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?
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.
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?
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- I love hyphens
- I start many sentences with “So…” (I do this IRL when speaking too – not good!)
- I like to start many sentences with conjunctions (because, and, but)
- I am in love with the exclamation point!
- Emoticons were made for me 😉
- 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!