In the last year, I have attempted to write the stories I have swimming in my head, trying to put my constant running commentary into words on the page, but I have stopped myself short. I have edited myself before I have even begun, held back, largely based upon fear.
Fear of who could be reading it, who they know or are connected to, where and how it will land in the end. The internet is a vast place with so many tentacles that connect people in unexpected ways. The possibility that it could lead to an angry exchange with my ex paralyzes me before I even write my first word.
It’s stupid, I know.
The blogging community has been so welcoming, and mostly encouraging, of my writing. Telling me in no uncertain terms that this is my space, to do with what I choose, and screw anyone who believes otherwise. Especially my ex. Let him write his own damn blog, it’s been said.
And for that I thank you. I really do.
But it doesn’t quite still the voice inside of me reminding me that there is another audience out there in the shadows, waiting for the next juicy morsel to forward to their friend, colleague, friend’s husband, etc. that will possibly begin another ugly exchange that makes me sick to my stomach to even consider.
I have gone the better part of a year without such exchanges, and those that we have had have been minor and relatively short in comparison to the earlier days of our divorce, equivalent to the pain of a skinned knee instead of the usual bloody nose, punch to the gut type of reaction.
It has been a welcome calm. I can breathe.
But I still have so much to say, to write, to share. So much of the conversation that is running through my mind that my fingers itch to type madly…but I stop myself.
I realized recently, with the beginning of the new year, it will have been twenty years that I have been “Crazybutttricia”. Twenty years.
I had no idea the night that I sat in front of our desktop computer in Germany, into the wee hours of the night, trying to get that blasted disk of AOL.com to work and start using my “free 20 hours”, that an email address born out of the simple desire to connect to the people I missed back home would become my widest known identity.
It started off as a joke, to be honest. After what felt like hours of rejection, trying my damnedest to utilize my white-bread surname in my email address, one last slaphappy attempt to choose an online identity that was original and memorable occurred to me. A sort of “why not?!” attitude came over me.
And it worked, I was thrilled!
The questions I have answered over the last twenty years regarding this email address/ online name have been numerous, but usually similar. How did you come up with Crazybutttricia?? Usually people are expecting some outlandish, movie plot type of experience that includes a goat, a red convertible and being arrested while wearing nothing more than a t-shirt that earned me this nickname.
I mean, there has to be a great story, right?
But really, there isn’t. Sorry to disappoint you.
I was an exhausted, frustrated, homesick expat mom of two babies under two years old, living an ocean away from everything and everyone I knew, with a husband that was gone for the better part of 16 hours a day. I wanted, I needed, to connect to people that loved and understood me just to save my sanity. Desperately.
If only this stupid AOL disc would accept my email address suggestion!!
So I tried all of the regular name ideas, using combinations of birth dates and initials with some form of my name, but was coming up empty. I really wanted something more interesting than what I was trying, but I also wanted to be able to remember it, which was something that my new mom/new expat brain was struggling with daily (and still is if I’m completely honest)
I used funny names for my kids at that time, like many moms do, goofybutt and sillybutt being a couple that were in regular rotation. By the end of the second hour of wrangling AOL I was at my wits end and “just for fun” tried “goofybutttricia”. It worked.
Oh for fuckssake…
Well, that wasn’t what I wanted the world to know me as, surely. There had to be a better name to use, something…I don’t know…more “me”…
Yeah…crazybutttricia was my next best idea.
I said it was late, and I was mentally exhausted remember?
To say that my husband (he still was at that time) was less than thrilled, and lacked the capacity to see how this was a good idea, is an understatement. He is more of a pragmatic type of thinker, not a creative type obviously. His concerns are linear, how does “a” affect the flow to “b” and what will “c” think?
How will you make hotel reservations in Europe using that email address?! The horror. (clutches pearls)
But I refused to give it up, I had earned that name through too many trials, and I was sticking with it. It was only an email address after all, not a religion.
Lighten up, Francis.
But it became so much more. It opened doors, started conversations and produced introductions. It was memorable, oh so memorable. It was my brand, before I even understood that a person could have a personal brand. I still recall the first American Women’s Club activity meeting I attended, adding my name and email address to the sign in sheet shortly after christening myself on the internet, and the murmur that went around the circle of international women…”that’s Crazybutttricia sitting over there” “is that her??” “Crazybutttricia from the email list?” I didn’t think to be ashamed or embarrassed for very long, instead I just owned it.
Yeah, that’s me. I am Crazybutttricia. The whole room burst into laughter.
I went on to use it for any and all email addresses I created from that time, with each move to another country or eventually because I wanted to corner the market. I now have at least five versions of it on the internet to date.
But since that time, twenty year later, so much has happened and so much has changed. I have changed. Maybe I am maturing and realizing that I have little use for a name that creates such buzz, because now I finally realize, I am enough. No gimmicks necessary.
Or like my marriage, I am coming to terms with the idea that it’s run its course and it’s time to move on. I am no longer the same person I was at the beginning, it no longer serves me or its purpose.
Whatever the reason may be, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on from Crazybutttricia and create a new identity that fits this next phase of my life. I am no longer the scared, overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted new mom/new expat/new resident of the latest move to another part of the world, white-knuckling my way through life. It was a chapter (or two) of my life that was interesting, full of new experiences and life lessons, and the name served its purpose during those times, but now I feel that it’s beginning to hold me back. It’s blocking the open road that lies ahead of me, and stifles my voice.
So while ringing in this new year, and the next decade, this is a last farewell to Crazybutttricia.
Starting off as a desperate need to connect and stay connected, turned into a way to start conversations, build relationships, open new doors and find my voice. Evolution.
Goodbye Crazybutttricia, it was a good run ♥
If you’d still like to follow my writings and ramblings, or just keep in touch, please let me know in the comments and include your email address. I would be happy to send you a link to my new identity…once I figure out what that is.