One morning, a few weeks ago, I logged on the computer and checked my Facebook account. I noticed that one of my friends, Dwain Leland (a gorgeous male model who attends Stanford University), was no longer on Facebook. His profile had disappeared. I sent him a message on Twitter, but I didn’t get a response back. Either I pissed him off something truly awful, or he’s taking time off from the digital world. Either way, I miss him.
I’m sad to hear that a much-needed period of quietude for me caused you some heartache. You are partially right in that I took time off from the digital world, and I appreciate your attempts to ardently follow me on all the accounts I regularly update. It means a lot to me that you and other friends and fans alike look to me and my work as sources of pleasure and hope, and that when my presence is not palpably available online, it – and by extension, I – am missed! It is a humbling fact to read and have made known.
As I described in An Open Letter to My Fans & Followers back in June of 2012, there are times when I cannot manage a constant online presence because of the demands in my life. I wear many hats, and don’t always have time to equally spread to all my endeavors. Because blogging and social media are not directly responsible for my means of living, nor the advancement of my academic career, they sometimes take a backseat to my other careers and education. Not to mention the copious amounts of focused time needed to maintain the body I can occasionally present to you as a piece of art and/or commentary. Facebook updates are not deadlifts, after all, and neither are blog posts.
That being said, there are also moments when social media, which is the very intersection of digital and real life, must be silent and inaccessible, just as when each of us turns in to sleep each evening. Though there are many people out there who thrive on airing dirty laundry, escalating personal drama for everyone to see, and/or allowing glimpses into what should be their very private lives, I am not one of them. Instead, when times are difficult, or when there are disagreements that inevitably arise from very real relationships in the flesh, I do not feel it is appropriate for me to let my social media presence mirror those times. This position I take is not to say that online life should never reflect negative emotions or human struggle, but rather that, when one is in a position of responsibility to a fan base, it is not productive to carry on personal drama in front of them, and to drag them into death-spirals of toxic emotions, or unending questions that serve only to satisfy the most basic of curiosities.
My hope is for anyone who stumbles upon my work and the visible parts of my life to be inspired and driven to make and achieve their own goals and desires, and to learn a bit more about what is possible and what is good in the world. I want to be transformative in a very positive way, understanding that I know I am not perfect, and that there is an appropriate time to present and examine the difficulties I have faced and how I overcame them. Perhaps this very moment is a good time to do just that:
My disappearance online a little over a year ago, and lasting about four months, was owing to the fact that I went through a bitter divorce in which my husband of eight years left me and I ended up with nothing – my house, my dogs, my money – all of it gone or being paid back over time. Devastated and alone, and unable to face even the most sincere of sentiments and inquiries, I went silent and turned off everything but the necessities and focused on first getting a roof over my head, and then healing my wounds and making my way back to being in front of friends (and indeed, a camera) again. Today I am living well and surrounded by people who geniunely love me, and I have made it back from the brink of a terrible loneliness.
However, if you try to find me online right now, you may come up mostly empty-handed once again (excepting this letter and a few reblogs of my work I have found on other blogs). This second period of silence is owing to the fact that a man that is popular and well-known in the gay community, and someone I have been dating for the last three months, also chose to leave me. Though I feel his decision to disengage from our relationship was hasty and unfair, I am not prepared at this time to answer questions from the public at large, nor to engage in any actions that might have the slightest possible chance of hurting anyone involved. Therefore, I am choosing to go “radio-silent.” I do hope you understand, and forgive me for not appearing online at present. Please understand this is a temporary absence, and I will be back to posting and updating as soon as I feel it is safe and appropriate for me to do so.
Thanks to you, Alex, and everyone else who looks to me for a bit of happiness and inspiration each day – you are the reason I continue to create a new character, a new world, each day I exist in this blessed life. There is nothing I love more than hearing from you and connecting with you in order to understand what is gorgeous and beautiful about humanity and its concomitant relationships and connections. I am always here, even when silent, and want you to know that I always have you in mind, even when I’m not in your sights.
I’ll be seeing you around…