no. 597 – In My Not So Necessarily Humble Opinion

A couple of months ago I agreed to be interviewed by Suz of Within the Woods. Of the five questions, I’ve only got around to addressing the one about living in Nebraska (which for the life of me I cannot find).

Another of her questions seem to fit very nicely into something that I’ve wanted to address, so I get the two-birds-with-one-stone thing going for me.

How do you feel that your blogging voice has changed over the time that you’ve been blogging, or has it?

It’s hard to be objective about your own work without it either coming off with self-effacement or a braggart, but I’m going to try because I want to hit on a few things.

I told myself when I started blogging, I was doing it for me. I wasn’t going to censor myself. I wasn’t going to hold back on my feelings, blah, blah, blah, when in fact, I discovered I’m not doing this all just for me, and I do censor myself – a lot.

Recently I had an email exchange with someone who has been thinking about getting a blog:

Sometimes I feel like people see bloggers are narcissistic and voyeuristic. I’m not one of those people, not in the least, but sometimes I feel like the things I want to say aren’t worthy enough of a blog. Or that someone else is already doing ideas that I’ve had, I stumble upon them, and then it’ll look like I’ve jacked an idea from someone. . . . And I don’t have a specific reason to blog, such as secondary infertility. *sigh*, Such is life I suppose. What do you think? Should people start blogs with no goals in mind?

My response?

Well, since I’m both narcissistic and a voyeur, I don’t know what to tell you…
Everyone always says, "blog for you", but you and I both know, from both sides of the screen, that that is not true. I use to think I was doing this for me, but now I know it’s  just as much therapeutic for  me as it is informative for someone else who may be new to it all; plus add in a little entertainment . . .
It’s a community thing, simply put. If you find your real life community either stifling or lacking, like I do, blogging is wonderful. I once read through Schmutzie, who linked to a blog about how to blog, that someone somewhere has written what you are thinking in a much better way. However, that should never keep you from doing it if you enjoy it.
I enjoy it, I really do. I’ve learned a lot about others and about myself, but I know that there are still some cards I hold very close to my chest.
If you feel what you have to say is meaningful to you and at least one other person, then why not blog? No one is going to come at you with virtual pitchforks and torches and demand you delete your blog.

That way of thinking is practically a 180 from how I believed I felt when I first started blogging. Now whether that’s good or bad is beside the point. Who cares?

I’ve only really found one thing that bothers me about blogging, specifically those who blog "publicly" and who allow comments and that is when a difference of opinion results in flaming or pissing matches.

For example, a few months ago, a blogger I really enjoyed for her frankness and intelligence was discussing how her young preschooler’s separation anxiety was a result of the child being adopted (as a newborn with an on-going open relationship with the biological mother). I thought I offered up my opinion, which was that maybe the child was simply pre-disposed to have separation anxiety, which is common for that age and certainly at the beginning of the school season, in a very non-confrontational way.

Her response was basically that I had no idea of what I was talking about because she’s the one who adopted the child and knows that the anxiety is related solely to the child’s adoption. In short, she said I was wrong.

I was unable to respond any further out of hurt and embarrassment.

If you’re going to submit your opinions publicly, then you should be willing to have others submit theirs in response, even if they are in opposition, without feeling as if you are going to be callously rebuked. I made it quite clear that my opinion was my opinion and offered the disclaimer that since I have not adopted, I really couldn’t do more than offer the opinion.

It’s no different than if I invited you into my home and asked you what you thought of my paint color choices, and you suggested that maybe I should have painted the bedroom a light blue instead of light green to which I respond by throwing you from my second story deck.

I don’t look for conflict and if I’m going to play the devil’s advocate, I try to tread lightly. Another example of that more recently is a post from Karriew at Mom Voyage. She mentioned how a pub in Boston put up a sign banning strollers. I was surprised how many parenting commenters took offense to this and said the pub was "anti-baby" and "anti-family" and even so far as "how else are children supposed to learn to act in public if we are not allowed to take them in public?" (I’m paraphrasing here for a more dramatic effect).

My comment was basically there are lots of other places that are both more family-friendly and family-appropriate than a Boston pub. A commenter responded to my comment by saying that I don’t ". . . have the right to tell every other parent where they may or may not take their children based on what you personally consider to be a “wholesome” environment. "

Whoa, sister! My opinion was that there are better places to take your kids, that’s all. I’m not the Kid Appropriate Police (but if I was, a pub or bar that serves alcohol and is open only in the late afternoons till closing is not a place for children, whether your child is 2 or 20). Plus, the ban was on strollers, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a beef with a frickin stroller at one time or another.

So my "blogging voice" has changed in that I no longer try to convince myself that I’m doing this all solely for me, and I don’t know anyone who does 100%.

But what has also changed for me is that I’m a little less vocal about going against the general tone of either the blog post or comments. Too many times I’ve seen it become personal when it should just be accepted as a difference of opinion, and to me knowing that we aren’t all a bunch of "OMG, we must be sisters separated at birth!" kind of bloggers is another reason why I love blogging on the whole.