenga at times. I’ll add your family to my prayers.

    as for his writing, i don’t think it’s all that great. 2nd, is his name. Most people with that name are a bit crazy. 3rdly YOUR writing, however, was spectacular. and, as for googling yourself, i google the names of guys that have done bad things to me, which only causes problems for me in the end. they never cared in the 1st place, but i keep wounding myself all over again. darn self-harm.

  17. Oh, man…
    I’m so sorry to hear that… how awful. Stupid June. I hope things turn around very shortly (before July, even)! I’ll be thinking about you, and wishing your family only the very best, B.D.!

  18. so, it had been awhile, so i googled myself. both names. and the one i went by for most of university, not surprisingly, brought up a lot of profiles and meeting minutes from the organizations I was involved in. but the shocker was for one of them I HAD BLONDE HAIR. I thought there was little to no pictures of that brief period of my life. shocking.
    (the first result, however, is a rafting article written by my best friend who credits me for all the fabulous photos she used… ;D)
    when i use my full proper name, my clinic comes up. And a local newspaper article about a puppy I did surgery on. And a lot of stuff about people who are not me. Super common surname for the win! ;D
    nothing so exciting, or whathaveyou, as finding such a piece written about yourself. . . but it’s probably better that my clients can’t find stuff like that about me on google! 😮 (it’s a creepy thing, sometimes, to think what a client could find out about me if they really tried. . . )

    in other news. . . I’m sorry you were having such a shitty week 🙁 🙁 🙁

  19. (1) I think he’s a little pouty because you are clearly an amazing person, and he just couldn’t handle it.
    (2) Sorry to hear you’re in a rough spot right now 🙁 Your twinsie understands and keeps you in his twinsie thoughts.
    (3) You need to be using either Dropbox (http://www.dropbox.com/) or SpiderOak (https://spideroak.com/). Then, exploding hard drives and computers that catch fire are absolutely no problem.

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