My Old Friend Michelle Shocked

I was heartbroken by the news of Michelle Shocked's rant. Then I was concerned by what my Web site ran right after the news broke.
Publish date:
March 22, 2013
controversy, michelle shocked

I got this from my mom the other day:

I love my mom. So curious. So non-judgmental. So not prone to jumping to conclusions. So helpful.

I hadn't had time to check out what she was talking about (but I was going to, because listening to my mom has never steered me wrong). It was a typically busy day at work and this post went up and I saw the headline and I thought, this is probably what my mom was referring to.

As I read it, I was struck by two things: That my old friend Michelle Shocked could not have meant to say what people were saying she said. And that our post was admittedly snarky, something I try very hard to avoid on this site and in life.

Then Corynne tried to cover for Emily (who usually shows me anything issue-oriented or that might go against any edit policies before posting) by saying the post had gone up without her seeing it (I LOVE Corynne). Then Emily said that no, she was just scattered. I said it was no problem and a good thing because it got me to think about writing something about Michelle.

It's complicated.

Michelle and I got to be very close friends back in the mid-to-late nineties. I don't remember where or why we met, but we had a ton in common and it was kind of one of those instant connection things that really lasted.

I went to her wedding. The friend of hers whose letter she quotes in her song "Anchorage" (not a lover, as far as I know, but I loved Margaret Cho's takeaway either way) was there and another friend of ours sang a beautiful version of an old religious song(?) segueing into "Anchorage" and I asked Michelle to sing it at my wedding were I ever to have one (which, as you know, I didn't ever seriously expect to have) and she said yes.

She and I went to Lollapalooza together where she good-girlfriend-style left to go to the bathroom when Eddie Vedder, who I had a massive crush on at the time, came over to talk to me.

My mom still has a picture of the two of us from that day on her dresser. Then, from what I recall, her husband was not a fan of some of the stuff we were running in Jane magazine and it caused some tension between me and Michelle and we lost touch.

Michelle wrote me at some point later telling me that she was single again and really appreciated the advice we were giving single women in Jane magazine. I am still planning to write back to her, now like 10 years later -- that is a really crummy trait of mine that I think great thoughts about people and still mean to get back to them and so much time goes by and I don't but I still will and then they sometimes die. Sorry everyone.

A few years later, I went through a relationship that reminded me so much of Michelle's with her husband that I wrote about her a lot in my journal. This was another thing I looked forward to talking to her about whenever we got back in touch.

I couldn't bring myself to listen to the audio but I did read the transcripts of what she said at that concert in San Francisco, and I can understand every reaction to it. Clearly the snarkiness toward Michelle on our site is a way, way infinitesimally smaller issue than words Michelle said and the way they affected people. I still want to talk to Michelle about it and maybe I will get to.

I saw a bunch of your comments that made me feel like some of you had a pretty empathetic grasp on what might have caused her to do this. And I don't know what I am saying here except that I am only going to think of her with kindness and I just wanted to tell you my stories of Michelle because they are so different from what I read here initially on xoJane. That's all.