I’ve been dragging around all day because I stayed up way too late last night gabbing my head off with a bunch of bloggers: Kara, Maggie, Laura, Andrea and JJ. JJ from The Blah Blah Blahger prepared a beautiful dinner party for us and we ate, laughed and talked. It was amazing to meet these women in person and I was honored to be invited. This is exactly what I need: more real life, more in-person community. How can I get MORE of that?
There was a time when I rarely deleted mean comments. I let them stand. I thought I was being “intellectually honest.” I let people call me names. I let people crap all over my thoughts and feelings because, you know, I thought it was the open-minded thing to do.
I had this one commenter to whom I gave DOZENS of chances to play nice. And every.single.comment was negative. Always finding fault. You know what I finally realized? THIS IS NOT MY PROBLEM because no matter HOW I say something, trolls find fault with anything and everything. These are the people who wear the lenses of “believing the worst” and everything they see, they criticize.
It wasn’t until I started writing my book that I realized how much my writing had been affected by nasty comments. Since I write about religion (a notoriously divisive topic!) I’ve adopted this defensive stance. I’m constantly trying to pre-empt detractors. I’m so worried about saying it THE RIGHT WAY with offending ANYONE that I literally can’t write a sentence without all kinds of equivocations. I realized I was writing FOR the trolls, instead of for my TRUE audience.
I’m done with that. Today, a “fan” on my FB page left one of the most cruel and nasty comments I’ve ever read. And it was a tipping point because it involved my daughter. Yeah, THAT crosses a line. You don’t mess with my babies.
So, from now on, I’m deleting sh*t. Because guess what? I know 99% of my audience loves me–maybe they don’t agree with everything I say, but YOU LOVE ME.
And I want to write to YOU. I don’t want to write from a defensive posture. I don’t want to write from this place of second-guessing.
If I let the trolls silence me or even ruin my happiness, I’m not being true to YOU–those of you who keep reading, those of you who love me, who see me, who GET IT.
If I write for the trolls, I’m not being true to ME.
True, comments are the secret sauce of blogs and I love me a good discussion just as much as the next person. But for far too long, I’ve given trolls WAY too much credibility.
Why did I give trolls so much credibility? Why did I automatically dismiss all the good comments and then focus–with laser-like intensity–on the mean ones? It’s like I gave the nasty commenters PhD’s. It’s like I imagined them sitting in their million-dollar pent houses above Central Park, coming up with all these erudite thoughts. And I was all: YEAH! That person is SO RIGHT! I totally SUCK as a human being!
Hello. In reality, people who leave consistently negative, crappy comments? They ARE, undoubtedly, the most UNHAPPY people in the world. Can you imagine how much energy they spend on critical and negative? Dude! How exhausting! And when I allow their comments to stand, I just enable their toxicity.
Moderating sh*t is ridiculous. I should just be FLUSHING it (or using it to fertilize my vegetable garden–who am i kidding? I don’t have a veggie garden!). Responding to stupidity is a WASTE of my time. From now on, it will be summarily deleted. No explanation. Yes, I will BLOCK YOU FROM MY SITE. With impunity. Without explanation.
Because here’s the thing: I wouldn’t allow someone to treat me like that in real life. And now, I’m done allowing it on my blog.
The rest of you—THE MAJORITY OF YOU–deserve the best of me. And I truly am an open, kind, empathetic, loving, funny, personable human being. I will delete mean-ness because I want to be FREE to give YOU my best, freest and most open-hearted writing. Yes, we can ALL get along!!
***p.s. this has to be the fastest written post in the history of my blog. i literally banged it out in 10 minutes.
***p.p.s. lesson of the day: don’t let the ignorant comments from random strangers ruin your happiness! Enjoy life! Be YOU! Also, the hillllllls are alliiiiiiive with the sound of muuuuusic***
As we approach another election season, I’m half-tempted to stay off the Internet entirely. My whole social network is morphing into a state of near-constant debate (and I’m including myself, here!). So much arguing! And what good does it accomplish? After receiving my no-cancer diagnosis a couple weeks ago, I’ve been re-thinking how I use the Internet. I wanted to share my thoughts in a video because it’s important to remember we’re all real people with real faces, real voices and real feelings.
Some posts I’ve read in the last month that I found particularly interesting and thought maybe you’d enjoy them, too:
7 Big Relocation Mistakes: Penelope Trunk’s insightful list of things we often overlook when considering a move to a different city or state. It’s true what she says about living in Los Angeles–BMWs are very common here because Southern Californians have to drive everywhere.
Learning to Sin: an Orthodox priest explains sin within the context of our “culture of death.” Fascinating.
Tweeting Politics. “The idea that talking about politics…is rude, is something I’ve never understood. Are we all completely incapable of having civil discussions about issues that matter most?”
Annunciation of the Theotokos: Scott Morizot has been writing a fascinating series on the Virgin Mary. Here he addresses the immaculate conception of Mary as seen from Orthodox and Catholic viewpoints. Despite being Catholic, I personally lean more toward the Orthodox view–mainly because I, too, believe with the Orthodox that infants are born blameless and without guilt. “If Jesus is important to us, then Mary has to be.”
“It’s only time, it will go by.” I’ve been reading Dooce since her first daughter was a baby. I’ve loved her and disagreed with her and been annoyed with her–but I always keep reading her. It’s weird, but I love her like a friend. So, when she announced that she and her husband are separating, I actually cried. For her pain, for his pain, for the kids’ pain. And then she posted this song and I felt like I could touch the pain she was feeling; so amazing how music can do that, bring us together. I so hope things work out between Heather and Jon–or if they don’t, that they can find a measure of peace.
Love Lifts Us Up Where We Probably Belong. An interesting piece on relocation, the changing roles of a marriage and how some fathers just don’t like being the stay-at-home parent.
Are We Ready for Change? My agent, Rachelle Gardner, shares some insightful thoughts about needing to remain flexible and open to change. As I’m reworking and tweaking my book proposal, these thoughts ring truer than ever.
All I can say about this is: God works in mysterious ways.
And when Sarah Mae first asked me I was like: huh? what? you realize you’re talking to EE, right?
I don’t fit, see.
At least. I don’t think I fit. Or I thought others thought I didn’t fit.
And Sarah Mae told me: isn’t that how we all feel? Like we don’t fit and yet—
through grace, somehow, we do.
I believed Sarah Mae because….well, we’ve become such friends.
Such unlikely and yet–so likely–friends.
Our friendship proves to me that grace works.
That love wins.
So, I told Sarah Mae I would sit on it for a few days.
May I tell you something?
I never started blogging to have some kind of ministry.
I started blogging out of desperation–to write these stories.
To write my way back to God.
To write my way back to being fully human.
Here’s my secret fear: nobody will come to my session. Because.
I don’t have how-to’s.
I don’t have something to sell or something to make you a better blogger.
All I have is this broken, this wounded, this grace-thirsty human story.
It’s a paltry offering, perhaps. But it’s my heart.
So, friends, will you come?
Together, let’s make a safe place for us…us walking wounded. Us broken.
There is a place for us, I think.
Sometimes love means taking a risk. It could turn out badly, of course.
But it just might be the most wonderful thing…….
So, I’m speaking. Tremulously. Gently. Lovingly.
I do hope some of you will join me there.
I’d love to open my heart to you in real life.
Tickets go on sale March 1st.
The conference runs October 25-27, 2012 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Greetings, beloved. Since my time is limited today and I can't reply individually to each gracious, loving email, here are my answers to your burning questions! [NOTE: I am culling from multiple emails and deleted comments]
1. Why did you delete my comment? I dunno. Maybe because it's my blog which means I get to delete whomever I want, whenever I want. Oh, da pow-ah!
2. Why DIDN'T you delete that comment? Shocking as it may seem, I actually have a life outside my blog. Also? I sleep at night. I get to the comments when I can. AND I DELETE–see #1.
3. Oh, nice. Way to delete comments you don't like. Dude! Damned if I do, damned if I don't. But you're right. It's pretty unfair that on my blog I get to choose which comments I like and don't like. Next time, I'll ask for your permission.
4. I'm taking the time to write this email to tell you that you suck. Thanks for using your time so wisely.
5. I'm so disappointed in you, I expected more of a "Christian blogger." As my therapist says, expectations are a b!tch. They always let you down. One thing is true: as a "Christian blogger" I'm an #epicfail.
6. How dare you call names? You hypocrite! You moron! It's not over until somebody calls me a Nazi. Or a heretic going to Hell.
7. You Nazi heretic! You're going to Hell! Ah, there we go!
8. I've read every single one of your posts for YEARS. I know ALL about you. Um. That's just CREEPY.
9. You disagree with me? You let OTHER COMMENTERS disagree with me? WHOSE THE BULLY NOW? HUH? HUH? You're perfectly right. People disagreeing with your position is EXACTLY the same as having your private, intimate moments streamed live over the Internet. Silly me.
10. I'll never, never, NEVER read your blog again! UNFOLLOW! So next month when I get another email from you about how much you disagree with me? I'll just pretend you only read my blog in your dreams.
11. You suck! Have a nice day. Ouch, my neck. Whiplash!
- some of these excerpts have been changed to protect the guilty
- I enjoy americano coffee–totally off-topic, but just thought you'd like to know
- maybe I should start a sex advice column or something. that'll make peeps happy.
- i've never claimed to be a "Christian blog." I'm a Christian who blogs. i fail at both. daily.
- do you prefer cream or milk in your coffee? I'm trying to switch from 1/2 + 1/2 to 2% milk and DUDE, it's like almost impossible. I always feel like I'm missing out.
as the sole, totalitarian owner of this blog, all comments are subject to meeeeeee!
DEAL wid it.
Blogging is the modern front porch. And for stay-at-home mothers, blogging is nothing short of a God-send. My husband was the one who first got me blogging. “Do it for writing practice,” he said. Little did I know that my “writing practice” would become an indispensable part of my life, mostly because of the wonderful community of people who are kind enough to read my words.
I will be adding a permanent link to this post in my sidebar, so even if you don’t introduce yourself today or this week, you can always come back later. I know some of you through your own blogs, or maybe we know each other personally. Mostly, I think it will be interesting for all of us to get to know each other a little better. Feel free to leave links to your own blogs or websites. Thanks to Jennifer @ “Et Tu?”: The Diary of A Former Atheist for this introduction idea.
1. What’s your first name? State? Country?
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
3. Which books (not counting the Bible) have influenced you the most?
4. What spiritual beliefs (if any) do you hold? Do you attend church regularly?
5. What’s your favorite hobby or pastime?
6. Which are your favorite posts to read (you know, just so I can keep you entertained : funny stories, my faith journey, twin updates, other?
I posted a new banner in hopes of simplifying my blog. I’m attempting to consolidate the various names of my blog: Small Rain, Three’s A Crowd & Elizabeth Esther into one unifying theme. My goal is to make Elizabeth Esther the official title. Small Rain is out—I loved the philosophy of small rain, but it didn’t speak to the purpose of my writing. Also, I’m working on changing the Three’s A Crowd title (the name you see at the top of your browser) to Elizabeth Esther. I want to do this without losing links, content, etc.
Does anyone know how to do this on Typepad? Let me know!