+1-808-572-7907  aloha@barefeetstudios.com

A Love Letter to The Amazing Andrew Sullivan

Celebrating Andrew Sullivan, blogger, disher

I have been reading you, Andrew, since 2004 – 4 years after you started blogging. You were more conservative back then, but always brilliant and weird. Those two qualities really drew me to you. I’ve been talking about you several places, but so much is coming up today that I am choosing a public homage – that also turns out to be a private wakeup call.

What you have done, is truly pioneer using the web your way. You turned off blog comments years ago because of the troll factor. But you actively encouraged reader feedback and each day, your posts include anonymous reader feedback. We the people could not use you as a platform to promote ourselves but we could engage with you, and therefore your readership, by adding value to the ideas and the energy. You left a salaried post and built-in exposure at more than one prominent publication, finally settling into your own home with no ads, supported by your fans.

You were openly gay before it was safe, before it was cool.

You published the first cover story on gay marriage, making the *conservative* case for it, back in 1989. Yes, fucking 1989. You are willing to show your true passion publicly, regardless of what others thought. You openly admit to changes of heart and opinion. You embrace your sexuality and do not hide it from your readers. How weird and wonderful to read 20 posts in a day that could range from NSFW shit to praising a pope – yes, one of the many puzzle pieces that “don’t fit” is the fact that you are a Catholic. I am a “recovering Catholic” – no desire for any religion these days much less one that played an important role in my own childhood pain.

I emailed you the day I learned you were quitting blogging, and told you, I get it. I wished you well. You owe me and everyone else nothing. And now a week later, the shock is wearing off and I am feeling extreme sadness for the loss of what you created. I have cried several times this week as I have visited your blog and once again experienced the beauty of contrast, the thrill of new voices, the videos you and your amazing staff find and share, the updates as things change inside a post, and most of all, your open-hearted, fiercely intelligent advocacy that is not done at the expense of anyone else – well, except maybe a little bit at the expense of Sarah Palin. But IMO, she asked for it, indeed perhaps thrives on it.

Somewhere in here I want to mention your love of dogs Andrew. Me too. It is one of those powerful and irrational connections I feel with you. Our dog died less than a year ago. Yours too. Thank you for not hiding the grieving. You moved the consciousness of understanding animals so far forward.

But there is also a virtual rubber band snapping at my wrist.

Why on earth shall I continue to let you be my proxy, for myself? Why pressure you to be the voice of diversity and weirdness and self-acceptance, when I can do a better part representing myself in that theater of absurd life as we know it today?

So today marks a turning point for me.

#WWID

What would I do, if I weren’t so afraid? If I cared less about others’ opinions of me? If I didn’t have to know, with certainty, who I am before I acted on some little flicker of interest?

“What would so and so do” is a reference to the deep emotional story in Hawaii of legendary surfer and lifeguard Eddie Aikau, who drowned at sea during a massive storm seeking help for his canoe mates. (well, and of the What would Jesus do meme too.) What Would I Do is a shifting of responsibility from living life through other people’s eyes, regardless of how beloved or inspiring they are. Because for me, what is the use of inspiration if I don’t anchor it inside my own cells, my own bones, my own actions? For me, it just leads to more depression, more withheld everything, more stifling of my true nature. (More on that later, as one of the most confusing things for me has been how much I love Hawaii and so much of its ethos and yet also find myself unable to breathe at times because of the stagnation of group mind and stuck-ness in the past.)

This is my view from My Transition in Consciousness. I own several blogs. I decided to put this post first on my business blog. That is the place where I have been most reserved, most adhering to protocol, most afraid to upset anyone even while embracing for over a decade the liberation that is social media: a form of communication that is based on personal and authentic sharing to build relationships. Somehow, you managed to be both classy and crude on the same page, on the same day – that is sheer mastery IMO.

I have been authentic, but not thoroughly so. You will not find lies or misrepresentations here, per se, but you can assume there is a decade of withheld opinions, beliefs, and desires. Even as I espoused to thine own self be true, I have hidden behind politeness and some fictitious set of best practices.

Andrew, the Beard of the Week perhaps sums up the mechanics of your brilliance for me. I am not a beard lover. I am the opposite. But because you have bared so much of yourself over the years, and I have come to love you and respect you so much, I chose to look at them with “fair witness” curiosity. You have built up SO MUCH credibility with me, that I am willing to drop any prejudice to engage in further examination. Thank you for being so visual, so self-accepting even in the midst of so many expressed doubts. That truly is the secret sauce I believe.

It’s turning into a really long post.

But for that too, I thank you Andrew. You held firm to long form writing. I have no idea how you consume so much in a day, but I am not going to worry about that. #WWID no longer supports worrying about others, even and especially the people I value as deeply as you.

So for all you have done, let me now stop depending on you to do that for me and let me do that for myself. Your quitting is actually kicking me out of your nest. This may be the thing for which I am most grateful to you!!!

So I leave you readers with the video that inspired this post today, Leaving, by the Pet Shop Boys. (Andrew posted it today.) It’s been raining hard here where I am in Palm Beach, and well, it just all fits together so poignantly well. Also because I love music, and dancing, and if I could have one more Andrew wish, it would be to party on the dance floor to 80’s music with you, Andrew, just having some fucking fun.

As a straight female reader, I am in the minority. So what, I ask myself now? Andrew Sullivan, you are amazing. And I imagine I will be very pissed if I don’t get emails from you, letting me know what you’re up and how I can continue to share this weird, wacky, wonderful world with you from time to time.

Love,

Rox