I have so many posts drafted. And when I go to publish them I imagine the backlash I might receive and I decide it’s not worth it. Because at some point during the last two years, I changed.
It occurred to me recently that I’m a part of a blogging group I know next to nothing about. Meaning, I am a mom and I am a blogger. I sit alongside members of this group (sometimes) but rarely chime in. I’m a spectator. And I don’t have the ambition (or knowhow) to enter the mainstream. Not that I’d make it anyway! When it comes to sinking or swimming and the Internet, I usually tread water.
Toby Joe has told me time and time again, “You gotta play the game if you want to get ahead! You gotta play the game if you want to get noticed!” And I always shake my head at that, actually it frustrates me to no end. And he knows this. He’s not trying to upset me. He says it to remind me that playing the game just ain’t my thing. It’s always the same conversation, one that ends with me asking him, “What’s the fucking point?”
I’ve never played the game. l probably never will play the game. I will continue to sit on the sidelines. Sometimes I’ll cheer people on. Sometimes I’ll boo and hiss at people. But I’ll always do so silently.
I’ve never been very good at playing the game.
And I don’t write much about heated topics anymore, even topics I feel very strongly about. I’m not sure why (or when) that stopped. I just hate the idea of anonymous hate mail, anonymous comments, or Tweets from Below. But I am even more freaked out by the chorus of commenters who write things like, “Wow. Just. Wow. You are AWESOME! I totally agree! I love you!”
Doesn’t that make people feel uncomfortable? It does me. It makes me cringe as a spectator. Comments like that tend to freak me out more so than ones spewing hate.
So, I just avoid heated topics altogether.
But I always have an opinion. Always.
Last week I wrote a relatively scathing post about Babble’s “Top 50 BEST OF” lists and lists in general. I gave up midway through that post because I worried that I might offend someone. And I’m pretty sure I would have been accused of being a jealous twat and I don’t have the energy to fight back even though that’s not the case.
But ultimately? I just couldn’t shake the voice in the back of my head asking, “What’s the fucking point, Michele?”
And I didn’t have an answer to that. So I hit save and walked away.
Yesterday I wrote a post about the whole Amazon/pedophile book fiasco. I didn’t partake in the shitstorm that engulfed Twitter because I didn’t want to draw attention to a book that, up until yesterday, had sold one copy and is clearly the work of a very, very sick man. But the news spread like wildfire. People called for a boycott. People were outraged.
Good news for all those opposed? The book was removed by Amazon last night.
Bad news for all those opposed? The backlash helped it go from the 158,221st best-selling Kindle e-books all the way up to #65.
(Please note: I’m not discussing how I feel about the book or Amazon having listed it. I’m also not suggesting others should have ignored it. I’m not saying anything. See? That’s my point. When it comes to the Internet? I RARELY MAKE ONE.)
There are just so many half-written posts. They’re piling up. And instead of publishing any of them, I just give up and write about my cat, baking, or something silly that happened while spending time with my son. All of this probably makes me seem pretty damn boring. Hell, I bore myself on here anymore.
So, yeah. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I suck at playing the game. I don’t see that changing. And quite honestly, I’m not even sure I know how to play.
But here’s my hunch regarding the rules:
Playing the game means linking to other blogs a lot, blogs at the heart of it all; it means knowing what one’s peers are discussing at all times. Playing the game means finding out about the hot topic straight away and writing about said topic immediately. Playing the game often includes heated debate. (It also means having a strong backbone something of which I do not.) Playing the game sometimes means being a decent writer, but more often than not has nothing to do with actual talent and more to do with who’s on one’s team. Playing the game means feeling passionate about one side of an issue (or pretending to feel passionate about one side of an issue) and I often see many sides. (Unless we’re talking vaccinations, animal rights, littering, or guns. Now, you unvaccinated, littering, gun carriers who torture animals? YOU DESERVE TO DIE.)
Playing the game means going to conferences. Playing the game means NOT finding out about something days after it happens. Playing the game means NOT getting annoyed by those on your team.
I suck at playing the game.
I’m admittedly a bit emotional these days and I gotta be frank with you: I don’t know how much of what I’m feeling is legitimate Michele stuff and how much of it is hormonally induced reactionary stuff. So I feel crippled when it comes to making any changes.
I do know I’m not a very good blogger (anymore) and I have no idea how to change that or if I should. I’m even losing sight of my own voice while reading everyone else’s. And Twitter seems to be making it worse. You give people 140 characters and they use all 140 repeatedly and often. And then sometimes they re-tweet the same sentiment from others. Before you know it, you’re reading 140 characters a dozen times from a dozen different people and in a dozen different ways, but all of which are saying the same thing.
So, yeah. I feel a little lost out here, online. And I’m realizing I always have, which is probably why this blog is facing its 10-year anniversary and not many folks know about it. (Not that I’m complaining! I assure you. Making my family laugh has been worth it. And those who have reached out to me regarding their miscarriages or infertility have made the entire decade I’ve been blogging worthwhile. I mean that completely. Your loss is something I will always care about. That’s why I started this blog 10 years ago: I was hoping to make people feel less alone.)
But overall? I find myself wondering how and why everyone seems to care so damn much about seemingly pointless shit. And then I just get frustrated at myself that I don’t care enough. I don’t care enough to write about Babble’s lists. I don’t care enough to write about baby slings, attachment parenting or breastfeeding in public. I don’t care enough to write about who harassed who and how they went about admitting it. I don’t care enough to give some attention whore even more attention because she wrote an article about hating fat people in exchange for some ad revenue.
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that I’m terrible at playing the game, and I’m frustrated by it too. And I think it’s safe to say that I’m too much of a pussy to actually say (or do) anything about it.