Saturday, March 20, 2010

March Broken

I've decided to give myself a little mental bitch-slap before I precipitously give up blogging forever. I'm in a prickly, unfriendly place. Does anybody else find that a virus seems to infect your mind as well as your body? Other than the obvious 'it's gorgeous outside and I'm too sick to go anywhere', or abandoning my husband with the kids for the last couple of days when he's leaving for a week tomorrow, or that he took off Friday so we could do something as a family and I was stuck in bed so he took the kids bowling and mini-golfing, it's like I've stayed in one place too long and my immune system is too low to evade or mount a defense against the mean little thoughts with sharp little teeth.

It seemed that visiting some friendly blogs and then following their blogs to some unfamiliar blogs was a good way to spend some fevery headachey rib-cracking coughy time. In retrospect, I probably should have stuck to vampire movies and the last few episodes of Dollhouse.

I don't remember how I stumbled upon the blogging world of the mothers who have lost children. I think I saw the blog name dead baby jokes and thought gah! THAT's in poor taste. Except it wasn't. And then it was like hours wandering in a dark thundery forest. These women are going through something unimaginable that they have to find a way to imagine. A lot of it is very powerful writing. Some of them are impossibly funny and witty and articulate about it, which almost seems unfair to the ones who are still flailing around almost wordlessly in grief. I don't comment on these, because it's so not my place -- this is a country that is foreign to me, and I have no helpful or valuable or relevant words to offer. They seem so queenly and unassailable in their grief, and I'm glad that they have their community of people who understand, even if there is no way to make it better. I do visit them periodically to bear witness, and because sometimes they talk about what people can do to be helpful -- or at least not doubly hurtful -- and what people do that makes them angry or increases their pain, and these are things that I think it is good to know.

There is a whole other world of blogs written by parents of medically fragile children, and again, a whole new language to be learned. I don't look at them out of any kind of purely voyeuristic curiosity, but again, I visit because it's a way to be less ignorant. Sometimes what these people ask seems impossible -- they don't want people to be insensitive, but they don't want pity. They say a lot of their lives are normal, but they resent people who underestimate how hard it is. Sometimes it seems impossible for those of us on the other side to strike the right tone. That's okay -- I get that sometimes the actions of people not in your situation must all be sandpapery and wrong. It also highlights the important fact that these people, contrary to what they are often told, are NOT saints. They are people, and mothers -- fiercely loving, angry, sad, joyful, tired and bitchy by turns, like the rest of us.

In short, I have come up for air (what air I can drag through my clogged and wheezy passages) feeling like my blog is the flakiest, most insubstantial confection ever, like I've never written a post on anything of any real substance, like I should pack it all in and pull the covers back over my head. But I'm not going to. I'm going to remind myself that there are blogs I love that have nothing to do with dead or disabled children, and that no matter how vital one community is to some people, the internet is vast and there is room for an infinite number of communities. I might try to focus my energies on more weighty subjects from time to time (and no, I'm not referring to my ass), but I can't be someone I'm not, and negating my own experience doesn't help the people who have a more unkind path to follow right now.

Take that, mean little thoughts. Which I will now attempt to drown in pistachio ice cream, if Eve hasn't eaten it all. And she doesn't even like nuts. Hmmph.

13 comments:

Amber said...

In Eve's defense, I have to say that there are some foods I won't eat except in ice cream form. It transforms them into something altogether different.

I haven't been on the blogs that you're describing, but I have been on some that are similar. That leave me feeling frivolous and insubstantial. And maybe I am those things, but that's OK. Like you said, it's a very big internet. Everyone can use a little frivolity from time to time.

Amber Dusick said...

I read blogs to laugh or relate or be inspired. My serious reading I don't seek out from blogs. Frivolity? Yes, please. I've been to those types of blogs you mention and I can't handle them. I wind up feeling like shit. Guilty and crying. I'd rather leave a blog nodding my head or laughing. Yours does both often and I really appreciate that. So many types of blogs and readers - we all have our own place.

Mary Lynn said...

I've read a few blogs like the ones you've noted, and spent more than a few evenings crying, all in a tailspin over the unfairness of the world and how awful it must be to lose a child or have a very sick child.

I think I have trouble approaching blogs like that because it feels like I'm intruding on their grief. Also, the grief becomes their defining characteristic, because it was there when I first read the blog...it's hard to look beyond it. On the other hand, if a blogger I was already following had to deal with such things, the grief would just be one aspect of that person. I would already know lot of other things that define who they are, so it would be easier to see them as a whole person. And in a case like that, I would be able to read because I would have an existing relationship...I would want to support them.

On a somewhat related note, I spent Friday morning reading through the nominees in various categories for the Best Just Posts of 2009. The Just Posts are posts on personal blogs that reflect or inform others on social justice issues. Anyway, in reading through the posts, I found many of them very interesting, but I also recognized that these were not the sorts of posts that I was likely to ever do. Certainly I have opinions about matters of social justice and politics...certainly anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that every now and then I do a wee little 140-character rant every now and then on these subjects. But I don't generally bring these subjects into my blog.

My blog is my release. It's where I get to write about my kids and about what our family's up to, instead of software install prerequisites and all the other exciting things I write about in my real job. My blog is for fun. I don't even write generally about larger parenting issues much, which is probably a reason that my blog will never get listed as a top anything, but I'm fine with that. My blog is what I want it to be.

Mary Lynn said...

Also, please don't give up blogging forever. I would be sad. And really, it's all about me. :-)

Shan said...

I read blogs like those too and my husband begs me to stop all the time because then I'm just a weepy blubbery mess. I'm just way too empathetic for my own good sometimes it seems.

Pam said...

The problem with blogging is that start someplace, casually or brilliantly enough, then find that we have to stick to some kind of slot. Like we owe the world a witty blog or an insightful blog all the time. Then it becomes work - the blog owns you.

This is not the way it should be and you should be able to write whatever you please, whenever you please, period. Ups and downs are part of who we are. Writing is part of who you are - brilliant at times, hilarious and side- splitting, thoughtful and reflective, light, dark, whatever, it doesn't matter. It is yours to own.

The blog world is huge and there are so many perspectives, it is mind-boggling. As the song goes "Everybody has a story that could break your heart." Tis true for us all in our own way. For those who have suffered loss, blogging is part of the road to healing and has its place. I know when I have gone through grief what mattered was that people cared and didn't ignore it, even if they hadn't been through the same thing. Pain is pain. You can't judge others on who deserves to own it most. I could wax on philisophically here but I'll spare you. In short, you own your life and your issues and non-issues are important too.

Now all that being said, I am partial to chocolate and keep emergency supply handy and hidden for when necessary. My kids get the cheap ice cream and I never let them know there is anything better out there or it would ruin them. Cheers!

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Lynn said...

You absolutely hit the nail on the head with this post. I have attacks like this all time, where I feel like I have nothing to say, nothing meaningful to add to the group conversation...so why do I bother?

Sometimes not having a Very Important Blog does give me writer's block, or even make me want to pack it in. But I do try to remind myself that in the end my blog is really for me -- a place for me to work things out, vent, capture my thoughts on life, and record nuggets about the kids. I probably spend more time reading my old posts than anyone else...so that makes it worthwhile.

Julie said...

like others, i have ventured to these sorts of blogs on occasion just to leave feeling like i am an insignificant spec. i know this is not their intentions but there is an amount of guilt that paretns of healthy able bodied children have. but to be completely honest, i don't head over to these blogs often. i am not a fan of feeling like an insignificant spec.

i too have had the days where i wonder why i am blogging. i have a few faithful followers, but really, would they really care if i stopped? they could just re-ajust their blog roll and move on. but then i remember that i started my blog when i needed somewhere to talk out what i was going through as a new mom and found a community that would talk back with empathy, understanding and advice. which has been invaluable to me on many occasions.

i follow blogs where i see myself, can related completely and hope to be able to help when help is needed. my new virtual friends are a part of my life now. so no heading off into the sunset, ok?

NoisyBluebird said...

Why do we always feel the need to compare ourselves to another to validate our worth? I do this in all aspects of my life, I always find someone better or more interesting or more 'worthy' and then look at myself and say 'pffff', what a loser. What I'm starting to learn is that it's o.k to do things just because they make me happy. They don't have to have huge earthly value or importance. It doesn't mean I'm selfish. All blogs have a purpose -the writer needs to write them. We read them. I love your blog, it's a part of my daily life and for me it has a lot of value and importance. I'd be sad without it and I think you would be too!

suzicate said...

I felt like you a few weeks ago, and still do but a little better now. Fortunately, I had some drafts to tide me over. Taking weekends off as a refresher, and a reminder that it is my blog and I'll post what I want...trivial or not. I like your posts no matter what they're about....do it for you and no one else, and we'll just reap the benefits of reading it. And I love me some icecream! So is the annonymous car commenter spam or just off the wall?

The Mayor! said...

Every blogger has their own story to tell & their own style to tell it in...there's room for all of them! At times we want to be inspired, at times we need to laugh & forget our own crap for awhile, & at times we just need that sad, sappy story that makes us count our own blessings. You fit in just fine...& let's face it, more often we seek out the smiles & giggles over the tears & pain! :-D

Magpie said...

I started finding my way in the blog world through the infertility blogs - and the dead baby blogs are a natural cousin. so they don't feel at all unusual to me.

Don't stop writing. You give us something.