The point is visibility. The point is making a mark in the social media landscape that will hopefully be seen by the right person at the right time. I am writing this in a way that will help a survivor who might stumble across it one day. I realize that the impact of my blog might take months or even years. I am completely o.k with this.
I haven't really been tracking any movement on social media. I watched the Social Dilemma on Netflix twice, so I don't have social media apps on my phone. When I do get a break from online teaching, I usually check my blog traffic. That is what I want to know. Who is actually clicking the link to the blog and taking the time to read it. Likes on Facebook and Instagram are awesome and appreciated, but actually reading my blog is the intended outcome.
The first few days, the traffic was exactly what I expected. It was very low. I really was fine with the numbers. It was almost a relief. Vulnerability is powerful but exhausting so having a smaller audience almost took some pressure off. Maybe it would be best if I finished out the project and the blog took off later? I still feel that way. I have over 20 days left on this journey and most nights and early mornings I am not sure what to write about anyway.
To my surprise, the traffic spiked significantly the past two days. I am not talking about thousands of visits, but it was a significant enough spike that I took notice. Was it a Facebook share? Was it a retweet? I checked my social media platforms and saw that neither of those things had happened. But over a two day span, I had received some pretty heartfelt messages from people from my high school and hometown. I had an uptick in friend request from Artesia natives. That is when I realized, my blog was being shared by people in my hometown.
This didn't need to happen publicly on Facebook, but it did need to happen. I am still healing and I have complicated feelings about the town where I was born and raised. Like I have written, there is a hazy fog over my years there, especially my teenage ones so hearing from Artesians has been surprisingly healing. It feels like another step in reclaiming my hometown. After all those years of feeling like no one really cared about me, it has meant a lot to know people who I grew up with are reading this and do care. Abuse happens everywhere, even in small towns focused on creating an idealistic upbringing for children.
I also wonder how long it will be before he sees this. I wonder how long it will be before someone unknowingly starts a path for him to read these very words. I hope he does someday. I already took his job. I already did my part to not allow him to have direct contact with children and teens, but I hope he does read about his impact on me. I hope he reads how I overcame his abuse and now have the strength to write about it. I am not done sharing. I am not done telling my story. I am not done shining light on my abuser and predators like him who need to be pulled from the shadows.
So I conclude by writing directly to my fellow Bulldogs. I want you to keep sharing. I know this story may shock many of you and that many of you will feel the desire to send it to another classmate of ours with a message of "did you see this". Do it! If I want this story to grow anywhere, it should start where it all began. I might of fell short under the bright lights of Bulldog Bowl, but I am hoping to rise up under the bright lights of the love and support of fellow Artesians.
It is fitting that I am writing this on a Friday. This is the day our town would turn orange and black, almost every single resident dawning clothes supporting our local teams. The heart of our town bleeds orange and black and today I feel the support from thousands of miles away. It is great to be a Bulldog!