Blogging. It’s quite the courtship isn’t it? We write and read in that getting-to-know-you kind of way. We hold back just a little, maybe not publishing our social security numbers or thoughts on yeast infection. At first we ask readers to settle for holding hands, a peck on the cheek, because we want to take it slow. And didn’t our Southern mammas torture us with that old economic hooker riddle about buying cows when the milk is free? We don’t put it all out there, but over time and posts we grow closer, wooing each other with love notes in the comment section. Eventually we’d invite each other over, opening up our personal spaces to guest posts, introducing ourselves to a blog love’s family of followers and praying, just praying that this time we didn’t forget to spell check, the written form of broccoli stuck in front teeth. Then that lady who writes a blog about designer cat shoes passes along a Sunshine Blogger Award, and we are smitten. One Monday morning, WordPress gets on one knee, says our posts are worthy of sharing the Freshly Pressed name. Suddenly a sweet meme is akin to matrimonial bling and we are crying and “Yes! OMG! Yes!”-ing at the proposal of eternal readership. Finally, after this whirlwind affair, we take the plunge and commit wholeheartedly. Subscribing is for lovers!
It’s downright storybook. So it was a shock when, during a three-month hiatus from my beloved blog, I discovered I’d lost that loving feeling. As I took time to reflect on what exactly turned this once post-perfect union sour, I came to a startling conclusion. So, listen up, as this is the first and only time in the history of time a woman will say this and ever (even a bit) mean it: It’s not you. It’s me.
See, once upon a time I was happily single. I had a baby, a rotten dog, and a super-duper fiancée, but in my writing I was all alone. I began a blog so that I could stop stocking up on those glossy Lisa Frank puppy notebooks I’d been using to chronicle my life. Immediately Lisa Frank went out of business ( This is probably false.), but I didn’t have to worry about hiding the hot pink tween folders when real, grown-up guests visited the house. In this way, blogging caused Lisa Frank financial ruin but worked wonders on my writing. I loved expressing myself to….myself. I had no readers and no idea that people could, if they so wished, read and leave responses to my posts. I was blissfully oblivious to the on-line
dating blogging world around me, relishing in the simple act of writing what I wanted to when I wanted to because I wanted to. I was the bachelorette, dancing triumphantly to Swedish pop beats before settling in for a pre-bed chick flick with a gallon of ice cream and my cats. I was thinking “This! This is the life!”.
But two brushes with Freshly Pressed fame knocked something loose in me. Suddenly a stranger from Ohio thought I was “brilliant”. I made a few housewives on the West Coast laugh so hard they “piddled”. Where as I had just, one second before, felt fulfilled by penning jokes to make myself laugh, now I felt starving. Little by little, comment by subscription, accolade by tiny spike in views, my purpose shifted. I was, by the end of it, caught in a bad blogmance. To prevent you unbridled authors still in your posting prime from finding yourself wallowing in bloggy heartbreak , I’m baring all my crazy bits. Here is my descent into You-Should-Probabl-Get-An-Order-Of-Protection-ness in three small but massively psycho steps.
Dr. Jekyll & Your Girlfriend Lied
A great relationship starts with finding someone who appreciates the real you. Naturally, you tell a guy you love watching cage fighting and cuddling on the couch in his mother’s basement. You are suddenly choking down seaweed because your date is some vegetarian yogi who believes in cow spirits. Any man who finds himself spending his Football Sunday sitting in a cafe insisting to a lady that he too enjoys frappamochacinnos and spoken word performances? Lying. When you wake up next to her and she looks has the face of a cover girl and the breath of an angel? She set her alarm on vibrate, slept with it tucked under her pillow, crept all ninja like to the bathroom before the sun came up, and primped. “Yes, it is crazy how hot I am all the time. No, that was not me snoring like a bear. Maybe you heard yourself snoring. DON’T YOU LOVE HOW MY MOUTH ALWAYS SMELLS LIKE MINTS?!?” Her face is covered in Cover Girl, stupid. And, P.S., nobody’s “natural scent” is a Chanel No. 5.
While I never typed under a false name, or false anything, really, I could feel and see in my writing the difference. I was overwhelmed with the idea that people liked me or could like me, so I began to actively try to please them. One reader is highly conservative, I avoid the post I was going to write about how I’d like to bring the nose ring back from my college days. My grandmother doesn’t like cussing, so I leave Bombs F, MF, and BS out of my “new” blogging vocabulary. For weeks, this leaves me writing only ten-word posts. People seemed most endeared by my funnier posts, so I refrained from sharing any and all sappy, sad, or otherwise serious aspects of my life. I was going to write a post on how I need to figure out a way to be Asian because my giant caveman feet are bothersome, but I’d hate for any readers to think I was racially inappropriate. In truth I am inappropriately inappropriate. I curse like a sailor, and I think that nose ring was god damn precious, and I get really bad period cramps that occasionally cause me to weep and watch Little House On The Prairie episodes and run out of funny things to say.Yet I avoided writing in this natural tone. I gave readers the real story of my real life, just leaving out the words or phrases or bad days that would offend or turn off potential suitors. I just wanted readers to like me. You know, that clean-mouthed, turtleneck-ed, perpetually perky version of me.
Possessive Aggressive … ‘Cause There Ain’t Nothin’ Passive About It
When the classic crazy girlfriend is suspicious (always all the time) she sinks to particularly disturbing lows. You don’t return her call within the minute? She is texting you while calling you while e-mailing your mom while turning her headlights off while trolling around your apartment complex. You try to dump her? Good luck. Because if there’s one thing a good old-fashioned lunatic knows it’s this: when a boy tries to get some distance from you, you just RUN FASTER. She is artful in her craft of stalkery, stealing photos from your Facebook page and cutting and pasting her own wild-eyed face into them before you’ve even had a chance to drop her off from the first date. Her goals aren’t clear, even to her, and she fluctuates from wanting to know for sure you are a cheating jerk to wanting to get a boob job so you’ll like her more.
The more I wrote to please all races, religions, genders, political parties, humans, and pets, the more unsatisfied I became. Do you like girls with bigger puns? Does this post make my punchline look whack. Stop trying to change me! Wait. I’ll change! The easy days of writing whatever popped to mind seemed behind me, Joan Rivers-trying-to-remember-the-first-time-she-turned-30 behind me. I stopped writing well and stopped writing often and devoted my time to ensuring my readers would not dump me. When my stats fell and comments declined, it did not occur to me to that I’d given people nothing to read, no reason to visit. Much the same as the girl who steals a boyfriend’s phone, I creeped all over followers’ blogs. When I found out they had written all week, commenting on several other bloggers’ sites, I felt insanely betrayed: “I know you been reading Darla behind my back, Carl! Who is this “Mom” chick? Who is she?!?!”. I couldn’t believe the audacity of some of you, fleeing from my cold, empty blog to the warm witty words of another. I maybe called you “Word Sluts” under my hostile breath. And “Blog Wreckers”. And maybe I wrote your web addresses on bathroom stalls of dirty trucker stops beside the caption “FOR A GOOD TIME —>” . It was a dark time for me obviously. So I sat alone but no longer so happy to write just for myself as myself, frantically checking the stats and comments for you to call and remind me (maybe with a <3 or :) or LOL) that our relationship really meant something.
The Blogging Barfly
She’s the one in the leopard print mini with red lipstick smeared across her face. The long wood bar of the local pub is usually holding her up by the armpits every Monday-through-Monday night. She doesn’t talk much but slurs a little. You’re not sure if her words or outfit are speaking for her, but you think you hear her say “I could be all fixin’ my issuessses, but, like, I’ll just sit here all clown mouthy waitin’ fer you to juss take me home, studddd.”. How sad, everyone thinks, she’ll never find love that way.
I don’t really drink, but this didn’t prevent me from becoming the Lindsay Lohan of the WordPress World, one big hot mess still praying she’s more hot than mess. Speaking of fools, Ke$ha once sang/talked/electro-barked “your love is my drug”, and, more foolish still, I found myself sad, depressed with my writing, and suffering some major blog love withdrawals. I wanted to write “single” again. I also wanted whole gobs of bloggers to cling to my leg and tell me how awesome the slightly altered and swear free model of me was. It was a little conflicting. The result? I got chocolate wasted, vowed to not blog for a while, almost drunk
dialed typed you, and slept off this wordy hangover.
Dr. Phil suggests that we must be completely comfortable and confident, love ourselves even, before another person can truly love us back. Despite his erroneous mustache, about this one thing I think he might be right. In the end, I can’t quit you. I love writing. I love blogging. I love you, you silly little Word Sluts. The breakdown I withstood, the breakup with the blog over the past few months have reminded me (with the help of a few dusty Lisa Frank notebooks and journal entries) that I can write just as I am, and for someone I will be charming, funny, beautiful, good enough. That someone just might be me.
Do you ever lose yourself by writing to please others?
Most importantly, do you date me?