An excerpt from chapter 12, “Burnout”:
I clicked to open a browser and loaded up the dashboard of my fancy new site, theradicalhousewife.com. After MySpace tanked, I wrote for a while on a Blogger platform before determining that it was time to bite the bullet and, in the parlance of mommybloggers across the country, “build my brand.”
The dashboard stared at me. I knew I ought to write a new post, but instead I loaded up the fancy statistics widget that revealed my total number of page views, incoming search terms, referring sites, and the like. Reading that stats widget was like swallowing a Krispy Kreme in one gulp every morning—addictively sweet, but never truly fulfilling or even satisfying. If I had a hundred page views, I wanted a thousand. If I had a thousand, it was usually because a blogger with a much larger following, like Gina Crosley-Corcoran of The Feminist Breeder, had linked to me, and I felt pangs of jealousy that I wasn’t yet in her league.
I couldn’t feel grateful or humbled that my blogging peers seemed to enjoy my work; instead, I wondered why I wasn’t being asked to appear on Ricki Lake.
In another attempt at brand-building, I appeared at a local Netroots conference, suffering a lonely panic attack in the women’s bathroom before shakily convening a panel called “Feminist Activism in a Gone-Rogue Age.” When I submitted the (surprisingly successful!) panel to the national conference, I was told that I didn’t have enough name recognition yet—The Radical Housewife was not yet a brand.
I stared at the keyboard, the mouse, the monitor, blank screen with NEW POST at the top. What exactly did a brand write about, anyway? Shannon Drury once wrote about any old crap that came into her head, hiding behind a goofy moniker as a joke that she thought would make Erin and Christine laugh. Then Erin moved to DC, Christine moved to San Diego, and The Radical Housewife moved to her own URL address.
I stared at the blinking cursor. There wasn’t a shortage of topics to write about; thanks to global patriarchy, half a million ideas buzzed through my mind through any given day. I could take a controversial position. I could repost on Daily Kos, Minnesota Progressive Project, orFeministing. A writing friend gave me the contact information for an editor at the Huffington Post, the site around which gone-viral careers were being made, but I couldn’t type her a sentence, much less pitch her an article that might build my brand.
I couldn’t write. I didn’t want to write. This scared me back into talk therapy.
….with [the therapist's] help I began the process of untangling the knot of my many identities: feminist, activist, writer, mom, even “radical housewife.” I’d worked myself into a this/that, us/them, either/or box just like the one I thought I was fighting against years before.
Instead of me naming a MySpace page back in 2006, my MySpace page named me!