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The other day, I showed up at a meeting where I knew almost no one, and right away, one of the people attending told me that she knew me from this blog. Which was lovely. And also awkward. Because I should think, “How nice that someone reads this, and she likes it enough to actually say that she reads it, even thanking me for helping ease her transition when she moved here.” But instead, I go straight to, “Oh, my gosh, I haven’t been keeping up with this blog nearly enough, and if she used to use it to find things to do, it probably isn’t so helpful anymore, and I wonder if she read that post about me peeing in my pants all over the trampoline place?”
Yes, that is exactly where I go.
Intellectually, I know that that’s ridiculous. But that’s how I feel.
What makes it even more infuriating is that little J is just like me, and when I see how marvelous she is and how much she does not recognize this completely-evident-to-me-marvelousness and instead dwells on all of the ways in which she falls short of her expectations of herself, it makes me feel like bursting into tears. And shaking her silly. And figuring out how I can pull her out of that before she evolves into exactly the same person thirty years from now.
Perhaps we should both be medicated.
I don’t know. But this wasn’t supposed to be about me and J. It was about blogging.
When I first started blogging, I’d occasionally do some really deeply laborious post that I felt would be helpful to new mamas, and then it was like I had taken that labor and packed it into a box with rocks and thrown it into a lake for all the response I got. Or, I’d rant about something or other and I’d get some “right on!” comments, but nothing that was in any way, you know, viral.
I also saw plenty of blogs where bloggers would bond and form groups and pledge to comment on each other’s posts every single time, and I’m sure that they made beautiful friendships or whatever, but it felt more like a support group or a chain letter to keep up with to me. It’s never been my cuppa. Right now, my Facebook inbox is packed with people asking me to put a heart on my wall as a secret reminder to all the ladies to “check your boobies” for breast cancer prevention and send the message to all of my female contacts, and I know that these are lovely people who mean well and all, but I just hate it. Put something in your status if you want to remind your friends to keep up with their own personal health and hygiene needs. But ugh to silent hearts and recopying status for “awareness” and other gimmicks. I will never, ever do it. Am I becoming a curmudgeon in my old age? I will read one of those freakin’ needy Facebook posts “I want to see if you really care about me and what I have to say, so if you’re reading this, please reply with a single word about how we met. . .” blah, blah, blah, and I read it and roll my eyes and think about the one word I’d use and then I refuse to type it in on principle, because I hate the whole process. So of course, if I am that much of a bitch to people I know and like, I am not going to be someone to take the trouble to log in and type something like, “Interesting perspective! Thanks so much for sharing” to someone with whom I am only cyber-acquainted.
Anyway, if there was a time early on that I thought I might try to make money from this blog, that time is long past. When people approached me about ads, the stress of how to do them and what to charge for them, for me, outweighed the benefits. I am not salesy. Luckily, now, with KidsOutAndAbout.com, I just send folks there instead. I know of plenty of bloggers who sign up for sponsored posts for various products, but honestly? There aren’t a ton of products that I really want. A random natural soda, some peanut pretzels, a preschool DVD? Those are the kind of offers I get. Not so much. Yes, I would take a trip to Europe, a new car, a fabulous phone and plan. . . but these, sadly, are not offered. I get fantastic opportunities through KidsOutAndAbout.com, which is terrific, but I am not so huge on “working it” to produce for my personal little corner of the internet here. When I decided that this blog wasn’t going to bring me fame and riches, I stopped paying attention to things like analytics and how many people were looking at it.
And, somewhere along the line, I sort of forgot that anyone was reading it, ever.
I mean, before I post something, I remember that it’s public, of course. I avoid humiliating stories about my children, complaining about family or friends unless it’s something I’d say to their face, and spreading idle gossip. In general, I try to stay positive (so the above Facebook rant was an exception, clearly). And even when I post about something embarrassing (like wetting my pants), it’s because I’ve made the conscious decision that my embarrassment will likely be outweighed by some random stranger’s relief in not being the only one.
So, I know what I’m putting out there.
And yet, I feel vaguely startled, these days, when anyone (besides immediate family and close friends) tells me that they’ve actually read something, whether it’s here on the blog or in the KidsOutAndAbout newsletter. Part of that is tied up in my guilt at cutting down on the posting to Capital District Fun so much, a choice that was supposed to help me write more creatively on my own, which it has not. Part of my choice to cut down was because I’m writing more for work-work, which is good, but not the same at all. So I’m going to try to post here more frequently. And I’m going to work on being gratified instead of startled when someone tells me that they’ve actually read something I’ve written.