Posted by: DD | April 22, 2009

NOW FOR THE COUNTER-POINT

Wasn’t that nice of Aunt Becky to come over here and ramp up my stats? Here she thought I was doing her a favor letting her get a blogging fix when instead I was reaping the rewards by being ass-dimples deep in comments.

It was a bit odd to have several commenters profess their love for me…until I remembered, “Oh, yeah. They are professing their love for Becky. I feel so dirty.”

The topic I gave Becky was one I had been mulling on for some time, and one I’ve attempted to cover before. I wish it was also one I felt as optimistically about as Becky and her readers do. Now it’s not because I don’t believe you can’t form BFF relationships via the internet. It’s because I can’t.

Outside of my family (and even then, it’s just a couple), there’s only one person who I have maintained (and I use the word loosely) a friendship with for any significant length of time: my husband of almost 12 years (plus 5 years prior to our marriage). Even with a life-time commitment made emotionally and legally, there are plenty of moments when I could merrily club him to death with a frozen log of cookie dough on any given day of the week. He’s lucky I refuse to sacrifice the cookie dough in anger.

A couple of the comments really hit home as to why internet – specifically blogging – friends are made. First, it is easier to find a connection with someone of similar interests or experiences via blogging. I found infertility blogging while googling the instructions for follistim injections. From there, I was introduced to several women who had experienced miscarriages. I also found out that secondary infertility wasn’t an oxymoron. Through blogging, I found Suzanne, a fellow Nebraskan who was going to the same clinic as myself and “shared” some cycles with. Blogging via a specific niche gives one “automatic” connection with others in surprisingly similar situations.

Next, everyone who blogs is beautiful, smart and funny. OK, everyone but me is beautiful, smart and funny as I am but a Gnarly Troll, and as such, mightily attracted to all things shiny and beautiful. Women can be horrid, petty, back-biting vipers to each other in person. I’ve been instantly sized up by the private school’s Moms who carry Gucci diaper bags, drive Mercedes SUVs, and wear heels even to wrestling meets just because I may or may not be wearing pajama pants and my husband’s sweatshirt with flip flops and chipped toenail polish. But did you see that? I’ve done the same. I take one look at them and I perceive them to be snobbish, unhappy and uptight trophy wives. Just because of the way they LOOK.

With blogging, there’s no snap judgment based on our appearance or surroundings. The “Haves” and “Have Nots” are assigned based on whether or not one has gone through infertility treatment; or has had a miscarriage; or is pregnant. That brings us back ’round to the first example: birds of a feather and all that.

And finally, finding someone In Real Life (IRL) who understands what we (for sake of this post, “Infertility Bloggers”) are going, or have gone, through, is incredibly difficult, especially for those who live in low populated or isolated areas, e.g. northeast Nebraska. Even my husband’s love and own brand of support would not have been enough to get me through these past years. That’s not his fault, it’s mine.

This brings me to what I said in the beginning of this post. I would love to believe that all the friends I make from my blog will be my friends in a year, two years, ten years from now, but I don’t. I couldn’t maintain any friendships from high school, college, and even am struggling to keep the friends I had from my job I just lost in January. I’ve carried torches for many bloggers over the years and I can count on one hand how many are still around. Real life always seems to get in the way whether it’s due to a birth, cancer, being outed, divorce, or feeling left behind in the community, all of which I’ve seen happen to my blogging friends.

I love so many bloggers (and those of you w/o blogs who stop by), very deeply in fact, but I try to remain aloof because it’s too painful to be rejected and ignored and avoided, which seems to happen when I openly wear that Girl-Crush-Heart on my sleeve. If I wouldn’t appear so stalkerish – not that I don’t now – I would probably email many of you daily, if not call the ones who have foolishly provided me their phone numbers. I have to reign myself in frequently from appearing too needy, too desperate, and altogether, too pathetic. Yes, really, I do try to tone it down, but I’m obviously not very good at it.

I seriously get a lump in my throat thinking about how in 10 years, all the men and women I know right now will be on to bigger and better things and not worrying about maintaining a relationship with a Nebraskan blogger who didn’t write remotely well; who wasn’t particularly funny or witty; and who probably didn’t convey in action or word how much she appreciated your friendships.

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Responses

  1. I love you

    • I wuv you, too.

  2. Okey Dokey, now I have to spring into action here. I have been very lax on the comments to you, for that I’m sorry. I do want you to know however that I have about 5 of your posts “starred” in my reader that I wanted to comment on. Anyway, moving on…

    Like you, I have a hard time hanging on to friendships. I tend to get a little, enthusiastic and push people away. Or the opposite, I am so shy about the friendship that they think I’m trying to ditch them. So, I feel ya on the whole feeling stalkerish thing.

    That being said, I hate to say it, but you are stuck with me. I’ll be online and reading your blog and commenting as long as you are on here. I hope to still be doing my (limited) blogging for years to come.

  3. Now I feel hurt! you never called me on the phone… lol.

    I have found that I am a better blogging friend than a real-life friend. It sort of evens out the guilt, no?

    I’m not going anywhere. And I am too invested to ever fade into obscurity (not like anyone would notice). I’ve said it a million times, but I will say it again… my blogging friends have kept me from leaping off the ledge far too many times. I can’t possibly trade that for anything.

    Love ya!!

  4. Now I know why you’re always wanting people to comment!

    I have a few categories of friends – first, there’s my husband…even when I want to kill him, I know that somewhere deep down he considers my best interests. Then, there are my true friends (3 of them) who I have known since grade school or college. We don’t see each other much. We don’t hang out together and have big family type gatherings where everyone drinks wine and watches the game or crap like that. We have flying visits where we hug each others children, have lunch, or try to catch up on a year’s worth of news. But they will always be interested in my life, and I will always be interested in theirs. My next category of friends would be people that I can connect with but haven’t forged a lasting bond yet. Like you, DD – you are now my friend because we both have beautiful Irish babies! And I love reading what you have to say.

    And then there are my acquaintances and then the people who I am stuck with, who I really loathe deep down, but have to be polite to because I work with them or they’re my husband’s friends or something.

    I guess it all depends on your definition of friendship.

  5. I am also not a very good IRL friend. But this blogging thing, like you said, takes all of the bad stuff about IRL friendship out of the equation. It doesn’t matter what I look like, what my real name is, where I live, who my parents are, what I do for a living, what brand clothes I wear, how much money I make, if I buy you gifts for your birthday, if I call you daily, etc. etc. etc.

    What matters is that we bloggy friends can be honest here and we truly care about each other because none of that other crap is in the way. Even when our stories are no longer “the same” we carry lots of common bonds througout.

    You are able to put in words what I often can not. I think you’re great too!

  6. Like you I have few really good friends. I have tons of fun, wonderful acquaintances, and I always have a great time when I am with them, but oddly, I share more of myself on my blog than I do with them.

    I haven’t been in touch with anyone from college in years. When we all went in different directions, I didn’t like their directions and we drifted apart. I suppose I could track people down but I don’t feel the need.

    I think it all boils down to that….the people we want to keep in touch with, we do.

  7. Don’t be such a crybaby.

  8. Kidding! I wish you were still planning to go to BlogHer. We could have met for real and then you could judge me for being so fat!

    I have a rule about work friends. I only keep one from each job. It takes the pressure off.

    • I really wish I was still going to BlogHer as well, but then again it would ruin the mystery now wouldn’t it? It’d be right about now that I’d be scheduling my botox, skin peel and using teeth whitening strips, just so I could dazzle you with my gorgeousnessessss.

  9. I may have come here for Becky, but I stayed for you! I enjoy your writing and look forward to getting to know you better. ^.^

    And the thing I like about blogging/internet buddies over RL buddies is that email/blogging/chats are there as proof of a communication to go back to and enjoy as well as they can read it when they like. The problem I have when it comes to RL friends is I don’t ever want to intrude on their lives and what they are doing. I was never one growing up who could just go over to a friend’s house and walk through the door. I always need to have an appointment.

    I also find that I stay friends with internet buddies longer because they don’t annoy me as much, since if I don’t want to talk to them, I can just ignore them.

  10. Oh darling.

    I am far too addicted to the internet to go anywhere.

    And you’ve actually met me in the pasty white flesh, so you know I’m not leaving you!

  11. Now see, and here I am thinking “man, DD’s so fucking cool, she doesn’t even know I exist.” And then you comment on my blog, and I feel all excited that the VERY hip DD, one of my favorite bloggers, like KNOWS WHO I AM! Squee!!!

    It’s funny. If you asked me 2 years ago if it were possible to be friends with bloggers IRL, I would have said “Absolutely yes.” Without question.

    But now? Yeah, I’m not sure. I find myself closing off to new people, too, because I’m not sure if they’re going to disappear at some point. So I feel ya.

    The good news? I AM still friends with two bloggers IRL. I can’t speak to whether or not we’ll be BFF 4eva or anything, but it IS possible to have a connection in real life to a blogger. But it’s sort of like dating – you have to go through a few of them before you find one that sticks.

    At least, that’s been my experience.

    xx

  12. And by “you have to go through a few of them” I mean FRIENDSHIPS, not individual bloggers. Because “going through bloggers to find one that sticks” sounds incredibly mean.

    🙂

  13. As much as I would love to have a relationship with some of the bloggers I read I have always been hesitant. Mostly because I figure they are way too cool to want to talk to me but a little because I feel like I am trespassing.

    I started blogging after the second miscarriage because I needed to get some shit sorted out but found myself thinking I did not fit into the typical IF blogging community because we had two children already. I felt (and still feel) like an IF wannabe, a fraud because our issues were self inflicted years before.

    I would love to get to know some of the people I read, I often have dreams where we get together for dinner or drinks along with a laugh or two.

    • Not to be self-effacing, but yes, I also feel that I’m just not good enough. I really fought hard against that insecurity when I made the decision to go to BlogHer. And then the decision was made for me in an unrelated way so for another year, I’m off the hook. I do think that I would end up being a disappointment to many of the bloggers I had hoped to meet. I even think I am a bit of one to the those I’ve been lucky to have met already.

  14. I may not comment often and certainly I haven’t blogged in a while, but I”m still here. I’ll probably post soon. I remember finding your blog and Dino D’s and being so excited that someone out there could understand what I was going through. I’ll always read. I can’t stop reading. I still have Dino’s on my blog reader in case she posts. So yes I think that you can be friends via the internet… and while we don’t talk as often as we used to we can still catch up every now and then.

    • Sami, I hold out hope for Skanky Ho (aka DinoD) and that she will post again. I’m sure the cynic in her will be dying to comment on this post about how we’re all a bunch of whiners. That’s why I loves her so.

  15. I TOTALLY judge people on their blog design……

  16. Baahhh… I was going to just comment “boo-hoo” but then I saw you and Sami actually disgusting me… I mean discussing me.

    I know I’ve dropped out of sight a bit but I do still try to post very ocassionally although no one sent help at Christmas so I’m not sure what the point is.

    Oh… the point… yeah, I have one (I think).

    It’s been something like three and a half years and a few blog titles and I’m still coming by – does that count for something (prizes)?

    DinoD

    • Prizes? I can send you some hair clips. With bows even. But I’d prefer you’d let your daughter wear them since some might accuse you of trying to hard to maintain your youth if you sported them.

  17. Bitch, please. Like my fat blogging ass is going somewhere. Because it’s not.

    Like it or not, DD, you’re my FRIEND. Deal.

  18. You are stuck with my intermitent, bad spelling, contacts. That day you called me you freaked the hell right out of me. I mean, Me of all people got a call from DD!! I was in shock.
    As someone else posted, I don’t want to bother my real life friends because they all seem to have such busier and exciting lives then I do. So I lose touch with them. My friends in the computer can email or comment back to me when it fits their schedule.
    I don’t know what I would have done without all of my internet friends. I wouldn’t have kept my sanity because my real life acquaintences didn’t get it.
    So whether you like it or not until you tell me to go away and even then, you are stuck with me de;`ew, Marjorie said hi. 😉
    Now she is coming from the other side. I wouldn’t have her here if I hadn’t met you along the way. So thank you.

    • For anyone out there, I provided the moral support to Shanna. I was not part of the conception of Marjorie in any physical form. Because I think that’s taking a friendship just a bit into the Lifetime movie territory.

  19. OMG this post TOTALLY sounds like something I would think but never have the balls to write.

    As it was, I stalked a couple of blogs for a few weeks before ever leaving a comment, from fear of “rejection”… Yeah- I’m a nerd!!

    And here, I actually had a misconception about you BEING one of those so-called “trophy wives”. lol… ok, you can stop laughing now… seriously, I don’t mind if you stop laughing… come ON now!!! It wasn’t THAT funny!! was it??

    I guess my point is that I ❤ you…

  20. [I’m still in shock all you cool kids are still letting me sit at the table. But since I’m here…]

    the truth is I’m so damn busy trying to juggle work and home and personal sanity that it’s often late at night or a few minutes here and there at work when I have the time to “connect” with folks. I’m able to join the conversation when I can and no one gets pissed if I’m a bit late.

    DD, I drop by every day to see what’s new. I think your writing is witty and real, hysterical and poignant, depending on the day. I guarantee, you’ll still be getting xmas cards from me in 10 years thinking… “who the hell do I know down there??”

    • I’ll be sending out xmas cards, too, to anyone who gave me their address until 1) I get served a restraining order; or 2) a check to pay me to QUIT sending cards.

  21. This post made me jizz! in! my! pants!

    So, yeah, um, clearly I’m not going anywhere. Besides, your recent post about driving through Nebraska hit home with me, because I do the very same thing except in New England. Btb, if you haven’t read Tom Wessels’ most excellent book, Reading the Forested Landscape, you’re missing a treat. Although based in the Northern New England landscape, the way of seeing the landscape can be used anywhere. He also wrote another book about the midwest that completely escapes me…

  22. I still read, all the time. Just don’t comment much as I feel out of the loop these days (although I was never one of the cool kids to begin with!). But I keep reading cos I want to know what’s going on with YOU, not to follow the infertility story to its conclusion. And cos you’re funny.

  23. One thing to consider – the places that you list as having not maintained contact with people are places that you simply had educational or geographic or economic proximity. Proximity can enable a friendship in cases were there is a compelling human experiential reason, but lacking that? Why bother? Blogging on the other hand brings in people who already share at least one common bond of the human experience, and the writing exposes other commonalities.

    Guess, I’m just trying to say, simply because you don’t connect with people who are living, schooling, parenting, or working near you doesn’t really say a lot about you – to me. It simply says that you don’t find much in common with them on which to build. And the way I look at things, that you do or don’t have people who you connect with today in your life in many years time, isn’t as important as if you have filled that absence with people you share new, different, and compelling connections.

  24. I think that making friends (and keeping them) has more to do with how much you care to keep the connections open.

    See, I don’t like people much. I also judge just as I am sure that we are all judged. I hate that. So I sit here with my computer in my lap and pretend that all my friends are on the interwebz.

    There is no doubt that my interwebz friends know me better (and more intimately) than my IRL ones. I’m kind of sad about that. Kind of.

    • I’m mostly sad when I just need someone to listen to me and get real-time feedback. That’s mostly to feed my immediate gratification desires.

  25. Jesus, this is the kind of thing people write before killing themselves. Don’t do that please. You’re kind of all right, and I would miss your honesty, your swearing, and your ability to always be around when needed most.

    You know you’re loved around these parts, c’mon now…

    • Great googley-moogely! I didn’t know I came off quite that despondant or pathetic. My tactic worked!

      You know my track-record. I can piss off someone in 10 words or less.

      (Hmm. That was 10 words)

  26. The friend thing is so much harder as a parent. There is just no time. I wish I was better at it. I suck at it.

  27. *smooches* you know I adore you

    I think that this is largely the reason I don’t read the Big Bloggers. I like the personal relationship that develops. I like feeling like I am friends with the bloggers I read. I have about 100 blogs in my reader. About half are bigger bloggers or bloggers with whom I don’t feel much of a personal connection. Most of them are smart, witty, funny, popular, etc with dramatic stories and daily updates. But I could drop them from my reader pretty easily. The people who I can call friends – some who only post cute photos of their kids every week or two or tell me what they had for lunch now that their kids are home (most are people from my adoption era…or a few infertility peeps) are the ones I read first. I feel like we went through a war together and formed a bond. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of them in person and adore them off line too.

    I was lucky to fall into a group of Nashville bloggers. We get together from time to time and I really like them. But I’ve had trouble making the leap into real life friends that I can call up to go see a movie. I don’t know why. I’m awkward that way and need someone else to make the overture.

    • I check the Nebraska twitterers and some have “blogs”, which are actually more like my space pages and of that ilk. I do know three other bloggers in Nebraska, but haven’t met them yet, so you are lucky that you’ve found a group of in-lifers that actually plan on get-togethers.

  28. I’ve always kept my friends to a bare minimum in real life. Too many expectations for me to keep up with. The ones I’ve got are quality, though.

    Blog friends are fun and much lower maintenance, so I love to get new readers and find new reads.

  29. I totally get your “friend levels”. And I agree with the people who mentioned how much geography/physical proximity matters for IRL friends. I have very few close friends who I stay in contact with that I don’t live/work near. It just takes too much effort to keep a larger number of them afloat. My favorite friendships are the ones that don’t need constant maintenance. They are the women who love me no matter what, who have my back no matter what. The ones who I can call when I really need to talk to someone. We can pick up right where we left off–minus the guilt of “why haven’t you called me lately?”.

    As for you and your blog, I love your writing and appreciate your courage to “let it all hang out” for virtual strangers to discover. I haven’t even started trying to have kids yet, but stumbled upon your blog and enjoy following your journey and social commentary. I’ll be reading until the very end!

  30. Friends do come and go, it is true, but some do stay and hardly find you dull,

    g

  31. I got out of the blogging loop for quite some time, but when I was in the thick of it, I made some pretty great friends. One of which I still talk to on the phone (used to be like 10 times a day but now we’ve pared it down to texting and calling once every few weeks) lol. I love the way you can make friends with another woman simply based on the fact that you think she is smart, funny, clever, etc. and no one looks you up and down, shakes her head, and walks away. That was my favorite part about blogging!

  32. I’m another without reams of close IRL friends. I’ve always somewhat distrusted those with 100s of “close friends” – I just don’t believe they can have meaningful relationships with that many people at once. I came into the blogging word in part because i had no one IRL to share the travails of the whole IF business with. My own fault I suppose as we adopted the no one else’s bloody business stance. I would be lost without the bloggers I read and comment with. Well not lost, throw myself over a cliff lost, but lost as in that would really suck lost.

    I’m sticking here as long as you are and hell if I ever made it into Nebraska yours would be the place I would be reading for – so there!

  33. That’s heading clearly.

  34. I’m also one of those people who have a very few close friends. Until I started blogging, my world was very, very, very small. Now, when I count the bloggers I’m in contact with outside of my blog or their blog (i.e. we have exchanged one email outside of blog comments), my world is just…small.

    I’ve gotten pretty gun-shy too about making more connections online. I seriously went through a depression when people I “met” through my blog couldn’t stay with me when I got pregnant or later, after I gave birth. I completely understand why of course, but it was really hard to see them go because I felt like I had really invested in the relationship, even a limited one that an online relationship is.

    Anyway, I’m definitely still here reading. Plus, even though I know where you live, Nebraska is just too damn far for me to stalk you in person. So this is the only way I can do it.

  35. DD I haven’t been here long but I’m managing to read through every bit. I enjoy your blog and yes I believe you can really be a freind. Thanks for all you input and advice.


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