It's taken me a while to think about what it is I want to say now having completed the first stages of my immigration to Canada. At first, I wanted to update my friends, family, and colleagues about how things have progressed for me, how well I'm doing, and more generally, let everyone know I'm alive. You see, that would've been easy for me to tell you, but the truth is that the audience for this blog has changed since I first started it and that affects what I want to write about.

Originally, I started writing these entries because I needed an outlet for my addled brain. At the time I started writing in 2016, I had been going through one of my most difficult bouts of depression yet. It's something I try to speak about when I can, when it makes sense to, and within the context of discussions portraying mental health. Now almost two years later, I see those incidents more clearly as acts of someone requiring help and not finding it.

Let's say for the sake of brevity that you've read those entries, so I don't need to repeat what I said then (and because my blog analytics tell me you have). If those entries were cries for help that were then later answered, then what else do I have to say? What point do I have to continue blogging? It's a topic I'd like to get into, but first I need to relate something else that happened during these past few months that was a little revealing to me, for the context's sake.

As I stated, my blog's audience shifted, and in doing so, folks in my life who knew little about me before, came to know more about me than I intended for them to, which worries me. I came to the realization that what I have to say changes how people perceive me. So to say why it is that I want to continue blogging without addressing that first seems little nearsighted.

I'm pretty public about being transgender, I don't hide that or exclude anyone from that knowledge should they ask, but what I didn't realize was that folks weren't going to ask, out of shyness or some other cultural sensitivity. And yet, it meant that complete strangers to me all of a sudden had some perception of how my life is. One of the striking things about my new employment was that within the first month or two folks had already found out more about me than I had about them.

As an example, a colleague decided to chat me up at work and asked for my last name. What I came to find out from my blog's analytics later was that on that particular day, they put my name into Google search and found my blog, they found out I'm transgender. They never brought up to me, but from that day forward, they've gone out of their way to avoid conversation with me.

Beyond that, when Gabriel and I broke up in December, it occurred to me that even being open about my thoughts and feelings in a setting around friends was harmful for him as well as for me. At this point, I'm not even sure there's anything left to salvage from that experience. I blame myself for sharing some of those details publicly here and in other places.

In talking with Chandra about her blog's audience, I came to find out that she picked up a number of followers because one of her posts went viral and it totally consumed any of the pseudo-privacy she had among her blog's audience. I wouldn't even want to write something so personal for an audience of hundreds.

It's a little frightening to think that maybe in the future that these entries might prevent me from finding a new job, or an experience that I really want, because of my gender identity, my sexuality, my experiences as a person, or my trials with mental health. I don't want these entries to be used as leverage against me for any reason. Moreover, I wish folks would just ask - ask me anything, communicate with me, text me, call me - I started this because I needed to reach out to friends and family who I don't speak to regularly. I didn't write these entries for strangers to Facebook stalk me.

Before anyone heads down to the comments to criticize me for not taking care of this myself, I'll say this: I'm going to take this lesson to heart. Going forward I'm going to restrict the access to certain blog entries with a shared key. If I want you to read those entries, I will make sure you have that key. If you don't read it, no big deal. Maybe it's a little harsh, I don't know. Truth be told, not everyone needs to know what's going on in my life.

But to answer the question I've been asking myself, why should I continue blogging? I think for me, that means to continue writing about the things I care about. I really enjoy writing about things that are relevant to me. I think some of you really enjoy reading what I write too, and you've expressed that appreciation to me. I'd like to continue to use this blog to explore some of those thoughts that crawl around the back of my brain. I'd also like to express some of my work experience here, which I know some of you won't really care about, but some folks might. Finally, I'd like to continue to relate how my life progresses, but in a much more reserved setting. As long as I continue to enjoy it, I'll keep doing it.

With Love,

Caitlin

P.S. If you're among the friends I've met recently here in Canada or at A-Camp, you are totally welcome to get to know me in whatever way is comfortable for you, either in person or these entries. I want to establish new connections in my life and I don't want this to come off as too strong. You're important to me and I hope we can build a strong, mutual relationship together.