Tuesday, February 2, 2010

illegitimi non carborundum

For the past week or so, I've been feeling... shy, about blogging anything really personal.

Well, that's not the right word, exactly. It's not shyness, I don't think. I feel a little...I don't know. Silenced? Reserved? Stifled?

Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:

You blog. You open your heart. Even if you don't mention specific names or places, you talk about your life, the people you care about, the way you're feeling about what you see and experience in your daily pursuit of happiness. You reach out to other bloggers and make blogger friends (which sometimes become real-life friends, or maybe it happens the other way around) and you put your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see.

And you trust.

Even as some of us blog anonymously or somewhat anonymously with pen names and obscure facts to draw the curtain over the most vulnerable parts of our real lives, if we have an open blog we are still doing the cyber-equivalent of walking up to total strangers and saying, Here, here is my heart. Please be nice to it.

Only some people don't know how to be nice. Or respectful. Some people walk around with anger, or sadness, or huge damn chips on their shoulders, certain that the world owed them something and they did not get it. Shattered by this thought, they don't dare risk creating something for themselves and watching it fail - how much better is it, then, to be a critic, a person who has never attempted to create anything, yet feels utterly entitled to sit back and comment on what others have made?

So they troll. They lurk. They drop by, unannounced, uninvited, into blogs where you post, quite innocuously, about your day or your dreams or your dentist appointment. And these people, these invaders, these unwelcome, ungracious guests, sit back, feeling superior in the knowledge that they will never have to risk a damn thing, and leave snide comments designed specifically to fuck with your mind, or crush your heart, or take your words, your innocent words, and twist them into something guilty and dirty.

They will never know what it's like, to put their heart on the page and offer it up to the rest of the world. They will never know what it's like to gain the respect and approval of people they've never met simply by crafting a good story or using a combination of syntax, grammar, and vocabulary to wrench peoples' hearts and make them sit back in their chair and think Holy God I thought I was the only one who ever felt that way.

They will never know anything but alone.

So here's my advice, as I watched more than a couple friends in the past month quit blogging because of bad experiences with people who do not know the meaning of words like respect or boundaries:

Pick your five favorite people in the world. They should be alive, preferably, unless you believe that after people pass away they can still be aware of what's going on here on Earth, although I'd advise you to amend that belief to not include sexual activity or showering. Otherwise things get weird, fast.

Anyways. Pick your five favorite people, and write your blog for them. It doesn't even matter if those five people actually read your blog. The point is, don't try to please everyone else, people that you've never met before who are gonna come and go and follow or not follow you. Write for the people you know, for the people you love and who love you. And let everything else go. Let everyone else go.

This above all: write for yourself. Always, always, always. Blog because you love writing or telling stories or catching up on everyone else's lives. But don't blog to make everyone happy. Because some people are determined to be unhappy, and that has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Don't let the bastards grind you down.


Miss Anne said...

thank you, thank you, thank you.
this was so well said.

unfortunately i've received some snide, almost rude, hateful messages before, thankfully i moderate comments, so they were denied, but i still saw them.

i agree, blogs are personal, yet still public. we CHOOSE to share our hearts/lives/dreams/hopes, etc

thank you for sharing your thoughts, for being strong and for saying how it is.

and damn those that spread shit on peoples pages, write mean comments, or have nothing but negativity to say.

♥ YOU!

Annje said...

Amen! I just don't get people who do the mean and spiteful thing, and usually anonymously--so cowardly.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I hide some people's IDs, but basically, yeah, I agree, blogging is throwing your heart out there with all sorts of personal stuff.
Keep blogging.

Lira said...

Nicely said. But the title translates to Illegitimate carbs, right? Why wasn't this post about food?

Dave said...

I agree completely. Too bad microsoft hasn't invented the virtual slap tool yet. Your advice is superb...now if I only had 5 favorite people.

Ida Nielsen said...

Well said!! There's nothing worse than anonymous people writing hurtful comments. They're nothing but insecure cowards.

krista said...

fecking trolls.
and your post title totally sounds like carbonara to me.
food is good. and although i don't eat meat anymore, i do enjoy delicious pasta.
i digress...
fecking trolls.

Bathwater said...

Well said! I most admit in the 5 years I have been blogging I have had few comments that have bothered me or stuck with more as hateful.

I have had unwanted readers that kept me from writing. I moved and I am enjoying it once again. I hope you find you can continue writing.

The negative people get bored quickly. As for the five people I would like to read. I enjoy my faceless followers and I hope one day that my children will become adults and look back on my blog as a way to really get to know who there dad is.

Jenn said...

such a good thing to remember. if people dont want to read what i write - they can just move the eff along. :) i've never been the product of a nasty comment...yet. i'm sure i'll get one soon.

Lori ann said...

I am sorry your friends gave up on this. I understand, but still.

i was brought up with the golden rule: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

However, I think it's okay to say anything you like as long as you do no harm. So that means be nice.

♥ lori

p.s. i think i know even less than you about the superbowl. but i bet those footballers don't know how to knit. haha.

Anthony Diecidue said...

Can you be in my five favorite?

robert_dean said...

every so often I have to do a post to remind people that the truth ranges from 5% to 150% in what I write. I stole my Inspired by Actual Events tagline idea from the great Tony Pierce, a play on his "Nothing in here is true" because that's what separates a blog from a diary. we are stories, we are the stuff between the lines.

I have a private blog in addition to main blog because somethings i can't say anymore - I've opened my life (and blog) to so many people I care about that I don't want them to worry about/mis-interpret my words from my actual state of being. I have no secrets but my thoughts are more raw than I would to admit.

we are living movies and my genre is not everyone's cup of tea. Own your blog, own the good and especially the negative comments because that means you're doing it right.

This is must read though dated a bit (from eons ago: 2004)


Kristin Quinn said...

I can't imagine anyone making a snide comment about you or your blog. Fuck them. Those kind of people never take chances anyway. They're too busy criticizing because they don't know how to open up. And I love the advice. I get shy too. I feel dumb talking about myself all the time haha!! But then I get over it. And thankfully, I already have at least a few of my favorite people reading my blog :)

Ashley Yazzie said...

Lovely Lady,

This was such a great thought to share. I was reminded of the following quote;

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.-Bill Cosby"

In my teens and early twenties I was a people pleaser. I didn't want anyone to dislike me or my work. But that changed with time. I realized that many people are going to dislike me, and what I bring to the proverbial table. And that's okay. For example, I don't like Angelina Jolie, or how the world worships her. {Does anyone else remember her French kissing her brother? Or wearing Billy Bob's blood in a vile around her neck?!!} Whereas my best friend adores her. What works for one.....I feel that we should indeed collectively write for ourselves, our treasured friends, and perhaps our future selves.

Regarding the mean comments, that's just silly. What's wrong with people? If the critic finds your work so distasteful, then why in the Hades are they meticulously reading your words?!! Clearly you must have peaked their interest. I never read blogs that I find dull and lackluster. Shake it off. I would rather continue to share my heart than block it with the hateful venom. And I have a feeling that you are much the same!

Hugs and Macarons,

Elisabeth said...

I don't understand what motivates the nastiness in certain blog comments but mostly I think they are generated by spammers, are they not?

It is dreadful to receive one of these nasty comments because although we know this is on line and we cannot be sure of the identities of those with whom we communicate, basically we trust that people are well meaning.

I've had a few nasty comments and they rock me, but I try not to take them too personally.

Don't give up. Otherwise you gratify those who would spoil what's good.

Consider the line of comments you've received for this post alone. I'd say virtually all of them are genuine and wish you well, Phoenix.

The worm in the apple can be removed before it does too much damage.

Gwen said...

Amen Sister!!! This is exactly why I love you!!! Please don't let any rude comments bring you down. I've always thought that people that are rude or hateful are jealous and we all know that jealousy is the biggest compliment of all. :) XOXO

Marion said...

Well said, Phoenix. I've experienced this, too. The rude, drunk or just plain mean person leaving hurtful remarks. I wrote a haiku once (lost it) but it went something like this: "Don't put your heart out on the street and expect it to remain free of tire tracks." Yes, we do put our hearts on the street in our blogs, but it's worth it for the people who are uplifted or inspired. I love your take on it.

Keep on trucking' girl! Blessings!!!!

Dionne said...

Well said! Those mean lurkers can go jump! I love this post - and hope that even though there might be these meanies out there, that you keep remembering your advice to us on this post. Keep it up!

MildlySensational said...

I think the word you're looking for may be 'reticent.'

And, writing for 5 people is pretty much what I do anyway. Thankfully, the only people who follow me are among the 5 people I write for anyway. First, I write for myself, then I edit for the 5.

Because life is too short for catering to asshats.

Darcy said...

great advice. i think you're totally right. sometimes i do think too much when posting, worried someone might misunderstand or twist what is said. i think writing to those five people is a great image.
p.s. i gave u an award on my blog ;-)

The Kid In The Front Row said...

Wow, how wonderful! How wonderful that some random dude sitting in his basement somewhere sees you as wonderful enough to be critical of! It'd be quite sad if the day came that you wrote something and nobody had anything bad to say!!

This is proof you're living and speaking from your heart, when people criticise.

People who are hiding from life don't get criticised. People who share themselves with the world, people who get involved in the world, they do get criticised. Congratulations!

Kris said...

AMEN! People are bored and stupid. That's how I feel about trolls!!

Maggie May said...

thank you for this!!!!


Anonymous said...

Nice post ... well said.

If only everyone left the kind of comments such as the ones you leave for me, the world would be a better place :)

jonas xo

Irenicineri said...

Don't let the bastards get you down. This is great advice - and it's not only about blogging. Life is like that. You put yourself out there, offer up your time to others, and sometimes they spit in your face and step on you, just because they find it fun.

So write for the five people you love, sure. But live also, just for you. :)

And you're totally in my five favorite blog readers. :)

Caroline said...

Amen to that! Found you through Jonas's blog. I have known a few people that quit because of rude and nasty comments. It sucks. But you are right...blog for the people you like.

MildlySensational said...

It's been bugging me all day... doesn't the title translate to "don't let the bastards get you down"? It's a military latin joke, or something. Didn't an army general say it, or someone like that?

Angie Muresan said...

Oh, I am so glad you wrote this post. I've been going through some of this recently and I was so upset. Don't let them get to you. You are a beautiful writer!


I always feel that everyone has the freedom to say whatever they want, but I still don't understand the simple; 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'
But at the end it's your blog sweetie, you must 'represent' your honesty...whatever that is~keep expressing yourself.


Joker_SATX said...

This was very well written. And I agree with you so much on this that I had to take my blog Private.

The one group of individuals that you left out are the scumbags that take what you wrote and harm the people you wrote about...simply because they know them.

I have had many relationships destroyed this way. This is the main reason now why I know everyone (more or less) that reads my blog.

I have found out that as the Joker, not everyone has my sense of humor.

Indigo said...

I never understood cruelty. And that's exactly what it is when someone is demeaning and hurtful with purpose. I've always felt those kind of comments where made because honestly their self esteem was so low, they needed to "try" to bring someone else down to their level.

I remember writing about domestic abuse and how it affected me. It was my story and if anyone truly read or knew me they would of known that wasn't ALL of my story, it was so much more. Those post almost always garnered emails about trying for sympathy comments. Better yet, I've been told no one cares you were too stupid to step outside of the abuse until it was too late.

So yeah, small minded individuals that don't have much left of themselves. Each ugliness decimates them lower and lower on the human scale. I'm so sorry you or your friends had to deal with that kind of treatment. (Hugs)Indigo

Homesick Cajun said...

I wish I would have read this entry a couple of months ago! Lol... I'm dealing with some "privacy" issues with my blog at the moment! I just didn't want my in laws finding it and now I'm worried that they have! You've given some really good advice! Thank you!

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