Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On Blogging Your Life...

Some days, blogging is one of the best things that's ever happened to me.  It's allowed me to have an outlet - a place to dump all of my feelings, fears and anger.  It saves my Mom and my sisters from having to sit on the phone with me for hours.  It's given me a place to vent and cry and mourn.  Writing has allowed me to connect with people in a way that I wouldn't otherwise.  I'm a real homebody - but let's face it... we all need to connect.  And when you're a special needs parent with a thousand questions and maybe hundreds of answers - it's crucial to connect with others.  Gavin is only 5 1/2 so trust me when I say - I learn from others way more than I teach others.  The things that I've learned from readers of this blog - or writers of other blogs - have been, in some cases, life changing.  

This blog has been a place where I share all of our experiences with regard to all things "special needs"  in the hopes that others can benefit.  And when I receive comments that it's helped - or you learned something - or you were inspired by Gavin - it makes me so happy.

This blog has been a place where I have shared all of our experiences with infertility, miscarriages, stillbirth, high risk pregnancies and post partum depression in the hopes that women (or men!) out there feel less alone.  And when I receive comments that it has - or when I receive an email from someone sharing their darkest hours with me - I feel so privileged.  

This blog has been a place where I have shared my parenting methods.  My health issues.  My most personal moments.  I share all of this always with the hope that it will help someone, touch someone, inspire someone or teach someone something new.

But...

Isn't there always a but?

Blogging can be a depressing place.  There have been nights that I've cried to my Mom on the phone (as 42 year old women do, right?) about a nasty comment or two.  She always says, "Well, Kate, you put yourself out there!"  And she's right.  But she's wrong.

To me, this blog is so personal.  I consider it like inviting people into my home for a cup of tea and a chat... with the occasional forced slide show presentation of pictures of my kids.  I don't get political... I don't say "this is how you should do it" about anything... I just write about my life.

But when you're a blogger - it's kind of "open season."  And I don't think it's fair.

If you write that you don't spank - you get mail from people saying you're judging people who do.

If you write that your son had a febrile seizure and it was the scariest moment of your life - you get a comment saying "Give me a break. It was a febrile seizure. You're so dramatic."

If you write that you do anything special or extra for your kids - you get mail that you're a helicopter Mom and are screwing up your kids immensely.

If you write that you like to pick up your son from preschool with a cold glass of milk and a cheese stick ready for him in the car - just because you think it's sweet! - you get a comment that you're spoiling him and he will be screwed up immensely.

If you write about a terrible experience at a public place watching a mother verbally assault her son - and share how it affected you - and express your opinion that it just wasn't okay - you, yourself, will be called on the carpet.  You didn't do enough, you should have mentored her (with your two kids with you), you should have helped her, you should have reported her... and you sure as hell shouldn't have "judged" her.  When you write that you had sympathy for the little boy - you didn't have enough sympathy for the Mom.  Suddenly, you're the mean one.

If you write that you support the elimination of the word "retarded" from circulation (much like the "f" word and the "n" word that you don't hear as much at all anymore!) - trust me, you will get all KINDS of comments and mail.  I don't even want to go there now.

Oh, and if you write a blog at all - you're an attention whore.  You need constant validation.  If you monitor comments so nasty ones don't end up in your blog about your own life journey as a Mom - you're a narcissist who only allows comments that flatter you.

Basically, you can't win.

Basically, if you write anything on the internet - it is open season to criticize, debate, take issue with, insult or demean you.  It's not just me - it's all bloggers!  Heck, there's an entire website (probably more - but I only know one) thats sole purpose is to judge, criticize, poke fun at and insult bloggers. One of my friends writes a wildly popular blog and as much as I learn amazing things from the comments people write under her posts - I feel like I have to take a Valium before I do.  There's always one or two or more really nasty comments that get me so upset.  I don't know how she handles it as well as she does - she's much tougher than me.

I shouldn't be so sensitive to these things.  But I am.  I don't like confrontations.  And I get my feelings hurt way too easily.  Especially when I put my life out there and someone harshly judges it instead of just, say, rolling their eyes in the privacy of their own home and clicking the little x box to leave my site.  Not everything needs to be an argument.  And not everything needs to be picked apart and analyzed.  I feel sometimes if I don't share something in the "right way" that it will then be taken the wrong way and my point will be completely lost. It's a lot of pressure.

Can you imagine sitting in someone's kitchen over a cup of tea - listening to them tell you a story about their son's first (and hopefully last) febrile seizure...how they truly thought (truly) that he was dead at one point...and how it was the single most terrifying moment of their lives?  Then can you imagine snapping back, "Are you for real?  It was a freaking febrile seizure.  You are the worst kind of parents.  This kid is going to grow up a derelict because of your smothering."

Me either.

Anyway, blogger bullying is on my mind tonight.  Nothing happened - it has just been on my mind.  I don't get it.

Do you?




26 comments:

  1. I enjoy reading about your family and can not imagine why someone would be so mean, thank you for sharing your stories

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I don't understand why ANY bloggers (not just me!) get attacked or criticized. It seems like such a waste of time on the complainers part. This isn't rocket science, you know? It's just one person's blog. :-)

      Delete
  2. I'm so sorry, Kate! It's hard. A while ago my husband blogged about my son's story, and the sheer cruelty of a few comments floored me. (We're horrible people for letting our son live, and should euthanize him. We're horrible parents for having another child, or for not adopting, and the like.) Right now, we're going through IVF with PGD, and while I know I should be blogging the information for the people we can help, I just can't expose myself to the criticism. I'm not that strong right now. All that to say, I hear ya! And sending love to you and the boys. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, Cristina. That makes me so mad. I don't even have the words to say how sorry I am that you and your husband had to go through that. Life is hard enough - why people pile more on top of someone who is already suffering is beyond me.

      As you may (or may not!) know - I went through infertility treatments. Although we didn't choose PGD - mainly because it was so expensive and I was too worried about losing an embryo to the testing - I can relate to all things related to infertility. If you ever need an ear, feel free to write to me. I'm happy to virtually hold your hand - or count those dreaded days - I've been there. A big hug is coming your way. xoxo

      Delete
    2. Cristina, I am so sorry to hear how awful people can be. I used to blog about my personal life and it was amazing yet the trolls are over the top sometimes. Now I blog for business and my public identity is via my business.

      The reason for my reply though we are starting IVF this cycle with

      Delete
    3. I never got to finish my last comment before I published. Sorry about that. I am starting IVF with genetic testing after two miscarriages in 5 months this year. I am on the fence about the genetic testing but I just want every chance at a healthy pregnancy with a live baby at the end. How did it go

      Delete
  3. Ah, Trolls. If you follow Brilliant, The New Science Of Smart by Annie Murphy Paul on FB ... (a stream about the intersection of Education and Technology -- highly recommend it ... check her out) ... she posted recently about a scientific study on comment trolls (if you check her out, I think the link was posted last month). See that ... Trolls are such a phenom that science is actually formally studying them. This study was mostly about how trolling affects scientific discourse ... unfortunately not WHY people do it ... nor how to be immune to the effects.

    You have to believe in the balance of good that you achieve with blogging. I do. I know you do, too.

    When they get you down, Kate, you just come sit by me and I will build you back up. Any time.

    How people react to you, how they treat you, how they express their disagreement says more about them and where they are at than it says about you. That doesn't take the sting away or solve the problem ... and I know you know this already ... just don't forget to remind yourself of it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. http://anniemurphypaul.com/2013/03/dont-let-the-trolls-shape-your-thinking/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is wild that there's an actual STUDY on this!!!

      You're right that I do balance the good with the evil. I get too much out of blogging to stop because of meanies...that's for sure. I hate that this nastiness is done to MANY bloggers - not just me. It bugs me so much...not just for me, really. I get so defensive when I read crap on my friends blogs, too. It seems so unfair. If these people knew the thought and emotion that goes into many of the blog posts on the internet - it's just so rude.

      But if I do ever need a reminder on a bad day - I'll remember your offer and invite you over for a cup of virtual tea at my kitchen table. xo

      Delete
  5. Dear Kate - I found you through Momastery and have been reading your archives and following you daily now. You are a great writer and you are doing so much good by bravely sharing your life, your struggles, your humanity! My daughter also has a blog, and through that I have come to realize how incredibly selfish I have been with the blogs I follow - I read and receive inspiration, knowledge, and feel a connection. But then I offer nothing in return by even commenting! I am trying to rectify that as I have seen what each comment means to my daughter. You are an amazing woman and I am sorry for any mean, negative comments that you get!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dolores! I'm so glad you're here. Commenting isn't a requirement...not at all. And it's certainly not selfish!! If you get any inspiration or knowledge from something you read - whether it's here, or your daughters blog, or anywhere - pass it on! I know that would make ME happy!! Like a random act of kindness. :-)

      Delete
  6. Blog bullies (trolls) are an unfortunate part of Internet life. I don't understand it any more than I understand the people who bully in real life. These people feel the need to pull others down to raise themselves up. It's sad, really.

    And if you've ever been bullied in real life (as I have), then I think you are predisposed to being sensitive to it online. It's so easy for these online bullies--they don't even have to reveal who they are. They're a sad lot, really. Cowards.

    All I can say is that if you ever feel that the bad outweighs the good in blogging, then it's time to stop. Until then, keep blogging and do what you love. The first rule a writer learns is that nothing you write will please everyone--someone will hate it. So don't overthink if you're writing it "in the right way." There is no "right" way. There's only YOUR way.

    It's more painful when the trolls attack something as personal as your life than when they rip apart your book, but the same theory holds. You will never please everyone, and those who are hateful and spiteful are not worth your time.

    Keep chasing those rainbows, Kate. You're doing just fine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you understand, Kerry. And I know what you mean about stopping when the bad outweighs the good. Hopefully that never happens for me. I receive SO much from this silly little blog. It's introduced me to friends, reconnected me with friends...I've gotten excellent tips and advice about many different things...and support when I was feeling shaky. I hate how it affects me...and I think I probably project that onto other blogging friends. When one of my friends is attacked in a comment and I freak out to her about it, she's usually wondering why I'm so bent out of shape. It doesn't bother her like it bothers me. It's all a very interesting psychology experiment, isn't it? Ha ha!

      Delete
  7. Kerry said it fabulous -- as did most of your other commentors (commentators?) -- but that is what scares me the most about blogging. Good grief, why are people so cruel? Any seizure is nothing to be blown off!! And everything else you mentioned is even less to be argued over. Hugs and keep writing. I enjoy the heck our of your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hope you don't let the mean comments make you feel bad for too long. I don't get some people.. maybe they're missing a "nice gene".. so in a way it's not really their fault.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't get some people. Maybe they're missing the "nice gene".. so in a way it's not their fault.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Female bullies generally mess with your head where males generally throw punches. Bloggers are fish in a barrel for she-bullies. The first rule of engagement: do not engage. To respond assumes the bully can engage in reasonable conversation. Not. Their rationale is not based on insight- they just hurl venom at will. Because they can. Because there are no real consequenses in cyberspace.

    I know it sounds counter intuitive, pray for them, their pain and anger. Even if you have to clench your teeth the first few times. Realize the bully doesn't care about your feelings. After they attack you they likely don't give their comments another thought. Neither should you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree with mamafrag about the way that women bully. I have followed your blog from the beginning. I love it and no, I don't always agree with everything you post! Isn't life all about learning from each other? Don't let the haters get you down! You are an amazing mom and you are clearly trying to do the best by your kids.

    Amy from seacoast NH

    ReplyDelete
  12. I certainly don't agree with everything everyone posts but I surely can respect their opinions/methods/practices, etc. HOWEVER, I've found there are bloggers who will blast responders who don't agree with them! I find that particularly despicable. How can you claim to respect others' input when you immediately blast it? (Providing it was repectful!) Why not just delete the comment and move on???

    ReplyDelete
  13. Kate, I have followed you from back in the CB days and you know that I pray for you and your family. I feel like you are part of my family. When you lost your father, my heart broke for you because I knew what it was like, having just lost my own mother. I don't know why people are so mean. The anonymity of the internet makes cowardly people very brave I would imagine. In my opinion, their lives must be very low and pathetic to want to cause someone else emotional pain like that. Or, maybe they're so sad and lonely themselves that they feel the only way that they can get the attention they seek is to be mean. Bullying is more about the person doing the bullying than it is about the object of their anger. All I know is that your blog is about you and your family, not what other people think. You don't put it out there to change hearts or minds. You put it out there so that people going through the same thing know that they're not alone. That there are other people going through the same struggles. As for your parenting style, you know your children better than anyone. YOU know what works for them, what they need. I don't think there has ever been an adult in therapy that wished their parents had loved them less. As for the hovering? Your kids are 4 and 5....thats not called hovering...its called parenting. I don't recall you EVER saying (and remember I have followed you for years) that you don't allow your children to make mistakes and learn from them. Good parents allow their kids freedom to make mistakes but also know their kids well enough to know when to step in for their own safety. My mom was like that and I've said it before. You remind me a lot of my mom. So whenever you start feeling down about the trolls...just stop and ask yourself...I wonder what that person is going through in their own lives that they seek out opportunities to hurt other people. Chances are, they didn't have a mom like you and I had. They never had a mom like you. I bet a large part of them wishes they had.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I read that whole thing with baited breath, basically skimming it to get to the end incase you were going to say 'Ive made my blog private, goodbye!!"
    Phew, relief that I didnt read those words.
    I love reading your daily journal, it makes me feel like Im not alone with my really atypical kid. There are lots of special kids out there but I find Gavin so similar to mine and that gives me a sense of comfort. Please dont let the haters get you down, try to remember that people that write nasty judgemental comments didnt have a mum like you that taught them any different! At least Gavin and Brian will never be like that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow mamafrog said it so well. Preach on madam frog, preach on. She is totally right, that while we become consumed with the comment, hurt, angry, frustrated, they probably feel better about themselves after doing it and then they move on. Do not engage, good advice. I have not faced this yet, but I know I will at some point and I will be hurt because that is how I operate. But I hope to remember your experiences and advice as well as the advice of your readers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I totally don't get it. But I agree that they're sad. Sad and mean and out to hurt. You are a great writer and so open and honest about things - you do put yourself out there. It's a breath of fresh air!! I'm so glad you keep your blog real. Try your best to train your brain to ignore the bullies... They aren't worth the energy!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Kate: I think it must take great mental discipline to stay above this nonsense, but it's possible. You've risen above so much in your life with a wonderful attitude. I too agree with Mamafrag— and by "do not engage", I see that as trying not to engage *emotionally*. Hit Delete and move on. I hope all the support you're getting after you write a post like today's makes you feel better, but posts like this won't stop the trolls. If anything, I'll bet it feeds their fire by letting them know that they've gotten under your skin!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I do appreciate all these comments - but honest to God, I wasn't writing to fish for compliments. This is such a huge problem all over the internet and it makes me sad for EVERY blogger -not just me. I hate to see my friends attacked because, as tough as people might be, it can hurt after a while. I just had to vent about how irritated it makes me that people just can't be all "kumbya" 24/7. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I see people post nasty comments all over the place - on blogs, on polls people create, on articles, and it's really crazy that people post this poison online.

    I know you didn't write this to fish for compliments; every post of yours I read are the most humble and least-self-indulgent, but know that when people post these things they're posting that stuff everywhere.


    If I had a friend who responded to my terror of my child having a febrile seizure (and yes, every single parent does not calmly respond with "oh why, this is a simple febrile seizure." EVERY PARENT thinks their child is dying when this happens!!!), I would ask them to leave my house. Unfortunately for the internet it's a free for all. And you don't "deserve" it just because you post this online.

    It's not personal, which doesn't make it better, but know that these people have something wrong when they feel they need to judge, criticize and attack someone who is just posting their feelings for everyone to see. That's such a brave thing to do! Hiding behind nasty comments is not.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Header design by Susie Q. Designs