Image: Yoani Sanchez
A child of five starts school, but a blog of the same age has already taken more daring steps. Today, I am making an effort to remember that quiet and fearful woman, from before April 9, 2007, who created Generation Y. But I can't. Her face disappears, dissolving among all the beautiful and difficult moments I've experienced since I posted my first text on the web. I can no longer imagine myself without this accidental and personal diary. I have the impression that I have always, in one way or another, been writing a blog. When the indoctrination and the injustice reached intolerable points, my childish head glossed the reality -- from the fringes-- in ways I could never say out loud. The evasive adolescent I became did the same thing: narrating her daily life, trying to explain it and trying to escape it.
The truth is that when I left home that morning to hang my virtual page on the Internet, I never could have imagined how much this action would transform me. Now, whenever the apprehension that the Cuban political police are "infallible" assaults me, I exorcise this thought by telling myself that "they didn't know, that day, they couldn't even guess that I would create this site." What happened afterwards is already well known: the readers arrived and took over this space like citizens take over a public plaza; many others knocked on my door wanting help to create their own spaces of opinion; the first attacks appeared, as did the recognitions. Along the way I lost that 32-year-old mother who only spoke about "complicated issues" in a whisper, I misplaced the compulsive woman who barely knew how to debate or listen. This blog has been like experiencing -- in the time and space of a single life -- an infinity of parallel existences.
I have never again been able to walk the streets incognito. That gift of invisibility that I boasted of possessing fell by the wayside, between the hugs of those who recognized me and the attentive eyes of those whose job it is to watch me. I have paid an enormous personal and social price for these little vignettes of reality and yet I would do it again, taking my flash memory to the lobby of that hotel where I launched my inaugural post on the great world wide web.
Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.
Translating Cuba is a compilation blog with Yoani and other Cuban bloggers in English.
Yoani's new book in English, Havana Real, can be ordered here.