Mar 27, 2015
When I forget what I’ve been up and how much I appreciate my writing, I end up reading something and remembering.
I felt very privileged to have written this piece entitled My Face for the Talbotspy.org here. In honor of its three-year anniversary, I’m republishing it on my blog. Enjoy the fun read.
If you met me at a party, you’d notice my laugh is the loudest. I’m extremely social. Yet this fun time Charlotte has had a whole lotta nada for the social networking. I figured Twittling and My-facing were perfect ways of busily avoiding intimacy like the plague. I wanted no part of that universe made of desperate ego maniacs with short attention spans. The over reaction gave away the doubt beneath.
Like so many people of a certain age, I defensively declared I had no need for this Facebook phenomenon. Perhaps this was a knee jerk reaction to new-fangled technology making me feel stupid. Both fear of the unknown or of assimilation by the Borg are still fears. I have heard many fearful declarations to this specific anti-alliance. And sometimes we encounter our destiny on the way to avoiding it.
I was writing and publishing articles online and chose to rise to a new terrifying challenge of creating my blog. I fully understood I needed to socially network for this cause. And I was anxious. This was the ego-maniacal unnecessary and unacceptable activity. And my precious privacy was hard-earned. But I was seduced by the ability to pontificate to an enraptured audience. My ego “liked” this. Therein lay the carrot.
I asked my (very popular on Facebook) friend to convince me to join Facebook. She said flatly, “Three years from now, Social networking will be a given and this conversation would be ludicrous.” Just do it. Everybody’s doing it. She reassured me no one could see or speak with me there without my permission. Vampires need an invitation to come in.
So my angst and I joined the Facebook extravaganza on Friday May 20th, 2011, at around 2PM. I was typing away about my fab self in my profile when, Wham! , I get a friend request… from an ex-boyfriend? One of these search buttons must be for all the people you’ve schtooped. I don’t hate this guy but I had no plans to ‘party hardy’ ever again in a tavern of his choice. I rode out the panic and nausea and you know what I did then? I “friended” him. Because that was what this exercise in mass marketing and conquering fears was all about.
I returned to the FB flame on Saturday, finally found the link back in my spam folder, and, Wham! , it happened again. My all-time biggest crush ever from long ago and far away was requesting my friendship. My present husband was the long awaited exception to this boy who gave me hope when I wanted to give up on men altogether. I felt guilty for even reading the benign message from crush-man. In a ten minute span, I went from stunned to giddy to devastated. Of course he was married and had two beautiful children. I shut the computer down. Either these Facebook people were a specific kind of crazy or I was missing something.
I queried fellow members about the true meaning of the Facebook “friend”. Die hard FBers were bewildered by my bewilderment. It was a true friend who said she too had been freaked out initially when she joined. Now it’s her nighttime ritual. She kindly added that, in an ideal world, I would be allowed my fantasy crush forever. So it’s still me, I thought. I endeavored to try again and to pursue this friend-making thing with zeal.
After a month, crush-man became a human being. As his real life continually popped up on my news feed, I was able to release him from my heart to his happiness. Simultaneously and slowly, I sent “friend requests” to people from schools, social gatherings, neighborhoods, and workplaces of my past and present. As I connected with more people, I began to see my real deal.
This precious privacy I’d clung to and coddled was also known as isolation with a capital ‘I’. I‘d chosen to hide my life, ashamed for growing old and fat because, you know, I was the only one getting old and fat. Who’s crazy enough to deliver themselves on a silver platter for the judgment of the free world? Apparently me.
I had worried about dredging up past resentments with this reconnection with people from my past. Instead, I found myself cheered by them. Our lives connected in unexpected ways. I caught important news I would have missed, like the birth of one friend’s twins and the loss of a beloved old cat for another. Snail mail cards went out immediately. I saw that Facebook is friendship “light”, a safe way of sharing without having to invest much. Showing up outside of this medium is how you solidify the “real” friendships.
As similar pieces of a larger machine, we need to connect to fellow human beings. I recognized how it’s not always about me as the interconnected web of humanity was scrolling up my screen. This online community cleverly coaxes people out of dark corners, away from the whisper of past shames, to a place where they are empowered to speak and be heard. I was blown away by the hope this deceivingly simplistic medium brought into my life.
Gratefully, I reconnected with the used-to-be-me, one person at a time in a memory lane parade of where I’ve been and who I’ve become. I missed the girl these people seemed to still think well of, or at least didn’t dislike. Today, I’m still timid at requesting the friendships of complete strangers but I’m gaining courage. Remember, I have a baby blog I have to feed.
When the next ex-boyfriend found me, I was ready. I asked why he had friended me and he professed he wanted to see if I was doing well. I sensed he also wanted to show me how well he was doing. Maybe, when they put my name in that search box, my ex-boyfriends sought the closure and self-forgiveness I had yet to seek. Or maybe I was a good schtooper. I am good with either possibility.
Mar 23, 2015
Due to the very stubborn insistence of a very nice old man, I’m teaching a blogging workshop on the “art” of blogging on April 18th , 2015, at the Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland. Presented by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, for which the stubborn old man named Gerry is the President, this is a 2 ½ hour workshop that will run from 9:30 am to Noon on that Saturday with a little break at around 11am. And I’d love for you to attend.
I titled it “The Why is the How: Intentional Blogging 101” because I truly believe that the Why will get you to the How and the how is somewhat superfluous when you are committing yourself to the size of a project like blogging or marriage. Commitment is half the battle to making it work.
According to the summary of this workshop, I’ll be defining the concept of “blog”, discussing social media usage and branding, addressing technology phobias, and answering the question,”How do you make money blogging?”
As usual, I will tell you like I see it as I only have my perspective to draw from. But I will guarantee that you will come away having formed a supportive community for your blogging endeavors. And that is more precious than knowing how to blog.
The workshop is open to the public. The cost is $25.00 for ESWA and Evergreen members and $35.00 for non-members. Registration is available at www.evergreeneaston.org or call 410-819-3395. Seating is limited. I am hoping to fill the room. Tell your friends.
Feb 18, 2015
Thought I’d catch you up my lovely reader on where I am and what I’ve been thinking about.
Year of Making
I’m committed to A Year of Making. I am keeping a list and pictures of my everyday making but my documenting system needs a little tweaking. When you do all the creating and the mothering all in the same day, you need really great systems. And I just don’t always feel like I have the clarity to create those. But I keep on keepin’ on.
I did however clean out my craft room. And updated my goals mapping wall piece.
And speaking of goals, I put out the newsletter I’d been dragging my feet about creating and ironically did so on the day when Fiona was sick. If you aren’t signed up to receive my newsletters, you can put your name into the sign up space on the side bar of the blog. I will be sending these out more often with original extra content. We’ll talk.
Sticking My Neck Out
The daring young girl continues sticking her neck out and in less than 2 months time I’m teaching a workshop on blogging. I fought against doing this. Told the man I wasn’t his gal. He insisted I was. So I bring what I know from my personal perspective and know that at least they’ll be entertained and feel supported in their efforts.
I learned blogging in dribs and drabs with a steep learning curve. As I was driving us back home from our Valentine’s date through snow blind conditions last night, I was explaining to my husband that I had needed to find out who I was while I learned how to blog. These happened simultaneously. I was committed to being a writer and my blogging led to reading and learning and reflecting and friending. And that has all lifted me up to such a different place in my inner world. My self-esteem has risen and my anxieties have diminished. Yes I feel scared but more sure that the tasks I posted up to that goals board are the right ones for my future. I am constructing a future of work that feels good to me and that I’ll be proud of.
Feeling vs. Thinking
I intend to do more writing with more feeling instead of thinking. I will continue to be the best cheerleader I can be for me and everyone and if that means I’m a leader, I’ll learn to like that term. And I am about to really look hard at my value. Read over my stuff and decide what value needs to be offered elsewhere. Stop looking outwards in hopes that someone will come tell me why I’m here. And look hard and long at the value I have already produced and created with 575 posts.
I’d like to feel like I’m wearing a hot pink fake fur coat with a butt warmer when I’m out doing my thing being the super cool productive how-do-you-do kinda me. I want to feel safe and cozy and happy doing my thing. These have been my thoughts of recent. Thanks for listening.
Nov 17, 2014
Don’t stop me if I’ve told you this because I’m going somewhere different with it today. A thoughtful and somewhat sad place but I can’t stop thinking about it.
I started blogging with truly no clue about blogging. I did it because someone I knew said I should. I’d never really even read a blog. And I just began. What’s followed is a lot of blood, sweat , and tantrums.
I have stayed the course though and am glad I did because of the growth I have experienced both as a writer and as a human being who needed to prove my worth and the value of human connection. But you don’t get to enjoy the lessons unless you go the distance.
This can be a very solitary practice. So many sources of input vying for your attention that I feel lucky if anyone reads my blog. Please don’t feel bad that you don’t comment either. Those that can do. Purposes of entertainment are personal to everyone. And I can remember being reluctant to comment once too.
I have been online now long enough to see some of my fellow bloggers discontinue their blogging. One gal got a full-time job. Two just sort of stopped publishing posts and show up to “like” something every once in a while. But the one that upset me the most was a gal who I almost met this past Summer at the Blog U conference. She committed blog suicide.
I was just about to write a piece on how upset I was about her abrupt disappearance when Robin Williams took his life. And the death of this wonderful and beloved man seemed too tragic to even use the word suicide in any other context. But I do feel a kind of concern for this gal’s welfare and here’s why.
There’s a community here online and when you connect with people, they’re just like the people you know from your everyday life. Like your mail carrier or your bus driver. They make you happy when they chat with you. But then what if you heard them start to say that you were so pretty and that they could never consider themselves pretty. Or that you were smart and they just knew they were dumb. And then one day they were missing from their job permanently.
This gal praised me and I was so flattered but I felt that shift into implosion. Suggestions of unhappiness and unworthiness and anxiety. And then wham, she was missing. She had deleted her blog address and all of her social media outlets. I wanted to scream out, why? One of ours was gone. Many of us new bloggers have felt that wavering doubt of that first year of blogging. I understand low self-esteem so well. I comprehend comparing myself to other bloggers and writers (and designers) and feeling crappy about me. And I guess I am reminded again of how I love doing this and how tenuous our bonds with others really are.
So Jean, if you are still reading my blog, know that I heard your distress and felt absolutely powerless to help you. I did notice you go missing. I am not a more talented a blogger or writer or mother than you are. I hope that you and your children are well and looking forward to a happy holiday season. And that if you ever needed an ear or anything I have to give you, I am still here. Imprisoned in this box but also out in the world contributing my soul and gathering happiness anyway I can.
Oct 26, 2014
At the same time that I don’t want to need to ask your permission to be myself, I am feeling like I also need someone to tell me what I’m supposed to be and do. We have so much invested in what we perceive others are thinking of us. We’ll never really know what they think but boy do we all believe we’re Amazing Kreskins. Mind readers unite!
But with a public platform and a “brand”, there’s a conflict between wanting you to think of me in a certain way , and not wanting to care what you think and do my thing. I am trapped in a place between.
I’m naturally codependent so I already want you to like me. Put the added pressure around creating a “face’ and a “thing” that you will like when all I really want to do is just be me. As a person who feels she is way more than can be condensed , I’m done before I begin. What I want you to think of me just got exhausting. And now I understand why these high school girls have suffered breakdowns over their “personas”. Poor things.
Truthfully, I’m always concerned that I sound like a fake, That what I’m preaching isn’t what I’m practicing.Frankly, even when you think “I’ve got this”, and it seems like I’ve got this, I have it and the next minute, I don’t But the truth is that I tell the truth always. And for that fact, I’ll never be a fake. Just a human being with an ebb and flow of doubt.
Foot nailed to the floor, I continue to listen to everything everyone says to me as I cull my important thoughts and passionate rants into something that seems to represent me. I am looking for the me that I like to be. This will all get easier once I’ve decided which me to stand in. I just need to decide. This is all low self-esteem hangover stuff.
My kindest wish for you is my hope that you know and like yourself today and everyday.