All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

This is My Space, Right?

17 Comments

This post is “a long time coming…” like months and months coming!

So a lot has been going on in the blog world lately, and it’s been going on since just after I started my blog a few months ago.  This all makes me wonder if blogging drama has always been going on, and I just didn’t notice it much when I was simply a lurker, or is it truly recent?  Either way, I sometimes wonder if we’re all just a bunch of hormonal women trying to get (or stay) pregnant who are hopped up on too many hormones (synthetic or natural – they’re all just as mood-altering!).

Whatever the case, whoa – a lot of sh*t seems to be going down.

For me, all the drama started with (what I call) the sh*tstorm at SQ.  I was a brand new blogger back in March (was it really that long ago?) when the ALI community was ripped to bits over the creation of PAIL (oh PAIL, how I love thee!).

I guess I should back-track a bit and discuss how I got started in the blogging world.  I was SO excited to be a member of PAIL, not because it was some mommy sorority that let me exclude my still childless sisters, but because it was a community that made me feel safe.  It was the creation of PAIL that got me to start blogging – truly.  I had thought about blogging but feared it a little, because our written words last FOREVER – especially those written on the internet.  What if I said something stupid?  What if I inadvertantly offended someone with my words?  What if my husband wasn’t comfortable with me putting my feelings out there?  What if my IRL friends and family wanted to read it?  What if, what if, what if!  I just drempt of blogging but didn’t really do it for months.  I had all sorts of posts in my head, but I never wrote them out.

So PAIL happened and I was so excited about it that I started up my little blog that night.  I commented on Yolk’s post that this was just what I needed to get going and feel safe, and I then setup a space for myself at WordPress.  Life was good – very good!  I was cranking out posts like crazy because, well… I had a lot to say!  And then the ‘sh*tstorm at SQ’ happened and I became frightened.  But I also became vocal.  I did not like what people were saying about “those PAIL people” and I didn’t like the personal attacks that were happening to a few of the bloggers who started PAIL.  I just didn’t like it – it wasn’t nice – so I commented on SQ several times as one of the minority who had issues with what was going on.  I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like it and things unfolded, and things were said, and feelings were hurt, and I was sad about it.  How could all of these women who share similar struggles turn on each other so viciously?  And sure SQ was M’s space, but was it really OK to just say such terrible, direct things about a single person and out them on her blog because it was her space?  I didn’t think so, but I was new and I didn’t know the “rules” of blogging.  I guess she can say whatever she wants on her space.  Right?

Right?

So that was my first introduction to the drama of blogging.  I almost quit blogging over it – because it made me feel very unsafe.  But through that whole drama, I found a very good friend who made me feel safe and I continued my little blog.  I mean, afterall, this is MY space, right?  I can say and do whatever I want in my space.

Right?

And then that whole “Other Side of the Rainbow” situation happened and I just had to roll my eyes because, really – people fake that stuff?  I had no idea!  I felt more pity for the gal who did that than anger because, well, it was obvious that she had some serious problems.  And, it turned out that a baby hadn’t died and that’s a good thing.  AND – it was her space – and she could write whatever she wanted, truth or fiction, right?

Right?

And then, just last week, Esperanza* posted a self-reflecting post and titled it with a question for feedback from her readers.  It was a very honest post, like everything she writes.  I read Esperanza rather frequently – I would call myself a regular follower even though I don’t “follow” her through my reader.  She posts a lot and her posts are very thought-provoking, and sometimes I just don’t have the emotional wherewithall to invest in her posts because they always make me think really hard and sometimes, honestly, they can frustrate me.  I don’t say that as criticism – some of my favorite blogs upset me a great deal and make me really look within myself, which is a good thing.  I am a very self-reflective, introspective person so even if I don’t agree with what E has to say, or I find one of her posts frustrating, I still greatly value the self-reflection she’s doing and often comment on her posts.  I love hearing other people’s thoughts and even better, I like reading their thoughts unfold because I find the human psyche fascinating!  But reading these posts takes time and energy so I don’t want them in front of me in my reader until I’m really ready to read them.

So I go out to E’s blog once or twice a week when I have the time to really read her posts and soak in what’s been going on in her life.  I usually read a few posts at a time and was not surprised this weekend to see that I’d missed a few posts because,well, E posts a lot (like myself).  The most recent post alluded to some serious things that were said in her comments section on an earlier post so of course I wanted to know what in the world was going on.  Like another blogger posted last week, some of us just have an innate need to know, a natural curiosity.  I am one of those people.  So I went back to her earlier posts to read what was going on.  Let me tell you – it was not nice.  Some people had been critical in a constructive, sensitive way, but others were just out-and-out cruel.  Who would write these things on someone else’s blog?  Sure, she asked for feedback and should be able to take the feedback she requested, but feedback and nastiness are two different things.  And this was her space – she should feel safe in her own space.  Right?

Right?

After all the dramas in blogland, I’ve learned a few things about myself and my blog as a relatively new blogger.  I’m learning from others’ mistakes and missteps – mistakes of both bloggers and commenters – and I’m learning from mistakes of my own.

What I’ve learned:

  1. Because people can be so obviously mean and judgemental, it’s best for me to keep things light.  Unless I have an anonymous blog (I don’t), it’s best to not invite nastiness into my space by posting things that could elicit negativity.
  2. My life is pretty darned great!  BUT – it’s not perfect.  Sure, B and I fight, and Matthew isn’t always an angel – but I respect their privacy and won’t air things on my blog that could make either of them uncomfortable now or later.  Our dirty laundry is ours, and sometimes it really stinks, but I won’t hang it out to dry on my blog.
  3. If I’m not ready to hear all sorts of opinions on my thoughts and ideas presented on my blog, it’s best not to ask.  I’m not blaming E for asking – she should never have expected some of the comments she got.  But with that said, I am now aware that no matter how nicely you ask for feedback and thoughts, there are always going to be those jerks out there who just want to make you (or someone else) cry.
  4. This is not solely my space.  It is my space as the blogger, and your space as followers and commenters.  Those sections are separate and I cannot control what other people write in the latter section of my blog.  Even if I choose to moderate negative comments out of that section, it’s still there for me to read and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Just because my blog name is on the top banner does not mean that people are going to respect me or what feels like my space.  Anyone can come and say whatever the hell they want to, and about, me – and that’s a little scary.
  5. From now on, instead of thinking that this is my space, I’m going to view it as rental space.  Meaning that when you have a rented home or vehicle, you think twice about putting a nail in the wall, or extra miles on the car – because those things can bite you in the *ss when you’re ready to get your security deposit back.  Anything that could bite me in the *ss needs to stay off of my blog.

Some of you may think that this is very sad, and in a way, it is.  But meh – I have a lot of good friends IRL to share my darkest, saddest, most difficult thoughts with – and that’s what I need.  And – I need the comments sections of your blogs to sometimes share some of my own personal frustrations that I don’t want my IRL friends or family seeing on my blog.  You’ve all seen my comments on your blogs – you know it’s not all flowers and sunshine here in Iowa.  HA!

I love all of the friends I’ve made through blogging and I’m not dismissing any of you, but I also am choosing to not burden you with my challenges because I just prefer to keep this space light.  And cheerful.  And positive.  And nasty comment-free.  I’m not saying that this model works (or should work) for others – but it does work for me.  I have enough negativity in my life (you’re shocked, right?  Because I don’t put it on my blog?  But alas – it is there!  HA HA!) and I don’t need it in the comments section of my blog.  I wouldn’t be able to handle that – it would make me very sad.  My blog makes me very happy and I want to keep it that way – for me.

So yeah – that’s what I’ve learned.

I’ve also learned that:

  1. I love hyphens
  2. I start many sentences with “So…” (I do this IRL when speaking too – not good!)
  3. I like to start many sentences with conjunctions (because, and, but)
  4. I am in love with the exclamation point!
  5. Emoticons were made for me 😉
  6. My high school grammar teacher would be horrified if she read my blog  😉

* Please note that Esperanza knows that this post was going up and she said it was OK to write about her experience.  That is the only reason I’m naming her and linking to her blog.  I wouldn’t normally do that!  Thanks, E, for being cool with this!

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Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

17 thoughts on “This is My Space, Right?

  1. This nicely distills many of the things we’ve talked about, and I’m proud of you for writing it. 🙂 I’m glad we forged a friendship out of “blog drama” (though I wish the events hadn’t happened!) and I value it enormously. I think this post is brave, and thoughtful. It has certainly given me things to chew on.

  2. A very interesting point indeed. You really did start blogging when the damn broke, so to speak. I can attest, as someone who is coming up on her third blogosversary that the last six months has definitely been the most drama filled in the last three years, at least in this little corner of the blogosphere.

    I too have been feeling a lot less safe on my blog, as you can probably imagine. I have had little run in here and there but the most recent bit was the most upsetting. To be told someone (supposedly a professional) was using my work without my knowledge, and to very negative ends, is probably the most upsetting thing I’ve had to deal with as a blogger and as a person. I’m still processing it and haven’t figured out how to even tackle it on my blog.

    I really appreciated your list of what you’ve learned. Those are very important lessons indeed. I think you may be one of the only people I’ve read say that their blog is not their own. I think I feel more that way than others do as well, I so cherish what goes on in my comment section, even when I don’t really agree or it makes me think hard about myself and the decisions I make. But I feel like the message you get, especially in this community, is that a blog belongs to the author, and all parts of it belong to that author, even the parts where others can write. I write for myself but I also write for my readers and I do think of my blog as a community space, though first and foremost it is a space for me to write. But I do think about what I’m writing with respect to how it others are reading and perceiving it. It is one of the reasons I still don’t write as much about my daughter, because I remember where I came from and how I got here and I don’t want to rub that in other people’s faces. Of course if I need to process something about being a mother I do, but I avoid some posts because I don’t want to offend people.

    I bet there are people who would read that and feel angry or frustrated about it, but it’s just the way I feel about my space.

    Thank you for writing this. A very thought provoking post indeed. I will be curious to see what others have to say about it.

    • Thanks for not caring that I use your experience as an example! I was really rattled by that whole thing.

      And to be clear, I think our blogs SHOULD be our own safe spaces – but unfortunately – I’ve learned that that’s not always the case. They can become very dangerous places if the wrong person stumbles across it.

      I don’t think that guy is a professor, but I understand why it would bother you. I joked with B the other night that if someone made an example of me that way and told me, that I’d find it fascinating and ask them to please send me their slides that they used to teach the class all about me. I’d be curious to see how they’re reshaping my own words based on their own interpretations. BUT – you’ll never get to see that because he’s not a real professor 😉

  3. This is a very thoughtful and interesting post indeed. I haven’t been reading Esperanza lately, so I don’t know what went down, but it sounds awful. So many of us do play it mostly safe. I think there’s no way to have a blog and not think about readers in some way. I know that as much as I resolve to write about whatever I want, I do find myself not writing things I think no one will want to read. Also, I WANT to air my dirty laundry on my blog, but like you, I feel that I have to respect my family. Even though my blog is anonymous (despite the recent pictures cropping up), I write with the idea that I shouldn’t put anything out there I would be horrified to have my sister-in-law find. Why my sister-in-law? I don’t know, maybe because she’s the person I’m most ambivalent about in my life right now (that’s something I’d never write about on my blog). Anyway, you’ve written about feeling ambivalent about the tone of your blog before, and I’m glad you’ve decided you’re content with it even though your decision to keep it upbeat comes at least a little from negative experiences. I enjoy your blog, and I love how present you are on my blog and on the blogs of other people I read. I like hearing from you whatever the tone. I’m lucky, I guess, to have a readership that is small and supportive. I hope you also feel you have that.

    • YES! I really like having a small readership as well! I would feel comfortable sharing anything with those of you in my life already – it’s the other people, the people who haven’t read me yet, that scare me to pieces.

      And yes, I think most of it is respecting the other people in my life. The things I don’t put on my blog are the things that always have to do with other people, plain and simple.

  4. I start many posts with and how bad is that. And I love PAIL.

    Rental space or not it’s still yours to write what you want – unicorns or dark stuff and I think general courtesy should apply at all times if you are talking about another person within the community.

    Let’s just play nice xx

  5. While I am glad that you are taking ownership of your space and making it what you truly want it to be, I admit to being a little disappointed. I understand the need to keep things light and positive – sometimes writing about the crappy stuff gives it more power than it should have – however, I am sad that that is a part of your life that I won’t be able to share. Does that sound weird? It’s not that I WANT to know all the gory details, but I feel like friendships are built around much more than the light side of things. And I think by limiting yourself to only those topics, you are limiting the connections that you could make with your readers (although I know that there are other modes of communication for those connections to be made, and you really ARE a champion commenter).

    Also, if I am being honest, this sentence hurt a little bit: “I have a lot of good friends IRL to share my darkest, saddest, most difficult thoughts with – and that’s what I need.” I am GLAD that you have such a supportive group of friends IRL, but I guess I thought we here in the IF/PAIL community provided something special, as well.

    But, in the end, it all comes down to the fact that each of us has to use her own blog in the way that serves her best. I would never, never want you to write about something that made you uncomfortable. I suppose I just wish that you DID feel comfortable writing about that… and I suppose I would LIKE to be the kind of friend with whom you could share those things as well.

    • I understand the disappointment, but I don’t mean that you guys aren’t real friends, and I struggled over that sentence, to be honest. The problem comes in that this is not an anonymous blog and my deepest issues can’t be shared here, because they could upset other people. I feel like I’m risking it just writing that sentence.

      With that said, I have given serious thought to doing PWP posts – and despite the big discussion yesterday on this on another blog, I’m thinking of going there. I would like to do an IVF timeline on my blog, but I don’t want that to be what the blog is all about, you know? And it’s not the IVF/IF stuff that I don’t feel like I can’t write about here – it’s other stuff that has nothing to do with the little family that B and I have built. It’s OTHER stuff.

      Sigh.

  6. I was not aware of the issue going on with Esperanza but I do think it’s sad that people feel the need to attack others. The other two events you mentioned I was aware of, and they really make you stop and think…what are we doing here? I appreciate your views on the rules you want to stick with on your blog, and I will have to stop and think about things I post as well. I try to post some thought-provoking posts, but do so with my family and friends in mind so I don’t offend anyone, but I’m sure I don’t always do my best with the words I choose.

  7. Thanks for all the PAIL love ❤ I love it too!

    All of this ish is making me want to privatize my whole blog and just start fresh– and I JUST MOVED MY BLOG. I got "named" now (fair enough, I commented and I was referenced in a subsequent post) and it just makes me want to hide. It just makes me feel very vulnerable. I probably should never have said anything at all. At any rate, I'll probably move towards PWP entries for some of the stuff I post just because I do take a risk with some of the personal things I talk about, which may not have people's names in them but do have specific enough situations that if someone were to find my blog, they'd recognize themselves in it. I already screen out some things because I don't want to put them out there, like you– I don't think ALL of my family's business needs to be online and accessible to strangers. But I also don't want to feel like if someone wants a password and I don't want them to have it, I have to worry about being mentioned in their blog in a way that might be recognizable to other people. It's just– UGH.

    I appreciate this post (and had no idea you were "new" to blogging– I've been around for three years myself, and blogging online in general since I was 17, but didn't link up with this community until around when you did) and how thoughtfully you put everything ❤

    • Well thanks! I really had to put this out there, because I was struggling with it a lot.

      I am thinking of going the PWP route for some of my posts – just to be safe! Once I do that, you’ll all know why I did it 😉

  8. In some ways I am glad my blog is not annonymous because it’s how IRL friends and family keep up with our family and I don’t have to write 10,000 seperate emails to let everyone know what’s going on with G’s health. And the “deep” stuff I write there, I really consider how I feel about IRL people knowing my thoughts and emotions are particular topics. However, in other ways I do wish I had a private blog because I do have lots of thoughts and issues that I would love to write about that I don’t want certain people (especially my family) to read. I think the tone and the topics bloggers choose to write about should be an individual decision, but those bloggers certainly need to weigh the consequences of many people reading their darkest feelings.

    I love Esperanza and I love her openess and honesty. Sometimes after I read one of her posts, I have to take a few days to process everything she says before I comment- I love how she makes me think about things. I had no idea who she was talking about in her PW post and I know she wasn’t trying to hurt anybody or cause the drama that the post did.

    • Ummm… it’s my/our family that I don’t want reading deep stuff too. Not you guys. Our parents don’t even know when we cycle. My sisters do, but our parents and B’s siblings do not.

      I’m working out how to do this. SRB gave me a good idea that I’m going to try. I just need a place to process some things.

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