Kidding. It's the One Where I Wax Philosophic About Blogging.
The blogging community is amazing. For most of you reading this I am probably "preaching to the choir" and "stating the obvious." I'm sure many of you, like me, follow several blogs, blogs written by people you've never met, and are completely taken by their lives. You are relieved that Johnny, who had been inexplicably sick for months, was finally properly diagnosed and being treated. You are excited when Betsy's boyfriend pops the question. You wish Tom and Sarah a fabulous time on their long awaited European vacation. You think Ashley's remodeled kitchen is to die for. And you positively cannot wait for the next do-it-yourself tip.
In other words, you laugh, you cry, you feel anger and excitement and disappointment and a whole host of other emotions for people you've never even met. (And when those bloggers who religiously post every day miss a day, you develop a nervous twitch that continues until a new post appears.)
As I said, the blogging community is amazing. It's utterly astounding how much the life of one blogger affects that of another.
The same cannot be said, however, for the Facebook community, which I found out recently when the husband and I almost died.
Those of you who are friends with the husband and I on Facebook, well technically friends with me via being friends with the husband, know that there is very little activity on our page. I'll save up pictures from the last six months of our lives and post them all at once. I rarely comment on other's pages. And I hardly ever update our status. Why? Because I hardly ever feel we have something status-worthy to report.
But when the husband and I almost died, I thought now here's something people will care about. So I posted a quick summary of our harrowing ordeal and was sure to end it by saying we were okay. Turns out? Facebook community Didn't. Give. A Shit. Don't get me wrong, some people did comment and some just bypassed the commenting and went straight to the phone calls and texts. (Those are the people I will share my fortune with when I make my millions. No. Billions. Seriously, you thought Harry Potter and Twilight were a-mazing. You. Just. Wait.) And I don't think that those that didn't comment don't love me and the husband and weren't overcome with yuge tremendous relief that we were still alive. Of course they were. It's us. People love us.
However. through the whole ordeal, I learned something about Facebook. Information which I found to be very valuable since I've been toying with the idea of getting my own page, but have been putting it off because of The Issues and because I Don't Get Facebook. After we received hardly any comments when the husband and I almost died - news that I thought would bring the Facebook world to a screeching halt - things became perfectly clear. I finally realized what was status worthy information.
Narrowly escape the clutches of death? Four comments.
Your experimental surgery to remove a brain tumor, deemed inoperable by 99% of the medical community, went incredibly well and you are doing fine? One comment. From your mother.
You were just attacked by rabid dogs and had half your face ripped off? Six people "like" this.
You finally removed a strawberry seed that's been stuck between your teeth for the last four hours? 87 comments.
Granted, the husband and I don't even have 87 Facebook friends, so in order to get that many comments several of our friends would have had to double up. But they wouldn't do that. Why? Because the Facebook community could care less if you almost died.
Seriously, unless you just lit a cinnamon candle, are going to da club wit the boyz, or sat at the longest red light ever, keep your status to yourself.
Six months ago I posted pictures of the new truck the husband bought and we had at least 20 comments. But when that truck turns on us and makes us acquainted with Death's best friend Near Death? Big freakin' deal.
But if you were to write a blog about the most terrifying night of your life, the blogging community would freak the freak out. No, that wasn't a blatant attempt at begging for comments - even though I'm a total comment whore - I'm just sayin' that for those bloggers who have a yuge following, when the shit hits the fan, people show up with mops and rags and a whole lotta bleach.
Which transitions, quite eloquently if I do say so myself, from my Facebook tangent to what this post is really about: the blogging community. I feel I should warn you that the rest of this post is sad, so you may want to stop reading.
There are several blogs I follow (which you can check out on my blog list). Many of those blogs are authored by mothers who write about their children. Which is strange because I hate children.
Okay. I don't hate children. I hate the idea of children. Being anywhere that I am.
I'm at a restaurant and a family is seated next to us? Dinner is ruined.
On vacation and kids jump in the pool? I shoot daggers at them.
See a baby at the supermarket? I don't coo and aww. I choke back a gag.
The only exceptions to this are my friends' kids. And I'm not just saying that because they're my friends and I have to or because many of them read my blog. Somehow every one of my friends who has produced an offspring has produced a non-annoying, cute one. Seriously, they're adorbs and I love them and I don't even mind when they get all attention-whorey and I'm no longer the center of attention because everyone's enthralled with the fact that the babe just discovered he has feet, (watch out kid - one day those feet will sabotage you and kick you down a flight of stairs) because the truth is, I don't like being the center of attention.
I know. I know. I seem like I like being the center of attention, what with my blog and my begging for comments and woah is me I almost died and no one cared. But I will let you in on a little secret. When I go to restaurants, I hope I get seated next to the restroom. Because I never make it through a meal without having to pee. And there are few things more awful than walking across an entire restaurant. Because everyone stops eating and ceases conversation to watch me. Well, they don't actually do this. But in my head they do. Not because I think they think I'm so super awesome and sexy and totally rock my hot pink stilettos ( I don't even own hot pink stilettos), but because I think they think I am so dumb. Really really dumb.
Remember when I said the rest of this post was going to be sad? Well it's not because I'm revealing how utterly pathetic I am. It really is sad. So if you don't want any sadness in your life. Stop. Reading.
So these blogs I follow - they're about kids, and sometimes puppies. And sometimes really bad things happen. But reading about it is not like reading a book, where the character's are fictional and I can console myself with that fact that "it didn't really happen."
The bad things really happen. Things that shock me. And have me reeling. And make me angry. And upset for days. One day one of my absolute favorite bloggers - The Bloggess - posts that her dog died. Just like that. No warning. She left him in the yard to pick up her daughter from school. Came back and he was dead. I read this at work during my lunch break and had to suck in my cheeks, round my eyes and blink rapidly to hold back the tears. Those of you who know me, know that news of anything happening to an animal completely devastates me. I totally cannot deal. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why. I wanted the blogger to post a steady stream of blogs as if that would somehow give me the answers I desperately needed. I wanted to pick up the phone and call her. I wanted to comment. But I didn't. Because I was scared. But others weren't and they did. Hundreds others. Hundreds of other people who had never met her were affected by the news like I was and offered words of comfort.
The first blog I ever started following was Life with Hannah and Lily. It came to me one day through a Google alert - an email I received at work that contained key words that pertained to my job (I don't think I explained that very well; just know I found it by accident). I probably wouldn't have read the post once I realized it wasn't relevant to my job, I probably wouldn't have started reading it first thing every morning, and I probably wouldn't still be reading it this day, if tragedy hadn't just struck in the blogger's life. The blogger, a mother, had just lost her oldest daughter Hannah. She drowned at the beach. One minute she was playing a game in the water, the next minute she's gone. Compared to the blogger mentioned above, this woman has a modest following. But no less caring. Her followers, people she'd never met - commented, offered prayers, sent flowers, went to the funeral.
That was a couple years ago, and while I felt truly awful for this woman I had never met, I didn't realize how deeply she, and her inspiring little girl, would affect my life. As I continued to read, I learned about Hannah. She loved things sparkly and pretty: feather boas, tiaras, tutus. But she also found beauty in places where others may not. A cool stick, a leaf, a frog. At a young age she had mastered what many five, even ten times her age had not - or perhaps we once did but lost it somewhere in the cynical jaded-ness that is adulthood - knowing what is truly important in life and living for the moment.
Hannah and I share the same birthday. Every year on her birthday, Hannah's family does something special to remember their precious Monkey. In the days leading up to my birthday my heart went out to Hannah's mother. I thought of her as I planned my own birthday celebration. Nothing wild and crazy. My birthday fell on a weeknight. But the husband and I did plan to meet two of our friends for dinner at The Melting Pot. Yu-um. I had my dress all picked out. Nothing too fancy, but due to The Issues and my extreme obsessing and second guessing, I started to think it was too fancy.
The night before my birthday, I picked out something else to wear. The next morning I read the post by Hannah's mother. She encouraged everyone to wear something sparkly today, something we wouldn't normally wear, something we love but reserve for only special occasions. She encouraged us to wear it not just to remember her daughter, but because that's what life is all about. Living for the now. Right then I decided to wear my dress. And feel good about it. And be confident. And not think that everyone thought I was so dumb. Really really dumb. I thought about wearing the tiara from my wedding day. I chickened out. But one day soon, I will wear it. For no reason. To some place incredibly inappropriate for tiara-wearing. Because it's sparkly. Because of Hannah.
And now to the blog that inspired this post. I'm still too shocked and angry to find the "amazing" in this, other than to say that once again the blogging community offered support. If you are reader of Maybe if You Just Relax and aren't current on her posts and don't want to find out via me what has happened - although by now you probably have some idea - then stop reading and go to her blog. The rest of you, who want to read about more sad things, keep reading.
This blog is one of my all time favorites because the way the blogger talks about her life is freaking hilarious. And because she introduced me to the word "twatwaffle." And because she posts stories like this (which happened almost a year ago): (I'm paraphrasing a bit, but some of this is verbatim from her blog.)
I live in Ohio where we've had a hundred thousand inches of snow. Husband is trying to shovel the driveway and I tell him I'm is sooo sorry I can't help cuz we only have one shovel and I inside to di*ck around on the Internet. So for my 30th birthday he buys me a shovel then has to leave town for three weeks and I have to use the shovel to clear the drive.
And then she says: (and I quote)
"Mark would like you to know that I had to use my shovel to clear our driveway when we got three separate blizzards during his business trip. He finds this to be amusing. I find it to be amusing that I am going to punch him in the weiner when he isn't expecting it.”
Seriously, I heart her. But her life isn't all fun and games. If you go back and read the archives, you will learn that she was infertile. But with the help of science, she had a baby. So does that make her no longer infertile or does that make her an infertile person who had a baby?
Whatever. It's not important. What is important is that she had a baby! A baby she so desperately wanted. She had already had said baby by the time I found her blog, but one night I started to read her blog from the beginning and couldn't stop. My heart broke for her. I was sad for her. I was frustrated. I was annoyed at all the idiots who had children and said things like, "don't you want to have kids?" "You should have kids. Kids are great." I stayed up well into the night; I had to keep reading until she found out she was pregnant. And then I read some more until she was sure it was going to stick. And then I kept reading until her baby was born.
And I'm still reading to this day. This day that I learned something awful.
She'd been pregnant with twins. I was so excited for her, but also worried. I don't know much about being pregnant - other than you pee when you sneeze, your ankles swell and people offer you unsolicited advice - but it seems like there is a greater chance for things to go wrong when you are growing two people instead of one. So I was worried. But things seemed to be going well. There were hiccups along the way, which I won't get into, but everything was okay. One baby was smaller than the other so the doctors were keeping an eye on her. There was a chance she would have to deliver early.
Around Christmas she was hospitalized. They were monitoring her, the babies. Checking protein, giving steroid shots and whatever else it is you do. They finally determined they were going to do a C-section. But the night before, one of the baby's heartbeat drops of the monitor. The doctor's search. But no. She was gone.
She posts that the doctor said he was sorry. And in my mind I start screaming what do you mean, you're sorry. Do something. There has to be something you can do. Get her out. Do CPR. She was just here. She can't be gone. Just like that.
But she is. And I'm telling you, I am shocked. And angry. At no one in particular. I just can't believe it. How can a baby go from being here to being gone?
They were both delivered and the other one, the little one, is doing fine.
I am sad. Once again sad for a woman I have never met. Which prompted the whole "the blogging community is amazing." Which prompted the longest post in the history of ever.
I should end it here and let you go about your lives, but, although I am sad, I cannot end on a sad story. So I will tell an inspiring one about the blogging community.
The Bloggess performed a bit of a Christmas miracle. She offered to provide 20 $30 Amazon gift cards to the first 20 people who commented and shared why they really needed the card to help provide a nice Christmas for their family. Not surprisingly the gift cards went swiftly and there were still people who needed help. A commenter offered to help the 21st person. And then someone offered to help the 22nd. And the whole thing snowballed and thousands of dollars in gift cards were raised and hundreds of people were helped. Thanks to the blogging community. You can read about it here. But if you've never read her blog before, you might be a little confused because the whole thing was inspired by a taxidermied boar head named James Garfield.
I suppose if I were a Philospher I would offer up something truly philosophical about what this whole blogging community thing means. But half a semester of philosophy does not a Philosopher make. Why only half a semester? Because my TA was a psycho who spent the entire time screaming at us for using the pronoun he, even when it was meant to be gender neutral, because women make up 50% of population and we can't omit 50% of the population or there wouldn't even be any he's and we should always use he/she whenever we write, and woman rock and woman should rule the world and I hate men, blah, blah, blah. It made me want to have a sex change and tell her shut the hell up. But instead? I dropped the class.
And then I talked about it in my blog and hundreds of women who did have a sex change because of that feminist psycho commented and my blog became this forum of support for all these woman, er men?, and they found the support and healing they needed and they all changed back to women and started a crusade to end all the sadness in the world. And it was...