Damn Onion

There are so many topics I’ve thought about writing this week: the end of the year picnic for the co-op, my latest foray into Richardson high-society (that really does need an entry of its own), the latest fluctuations in my obsession with moving, perhaps a few ideas for naming the baby. All fascinating topics to be sure, but here’s the thing that’s really on my mind: Why is it that every darn thing I undertake has to become another fucking opportunity for spiritual growth?

When I started this blog, I was both wary and skeptical. I knew what a potential landmine a personal blog could be for an egomaniac with an inferiority complex like myself. So when I finally created one, I had this understanding with myself that it was going to be for me. No expectations about other people reading it, about people liking my art, or leaving comments, etc. I wanted to write the stuff I needed to hear, the things I couldn’t find written anywhere else. Once I started writing though, the connections started happening, and I got excited. Maybe there was something to this blogging stuff after all! Could this really be a way to maintain old connections and even possibly make new ones? Ever so slowly, ever so subtly, expectations started to work their way in.

A friend of mine, having gone down the list on my blogroll and realizing that most of the people on it are my family members, sent me an e-mail entitled “the family that blogs together…” She thought it was so cool that my sisters and my husband all have blogs and that we comment on each other’s blogs and keep in contact that way. Yes, I thought, it is cool, isn’t it? I love it that I’m able to connect with my family in this way! And then one day I looked around and realized that the only person reading every entry and leaving comments regularly was me. (well, and Patrick, but if I write about what a wonderful way this has been for the two of us to connect with each other, it will interfere with my whining.)

I’m “the listener” in just about every close friendship I’ve ever had, family or otherwise, and while I’m getting better at talking, it’s still hard for me to find my voice and make it heard. In group settings especially, I have such an overworked internal editor that conversations have usually long moved on before I ever get around to being ready to say something. I realized tonight that this is the rub for me. I’m sure I’m not the only person who neurotically checks for comments and gets resentful when there are none (though it’s certainly not something other bloggers talk about, so maybe I am). I’m probably not the only person who feels lonely sometimes and like they’re whistling in the dark. The reason I’m so bothered by this, though, is that I had started to think that blogging was going to give me more of a voice in my relationships, and I had some expectations built up about what that was going to look like. Frankly, I think I’m lazy. I hoped that blogging would be a short cut to get me out of the work of having to learn to be more vocal in my friendships, and damn if doesn’t look like I’m going to have to do the work after all!

I feel like a real chump posting this today. It’s taken a day or two to write it (and to debate over whether I really want to reveal my pettiness in such a public forum) and in that time, several people have left me very thoughtful comments. I recognize that I’m one of those people who, in a room of 100 people, will find the one person in the room who doesn’t like me and focus all my attention on making them like me. Clearly it’s time to stop focusing on the one person who doesn’t like me.

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~ by jenzai on May 25, 2008.

6 Responses to “Damn Onion”

  1. Oh J! You are absolutely not the only person who finds herself letting comments become a little love-meter (and I have to hide my little stats-tracking url from myself) and now I feel like poop because your thoughtful comments have made blogging so much more rewarding for me. And I READ and think about everything you write and ooh over the art and sometimes I think for a few days before responding because I want to wait until I have had time to reflect which is a sign that you writing is thought-provoking. Or you get lots of other comments and I think you wouldn’t care about my own thoughts. Or I look forward to a phone call to talk about things. And you know what? I am so in awe of your courage in voicing when things feel out of balance, in writing a blog post like this where you put your feelings out there , and your willingness as a friend to work to make the friendship better for both of us instead of just getting frustrated and writing it off. It’s a rare and wonderful courage.

    You know that stupid “easy button” commercial that whichever stupid office supply store ran (is running still? not sure)? I want an external validation button, because that is the need that works itself into this paradoxical knot that even recognizing I have the need and trying to persuade myself that is a valid need doesn’t mean that I can communicate it — sort of like the flowers you ask your husband to get you don’t count as a truly romantic gesture because you had to ask?

    And the bitch of it all is that you so often seem so amazingly confident and together on the outside that it doesn’t occur to me with my own raging insecurities that you might be needing external validation too! But I love your blog, I love your writing and your thoughtfulness, I am glad you do this, I am glad you’re my friend, and more than all that, I love you.

    Mara

    P.S. I had your blog up on my browser today while Raven was tweaking the CSS on mine (still has kinks!) and Raven stopped what he was doing to ask whose well-designed blog I was looking at. Just so you know.

  2. Ditto, ditto, ditto and more……I can SO relate.
    signed,
    Chump II

  3. I love this post. I admire your openness about your imperfections – the egomaniac with an inferiority complex – and willingness to lay it all out there. I want to hear your voice!! Please keep sharing it.

  4. If anyone tells you they don’t really care or notice whether someone has commented on their blog, you are justified in calling them a big fat liar. If a person truly didn’t care, the most reasonable explanation is that he or she is a sociopath.

    My personal feeling is that, in this lonely, alienating world of ours, it’s not really neurotic–only natural–even healthy–to ache for community. It’s only a bad thing if it becomes a crippling preoccupation!

    I enjoy reading your blog, btw. But where the heck does the “onion” come in? (Brandon was concerned at first you were about to dis the comical e-newspaper.)

  5. hee hee… I had a feeling the onion reference might be a little confusing. The onion is something that the recovering community (and others I’m sure) refer to when talking about how spiritual growth works. You peel back one layer, only to reveal another layer underneath. It can be infuriating sometimes to have to keep learning the same lesson or letting go only at a deeper level. Though really, when I think about it, I can’t imagine how else it would work!

  6. Sometimes the one person in the room who you think doesn’t like you is just struggling with his/her own internal editor. Sometimes the family members who don’t comment on each other’s blogs just don’t have anything meaningful to say. Or maybe they are just lazy, which certainly gives you a right to be irritated but no reason to think that they don’t want to listen to you or don’t appreciate your brilliance and wisdom.

    Consider me all of the above, in turns or simultaneously.

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