One of my recently assigned Blogging 101 tasks was to develop a post from a comment or feedback I’d left for another blogger, to expand my response to their post and/or link back to it. Something like that. I’ve discovered some super slick, talented writers in the two weeks I’ve been at it here, but I’m going rogue on the assignment. I know, right? I’m usually such an obedient little student.
I received feedback, game-changer feedback from fellow bloggers. I giggled. I teared up. I yelled “holy crap!” out loud. I sighed in deep, grateful contemplation. But it’s not them to whom I will respond here, though they’ve inspired me to be sure. I’ve responded to their unbelievably generous comments, but my responses will never adequately convey the depth of my gratitude. And why do I type “convery” EVERY SINGLE TIME I attempt to type “convey?” Same goes for langauge (NEVER, EVER get it right) and reiumbursement (just once, please?). Ahem.
Instead, I’m going at this in reverse. A comment that resonated with me in a big way was left by one of my Barenaked Ladies tribemates, who wrote this:
I don’t share on any social media like I once did, and people said that they missed me. I guess the reason I don’t share any more is that I am so concerned about the image my extended family has of me. Once I became Facebook friends with all my brothers and sisters in law and my husband, I don’t want to share my feelings. I feel too exposed. It’s funny how I can share with my BNL friends or theater friends, but I can’t share with the ones I care most about.
She is not alone. She got me to wondering, why do we show only pieces of ourselves to others? Why do we hide from, or if not hide, not reveal our whole selves to those who allegedly know and love us best? Why does the blogosphere know more about my feelings on MD than my own mother? How is it that my tribe of #Ladiesladies (yes, the hashtag is necessary as #Ladiesladies is a real thing–check Twitter if you doubt me, go ahead, I’ll wait) knows me better than some of the friends I spend time with routinely?
My husband knows I’ve been blogging over a year now, but he only recently asked me for my web address. I’ve sent links to my parents, but have received not one syllable of feedback from them. I have a huge passel of in-laws who have read a post here and there, but I don’t talk much to them about my son’s muscular dystrophy. I don’t talk about it much at all to the people who should be most invested. That’s weird, right? My family doesn’t find me inspirational or funny or especially interesting–just Wendy, and this blog? It doesn’t exist or is deemed self-serving or folly. Maybe both. It’s also not that they don’t care, let me be clear, I know they care deeply about us. It’s not that I need to fulfill a role as the “MD mom” or have that define me within my family or friend groups, I mean, I’m the only one, so obviously the role is no one else’s. It’s not essentially me, but it has become a facet of my essential being. Why don’t they know it? Why don’t they know how my kid’s status has changed every, single thing for me? They do. Do they?
Is it the blissful anonymity the internet affords? Is the internet invisibility cloak why I can share so openly online? Where I can drop a comment with my keyboard but not have to speak the words? I can put something out there, but not have to respond NOW or ever really should I elect not to, as a traditional conversation would demand.
Online we get to pick. Online I get to share what I want, on my terms. I geek about music with my music people, because they GET ME musically. I geek about writing with writers because they GET ME as a blogger. I geek about MD with, well no one, ’cause well, who would celebrate that? So I drop my MD ruminations right here, neatly packaged and mostly grammatically correct, and I move onto tasks like laundry. Maybe that’s it–we seek validation and celebration from sources we are sure to find it. My nearest and dearest don’t spend hours selecting vocabulary words or parsing grammar; they don’t care to discuss why the bass/piano outro closing Brian Wilson is mesmerizing (but they totally should, come on!). It’s not that they don’t care, they don’t care like I do. And that’s OK. Right? Right??
I know who will care though, and I gotta go tell ’em! Right now. When you find your tribe, love them hard.