Friday, August 10, 2012

On blogging and belonging

When I first discovered blogs and blogging I was all alone.  I didn't know a lot of moms in real life, and I was sure I didn't know anyone who felt like I did.  And then suddenly I did.

I read these blogs - mid level blogs, I guess you'd call them, not tiny like me but I never once read Dooce or the Blogesss - and I fell in love.  I wanted to read all their words, leave them meaningful comments, join their lively conversations on twitter.

I wanted to be their friends.

The Internet is a strange place.  It makes you think you know people when you really don't.

Some of them were extremely sweet and patiently answered my emails and tweets.  But not all of them.  And even the ones who did, I quickly realized, were being polite and didn't really care that much what I had to say.

I was crushed.  I was humiliated. I was angry.  I was heart broken that they didn't like me as much as I liked them.  I thought for sure it was because I wasn't good enough, wasn't big enough, was a crazy annoying stalker, didn't deserve their friendship.

But I see now that isn't what it was at all.

You never really know what's going on with someone.  You don't know how busy or overwhelmed she is, how much pain she is, what her limitations are when it comes to socializing and communicating.

And people flock to who and what they know, especially when they're struggling.  You can't fault a person for talking to her best friend instead of to a stranger.

And over time I built up my own community on twitter.  People who I consider some of my best friends in the world.  And I still follow and read and admire some of those bigger bloggers.  But they aren't the first place I look anymore.

But I worry.  I still remember that feeling, of just wanting a place to belong.  I see people who think I'm "big,"  who leave me comments and tweets because there's something they're looking for too.  And I wonder how it is that I come across, whether I make anyone feel more alone than when they started.

I dont' want to let everyone down.  I want to spread kindness to everyone.  And I'm trying, even when I'm struggling, even when I'm overwhelmed.

But the Internet, it really is a tricky thing, isn't it?


  1. I love this and I wish I had something insightful to say but you said it all.

  2. You know I"m here to email, and talk longer.

    Just want to remind you.


  3. Yes, absolutely. People have so many needs, so many different things they are looking for and want, and it is impossible to know, especially in a two-dimensional format like this, what is being communicated and what is being lost.

    I have had a blog since 2005 and I communicate with a lot of people. When someone pops up out of nowhere and wants to have big long communications with me, it's tough. I know they may really feel close to me because of what I have written, but I only have so much time in my life and I have to balance my needs. So I'm sure sometimes I come off as a little distant or standoffish, especially since I have had some kind of weird/scary interactions with people who had HUGE needs and expected me to magically fulfill them, so now I try to engage less until I get a better feel for someone.

    You're right. It's hard. I never want to be a jerk, but I also feel on guard because of things that have happened in the past.

  4. I was just having this discussion the other day. Twitter and blogging have brought some amazing people into my life. We (I) forget sometimes they have lives outside my computer. You can't always respond or reach out if something is going on.

    I've reached out to those big named bloggers. Sometimes I get a response, sometimes not. But it's no different with them - they have other stuff going on too. It sucks not to get recognized when you're trying to fit in.

    The cool thing is that we do have a place we belong. A network and group of people that will stand behind you. Those people are pretty dang awesome.


  5. Excellent post. I think (or maybe hope/assume) that we've all felt that way at times. I know I still do. This media thing is kinda like a roller coaster. I didn't go to BlogHer. People aren't all excited to "meet" me. Yet, I still know that I am called to do this. And to do the bigger thing, which is to help people. This is just the vehicle by which I do that.


  6. Love this. Love you! That is all :) (Not a very insightful comment, I know, but I'm crunched at work and wanted to say SOMETHING because this post is so honest and I appreciate it. Ok, done rambling all over your blog now.)

  7. In one respect I was lucky to have been on Twitter first and gotten my tribe before starting up my blog. I am so proud of the love and support that our community shows. We all want to be noticed and loved and cared for. Our most human need is to connect, but we also have a need to shine and feel like our voice matters. Yours does. We all have our own unique perspectives, and they all matter.

  8. You make me happy. Does that count?

    Good reminder. Thanks friend.

  9. I think you spread a lot of love and kindness just by being who you are. I think we all find our way in this blogging world, and we naturally connect to those we might naturally connect to in "real" life. I absolutely admire all of the help and support you provide on twitter and through this blog!

  10. It is tricky. You know how I feel. I get up and down about things. But thanks for always listening and letting me know you're there.

  11. The internet is tricky. It's this two-dimensional world where we share the parts of ourselves we want to share, maybe our BEST selves (or worst) only, and in doing so, no one sees what's going on in our 3D lives. It's hard to find the right balance of meeting everyone's needs while also meeting our own, and ultimately, blogging is (or should be) about writing for ourselves and not our audience.

  12. I'm pretty sure nobody's hanging on my every word or worried if I don't reply, but I understand not wanting to offend, upset or make people feel rejected.
    I definitely understand wanting everybody to like me and hoping to receive comments and replies.

    I started blogging when my child was very sick and phonecalls/email/texting became overwhelming. It didn't start out as a blog, but I wanted more control over my site, so I joined the blogosphere. When I was most overwhelmed with the urgency and busyness of medical stuff, everybody was interested and wanted updates. When things quietened down, and I actually had time to post and reply, nobody seemed to care anymore.

    I'm still learning how to refocus how I interact and deal with attention, or lack of it. Of course, you make a lot more effort to connect with people than I do, and you help lots of us all the time, so you deserve to get something back.

  13. I think about this a lot. I am pretty new to all of this but the reason I started to reach out was because I found an entire PPD community, something that I really needed. Sometimes I see all of these friendships made & wonder if I will ever have that too.
    I love this post & it's good to know that you felt somewhat like this in the beginning too.